The following events are presented in connection with the play Bee-luther-hatchee, which runs at Sierra Madre Playhouse from January 13 through February 18.
Whose Stories? Who Tells Them? Is a series of five panel discussions on Writers and Diversity, presented on five consecutive Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m., starting on January 19. The panels will be held at different venues (see below) and all events in the series will be free to the public.
Diane Siegel, Curator of Special Programs for Sierra Madre Playhouse, states, “The play Bee-luther-hatchee by Thomas Gibbons is a story of writers and writing, stories that deserve to be told, and the issue of who is best to tell them. The play provokes discussion on race, identity, and the power of writing. Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting these panels in the community to provide a broader stage for discussion of issues raised in Gibbons’ play. Storytellers working across several genres including fiction writing, journalism, social media, drama and poetry will focus on the challenges of creating authentic voices and the danger of cultural appropriation. These issues reach beyond the theater and by holding these panels we hope to provide room for discussion that perhaps can lead to dialogue. We are at a unique time in history and discussion of these themes and the power of writing seems crucial to supporting civil discourse in a time of increasing polarization.”
A schedule of panels follows:
Thur., Jan. 19 – Journalism/ Is it Our News?
Pasadena City College, Harbeson Hall, E Colorado Blvd (Near Harkness), Pasadena, CA 91106 @ 7 pm
Panelists announced to date: Mekahlo Medina NBC4 Southern California, Tasbeeh Hersbee Associate Editor GOOD, Daniela Gerson CSUN Journalism Department.
How is the news told, who is writing it, and who is delivering it? Does is make a difference if a story is covered by someone with the same ethnicity as the people involved in the “story”? Are ethnic journalists routed to certain stories and not others? How are we getting our news in a world of conservative and liberal “bubbles.”? How can we be sure we are hearing all sides to a story and all the stories that deserve to be told? Who are the heroes and who are the villains in the news we receive? Does “who” is telling the story make a difference in “who” the heroes are? How do we sort “real” news from “fake” news and why is that important?
Thur., Jan. 26 – Drama/All the World is Someone’s Stage/Is it Mine?
Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024 – 7pm
Panelists announced to date: Doug Cooney CHARLOTTE CHORPENNING CUP winner distinguished body of work for young audiences, Battledrum; Aja Houston, Playwright, Actress; Julie Taiwo Oni, Playwright; Inda Craig Galvan, Playwright
Recognizable and distinct characters need to emerge quickly on the stage – do they have authentic voices or are they mere stereotypes? If the power of a character in a play is that their words “ring true” can those words be created by writers who have not “lived” the truth of those characters? Because of the power of live theater, do writers for the stage have an even greater responsibility to create characters that make heroes that every segment of society can embrace? Are some stories left untold because companies are not producing plays about every type of American?
Thur., Feb. 2 – Novels/ You Can’t Write About Us/Them
Altadena Community Center, 730 E Altadena Dr., Altadena, CA 91001 – 7pm
This event is co-sponsored by the Altadena Historical Society
Panelists: Naomi Hirahara EDGAR winning author Mas Arai Mysteries, Rachel M.Harper This Side of Providence, Colleen Dunn Bates Founder/Publisher Prospect Park Books
Bee-luther-hatchee by Thomas Gibbons deals with writers and publishers and the decisions about what kinds of writing gets published. This panel is a dialogue between two writers who are from specific ethnic groups and their shared publisher. Are there elements of this relationship that are unique? How does a publisher decide which books and which authors to represent? What are the challenges when the characters and settings may be distinctly ethnic-specific? Who has the right to create what range of characters? Where are the readers? What does this “Altadena” story tell us about publishing in Los Angeles and in the United States?
Thur., Feb. 9 – The Flaming World of On-Line Rhetoric & Race
Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103 – 7pm
Panelists announced to date: Joz Wang 8asians.com; Tre’vell Anderson Los Angeles Times Film Reporter; Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed Good Muslim Bad Muslim podcast.
How do people write about race on the internet? Is there a way to create civil discourse or are we doomed to polarized and increasingly vitriol-laden interchanges about race on social media and in the blogosphere? When do you stand up to racist remarks you see on social media? Do you need to pick your battles and how do you do that? How do you write so people listen and dialogue is promoted? Can people who are not of the race of a central story or theme weigh in, or is that a time to just listen? Are we living a new reality with social media post- election?
Thur., Feb. 16 – Poetry/Metaphor or Misappropriation?
Sierra Madre Public Library, 440 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA 91024 – 7pm
This event is co-sponsored by the Sierra Madre Public Library
Panelists announced to date: Adolfo Guzman-Lopez KPCC radio reporter and founder Taco Shop Poets; Rick Lupert website Poetry Superhighway,; Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo Poet, Co-founding member of Women Who Submit
What stories and what points of view are being published in the realm of poetry? When/or is it ever OK for a poet to write in the voice of someone of another race or gender? Does the intimate, feelings-based, musicality of poetry present a unique case when we evaluate authenticity of voice? What needs to be done to insure that all creative voices are heard and all stories honored in poetry?