Program

F.Punk Junkies: “Our Survival”

October 6, 2022

By Dr. Keshia Abraham

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“The earliest archives or libraries were the memories of women. Patiently transmitted from mouth to ear, body to body, hand to hand. …The speech is seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched.” (Trinh T. Minh-ha, “Grandma’s Story”)

Dr. Keshia Abraham performing as Matriarch in F.Punk Junkies world premiere
Dr. Keshia Abraham by Kevin Alvarez Cordova

“Our form of storytelling harkens back to the ancestral roots of our griots and shamans.” It invokes our oral traditions and the pre colonial art forms whose legacies our presence gives evidence to. This is not only a ‘punk rock show,’ it is also an homage to our ancestors, especially to our Matriarchs.” Connecting his Puerto Rican lineage to the expanse of the African diaspora, Teo Castellanos, shares “F.Punk Junkies” as “an offering to African/Yoruba Matriarchal lineage and to Matriarchs in the making.”

This ensemble shares sacred connections with each other. They are a cast of educators, scholars, dancers, non-dancers, singers, non-singers, actors, non-actors, mothers, daughters, sons, priests, practitioners, and novices, some having known each other for decades others connecting more recently but/and equally profoundly.  Some have taught each other formally and all have taught each other informally. Each person involved in this show enhanced the ways in which Teo and Augusto Soladade initially imagined this work together and what it could do. They realize a natural way of communicating in deep and meaningful ways, not just about the art that they are engaged in producing but also about life, personal interests, experiences and world views. Through the exploration of the funk in punk these creators and performers dig deeper into the roots of the music, the traditions it comes from, and themselves.

 

F.Punk Junkies cast performing at world premiere
F.Punk Junkies cast by Kevin Alvarez Cordova

University of Florida dance professor and Brazzdance founder Augusto Solodade explains the origins of the piece “starting out with a few phone conversations to exchange ideas and aspirations until we got to a point where the very first basic structure for the work took place: F.Punk Junkies took its first life breath.”  From there, each rehearsal/performance/practice begins with the breath. An appreciation for each breath, settling into the body, taking time to allow the spirit to settle inside of the vessel we carry ourselves around in to find its way to the light. That vessel, these bodies, come with stories already inscribed in and on them and it is these stories which bring F.Punk Junkies to life.  This cast brings stories of triumph and sorrow, liberation and resistance, permanence and migration to this experience. The stories crafted in body, mind, soul, music, word, sound, power represent a collaborative exploration of how our stories of survival come through us now and into the future.  Each rehearsal, each residency, each day with each of the lovely beings who make this show has been filled with a way of going back to go forward.  A sankofa cyper… danced, worded, and felt through the experiences of a team of master teachers and performers. An invitation to recall, to remember, to let go, to offer, to learn, to teach, to reach, to let go and grow is what “F.Punk Junkies” and its process of development have offered each person involved.  “We became a community of F.Punk Junkies for unwavering support and healing.” (A. Soladade) This feeling and intention permeates all of our ways of working together which makes it possible to learn and share a plethora of cultural traditions from throughout our diasporas.  Being surrounded by a group of artists willing to share space and their practices graciously and equitably allows for the presence of trust and the ability to have deep conversations that bring all kinds of trauma to the surface, while the group emanates a strong sense of compassion and empathy.

Miami-born actress, musician and teaching artist, Inez Barlatier expresses what many in the cast also appreciate about this work which is what “an immense honor it is to have been chosen by Teo Castellanos himself, to depict a world of truth, magic and multicultural wisdom.” For Inez, this process is one of “awakening” and “transformative discovery”For each of these performers there is something about being seen, valued and appreciated as part of the creative process that makes this work extra special.

F.Punk Junkies is blessed by the work of two master choreographers with decades of teaching between them who have influenced thousands of international performers while shaping dance culture in South Florida. This provides an incredible opportunity for each performer to consider the influences on our sense of movement. Senior Associate Professor of Dance, co-choreographer Michelle Grant-Murray explains it best. “The responsibility of sharing truth requires courage, tenacity, and a fearless sensibility of what exists beyond the natural world. F-Punk Junkies deconstructs the seen and unseen of universal truths. Black, Brown, and Indigenous People of Color flow in juxtapositions, dualities, and spherical spaces surviving and thriving the tradewinds of existence. The conjuring within these spaces generates profound brilliance, love, and healing.”

Teo Castellanos performing in F.Punk Junkies world premiere
Teo Castellanos by Kevin Alvarez Cordova

Bridging cultures, ages, and life experiences, this “cast of bridge-walkers at different stages of our individual journeys came together to dig into the messiness of what makes us who we are. F/Punk is about much more than those initial ideas that sparked its creation. It’s about healing, it’s about community, medicina, bruxas and brujos, ancestors, and about so much more,” says somatic educator/artist/researcher, Niurca Marquez. Like Maria “Mercy” Lopez, who “realized how her soul needed this,” each performer expresses how valuable creating work in this way is to “seeing one’s worth as an artist and more importantly as a human being.”

Braiding a tapestry dotted with bantu knots, sprinkled liberally with cowrie shells, and adorned with adinkra and feathers “F.Punk Junkies” makes it clear for all of us that as Nirura Marquez reminds us, “there are still so many more stories to tell. Leaning into the stories that make up ‘F.Punk Junkies’ is a ritual of leaning into joy, pleasure, and the recognition that we are still here, an evidencing of silenced voices and the messiness of our encounters in space and time.”

As a collective we say “Adupe…” (we thank you, we thank you, we thank all who had a hand or a heart in the mix.)

What: Teo Castellanos D-Projects: F.Punk Junkies
When: October 3-8, 2022 at 8 pm
Where: The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse
Tickets: on sale now

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Kristina Villaverde

Special Projects Manager

A native of Miami, Kristina Villaverde became Miami Light Project’s Technical Director in 2014. Kristina is also the director of Miami Light Project’s Technical Fellowship, a program designed to train emerging theater technicians and prepares them for professional work. A long time staple in the South Florida theater community, Kristina has worked as the Head Electrician at Byron Carlyle Theater, The Colony Theater and the Olympia Theater. Additionally, she has built her theater skills as Light Designer and Stage Manager for numerous productions, and worked for local arts organizations as Young Arts and Miami Lyric Opera. Kristina has been a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 500 and had the opportunity to work as a stagehand for a variety of productions from Broadway, Comedy Central, CBS, Telemundo to Live Nation at a great number of venues in South Florida.
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Terrence Brunn

Marketing & Communications Manager

A native of St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, Terrence Brunn is an arts administrator and designer with a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Miami. Terrence Brunn joined MLP in 2012 as part of the Miami Light Project’s Technical Fellowship Program inaugural class where he explored all aspects of stagecraft. Now Terrence is the communications manager for Miami Light Project and the program coordinator for Miami Theater Center. Terrence currently resides in Miami and enjoys traveling when not working.
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Regina Moore

Director of Planning & Development

Regina Moore joined Miami Light Project in October 2012. Previously, Regina worked as an independent consultant and grant writer for nonprofits in South Florida. Since 2003, Regina has worked with cultural & arts and community services organizations on projects that have generated more than $4 million in grants. She has 18 years of experience in grant proposal development, strategic planning, building collaborations and program evaluation for small/mid-size nonprofits. Regina holds a master degree in business administration from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) and bachelor’s degree in business from Pontificia Universidade Católica (Sao Paulo, Brazil). A native of Brazil, Regina currently resides in Boca Raton with her husband, John, and two children, Thomas and Emilie.
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Eventz Paul

Technical Director & Facilities Manager

Eventz Paul is currently the Technical Director and Productions Manager at Miami Light Project. He has been a part of this organization since 2011. He participated in Miami Light Project’s first class of the Technical Fellowship Program held at The Light Box. He joined this program hoping to improve his existing theater skills. He received training from experts in the industry that mentored and further his theater technical skills. Now, he has successfully used his professional knowledge and has had the opportunity to work with various arts organizations and venues throughout Miami including Miami Theater Center, National Young Arts Foundation, the Colony Theatre and many more. He has become an instructor and conducts audiovisual classes to incoming technical fellows.

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Elizabeth Boone

Artistic & Executive Director

Beth Boone has been the Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project since 1998, developing critically acclaimed artistic programs that have asserted the organization as one of the leading cultural institutions in South Florida. These programs include: the establishment of Here & Now, South Florida’s most respected commission and presenting program for community-based artists; premiere presentations of internationally acclaimed; pioneering historic international cultural exchange with Cuba; and the creation of The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, a multi-use performance and visual art space in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. She previously served as Associate Director of Development for Florida Grand Opera, Deputy Director for the Department of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade Community College, Wolfson Campus, co-founded an Off Broadway theater company (New York Rep), and served for six years as a Program Associate in the Arts & Culture Program of the AT&T Foundation. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a MFA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University in Boston, MA.