VBB will kick off its season with a multimedia party at the home of Hannah and David Jans, where we'll launch our new interactive website designed by Angela Martinez, documenting our Fall 2011 living room artThird Worlds: Third Ward/Karachi, and two new documentaries by Yunuen Perez Vertti about VBB’s Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 living room artWomen Under Siege productions. "The gathering is a celebration of the artists who document VBB's productions, including Eric Hester, Burnell McCray, Marc Newsome and Mahwash Rahman, and an oppotunity to experience issues explores in our last season while getting updates to our 2012-2013 productions." Music will be provided by the Free Rads Jazz Trio. So don't miss the celebration with VBB’s exciting community and independent artists. Enjoy food served by Whole Foods Montrose, open mic, music and great company! Guests are invited to bring a donation of 2 - 5 lbs of dried beans or lentils for Houston Food Not Bombs.
VBB invites you to cross borders in a journey of art and culture to explore the streets of Freedmen's Town, Houston with digital links to Lyari, Karachi (Pakistan). Freedmen’s Town, located just west of the downtown skyline, was founded and built by enslaved peoples immediately after Emancipation in the1860s, while Lyari is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi and home to a large Baloch community whose roots are in east Africa. From the 1300 block of Andrews Street and the African American Library at the Gregory School on the 1300 block of Victor, guests will experience VBB’s dome-tent packed with visual, digital, and interactive art created for the afternoon, as well as other spaces including The African American Library at the Gregory School, the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum, Freedmen’s Town churches, and more.
The production includes performances, exhibitions and opportunities for audience members to share their stories and engage with artists. Most importantly, VBB’s living room art production Homes and Histories will give visitors, local organizations and Freedmen’s Town residents opportunities to share stories of life, survival, and identity as VBB explores issues of human migration and movement in Houston and Karachi, raising questions about “home”.
Snacks served courtesy of Whole Foods Montrose and Central Market. Bring your friends, curiosity, and appetite!
Artists include: Hosam Aboul-Ela, Ezzat Abouleish, Vanessa Bahmani, Shere Dore, Hany Khalil, Burnell McCray, and Michael Woodson
Struggles for Freedom gives voice to the Arab Spring movement two years to the day that Egyptian activists and protesters rose up in Tahrir Square to overthrow an autocratic government and demand justice and democracy. That was just a beginning. Now, two years later, VBB invites a dialogue about the changes and challenges of the Arab Awakening and the U.S Occupy movement, with which it historically coincides. The show features University of Houston Professor Hosam Aboul-Ela. His Egyptian heritage and recent travels to his second home promise a current and on-the-street insight of recent events, which still resound with the energy, promise and challenge that the initial uprising had two years ago. He will be joined by Occupy Houston activists in a historical, cultural, and political comparison of the two movements. Additionally, the event will include a short collage of videos by Michael Woodson to highlight comparative themes of Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. A slide show tracking the chronology of Occupy Houston movement by Burnell McCray will
set the stage for comments by Shere Dore, a spokesperson for Occupy Houston’s General Assembly. As a complement to McCray’s Occupy Houston’s visuals, photography by Vanessa Bahmani documents the voices of struggle and freedom from the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland movements.
There will be an opportunity for comments, questions, and dialogue from the audience. Refreshments and beverages will be served thanks to the Station Museum, Whole Foods Montrose and St. Arnold’s Brewery.
Rubén Martínez is a writer, teacher and performer whose latest book, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New American West, is a bold work about outrageous wealth and devastating poverty, sublime beauty and ecological ruin. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. He is the author of: Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail (Metropolitan/Holt), The New Americans and The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City and Beyond. He won an Emmy Award for hosting KCET-TV’s politics and culture series, “Life & Times.” He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Fellowship in Non Fiction, a Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, a Freedom of Information Award from the ACLU and a Greater Press Club of Los Angeles Award of Excellence. Martínez was also the first recipient of VBB’s annual Valiente Award in 2003 and serves on VBB’s advisory board.
A question and answer period will follow the reading, and audience members will be able to purchase books to be signed by the author. Refreshments will be served courtesy of Whole Foods Montrose.
Cosponsored by Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston and Voices Breaking Boundaries.
a VBB Borderlines production Jai Bhim Comrade screening; followed by discussion with filmmaker Anand Patwardhan
For thousands of years, India’s Dalits were abhorred as “untouchables;” they were denied education and treated as bonded labor. By 1923, Bhimrao Ambedkar broke the taboo and fought for the emancipation of his people. He drafted India’s Constitution and led his followers to discard Hinduism for Buddhism. In 1997, in a Dalit colony in Mumbai, a statue of Dr. Ambedkar was desecrated with footwear. As angry residents gathered, police opened fire, killing 10 people. Vilas Ghogre, a leftist poet, hung himself in protest. Jai Bhim Comrade, shot over 14 years, follows the poetry and music of people like Vilas and marks a subaltern tradition of reason that from the days of the Buddha, has fought superstition and religious bigotry.
Please join us as we screen Jai Bhim Comrade and discuss the issues the film raises about India and its borders with the award-winning filmmaker, Anand Patwardhan. Refreshments
will be served courtesy of Great W'kana Cafe.
Anand Patwardhan is India’s leading documentary filmmaker. For over four decades, his investigative documentaries have charted life in modern India, from the nature of its economic development to the power of nationalism and religious fundamentalism, to the struggles by the poor and marginalized for justice. It has taken legal action, including a decision by India’s Supreme Court, to prevent successive Indian governments from censoring his films and blocking them from being screened.
VBB’s Teachers and Students Speak Out 5 , first presented in April 2009, is a culmination of the Writing for Self-Discovery Workshops originally designed to give teachers a voice. The project has been expanded to feature performance of creative work from teachers and students, who both participate in the workshops now. Held at Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy, the final performance features Wharton sixth graders as well as teachers including Keisha Breaker, Mercedes Negron, and Bobbie Jo Blackwell. The production is co-curated by workshop facilitators Marcela Descalzi, Jennifer Palermo, and Jacsun Shah, and the evening includes an open mic, and hot tamales!
8:00 - 10:00 pm, Saturday, May 4, 2013
Home of Dina Al-Sowayel and Tony Chase Over the past few years, VBB and our Board have honored a single person who reflects VBB’s passionate commitment to speaking out and inciting social change through art. To mark the entrance into our “teen” years, VBB’s 2013 La Valiente Award will honor founders of the organization Marcela Descalzi, Jacsun Shah + Sehba Sarwar.
Aperitivos will be provided along with free valet parking. The evening is an opportunity for YOU to support VBB so we can continue to explore urgent issues in Houston and beyond. All donations are tax-deductible and will go towards the support of VBB.
1:00 -3:00 pm, Saturday, May 11, 2013
VBB’s annual participation in the Orange Show’s Annual Art Car Parade Saturday, VBB’s award-winning truck-art car Revolution - Car # 35 will be rolling down the Parade again, with its microphone and speakers, giving voice to the community. This year artists Harbeer Sandhu and Miah Arnold will be joining VBB. Don’t miss the experience! From 1:30 am - 2:30 pm, Revolution - Car # 35 will be stationary. Come find us and if you have a poem, a story or something to say, you can speak out on our art car podium! All are invited!
Please note: The parade will be starting two hours later because of recent storms.
In 2012-14, VBB’s living room art productions will explore a theme entitled Borderlines. The series will explore shared issues between two regions – India-Pakistan-Bangladesh and USA-Mexico –through multidisciplinary living room art productions in a variety of spaces in Houston’s Near Northside, a neighborhood located next to the Fifth Ward.
The series will be held in separate homes in Houston’s historic Near Northside neighborhood, a densely populated Mexican-American community that remains insulated from the outer city. The neighborhood is known for its 1978 political race protests called the “Moody Park Riots”, which resulted from the brutal murder of a Latino by members of the Houston Police Department.
The production series will also explore relationships between the USA and Mexico, as walls continue to rise, deportations escalate, and families are torn apart - in regions that were once part of Mexico but that now belong to the United States. Likewise, in South Asia, many different perceptions of history prevail, especially since regions such as Kashmir, Punjab and Bengal were torn apart when the 1947 Partition formed two new countries, India and Pakistan. Additionally, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have diverging narratives about Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War, especially since Pakistani Army atrocities from that period have been eliminated from Pakistani history and national memory. The project will also explore how regional economics impact border crossings as well as shared stories and rituals.
As VBB explores different layers of history through the creation of new art, we will be aiming to bring communities together to better understand connections between local and global histories, so cultural borders can be erased and histories better understood. The project is concieved by Sehba Sarwar and US-based artists include Jimmy Castillo, Chuy Benitez, Autumn Knight, Robert Pruitt, Harbeer Sandhu, and Yunuen Perez Vertti. Additonal artists from Mexico, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan will be included as project develops further.
As VBB explores different layers of history through the creation of new art, we will be aiming to bring communities together to better understand connections between local and global histories, so cultural borders can be erased and histories better understood.