West Virginian poet Crystal Good debuted her amazing new poem “Appalachian Blackface,” a commentary on political pandering to coal miners as well as racism, at last night’s Summit on Race Matters in Appalachia and she received a well deserved standing ovation for it. Crystal’s powerful, brilliant spoken word performance begins around the 18:50 mark on the following video, but I highly recommend watching the entire video no matter who you are or where you are from. Then share it. This poet, and this subject, should be nationally known.
West Virginian parents who receive CHIP and/Medicaid assistance for their kids can get discount Charleston Ballet tickets for just $5 each thanks to the Ballet For All program. You just have to purchase tickets in advance at the box office as supplies are limited.
I cannot emphasize enough what a positive impact Charleston’s arts scene had on me as a very poor child – one who went from a turbulent home of domestic violence to a loving but struggling single-parent home. I’m so grateful to the kind friends and their parents who took me to the WV Symphony, The Charleston Ballet and Mountain Stage, all of which gave me an intense interest in and love for the arts that I may not have developed otherwise. Those experiences had a direct influence on my pursuit of writing about music, first through this blog and eventually for The Charleston Gazette.
So take your kid to the ballet, it’s a memory that will have lasting effects.
West Virginians have an exciting weekend of arts-related events this weekend thanks to Charleston’s Festivall. We at Muruch will happily attend the following:
Friday, 7pm: Hamlet by The American Shakespeare Co.
The Scottish Rites Center, Capitol Street
Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students.
Buy tickets in advance at Taylor Books or at the door
Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm: Romeo & Juliet by The Charleston Ballet
The Civic Center Little Theater
Tickets: Adults $20 in advance, $25 at door; students $15 in advance, $20 at door.Group rates also available.
Buy tickets online, Civic Ctr box office or at the door
Saturday, 8am-5pm: Library Used Book Sale
The Civic Center Little Theater
Free Admittance, books 50¢-$2
Sunday, 1-4pm: Nature Walk w/ Live Music & Art
Sunrise Carriage Trail
Sunday, 7pm: Kate Miller-Heidke, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Janiva Magness & Storyman at Mountain Stage
Culture Center Theater
Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at the door
Buy tickets online, at Taylor Books or at door
Crystal Good is West Virginia’s (and possibly America’s) coolest poet. I’ve talked about her poetry to everyone I know offline and mentioned her a few times on Muruch’s Twitter, but just realized I’ve neglected to post about her here on Muruch until now. Here’s my fave Crystal Good poem/spoken word performance, “Boom Boom.”
and we all notice a good deal about the birds”
and in our living and in our dying”
Those three lines sum up why every West Virginian should see Contemporary Youth Arts Company‘s production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town tonight.
While anyone anywhere can relate to the allegory for mortality brilliantly woven into the story, Appalachia is one of the few regions in America who can still see their reflection in Grover’s Corners.
In Our Town, Wilder masterfully captured the heart of small town life — its bitter and its sweet, its bliss and its grief.
And CYAC gracefully capture the heart of Our Town, humbly and beautifully staying true to Wilder’s sparse setting and subtle delivery so as to allow the play’s inherent genius to shine through.
Every cast member does a superb job and the cast, as a whole, have a uniquely natural chemistry on stage. The actresses who portray Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibb were the main scene stealers. Mrs. Gibbs in particular is incredibly authentic and moving.
Local high school student Mariah Plante positively glows as the play’s central character, Emily Webb. Plante successfully elicited smiles from the audience during Emily’s innocent happiness and tears from even the crowd’s most sullen teenagers during her final heartbreaking scene.
My only complaint is the play’s climactic, most famous line “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?” was inexplicably left out. Whether due to director’s design or actor’s error, I don’t know. But despite that glaring omission, it was an otherwise excellent and heartfelt production.
I actually hadn’t intended to review this play when I bought my ticket. I wanted to be able to fully enjoy it if it was good and I wanted to avoid the inevitable battle between honesty and kindness if it wasn’t. After a decade of disillusionment with local theatrical productions, I stopped bothering to attend them let alone review them. But a writer can rarely resist the spark of inspiration born of great art. Such was the case last night. Since I missed the Charleston Gazette’s deadline, you Muruch readers get this spontaneous review instead.
Do yourself a favor and attend CYAC’s final performance of Our Town tonight. You won’t regret it.
Info: CYAC Production of Our Town
Time: Tonight, 8:00 p.m.
Place: WVSU Capitol Center, 123 Summers Street, Charleston, WV
Price: $8.00 Student/Senior, $15.00 Adult
Buy tickets at the show or call 304-342-6522 for reservations and group rates.