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04/13/92

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Black avant-garde to be focus of symposium April 25

STANFORD -- "The Black Avant-Garde and the Concept of a Black Aesthetic: Expanding Definitions, Breaking Boundaries," a symposium sponsored by the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in the Stanford Law School, room 290. The event is open to the public without charge.

Keynote speaker at 10 a.m. will be Laurie Carlos, a performance artist, writer and director. She was a member of the original cast of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange and is currently active in promoting black women's performance art.

A panel of artists from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. will include India Cook, jazz musician; Dewey Crumpler, artist and muralist; Joanna Haigood, dancer/aerialist; and Ellen Sebastian, the artistic director of Life on the Water Theater Company. Panel moderator will be Kathy Perkins, a professor at the University of Illinois and author of Black Female Playwrights. The panelists will discuss their own work and its experimental or avant-garde nature as well as its relationship to more mainstream black art and the concept of a black aesthetic.

The definitions of a black aesthetic will be topic for a panel of black scholars and cultural critics speaking from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Panelists will be Trey Ellis, novelist and screenwriter; Paul Carter Harrison, professor of drama at Columbia College, Chicago, and author of The Drama of Nommo, Kuntu Drama and Totem Voices; and Sylvia Wynter, Stanford professor of African and African American Studies and of Spanish and Portuguese. Victor Walker, acting assistant professor of drama at Stanford, will serve as moderator.

In addition, there will be three performances during the course of the afternoon. India Cook and Joanna Haigood will present samples of their work and there will be a scene from the new play, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, by Suzan-Lori Parks. The play will be produced in its entirety at Stanford May 20 through May 30.

For more information about the symposium, call 723-4402.

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