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© 2016 Irma Herrera

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Creative Lives

February 4, 2018

 

A friend mentioned that she must have fallen off my mailing list -- she hadn’t gotten my blog in some time. Wow, I had not sent anything out for three months. In late November I went to Havana and returned home in mid-January. I had amazing experiences there and getting on the internet was not one of them. In future blogs I'll say more about my six-weeks in Cuba.

 

 

 

I had a super exciting 2017 and worked and reworked the material of my one-woman show, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? Originally called Tell Me Your Name, I’ve kept this as the working title for a companion book about names. In the process of writing and performing I’ve learned so much about how names shape our identity and sense of place in the world. I’ve done lots of research in the fields of sociology, psychology, history, politics . . . and have unearthed so much information on the subject. The play is the tip of the iceberg, and I am excited to put together this book, although progress on that front is slow.

 

I performed my play last year at teatros in Fresno, San Antonio, and San Francisco. Was thrilled that many of the performance were sold-out houses and that my play was named Best of Fringe, at the SF Fringe Festival. I also performed at a retreat in San Diego for a national law firm. Perhaps the most exciting part of doing this work is hearing your stories about your own names or the names of someone you know and love.

 

A young woman from Southern California told me the following story:

 

Her spouse, a newly minted MBA had gotten his dream job with an investment firm. His resume gave his full name, Miguel Jason Pérez, (I have used a different name to protect their privacy, but have kept the convention of an identifiable Spanish first name).  First day at work he is welcomed warmly and shown his nice office. The Managing Partner points to business cards on his desk and tells Miguel that the firm took the liberty of printing his business cards using only his middle name: Jason Perez (no accent). “We think our clients will be more comfortable.”

 

According to his wife, it was an awkward situation to encounter on his first day at work, at a job he worked really hard to get. Miguel was at a loss for words and said nothing. Is this a micro (or macro) aggression? I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this.

 

Before I share other exciting news, I want to highlight two good friends who are doing great work in the creative sphere.

 

Diane Barnes’ one-woman show, My Stroke of Luck, has gotten its second extension at The Marsh and will play through the end of March. Bay Area people, be sure to see it. More info and reasonably priced tickets at: https://themarsh.org/my_stroke_of_luck/diane-barnes/

 

 

 

 

Linda González' memoir, The Cost of Our Lives is about to be released, and is already available on Kindle. She is having a number of book-launch parties, including one at my home the afternoon of Sunday, March 25th. If you live in the Bay Area, send me your email me and I’ll make sure you get an evite. I’ve read and discussed bits and pieces of the story with this very talented mujer. Reading the final product is both moving and a thrill. Congratulations, Linda. Get her book through your independent bookstore or order directly from the publisher: http://widopublishing.com/the-cost-of-our-lives-by-linda-gonzalez-2/

 

It isn’t often that the stories of women of color are on the stage or the page, so support these fabulous compañeras.

 

 

I am so inspired by the creativity that I see all around me. And each and EVERY ONE of you is creative, not just folks who paint, write books and plays, or perform. Some folks express their creatively in cooking, the clothes you wear, how you style your hair, how you furnish your home/apt, in the actions that you take to promote justice and fairness. There are infinite ways to use our creativity. Stay in touch with your creative side, it will bring you great joy. It certainly does that for me.

 

Some other exciting news at my end . . . I’m participating in the Times Unseen Initiative at The Marsh and had my first performance in a group show in late January. Here is the description of this project from the Marsh’s website:

 

Times Unseen will chronicle the effect of political change on individuals.

 

One of the stark lessons of the recent election is the ideological divide between regions in America. We have a team of Marsh Artists who have personal connections to the disparate social, geographical, and political regions of America. We are asking them to interview people – Americans talking to Americans about family, love, safety, health, finances etc., in a time of political change. And our artists will bring what they hear back to the Marsh and make theater of it.

 

Times Unseen: because we are in new territory politically, and because politics, for better or for worse, are about promises of a changed future, times as yet unseen. Times Unseen will culminate in a Festival of New Work, in time for the midterm elections in 2018, with workshop performances along the way.”

 

For more info about this project visit The Marsh’s website: https://themarsh.org/times_unseen/times-unseen-initiative-prepared-pieces/

 

And finalmente  . . . I’ll be performing new material in a 20-minute show titled, Your Name is WHAT? on Saturday afternoon, March 10th at 1 pm, at The Marsh in SF. Fellow Bay Area solo-performer, Theresa Donahoe, and I will be sharing a 40-minute slot during Marsh Madness, a weekend of performances at The Marsh Theatre. Theresa will present an excerpt from her new show, Confessions of a White Mexican. More info at: https://themarsh.org/marsh-madness/marsh-madness/

 

Come enjoy a Saturday matinee, lots of food for thought in these stories. And plenty of great restaurants just around the corner from The Marsh, so treat yourself to an afternoon outing on Saturday, March 10.

 

I’m so grateful for all the support you have given me as I have sought to reinvent myself and create a new career over the past several years. Muchisimas gracias.

 

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