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Hip-hop lilith fair & in search of Yankee playwrights

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I’ve already crowed about a wonderful Alternet article to a number of friends but I have to say something here about it also.  It’s Yvonne Bynoe’s Hip Hop’s (Still) Invisible Women and it’s a great read not only because it’s so astute but it also suggests ways out of the problem of womens’ too-often degraded image in hip-hop (though note that this does not happen in ALL hip-hop, OK?).  I’m especially intrigued by the idea of a hip-hop version of the Lilith Fair.  Sounds like a great idea.

On a totally different tip, I was intrigued by this article about NEA head Dana Gioia.  While he deserves kudos for preserving the NEA in the wake of a conservative backlash that it faced in the ‘80’s, shouldn’t he also be promoting some American playwrights and not just Shakespeare in the schools?  It’s not as if we don’t have a fine tradition of the stage here in the States: off the top of my head, there’s Eugene O’Neil, Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, August Wilson, Arthur Miller and David Mamet.  That’s not even mentioning musical theater, which I usually can’t stand but is definitely part of the American cultural landscape: Rodgers, Hammerstein, Hart, Sondheim for starters plus West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Hair and so on.  Surely, at least some of that won’t ruffle the feathers of conservative critics who want schools or even the general public to appreciate some of our cultural heritage.

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