"Cool Like That" is a theatrical tribute to Miles Davis featuring spoken word, music, song, dance and multimedia.
BlackPoet Ventures' production of Cool Like That: A Tribute To Miles Davis will debut at the inaugural St. Lou Fringe Festival for four performances! The performing arts event will take place June 21-25, 2012, on the fringes of Grand Center and in the Locust Business District of St Louis.
Being that Miles Davis was born 15 miles outside of St. Louis makes Cool Like That a perfect production to showcase a month after what would be his 86th birthday.
What is a Fringe Festival, you ask? The celebration of art and theater known as a Fringe Festival originated in Edinburgh, Scotland, shortly after World War II. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. During the second Edinburgh International Festival it was noted: "Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before." It has grown into the largest arts festival in the world and ignited a fringe movement across the globe with fringe festivals occurring each year in most major metropolitan areas.
Your support of this Kickstarter project will allow the designated Cool Like That St. Louis cast and crew to travel via air as well as provide for meals.
SCOPE OF PROJECT
Part of BPV’s BioRhythMic Series – which showcases poetic legends through the emphasis of spoken word – Cool Like That creatively utilizes live music, dance, song and visual imagery to re-introduce new and introduce old fans to the musical genius. Davis’ own words found in his autobiography combined with original poetry make him come alive.
Jazz In AZ, Inc., hailed the production as "wonderfully done... a transporting portrayal" when it debuted in March 2009 at ASU Kerr Cultural Center (Scottsdale, AZ). This first showing played to several members of the Davis family, including his brother-in-law and nephew – Vince Wilburn Sr., and Vince Wilburn Jr. "I was blown away," said Wilburn Jr., who serves as the president of Miles Davis Properties. His father, now deceased, related how he experienced a rebirth of the legend right before his eyes. The production was then commissioned to play again in May for a celebration of Davis' birthday.
The efforts now have been to work toward getting the tribute seen on a national scale. BPV has committed to exposing as many audiences to the project over the next two years – in Arizona and beyond. The project has non-monetary support of Miles Davis Properties and the Miles Davis Foundation.
A BRIEF HISTORY
- Debuted March 2009 at ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and remounted there during May 2009.
- The production received a 2010-2011 grant from the Scottsdale Cultural Council and closed out BPV’s sixth season in June, returning to ASU Kerr Cultural Center, in honor of Davis’ 85th birthday and Black Music Month.
- Presented June 2011 at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.
- Excerpt performance June 2011 at the Phoenix Chapter of The Links, Inc., 40th Western Area Conference Community Service Showcase held at George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.
- With September 2011 marking Davis’ 20-year memorial, the company opened its seventh season with the production during October at Julie's in Mesa.
- During November 2011, it played to a sold-out audience at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix.
- In January 2012, the production debuted at The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and featured the legendary jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison, along with Marcus Belgrave, the last living member of Ray Charles’ band, and drummer Eddie “Sticks” Skiffer.
- Part of the 5th Annual PHX:Fringe Festival March 2-11, 2012, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Here is a snapshot of some of the cast members and crew involved with the production.
- Rod Ambrose (Artistic Director) - An actor, director and community arts consultant who has served on the Arizona Arts Commission and a founding member of The Black Theatre Troupe. He is the sole Prevention Education Coordinator for the City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department.
- Billy Ramsey (Miles Davis) - Poet, actor, director, step master, musician, emcee and motivational speaker. A University of Michigan graduate with a bachelor’s in public relations, Billy has worked with youth for more than 15 years developing and implementing at-risk youth and adult programs.
- Bakeem Lloyd (Spoken Word) - Hailing from the Las Vegas poetry community Bakeem was a member of the 2001 and 2002 Las Vegas Slam Teams, and a finalist in 2003. He co-hosted a poetry radio show, won the 2003 Las Vegas Citylife Poetry Contest and had and excerpt of a poem inscribed in the Poet's Bridge Project (City of Las Vegas Arts Commission). His poems have appeared in numerous publications. The Book Of Regret is his first full-length book of poetry. He plays and crafts bass guitars.
- Volina Armstrong (Vocals - Spoken Word) - Born in St. Louis, Mo., she grew up listening to jazz and attending jazz festivals in South Jersey. She has been writing – poetry, short stories and plays – for as long as she can remember. Her interest peaked in high school where she was introduced to forensics, participating in local and state competitions performing dramatic prose and her original prose.
- Donna Williams (Spoken Word) - By way of Bronx, NY, Donna has provided inspiration to young and old alike through spoken word at church events and during special events. She has performed community work for more than 15 years.
- Roosevelt Watts (Spoken Word) - Born in Monroe, La., Roosevelt has been writing and performing since age 13. He has performed with The Black Theatre Troupe in Revenge of a King, Fathers and Sons and Black Nativity.
- Cristin Coleman (Dance) - Of Phoenix, Ariz., Cristin has danced since age 11. She danced with Desert West Theatre, and her choreography has appeared in numerous Valley productions. The former gymnastics student continues to pursue a career in sports medicine.
- Camille "So Jazzy" Jenkins (Poetry Featured) - The Southern California began writing in elementary school. She comes from a family of thespians and secured roles in commercials, plays and movies during her teens. Encouraged by teachers she began writing stories, then songs, until she perfected her writing skills into poetry.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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- Acknowledgement on BPV website with listing of name and city - Special thank you letter from the cast and crew - Cool Like That production posterEstimated delivery:
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- Special Cool Like That screensaver + above itemsEstimated delivery:
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- Postcard featuring cast sent from St. Louis - Spoken word CD featuring poems and/or poets featured in production + above itemsEstimated delivery:
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- Limited edition Cool Like That t-shirt - Private link to watch the St. Louis show live online + above itemsEstimated delivery:
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- Complimentary access to special St. Louis cast send-off party, including complimentary drinks and food OR Surprise Cool Like That swagg (should you not reside in Arizona) + above itemsEstimated delivery:
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- Commemorative plaque - 4 complimentary tickets to all 2012-2013 season BPV shows (3 mainstage shows plus additional events) OR Surprise Cool Like That swagg (should you not reside in Arizona) + above itemsEstimated delivery:
- (60 days)