Big Read Tucson's Love Letter to Emily Dickinson is the culmination of a collective reading & literary exploration project designed to heal a community while inspiring reading for pleasure. After the shootings last January in our city, I wanted to help bring people together in pleasurable ways and help repair the fabric of our town. Out of that intention came the brainchild 10 week-long event, concluding in a Public Birthday Party performance for Emily Dickinson, in downtown Tucson, on December 10.
Big Read Tucson is a special project of Kore Press and part of a nationwide initiative to bring literature closer to the center of our cultures and communities. The 40-partner extravaganza has received partial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to create multiple opportunities for engaging community in a creative & collective re-imagining of the visionary poet in in the 21st c.
I developed this Kickstarter campaign to help us match those funds and spread the word about what we are doing. Monies raised will go to presenting, recording and archiving works created during the project, making them available to the pubic through live performance as well as in an on-line archive. In particular, support will go to performers, readers, curators, a muralist, a cake sculptor, musicians, dancers, sound recording/engineering, tech support for culminating event, art exhibition materials, as well as the nudgy background costs of pulling something like this off: lighting, design/printing of posters, advertising, projector/screen rental, audio/video documentation, editing and compiling audio/video, DVD/CD mastering/burning, archiving of the project on-line for public access, transportation for students in rural areas, screen printing and temporary tattoos of Dickinson's first lines.
The BDay Love Letter for Emily includes the opening of a national visual arts invitational exhibit of 2-D works made in response to Dickinson's first lines of poetry. Curated by the photographer Valerie Galloway and painter/printer Heather Green, of Tucson, 25-30 artists from various parts of the country are in the process of creating pieces, 8x10 inches wide, which is the size of the poet's handbound manuscript, called facsicles. Desserts by local pastry chefs inspired by Dickinson's 19th c recipes will be presented at Janos Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, Maynard's/Hotel Congress and Bline on 4th Ave. At the Hotel Congress, the birthday party performance will include interactive dance and poetry experiments with audience members, excerpts of dances and music from "If My Verse Is Alive. . . ," music composed for Dickinson (by Vicki Brown) and others, actors performing Dickinson-inspired writing by community members, performance video, projections onto buildings, writing experiments and audio works.
We need your help to keep the momentum going to final performance and completion! Anything you can do helps us big time! We've been working so hard making things happen and could use a shot in the arm from the big community of supporters out there that I know would love help Tucson heal through reading, writing and innovation.
If you are nearby, come join us downtown on Dec 10. You can sign Emily's birthday card in person!
Lisa Bowden, Kore Press
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