Sunday, November 9, 2014

Note from Kim McMillon on Marvin X's play Flowers for the Trashman at University of California, Merced

Sonia Sanchez, Lakiba Pittman, Kim McMillon and Marvin X
Earlier this year, Kim and Marvin produced a conference on the Black Arts Movement at UC Merced. Marvin X is planning a Bay Area-wide Black Arts Movement celebration on the 50th Anniversary of BAM. Marvin is calling for a dream team of funders, planners, workers, volunteers, participants, promoters to make the Bay Area BAM celebration a reality. Contact him at

Hi Marvin, 

At University of California  Merced's Student of Color Conference, I had several plays for the students to choose from at the Theatre of Protest workshop, and the young women chose your play Flowers for the Trashman. They did several scenes and were incredible.
--Kim McMillon 

Marvin X is most well known for his work with Ed Bullins in the founding of Black House and The Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco. Black House served briefly as the headquarters for the Black Panther Party and as a center for performance, theatre, poetry and music. 

Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the BAM. His most well-known BAM play, entitled Flowers for the Trashman, deals with generational difficulties and the crisis of the Black intellectual as he deals with education in a white-controlled culture. Marvin X's other works include, The Black Bird, The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead and In the Name of Love. He currently has the longest running African American drama in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a tragi-comedy of addiction and recovery. He is the founder and director of RECOVERY THEATRE.
Marvin X

Marvin X has continued to work as a lecturer, teacher and producer. He has taught at Fresno State University; San Francisco State University; University of California - Berkeley and San Diego; University of Nevada, Reno; Mills College, Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. He has received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts; planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Read: Marvin X Unplugged An Interview by Lee Hubbard

Marvin X is available for lectures/readings/performance.  Contact him at

Flowers for the Trashman is Marvin X's first play, written while he was an undergrad in the English/Creative Writing department at San Francisco State College/now University. His professor, the great novelist John Gardner, took the play to the Drama department and it was produced, 1965. Flowers for the Trashman appeared in Black Fire, the classic Black Arts Movement anthology, edited by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal. It appears in the just released SOS--Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader, edited by John Bracey, James Smethurst and Sonia Sanchez. 

SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

University of Massachusetts Press, paper $34.95 

A major new anthology of readings, this volume brings together a broad range of key writings from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, among the most significant cultural movements in American history. The aesthetic counterpart of the Black Power movement, it burst onto the scene in the form of artists’ circles, writers’ workshops, drama groups, dance troupes, new publishing ventures, bookstores, and cultural centers and had a presence in practically every community and college campus with an appreciable African American population. Black Arts activists extended its reach even further through magazines such as Ebony and Jet, on television shows such as Soul! and Like It Is, and on radio programs. Many of the movement’s leading artists, including Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Tour√©, Marvin X and Val Gray Ward, remain artistically productive today. Its influence can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson, to hip-hop artists Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D. SOS—Calling All Black People includes works of fiction, poetry, and drama in addition to critical writings on issues of politics, aesthetics, and gender. It covers topics ranging from the legacy of Malcolm X and the impact of John Coltrane’s jazz to the tenets of the Black Panther Party and the music of Motown. The editors have provided a substantial introduction outlining the nature, history, and legacy of the Black Arts Movement as well as the principles by which the anthology was assembled.

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