Saturday, May 23, 2015

Human Earthquake demolishes Chicago: The Wild Crazy Ride of the Marvin X Experience takes no prisoners at University of Chicago

Marvin X, the itinerant, peripatetic poet, left no doubt he is the human earthquake in a concert at the University of Chicago in honor of Sun Ra, Black Arts Movement Master Musician, philosopher and father of Afro-futurism or Black Sci-fi, the man who claimed he was from outer space. The concert included original members of Sun Ra's Myth-Science Arkestra, Marshall Allen and Danny Thompson, along with Sun Ra conference planner, musician David Boykin, bassist Rollo Radford and drummer Isaiah Spencer. The conference was a celebration of Sun Ra's 101st earthday. Marshall Allen will be 91 on Monday, Marvin X, 71 on Friday, May 29.

 Marvin X and Sun Ra outside Marvin's Black Educational Theatre, Fillmore District, San Francisco, 1972.
 Chauffeur picking up Marvin X at O'hare airport for ride to University of Chicago

 After the Sun Ra men began the set, they were soon joined by David Boykin and Marvin X. According to several members of the audience, the music was not focused until Marvin X began reading, then the music became melodious and lyrical.

 Sound Check: Bass player Rollo Radford

 Sound Check: Drummer Isaiah Spencer and Sun Ra Arkestra member Danny Thompson

 Sound check: Marshall Allen, 91, leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra

Marshall Allen, leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra

 Members of the roundtable discussion on Sun Ra and Afro-futurism: Denenge Akpem, Ytasha Womack, Breanna Champion, Marvin X and David Boykin

Sun Ra musicians Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson and poet Marvin X, BAM associates since 1968.

 Ancestor Amiri Baraka reading with bassist Henry Grimes

Marvin X's rendition of Amiri Baraka's poem DOPE was a killer. The great writer Gregory Tate said,
"Marvin's reading of Baraka's poem DOPE was a monster!"  Thomas Stanley, Sun Ra scholar, author of The Execution of Sun Ra, said, "Marvin's reading of his own poems and DOPE was awesome. I had no idea!"

 Scene from Sun Ra's film Space is the Place, screened on Thursday at University of Chicago. Film was shot in Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area, 1972, during the time Sun Ra and Marvin X lectured in Black Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The two also worked in the community at Marvin's Black Educational Theatre in the Fillmore.

Sun Ra: Astro Black Mythology and Black Resistance Symposium with a keynote address by Thomas Stanley

On the occasion of his 101st birthday, we invite you to join us for a screening and symposium that will explore and unpack the connections between the ideologies of Black resistance movements and the "cosmic" philosophies of accomplished composer, jazz pianist, band leader, and poet, Sun Ra. The symposium will both reflect upon and anchor the philosophical foundation of Sun Ra's Astro Black Mythology in a contemporary conversation around Afro-futurism and movements such as #BlackLivesMatter.

Participants include:
D. Denenge Akpem
Breanna Champion
William Faber
Anthony Reed
Greg Tate
William Sites
Ytasha Womack
Marvin X

This symposium is organized by David Boykin, 2013/14 Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture Artists-in-Residence, leader of the David Boykin Expanse, and founder of Sonic Healing Ministries, in collaboration with the University of Chicago.
Sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, the Julie and Parker Hall Endowment for Jazz and American Popular Music, the Department of Music, and the Deputy Provost for the Arts.

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