Saturday, August 1, 2015

Marvin X: the Audio/Video Library

The following are a few of the titles in the audio/video library of Marvin X. Most of these titles are now available from Black Bird Press. We have the Square for credit/debit card purchases. Simply call Black Bird Press @ 510-200-4164. Orders shipped by priority mail, add 5.95 for postage and handling.

Marvin X interviews Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale
 Bobby Seale, Marvin X and Charlie Walker, Godfather  of San Francisco's Hunters Point

A classic interview with Bobby, with whom Marvin X attended Oakland's Merritt College, along with BPP co-founder Huey P. Newton, 1962-64. Bobby tells Marvin, "At Merritt College on Grove Street, we were the neo-Black intellectuals." Recently, Bobby said, "When Marvin X performed his play Flowers for the Trashman at Merritt for the Soul Students Advisory Council, aka, BSU or Black Students Union, it kicked off the student movement at Merritt that led to the formation of the Black Panther Party. " In this interview, Bobby gives a history of how the West Coast radical students came into consciousness that evolved into the West Coast Black Liberation Movement and the Black Arts Movement.

One Day in the Life, a docudrama of Marvin X's addiction and recovery

This video production of the play One Day in the Life is a record of how 60s radicals succumbed to drugs, Crack in particular. One scene describes Marvin's last meeting with his friend, Dr. Huey P. Newton, in a West Oakland Crack house, shortly before his murder. The play was performed before thousands of recovering addicts in the Bay Area, Dirty South and East Coast. Ishmael Reed says, "It's the most powerful drama I've seen." Ed Bullins and Marvin X wrote a version of the Huey Newton scene, entitled Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam, produced off-Broadway by Woody King at the New Federal Theatre. Marvin X produced the entire play on the East Coast at Sista's Place in Brooklyn, the Brecht Forum in Manhattan and in Newark, New Jersey at Amiri Baraka's Kimako's Theatre in the basement of his house.

Drugs, Art and Revolution, a conversation based on Marvin X's play One Day in the Life
Amiri Baraka (left) read from his work and joined in conversation with Marvin X at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Photo: Don Usner

This conversation took place at Sista's Place, Brooklyn, New York, during their production of One Day in the Life. Panelist included Sonia Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. Amiri and Amina Barak, Sam Anderson, Elombe Brathe, Marvin X. It was a welcome home to the East Coast event for Marvin X. Some people had not seen him since he was in Harlem, 1968, at the birth of the Black Arts Movement. In the words of Sam Anderson, this very necessary discussion, took place at the right time when our people were coming out of the Crack epidemic. Of course, the East Coast radicals said there was no excuse for Marvin X, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver and other revolutionaries succumbing to Crack. Sista's Place founder Viola Plummer said, "I don't want to hear any excuse." Amiri Barak said, "You can be drugged by America, yeah, drugged and drugged. America calls you like the Greek Sirens to come, come to her and submit to her filth and garbage. This play by Marvin will never be shown big time, but they will present you with Negroes who they claim are the Bumba of the Dumba. Yet these Negroes have nothing to say.This play should be shown in the 27 cities where Blacks are in large numbers of the population, even if it is shown in 50 seat theatres as we did at my basement theatre in Newark, New Jersey.  

Marvin X Live in Philly at Warm Daddies
Left to right: Marshall Allen, 91 years old and now leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Danny Thompson, Enforcer of the Arkestra and poet Marvin X at the University of Chicago for the Sun Ra Celebration, May 21, 22, 2015. They performed in concert.

This video is also entitled 37 minutes of Jazz History since it was a historic meeting of Marvin X with members of the Sun Ra Arkestra with whom he had performed with coast to coast, including a teaching stint with Sun Ra at the University of California, Berkeley, 1971. The Sun Ra lectures at UCB are on Youtube. During this time, Sun Ra also arranged the music for Take Care of Business, the musical version of Marvin's BAM classic Flowers for the Trashman (see Black Fire and SOS, the BAM Reader). Marvin and Sun Ra performed a five hour concert in San Francisco at the Harding Theatre on Divisadero Street, including a cast of 50 actors, dancers and musicians, without intermission. Choreographers included Raymond Sawyer and Ellendar Barnes.

At Warm Daddies, Marvin X reads his poetry accompanied by Danny Thompson, flute, Marshall Allen, alto sax, Elliott Bey, keyboards, Ancestor Gold Sky, djembe, Alexander El, trap drums, Rufus Harley, bagpipes.  

Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness
San Francisco State University, April 1, 2001 
 Left to right: John Doumbia, Marvin X's mentor; oldest daughter, Nefertiti, Dr. Cornel West and Marvin's youngest daughter, Attorney Amira Jackmon (Yale, Stanford Law School)
photo Kamau Amen Ra

In 2001, the indefatigable Marvin X produced The Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness Concert at San Francisco State University. Participants included: Amiri and Amina Baraka, Kujichagulia, Rudi Wongozi, Elliot Bey, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Rev. Cecil Williams, Rev. Andriette Earl, Eddie Gale, Ishmael Reed, Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Nathan Hare, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Destiny Muhammad, Tarika Lewis, Avotcja, et al. 

This audio/video library will be continued ASAP. 

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