RISKY TALKING is a series of no-holds-barred public discussions about risk and change convening the bravest risk-takers from the world of arts and politics hosted by author and broadcaster Laura Flanders with choreographer Elizabeth Streb.

Risky Talking: Creative Migrations

April 26th, 2016, 7-9 pm
STREB Lab for Action Mechanics

“We walk into that which we cannot yet see,” wrote Elizabeth Alexander in her inaugural poem for President Barack Obama in 2009. Creativity and migration will be at the heart of this conversation between poet Elizabeth Alexander and journalist Maria Hinojosa, the fifth in a regular series of arts & politics events co-hosted by  choreographer Elizabeth Streb and author–broadcaster Laura Flanders. Risky Talking: Creative Migrations, a conversation about risk and change, includes unique physical acts, triggered by the audience, designed by Streb.

Our speakers know a thing or two about migration:

Elizabeth Alexander (the author of six books of poetry and The Light of the World, her critically acclaimed memoir ) is a lineal cousin of Stephen Colbert, according to DNA research by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Her paternal grandfather came to the United States in 1918 from Kingston, Jamaica. Her mothers roots can be traced back 37 generations to Charlemagne, first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The Light of the World celebrates her life with her husband, Eritrean artist Ficre Ghebreyesus who walked out of Eritrea, through Sudan, through Germany, through Italy, to America, to make a life. “What does that take?” She asks. 

Maria Hinojosa, the anchor and executive producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio  was born in Mexico City to Raul, a physician, and Berta, a social worker. The family moved to the U.S. when Maria was a baby. She’s said, “Growing up as a Mexican immigrant in Chicago, I always had the experience of being the ‘other.’” She’s said.  “I was the other among my mostly white friends in the states but I was also the other when I would go back to Mexico and my young cousins would tease me about being an ‘Americana.’” When she stumbled onto National Public Radio as a teenager, she discovered that there were people who shared her experiences and were speaking out. “I was glad to hear non-commercial Latino news, seriously and professionally done…Hearing about Latinos nationally in Texas and California and the issues—I’ll never forget it.”

MacArthur Genius Award-winner Elizabeth Streb, the Artistic Director of the Streb Extreme Action Company, was adopted at the age of 2 into a working class family in Penfield New York where she lived until she could get out, which she did, by driving across the country on a Honda 350, to San Francisco, intent on pursuing her dream of being an artist. She and her company occupied a SoHo loft and seven Brooklyn garages before founding SLAM, the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics in Williamsburg then on the cusp of gentrification. What has being an artist meant to Streb? “It’s entailed disappearing from the radar of the census and IRS and working for cash, living off the books… Birds and butterflies migrate and us.” What’s belonging? “Being a cultural contributor.”

Laura Flanders, host of The Laura Flanders Show and the author of several books, including the best-seller, BUSHWOMEN, Tales of A Cynical Species and Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians, travelled the world with her family and her father’s hit show “At the Drop of A Hat” until the age of seven. At 18 she moved from the UK to the United States to pursue life as a reporter.

Past Risky Talking

May 2015
Piper Kiernan and Donna Hylton

November 2014
Eve Ensler and Kimberle Crenshaw

May 2014
Anna Deavere Smith and A. M. Homes

October 2013
Bill T. Jones and Majora Carter