Vp Issue 7: “'What’s YOUR Platform?' To be a performance artist"
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and kindness. What you have to do is take control over the very little you have control over.” Her other tip for success is a seemingly obvious one — performing, wherever and whenever you get the chance. “It’s like practicing an instrument; you’re using your mind, your body, and your mouth to make people laugh. Read as much as you can, read the paper, watch the news, go online, do open mics and get involved with other comedians. Be nice to everybody — the feet you’re stepping on today might belong to the ass you’re kissing tomorrow.”
To find out where you can see Poppi Kramer perform next, visit www.poppikramer.com
Ms. Border Crossing: Staceyann Chin
At first glance it’s hard to believe that so much power can explode out of the petite and slender frame of slam poet Staceyann Chin. She has an introvert’s politeness and humble demeanor until she is roused into conversation over subjects such as social injustice, sexual identity, the rights of women, racism, and mass media. Chin’s words are piercing, luminous, and provocative.
As a child of a black Jamaican mother and a Chinese father who was raised by her maternal grandmother, Chin was a voracious reader and kept a journal since childhood. She imagined that one day she would travel to Europe, America, and Africa, and that she would sleep with a woman. As luck would have it, sleeping with a woman came first. While homosexuality is against the law in Jamaica, Chin knew that she wanted to be able to “walk down the streets holding hands with a woman, to buy a house together, raise children, and argue about the dishes, to be able to have a normal life with another woman.” At the age of 22, she came out “in an aggressive and vulgar way.”
Chin felt that the attitudes and laws against women’s rights, women’s sexuality, as well as gay sexuality, was so repressive in Jamaica that the only way to combat it was with an equal amount of fierceness and aggression. Her outspoken “out-ness” put her at odds with her community and she quickly lost friends. One day on her college campus she was forced into the bathroom by two male students. Had it not been for someone happening upon the scene, she believes she would have been raped. The experience shocked her into the realization that she wouldn’t be safe