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A Great Run: Interview with Jack Reuler

A Great Run: Interview with Jack Reuler

Arts, No Chaser By DWIGHT HOBBES Mixed Blood Theatre ushered in authentic multicultural fare 45 years ago and remains at the fore. Owing to the vision of neophyte upstart, founding artistic director Jack Reuler who recently resigned, leaving Twin Cities considerably stronger than he found it. Reuler spoke about  his career and the historic venue established “In the spirit of Dr. King”™s dream”. Jack Reuler, by Rich Ryan Did you have any idea what you were doing when you started Mixed Blood? In 1976, at 22, I wanted to espouse a particular world view and didn”™t know anything about theatre. I had a job with a social service agency, the Center for Community Action, to community needs.  Shortly before, Ernie Hudson was at Theatre In The Round Players in The Great White Hope. One of the few opportunities for actors of color. It was the bi-centennial, America celebrating its ideals, but not living those ideals. So, Mixed Blood Theatre began as a summer project, rid America of all its isms. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Blind enthusiasm of youth. I hoped to attend veterinary school in the fall, but we did six shows, three of which were world premieres, and it went well. Forty-five years later, it”™s a summer program run amok. Eventually you”™d be discriminated against as a white artistic director.  Theater Communications Group, organizing theaters of color to discuss concerns about unifying, programming and staff weren”™t part of that. I”™ve come to appreciate their decision over time. You”™ve staged black plays, Asian, LGBT, Native, Disabled long before most Twin Cities venues. While we”™re categorically a black theater, we”™ve done shows by, for and about a wide mixed community,  including shows in Spanish with bi-lingual casts. Looking back on the body of work, we didn”™t do it for some finite [...]

Unconventional Stories from a Firebrand

Unconventional Stories from a Firebrand

Arts, No Chaser By DWIGHT HOBBES David Daniels. Photo by Mitch Olson Quintessential firebrand David Daniels is that rarity, a performance artist who, instead of self-righteously blowing hot air, actually utilizes spoken word to send messages of consequence. An auspicious debut was his play Malcolm X Meet Peter Tosh, premiering at South Minneapolis”™ Cedar Cultural Center (1993), moving to a 2-year stint in Denver (Mercury Cafe), its popularity there and at other venues starting his career off with considerable traction. He made his home here and recalls, “I feel fortunate to have been part of a rich counter-cultural history...in Minneapolis. My time living on the West Bank and working at the New Riverside Cafe brought me into it. The West Bank was Haight-Asbury long after the Haight was just a memory for the counter-culture.  Its blend of artists activists and musicians was instrumental in the development of my work.” A partial listing of that work includes the Talkin”™ Roots and 4:20 Report CDs, I, Edgar Hoover; Black Hippie Chronicles and Kolorada”¦A Western Tale, and a week-long hit at the 1997 New York International Fringe Festival. Daniels has performed in Holland, Germany, and France, recalling “German immigrants from Ghana, Senegal and South Africa felt I  an authentic Rasta message while never denying I”™m an American. Previously, they felt American reggae artists were primarily imitating Jamaicans.” Most recently, he recorded Annie Jones (featuring Charlie Parr) at Minnehaha Studios. June 5, in the third installment of Adventures in Music and Storytelling, David Daniels, backed by Dog Circle (Marshall Obert  guitar-banjo, Aug Nubis guitar, Dhanny Boldt tabla, [...]

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