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In June 2022, Sharon Bridgforth and Daniel Alexander Jones held an intimate and searching conversation about the pragmatics of making art and engaging the communities--living and ancestral--from which their work emerges. The two longtime friends reflect on Bridgforth's bull-jean & dem/dey back, a collection of two performance/novels written twenty-two years apart about the eponymous bull-jean (published in Sept 2022 by 53rd State Press). Bridgforth reveals how motherhood spurred her towards understanding her genders and sexuality, and how the desire to love, heal, and live in truth has compelled her writing and her life choices. Bridgforth details the weave between her early work in social justice (based in Austin, TX, where she and Jones met), her artmaking, and her remarkable commitment to community. Bridgforth's writing starts in the marrow of her own healing. As they discuss Bridgforth's work--as well as the work of such luminaries as Laurie Carlos, Robbie McCauley, Ntozake Shange, Urban Bush Women, ra lrsalinas, and Beverly Glenn-Copeland--Jones and Bridgforth offer tested strategies for living a grounded artistic life.
About the Author
Sharon Bridgforth is a writer that creates ritual/jazz theatre. A 2022 Winner of Yale's Windham Campbell Prize in Drama, Sharon is a 2020-2023 Playwrights' Center Core Member, a 2022-2023 McKnight Fellow, a New Dramatists alum, and has received support from The Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Creative Capital, MAP Fund and the National Performance Network. Widely published, her work is featured in Teaching Black: The Craft of Teaching on Black Life and Literature and Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought. Sharon's Lambda Literary Award-winning, the bull-jean stories will be produced by Pillsbury House + Theatre in October/November 2022, directed by Signe Harriday. Sharon is Executive Producer and Host of the Who Yo People Is podcast series and her dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/The Show is streaming on the Twin Cities PBS platform.Daniel Alexander Jones is a Black Queer playwright, songwriter, performer, director, and professor whose plays and performance works have been performed at Soho Rep, the Public Theater, Greenwich House Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, La MaMa, Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, and Fusebox Festival, among others. He has also recorded six albums of original songs as his alter-ego, Jomama Jones. Jones received the PEN America Laura Pels Foundation Theatre Award in 2021 and is a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for his collection of plays and performance texts, Love Like Light (53rd State Press, 2021). Daniel is a TED Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and the recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, a Doris Duke Artist Award, an Alpert Award in the Arts, a USA Artist Fellowship, an Arts Matters grant, an inaugural Creative Capital Grant, a McKnight National Residency and Commission, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, a NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency, a Jerome Fellowship, and a Many Voices Playwriting Fellowship. Jones was the lead artist on five projects awarded support by the MAP Fund and is a NEFA National Theatre Project grantee. Daniel has been a Mellon Creative Research Fellow at the University of Washington, a Hume Fellow at Occidental College, and a Fellow at the Hemispheric Institute at NYU. Jones received a Bistro Award for Outstanding Performance Artistry for Jomama Jones, and a Franky Award from the Prelude Festival in recognition of long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theatre and performance. Jones has held faculty positions at Goddard College, The University of Texas at Austin, and most recently at Fordham University, where he is a Full Professor in the Department of Theatre and Visual Arts. He has also been in residence at many colleges and universities across the country including CalArts and UCLA's Center for New Performance.