Sunday, April 25, 2010

First We Take Manhattan...

Dear Friends with Friends in New York,

Because let’s face it, everyone knows someone who lives or recently lived in New York. In less than two weeks The Rap Guide to Evolution will be doing its first off-Broadway run at the Bleecker Street Theatre, with performances May 4, 6, 7 & 8. The venue is large and the city is bustling, so our challenge is to get the word out to all and sundry, especially theatre people, science people, education people, and hip-hop people. I say “especially” because those are the people most likely to pass on the invitation to their networks as well, even though the show really is for everyone with opposable thumbs, bipedal locomotion, language use, an enlarged cranium, African ancestors, a sense of humour, or any number of other traits that unite us as Homo sapiens.

The New Yorker recently emailed me asking for an exclusive quote to add to their listing (apparently they don’t stoop to quoting press releases) and I gave them this:
“Having performed The Rap Guide to Evolution in England, Scotland, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and the USA, I’ve decided I need to focus my efforts on performing in the States. Why? Because it seems like everywhere else I’m preaching to the converted, but in America evolution is – bafflingly – still controversial. We’ll see how they feel when I get through with them.”
Hubris aside, my aim is to use this off-Broadway run as a showcase to attract a professional booking agent who will help me set up a major tour of the USA in 2011, because I do sincerely feel like that’s where the show will have the greatest impact and get the most passionate response, positive or negative. So I would be sincerely grateful if you would pass on the invitation to anyone you know who might like to come see it, or who might know someone who might like to come see it, since this is something of a make-or-break endeavor! The e-flyer is attached, and here’s the event listing on Facebook.

And what else have I been up to? I’ve been in England doing some gigs and also writing and recording lyrics for my two (count them!) new shows/albums which I’m currently writing for Edinburgh this year. The first is a sequel show entitled “The Rap Guide to Human Nature” about the scientific study of human behaviour, and the second is a follow up to the Chaucer show, which I’m calling “Rapconteur”. So far I have written and recorded rap adaptations of the Finnish Kalevala and the Epic of Gilgamesh, and I will be adding several more oral epics to the collection over the next few months (my end target is five in total). So get set for some seriously mind-blowing scientific and literary comedy rap this summer (oops, there’s that hubris again, just think of it as the cerebral equivalent of hip-hop swagger).

For those of you in London, I’ll be performing the Rap Guide to Evolution at the Greenwich Theatre Monday April 26th, so please come see the show if you can (we’ll be filming it for the Wellcome Trust videos). Here’s the link.

Or if you’re not on Facebook here’s the venue link.

And for those of you in Devon (South West England), I’ll be performing there this week as well. Click here for the listing.

And for those of you thinking: “yeah, great, but what about your trip to the Middle East?!?”, well, Egypt and Palestine really were the most exhilarating and challenging places we’ve performed the Rebel Cell to date, and I have written a few blog entries about it and will write more when I have a moment. Suffice to say, doing a politically-themed show for politically-engaged audiences in a politically-tumultuous part of the world is bound to be a complicated experience. Here’s what I’ve written so far, and bear with me for the rest.

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