HERE presents Taylor Talks: Episode 2 with Baba Israel & Grace Galu livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 10 a.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 12 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 1 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).
Join HERE resident playwright Taylor Mac for a glimpse into the creative process and gain insight into exciting new multidisciplinary work coming out of the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP). Taylor’s guests, who include Gisela Cardenas, Misha Chowdhury, Baba Israel, Grace Galu, and Nia Witherspoon, span the disciplines of theatre, music, dance, opera, media arts, and more. They speak candidly about their experiences creating fresh, innovative performances in the midst of a global pandemic and racial reckoning.
This episode’s guests, Baba Israel and Grace Galu, will be sharing a free work-in-progress presentation of Cannabis! A Theatrical Concert this Friday 12 February at 1:30 p.m. EST. Stream for free on this page.
Baba Israel is an artist, producer, educator and consultant raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. He co-founded Playback NYC, the first playback theatre company to integrate freestyle hip hop. His debut solo show “Boom Bap Meditations” was supported by the Ford Foundation and the Hip Hop Theatre festival. He has toured across Asia, Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, North and South America as a hip hop and theatre artist and led cultural ambassador programs internationally supported by the US State Department. His work has been featured in documentaries such as Freestlye and Hip Hop for Hope, and on MTV and BET.
He was Artistic Director and CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester, a leading venue at the intersection of youth leadership and innovative performance. He premiered his most recent multimedia performance The Spinning Wheel as a resident artist at BRIC in Brooklyn. The production was developed and toured in the UK, Holland and Norway and in America with MDC Live Arts and the University of Madison, Wisconsin. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and is the Co-Artistic Director of the Performance Project based at the University Settlement.
Grace Galu is a vocalist-guitarist and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist. Her mixed background, combined with her New York City upbringing helped to forge her wide range of musical ability. She grew up singing musical theater from a young age, mimicking the voices of Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, and the operatic Kathleen Battle. She was simultaneously enveloped in the sounds of jazz, soul, and traditional African music, with influences ranging from Esther Phillips to Senegalese Ismael Lo. She works with Trusty Sidekick Theater devising new works for young audiences. She is a core member of Hip Hop fusion group Soul Inscribed.
Soul Inscribed is a hip hop, and spoken word collective who are the core band for the production. The ensemble creates an eclectic new vision of jazz, dub, and funk. Soul Inscribed is comprised of Baba Israel (emcee/production), Grace Galu (vocalist/composer), Duv (vocalist), Sean Nowell (Sax, Flute, FX/composer), Doron Lev (Drums) and Yako 440 (instrumentation/production).
Taylor Mac (who uses “judy” – lowercase sic – as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. Plays include: Gary, A Sequel to Titus Andronicus (Broadway), A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (shown in its 24-hour entirety at St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Curran Theater, the Ace Theater, the Melbourne Festival, upcoming at the Berliner Festspiele), Hir (Magic Theater, Playwrights Horizon, Steppenwolf and over sixty professional productions), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (La Mama with the Talking Band), The Lily’s Revenge (HERE, Magic Theater, American Repertory Theater), The Young Ladies Of (HERE, Playmakers Repertory, Manchester’s Library Theater), Red Tide Blooming (PS 122), and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (highlights include: The Public Theater, The Sydney Opera House, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Taylor is the resident playwright at HERE as part of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s National Playwright Residency Program administered in partnership with HowlRound.