Feature presenter Saul Williams has shared his music and spoken word performances in over 30 countries, with invitations from world-class venues such as the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, The Louvre, The Getty Center, and Queen Elizabeth Hall. At Berkeley's own Freight & Salvage, hack into Williams' mind as he navigates "poetry as design," performing selections from two dynamic new works "US(a.)" and "Martyr Loser King." Also featured in performance are avant-garde explorative jazz musicians, Black Spirituals, and Oakland based poet, screenwriter, curator and educator, Chinaka Hodge.
Thursday, June 2, 7:30pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
“Saul Williams poignantly articulates the world around us as few people can.”
—Los Angeles Times Magazine
Written and recorded between Senegal, Reunion Island, Paris, Haiti, New Orleans, and New York, Williams’s “Martyr Loser King” is a multimedia project that engages the digital dialogue between the First and Third Worlds and the global street sounds that yoke the two. He cites Beyoncé, Fredo Santana, and Haitian field recordings as the musical inspirations for this self-produced 6th album, which strains trap hi-hats and mbira strokes together for a nuanced, entirely original sound. “I’m just letting you know what I’m reading and seeing while I’m writing,” says Williams. “When I’m writing, the music leads.”
Williams will also share work from his most recent book of poetry, titled “US(a.),” which presents his ideas about the current state of America, its psyche, and what being “American” means to him. Though we claim that our devices have “connected” us more than ever, Williams points to the distances (and dissonances) that still exist between us. His performances are calls to action, works of art that provoke us to stop and frisk the moment, make it empty its pockets, and chronicle what’s inside.
Saturday, June 4, 7:00pm, The Marsh Theater, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley
Good theatre for bad literature? Marital aid for book nerds? Literary erotic fan-fiction at its finest? Shipwreck is all of these things, an event that thumbs its nose at the pretension of salons, readings, the sanctimony of traditional book clubs, and (dare we say it?) book festivals.
Six great writers will destroy “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” one great character at a time, in service of the transcendent, the profane, and humor. Marvel as beloved characters are plucked from Conan Doyle’s London and made to do things they were never meant to do in places they were never meant to see.
Born at The Booksmith in San Francisco, this rowdy show pits six Great Writers against one Great Work of fiction. Fics are blind-read by Thespian-in-Residence Baruch Porras-Hernandez, and the audience chooses the best ship before the writers are unmasked.
Cocktails available, of course.
As part of our collaboration with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Festival is pleased to share two plays currently showing at the theatre. Get your tickets before they’re gone!Berkeley Repertory Theatre