poetry series

Black and gold graphic bar
 Nov. 7, 2006

Sean Kearns
Media Relations Director
(323) 343-3050
Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

Note to editors and news directors: A news release announcing the creation of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at Cal State L.A. may be found here: www.calstatela.edu/univ/ppa/newsrel/poetics-center.htm.
Internet opera creators to
perform at Cal State L.A. Nov. 9

Multimedia by Mendi+Keith Obadike to open new Poetry Center

Los Angeles, CA – Mendi+Keith Obadike—interdisciplinary artists who have presented music, live art and conceptual artworks internationally—will present a free multimedia public performance at California State University, Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the gallery of the Fine Arts Building.

The performance is the first offered by Cal State L.A.’s new Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.

In 2002 the Obadikes premiered their Internet opera The Sour Thunder, the first new-media work commissioned by the Yale Cabaret. The Sour Thunder was also released as an album on Bridge Records and broadcast internationally by an FM station in Berlin.

They also created The Interaction of Coloreds, which they call “an online brown paper bag test” commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Their writing and art projects have been featured in the film Take These Chains; in publications such as Art Journal, Artthrob, Meridians, Black Arts Quarterly and Tema Celeste; and in the MIT Press anthology Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Arts and Culture.

According to Lauri Ramey, director of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, “Their work has generated much provocative discussion online and offline, for example when Keith offered his ‘blackness’ for sale on eBay in 2001.”

Keith was sound designer and composer for Anna Deavere Smith’s play Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 at the Lincoln Center Institute. Mendi's poetry was featured at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Together, three years ago they launched The Pink of Stealth, an Internet/ DVD surround-sound work commissioned by the New York African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix.

Among their works in progress are an album TaRonda Who Wore White Gloves and Four Electric Ghosts, an Internet opera for Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University.

Keith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art at North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in sound design at Yale University, received a Connecticut Critics’ Circle Award for sound design. Mendi received a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College and a doctorate in literature from Duke University. Her new book Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press) won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.

For details about the performance or the Poetry Center, call (323) 343-4001.

Calendar listing:

What: Multimedia performance by interdisciplinary artists Mendi+Keith Obadike

When: Thursday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Fine Arts Gallery, Fine Arts Building, California State University, Los Angeles

Admission: Free

Details: (323) 343-4001, and www.calstatela.edu/academic/english/nobadikes.htm

Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 190,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center now under construction. www.calstatela.edu


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