Veil Lounge. Elle greets VIP industry guests at her cocktail/CD listening party and kicks off the celebration with a surprise performance of “Danger, Live Feed” the title cut from her forthcoming album.
Shawn’s room. Miles away, Elle’s utterances awaken and animate Mammy, a cartoon caricature stereotype originally published on June 14, 1862 in Harper’s Weekly and reprinted in a book of poems (Amnesiac: Poems, 2010), a present received by Shawn, the President of Elle’s Chicago fan club.
Mammy’s racialized exaggerations arouse Sarah, the ghost of a liberated slave whose thoughts are juxtaposed to Mammy’s words in the book. Sarah voices thoughts long kept silent and appeals to the contemporary public, singing a dirge in remembrance of lives lost to slavery and oppression.
Receiving Sarah’s appeal, Shawn, a budding feminist, DJ, and aspiring drag performer, casts off the burden of traumatic memory to bear witness to the transcendence and triumph embodied in human resilience. Dancing to a gay house music anthem, Shawn practices for his upcoming ballroom debut, ramping up his energy to transform into A-Diva!—his drag queen persona.
Delta Kitchen Tavern & Lounge. A few hours later, farther south, blues singer Patricia “Han’le It” Johnson has a drink with friends and resumes a friendly card game between sets when she is approached by a frequent visitor, a calculating anthropologist intent upon using the details of her life for his research. She sends him away with an earful but empty-handed.
LaQuisha’s kitchenette/Martha S’s library study. In the next block, LaQuisha fights off impulsive responses to the bamboozled blues by writing a letter to successful mogul and model American woman Martha S. Determined not to be a victim to circumstance, LaQuisha listens intently for the wisdom in Martha’s reply.
Brighter Days Music Factory. Hours later at a bi-level gay nightclub in the city’s industrial district, Shawn spins records at a deep house dance party. Shawn introduces Mistress C, femme extraordinaire—his House mother (leader of the House of C)—and drag show hostess. Mistress C greets her public in splendor.
About the Show
Thingification is a one-woman show of poetry, performance, music, and dance that invigorates with the transformative power of word and sound.
Set in contemporary Chicago, the play transports the audience through time and space, enacting collective struggles against
“thingification”—the annihilating, objectifying force at the core of all oppressions.
Even as they perform aspects of sexuality, gender, race, and class, the characters question and queer those constructs, withstanding society’s expectations through the spoken art of signifying.
Taking up Funkadelic’s timely directive (“Free your mind… and your ass will follow”), Thingification transforms trauma into transcendence.
Summer evening, June 14th.
Shawn Buddha Ryder
DJ Shawn Buddha Ryder on the message of the music.
Spinning for the Handsome Soiree book release party at AWP Los Angeles (April 2016), DJ Buddha shares the philosophy that guides his arts practice.
(About Handsome Soiree: Hosted by Black Took Collective: Duriel E. Harris, Dawn Lundy Martin, & Ronaldo Wilson; Featuring Khadijah Queen, Phillip B. Williams, & Ronaldo Wilson; sponsored by The Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Track credit (You know you know this!): “212 Azealia Banks Ft. Lazy Jay” (Used with the utmost respect–this track gives us life!).
Brighter Days Music Factory
Hours later at a bi-level gay nightclub in the city’s industrial district, Shawn spins records at a deep house dance party. Shawn introduces Mistress C, femme extraordinaire—his House mother (leader of the House of C)—and drag show hostess. Mistress C greets her public in splendor.
"What does the term Thingification mean?"
The term “thing-ification” originates in Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire, where he explains that colonization diminishes the humanity of both colonizer and colonized. There he states: colonization = thing-ification.