Creativity and Crisis

Mary Bowman, Spoken Word Artist, Suitland, Maryland
Originally from Clinton, Maryland, Mary Bowman is a spoken word artist and writes poetry around the issue of HIV/AIDS. HIV-positive herself, Bowman’s poems explain the different aspects of dealing with HIV/AIDS. She tries to touch on the human side of the disease through her work, and not focus solely on the depersonalized medical aspects of living with HIV/AIDS. She describes her literary approach as “putting a face on HIV/AIDS.” Bowman is currently creating a documentary, I Know What HIV Looks Like, which focuses on the infected person, the affected person, and the public view of HIV/AIDS.

J.T. Bullock, Spoken Word Artist, Silver Spring, Maryland
J.T. Bullock grew up in New Orleans and has lived in the Washington, D.C., area for the past four years. He specializes in poetry and spoken word, having written poems his entire life as a means of personal expression. Bullock is a nurse at George Washington University Hospital and recently started exploring storytelling as a means of art and expression. He has written a memoir that includes stories about his patients, many of whom are HIV-positive.

Regie Cabico, Spoken Word Artist, Washington, D.C.
Regie Cabico, a native and current resident of Washington, D.C., is well known for his work in spoken word, but has an extensive repertoire including cabaret, theater, and poetry education. Cabico aspired to be an actor from a young age, but found poetry his true passion after he joined an advanced writing workshop group shortly after graduating from New York University. He focuses on a variety of topics in his poems including issues related to HIV/AIDS. Cabico started teaching drama classes last year and is continuing his work with poetry slam education.

Stephen Keen, DJ, San Francisco, California
Stephen Keen is a retired DJ originally from California. He was a DJ for major clubs in San Francisco over a thirty year period. Keen became good friends with Gert McMullin while volunteering with The NAMES Project Foundation

Dwayne Lawson-Brown, Spoken Word Artist, Community Outreach Coordinator for Metro Teen AIDS, Baltimore, Maryland
Dwayne Lawson-Brown is a spoken word artist and thirteen-year veteran with Metro Teen AIDS in Washington, D.C., a community health organization that supports young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In his role as Community Outreach Coordinator for the organization, he works to promote the RealTalkDC Campaign and oversees the teaching of HIV 101 classes by a team of peer educators. In each class, Lawson-Brown and his colleagues offer artistic opportunities such as preventative tales, hip-hop pieces, and stories for LGBTQ students to communicate and share their experiences related to HIV/AIDS.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actor, Singer, Dancer, AIDS Activist,
Los Angeles, California

As a renowned Broadway star, Sheryl Lee Ralph utilizes her roles on stage, screen, television, and in music, to be an outspoken advocate for AIDS fundraising. She produced Divas Simply Singing to raise money for AIDS research, and is now on tour presenting her one-woman play, Sometimes I Cry.  Written and performed by Ralph, the production explores the lives, loves, and losses of women infected and affected by HIV.

Sonya Renee, Spoken Word Artist, Baltimore, Maryland
Performance poet and transformational leader Sonya Renee is a national and international poetry slam champion, published author, and full-time artist. She has shared her work for nearly a decade on stages across North America, Australia, and Europe, as well as in prisons, treatment facilities, homeless shelters, festivals, and universities. Renee is the founder and CEO of the The Body Is Not An Apology, an international movement focused on radical self love and body empowerment, and is director of Poetry Events for Busboys and Poets. Renee has been featured on HBO, BET, MTV, and CNN, and has shared stages with such luminaries as Amiri Baraka, Harry Belafonte, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Cornell West. Renee continues to perform, lecture, and lead workshops globally.

The NAMES Performers
The NAMES Performers is led by writer and director David H. Bell. The troupe consists of Bell, two associate directors, two musical directors, Northwestern University Department of Theatre students, and theater professionals from Chicago and Atlanta. Presentations are formulated around AIDS and the arts, and are designed to showcase community responses in theater, music, dance, and design to HIV/AIDS.
 
David H. Bell, Writer and Director, The NAMES Performers,
Evanston, Illinois

David H. Bell is a renowned lyricist, director, producer, choreographer, and playwright. He is head of the Music Theatre Department at Northwestern University and artistic director at the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Bell’s work has garnered multiple awards, including eleven Joseph Jefferson Awards and various nominations. His work at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre includes productions of The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and The Comedy of Errors. Internationally, Bell has worked on Hot Mikado in London, Die Schöne und das Biest in Berlin, and The Spirit of Atlanta in Barcelona.

 

Evening Concert Participants

In Process...
In Process... is an a cappella women’s vocal group from the Washington, D.C., area, who sing about issues of concern to African American women in the United States and abroad. Following in the footsteps of Sweet Honey in the Rock, In Process... has performed at programs for Black History Month and Women’s History Month, and other programs devoted to peace and non-violence. Its repertoire includes songs about the environment, love and self respect, substance abuse, as well as AIDS and The AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Rock Creek Singers
The Rock Creek Singers is a chamber choir and one of two ensembles of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. (GMCW). Established in 1981, the GMCW is one of the oldest choral organizations in the U.S. as well as one of the largest, with more than two hundred members. Its mission, “to entertain through excellent musical performance, to affirm the place of gay people in society, and to educate about the gay experience,” is carried out through performances at all the major theaters in the Washington, D.C., area, and at appearances with local community events.