THE STORY: Acclaimed as an American masterpiece ( Newsweek ), TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 is a stunning new work of documentary theatre in which Anna Deavere Smith uses the verbatim words of people who experienced the Los Angeles riots to
Anna Deavere Smith's stunning new work of "documentary theater" in which she uses verbatim the words of people who experienced the Los Angeles riots to expose and explore the devastating human impact of that event.
Much has been written about the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which brought out deep racial tensions throughout the city, exposed by media images of police brutality. This book sheds light on another facet of the events, the birth of a dynamic grassroots activist and community organizing movement that has been little noticed by academics or even by the press. It also focuses on the theatrical production of Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, a performance created by Anna Deavere Smith. Performance and Activism analyzes a rich, eclectic, and ongoing ensemble of local activist struggles in the context of the history and political economy of Los Angeles. Building on the important critical urban studies work of Mike Davis and Edward Soja, it also draws on Dwight Conquergood's writings on performance ethnography to theorize the political work of grassroots formations such as alternative/underground media collectives, gang truce parties/picnics, and women-organized prisoner support and court watch groups, such as Mothers Reclaiming Our Children. The book focuses on these events through the inter-disciplinary approach of performance studies, highlighting 'performance-conscious activisms' that help bridge the enormous class, race, and gender divides of our society.
Author: Min Hyoung Song
Publisher: Duke University Press
Sometime near the start of the 1990s, the future became a place of national decline. The United States had entered a period of great anxiety fueled by the shrinking of the white middle class, the increasingly visible misery of poor urban blacks, and the mass immigration of nonwhites. Perhaps more than any other event marking the passage through these dark years, the 1992 Los Angeles riots have sparked imaginative and critical works reacting to this profound pessimism. Focusing on a wide range of these creative works, Min Hyoung Song shows how the L.A. riots have become a cultural-literary event—an important reference and resource for imagining the social problems plaguing the United States and its possible futures. Song considers works that address the riots and often the traumatic place of the Korean American community within them: the independent documentary Sa-I-Gu (Korean for April 29, the date the riots began), Chang-rae Lee’s novel Native Speaker, the commercial film Strange Days, and the experimental drama of Anna Deavere Smith, among many others. He describes how cultural producers have used the riots to examine the narrative of national decline, manipulating language and visual elements, borrowing and refashioning familiar tropes, and, perhaps most significantly, repeatedly turning to metaphors of bodily suffering to convey a sense of an unraveling social fabric. Song argues that these aesthetic experiments offer ways of revisiting the traumas of the past in order to imagine more survivable futures.
A Study Guide for Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles,1992," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Drama For Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Drama For Students for all of your research needs.
Talk to Me
Author: Anna Deavere Smith
Drawing on five years of research and more than four hundred interviews, the author of Fires in the Mirror offers an inside glimpse of American politics at work as she provides a provocative study of politicians and other Washington insiders and the lexicon of power and politics in the United States. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
Compiled from dozens of interviews conducted by the author, Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy is a bracing, tender, melancholy, and triumphant exploration of death and dying. The speakers Smith inhabits include healthcare professionals, theologians, artists, athletes, and activists. They speak of the body as a battleground, a tool, a weapon, a joy, a burden. Smith’s great gift has always been her ability to break down her subjects’ defenses and present them in their full, complicated beauty. Whether channeling Lance Armstrong, Lauren Hutton, Peter Gomes, or others who are not in the public eye, Smith reminds us again and again that in learning to die we learn to live.
Author: Nancy ABELMANN, John Lie, Nancy Abelmann
Publisher: Harvard University Press
No one will soon forget the image, blazed across the airwaves, of armed Korean Americans taking to the rooftops as their businesses went up in flames during the Los Angeles riots. Why Korean Americans? What stoked the wrath the riots unleashed against them? Blue Dreams is the first book to make sense of these questions, to show how Korean Americans, variously depicted as immigrant seekers after the American dream or as racist merchants exploiting African Americans, emerged at the crossroads of conflicting social reflections in the aftermath of the 1992 riots. The situation of Los Angeles's Korean Americans touches on some of the most vexing issues facing American society today: ethnic conflict, urban poverty, immigration, multiculturalism, and ideological polarization. Combining interviews and deft socio-historical analysis, Blue Dreams gives these problems a human face and at the same time clarifies the historical, political, and economic factors that render them so complex. In the lives and voices of Korean Americans, the authors locate a profound challenge to cherished assumptions about the United States and its minorities. Why did Koreans come to the United States? Why did they set up shop in poor inner-city neighborhoods? Are they in conflict with African Americans? These are among the many difficult questions the authors answer as they probe the transnational roots and diversity of Los Angeles's Korean Americans. Their work finally shows us in sharp relief and moving detail a community that, despite the blinding media focus brought to bear during the riots, has nonetheless remained largely silent and effectively invisible. An important corrective to the formulaic accounts that have pitted Korean Americans against African Americans, Blue Dreams places the Korean American story squarely at the center of national debates over race, class, culture, and community. Table of Contents: Preface The Los Angeles Riots, the Korean American Story Reckoning via the Riots Diaspora Formation: Modernity and Mobility Mapping the Korean Diaspora in Los Angeles Korean American Entrepreneurship American Ideologies on Trial Conclusion Notes References Index Reviews of this book: Blue Dreams--a poetic allusion to the clear blue sky that Koreans see as a symbol of freedom--is a welcome exploration by outsiders into the vexing and largely invisible Korean-American predicament in Los Angeles and the nation. [Abelmann and Lie 's] colorful interview subjects offer sharp observations. --K.W. Lee, Los Angeles Times Reviews of this book: An informed and thoughtful examination of Korean immigration to the United States since 1970...[Abelmann and Lie] show that even in a period as short as twenty-five years, there have been successive waves of differently motivated, differently resourced Korean immigrants, and their experiences and reactions have differed accordingly. --Michael Tonry, Times Literary Supplement Reviews of this book: [The authors'] transnational perspective is particularly effective for explicating Korean immigrants' behaviors, activities, and feelings...Interesting and readable. --Pyong Gap Min, American Journal of Sociology Reviews of this book: Beginning with a poetic book title, the authors recount in depth as to how the 'Blue Dreams' of the Korean-American merchants in East Los Angeles had shattered in the midst of [the] 1992 riot that turned out to be 'elusive dreams' in America...The book not only portrays the L.A. riot surrounding the Korean merchants, but also characterizes diaspora of the Koreans in America. The authors have also examined with scholarly insights the more complex socioeconomic and political underplay the Koreans encountered in their 'Promised New Land'. --Eugene C. Kim, International Migration Review
The causes and the aftermath of the 1992 riots.
The Riot Within
Author: Rodney King, Lawrence J. Spagnola
Publisher: Harper Collins
On a dark street, what began as a private moment between a citizen and the police became a national outrage. Rodney Glen King grew up in the Altadena Pasadena section of Los Angeles with four siblings, a loving mother, and an alcoholic father. Soon young Rodney followed in Dad's stumbling steps, beginning a lifetime of alcohol abuse. King had been drinking the night of March 3, 1991, when he engaged in a high-speed chase with the LAPD, who finally pulled him over. What happened next shocked the nation. A group of officers brutally beat King with their metal batons, Tasered and kicked him into submission—all caught on videotape by a nearby resident. The infamous Rodney King Incident was born when this first instance of citizen surveillance revealed a shocking moment of police brutality, a horrific scene that stunned and riveted the nation via the evening news. Racial tensions long smoldering in L.A. ignited into a firestorm thirteen months later when four white officers were acquitted by a mostly white jury. Los Angeles was engulfed in flames as people rioted in the streets. More than fifty people were dead, hundreds were hospitalized, and countless homes and businesses were destroyed. King's plaintive question, "Can we all just get along?" became a sincere but haunting plea for reconciliation that reflected the heartbreak and despair caused by America's racial discord in the early 1990s. While Rodney King is now an icon, he is by no means an angel. King has had run-ins with the law and continues a lifelong struggle with alcohol addiction. But King refuses to be bitter about the crippling emotional and physical damage that was inflicted upon him that night in 1991. While this nation has made strides during those twenty years to heal, so has Rodney King, and his inspiring story can teach us all lessons about forgiveness, redemption, and renewal, both as individuals and as a nation.
From the most exciting individual in American theater” (Newsweek), here is Anna Deavere Smith’s brass tacks advice to aspiring artists of all stripes. In vividly anecdotal letters to the young BZ, she addresses the full spectrum of issues that people starting out will face: from questions of confidence, discipline, and self-esteem, to fame, failure, and fear, to staying healthy, presenting yourself effectively, building a diverse social and professional network, and using your art to promote social change. At once inspiring and no-nonsense, Letters to a Young Artist will challenge you, motivate you, and set you on a course to pursue your art without compromise. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising keeps the public debate alive by exploring the connections between the Rodney King incidents and the ordinary workings of cultural, political, and economic power in contemporary America. Its recurrent theme is the continuing, complicated significance of race in American society. Contributors: Houston A. Baker, Jr.; Judith Butler; Sumi K. Cho; Kimberle Crenshaw; Mike Davis; Thomas L. Dumm; Walter C. Farrell, Jr.; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Ruth Wilson Gilmore; Robert Gooding-Williams; James H. Johnson, Jr.; Elaine H. Kim; Melvin L. Oliver; Michael Omi; Gary Peller; Cedric J. Robinson; Jerry Watts; Cornel West; Patricia Williams; Rhonda M. Williams; Howard Winant.
Author: Anna Deavere Smith
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service Inc
THE STORY: HOUSE ARREST is a fascinating and compelling look at nothing less than the civil rights movement, the issues of slavery and racism, and the relationship between the press and the presidency over the course of American history. It begins
Fires in the Mirror
Author: Anna Deavere Smith
Derived from interviews with a wide range of people who experienced or observed New York's 1991 Crown Heights racial riots, Fires In The Mirror is as distinguished a work of commentary on black-white tensions as it is a work of drama. In August 1991 simmering tensions in the racially polarized Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood of Crown Heights exploded into riots after a black boy was killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade and a Jewish student was slain by blacks in retaliation. Fires in the Mirror is dramatist Anna Deavere Smith's stunning exploration of the events and emotions leading up to and following the Crown Heights conflict. Through her portrayals of more than two dozen Crown eights adversaries, victims, and eyewitnesses, using verbatim excerpts from their observations derived from interviews she conducted, Smith provides a brilliant, Rashoman-like documentary portrait of contemporary ethnic turmoil.
Author Carol Park grew up in Los Angeles County during the 1980s and 1990s, a time of ethnic strife. Now she seeks to give voice to the Korean American community both then and now. Memoir of a Cashier is more than just a description of a young girl's life growing up while working in a bulletproof cashier's booth in Compton, California. Park tells the story of the Korean American experience leading up to and after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Intricately weaving the story of her mother into the text, she provides a bird's-eye view into the Korean American narrative from her own unique perspective. With candor and direct language, she recounts the racism and traumatic incidents she lived through. Park bore witness to shootings, robberies, and violence, all of which twisted her worldview and ultimately shaped her life. In this memoir, a Korean American woman recalls her experiences of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots and shares her journey of finding her identity.