In order to celebrate diversity, the Austin Writers Roulette presented “Beauty in Other Cultures.” Opening the show, the Awesmic City Austin, TX director of “Universalis Poet-Tree,” Anyah Dishon, explained to the audience that she was videotaping the roulette and other poetry venues in order to document the Austin poetry scene and debut at SXSW. Anyah then read her Goddess poem. Dream-Time Tom! brought his usual high-energy performance, detailing his experiences in such exotic locations as Manila and Malaysia while being accompanied by Capoeira Evolucao’s very own Foquinha. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Christina Ceballos, first explained her role in Mali from 2005-2007, then read 5 Bamanan proverbs in the original language and her English translations in haiku form. Christina also read other Mali-inspired haikus, which encapsulated different experiences during her service. After taking a bow, Christina gave the audience a devastating update about present-day Mali and made an emotional appeal to interested audience members to get in contact with her if they wanted to help the people of Mali. Dressed as Cleopatra, novelist Teresa Y. Roberson read two letters that she’d emailed to family and friends while teaching her first week at an American school in Alexandria, Egypt in August 2001. Anthropologist Donna Dechen Birdwell read an excerpt from her manuscript about the evolution and consequences of the marijuana drug trade in a small village in Northern Belize. Recording artist Leticia Rodriguez shared her motivations for covering three of the songs on her latest CD, “La Americana.” She first told the gist of each song in English and then performed them in their original Spanish form, which caused some to get up and dance. The Capoeira Evolucao performers were all introduced by their nicknames, which was a tradition from the time when capoeira was illegal in Brazil. With Negro playing the berimbau and Contramestre Metido on the pandeiro (tambourine), Foquinha, Coelha and Assustada played capoeira two at a time while the audience clapped in rhythm. As Negro pointed out, one of the most beautiful things in the world is the female form.
The next roulette theme is “Magic and Occult: Rituals, Prayers, and Experiences with Angels” on October 14th. Hope to see you there!