self (the remix)

Last weekend I had a chance to see Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company‘s production (they also have a blog) of Robert Farid Karimi’s self (the remix) featuring Karimi and DJ D Double:

Storyteller/performance artist, def poetry jam performer, national poetry slam champion robert farid karimi — supported by an amazing soundscape spun live by Chicago DJ and Violator All-Star DJ D Double — mixes together stories, movement, and music to tell the tale of a first generation child of Iranian and Guatemalan immigrants learning how to survive the cultural imperialism of the United States on his quest to find wholeness in the fractured atmosphere of the 70s and 80s.

It’s a coming-of-age story that seems to have a new relevance given the current tensions between the US and Iran and the heated rhetoric around immigration. I usually enjoy solo performance, and although this is technically a dual performance, the “style” is similar to other narrative solo performances (c.f. Josh Kornbluth). What was particularly effective is the way in which DJ D Double weaves the soundtrack and effects into the narrative. It’s rapid-changing and pulls samples, beats, and songs from every direction, providing an structure to support Karimi’s performance while commenting and in an effect becoming its own character. In terms of “solo performance,” it’s some of the best use of sound I’ve seen.

The show only has a few more performances, starting tonight and going through this weekend. If you’re in San Diego and reading this (probably 5 people total), then go check it out!

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