So a couple of postings ago I virtually introduced my darling friends & colleagues to you. Artists from Europe the Americas and The Federation. Unfortunately due to bureaucratic donkey turds, our brothers from Africa (Cameroon and Sudan) we not able to join us in China. It was a bummer to me, because I was looking forward to working with these gentlemen. But I know it will not be the last time I will have the opportunity to work with African artists. Someday I hope to arm girls and young women in Liberia with the weaponry called Theatre & Dance. Yep, I wanna teach the babies one day.
But getting back to China and the league of extraordinary fuckers--I really do adore these people. And over the next few postings, I'll share with you videos, pictures and adventures that I had with each person. Like Pau Palacios of Spain. Pau (pronounced like Pow!) is tall, intelligent, well built gentleman. I have to speak kindly of him because he's my colleague and may read this posting. But if he doesn't read this post, I can tell you he's a fine mothafucka! Tall, tan, with a killer fucking smile. He looks like a dude from the 70s French Rivera. This dude is so dope. He speaks 6 or 7 languages, has cunning and wit and every time I laid eyes on him I thought "yeah, I bet he has a perfectly smooth perineum."
More on Spanish Cary Grant later--ladies first. I'd like to introduce you to my little sister Elizaveta Martinez Cardenas. Of Russia. Oh, did I mention she's black?
Yes. My little Lisa. She arrived a little later into the rehearsal process. When she arrived on day 3 to the rehearsal room we were all sweaty and deep into trying to figure out what the fuck we were creating. I'll shed more light on the creative process later. Back to the Black Russian. When Emilya producer of the show and my mentor told me that this young woman from Russia was going to be my flat mate, I was intrigued. I said, "Please tell me more about her." Emylia flashed a smile that I recognized: Mischief. She said "Well, she's born and raised in Moscow. She's worked with Katori Hall (playwright of the Broadway hit Mountain Top), her name sounds Spanish--but she's Russian by nationality. And she's Black."
Now listen, when I was a kid my mother did me the greatest favor. She always told me that Black people where everywhere. Whether they got their my migration, generation or asylum who fucking cares. They're there. All over the globe. So you needn't be afraid to go anywhere. The world is yours--become a citizen of it. So when I travel, I always give the nod to a Black in passing. But I wasn't quite ready for a Black Russian with a Spanish name???
*For the record, Liza will NOT read this blog. I know her extremely well. She would say "Niccggy. I don like to read. It is, boring no?" She would approve of my description of her though.
Liza is tiny. She has one of those bodies, that most Hollyweird types would kill for. Her rack stands at attention and her back is erect--ballerina strong. A bit shy, but undeniably Russian. She walked into the rehearsal room with 4 inch heels, hair cascading down her back, nails perfectly manicured and a tiny smile hidden behind a stern expression. She was stunning! I looked at her and thought "Damn. Thanks for fucking it up for me "sistah". I had set the bar low for Black women in the rehearsal room. The Chinese kids thought I was the one with swagger. They thought the mustard stains on my yoga pants were cool. Then here you come with this Siberian Pussy Cat doll get up, and now I have to bathe and comb my hair? What an asshole, this one! I'm the loveable American! Now people are gonna mistake my charm for sloth. Thanks you Russian fuckhead! Yoo stoopid good looking...." Suddenly I understood what the cold war was all about. And my finger was on the nuke button.
"Allo Niccggy. I am Leeeza. Emilya says we are rooming together. I am happy for this."
Oh shit. Is she trying to give me some Black love on the sly? Maybe this girl is okay.
"Hi, yes it's quite a pleasure to meet you. Maybe we can hang out tonight post rehearsal?"
"Da! Da--you and me. We drink? No?"
Oh I like this mothafucka. I can't believe I'm in China, about to kick it with a Black Russian. Fuck the natural order of things--this is the diaspora I've been searching for my entire life. A Russian blactress! How could I not adore this woman?
"Da! Mothafucker! Let us drank and drug!" cried the uncouth American.
Right after rehearsal, most of the group decided to go visit the Bund. A district nestled along side the Huangpu River--it has dozens of historical buildings, little shops and everything a tourist could ask for. We broke into smaller groups and in my group was Elena (Cyress), Ana (Luxemborg) Liza (Russia) and myself. The Bund or Old Shanghai as some call it, is fucking wild. I felt like I was on an acid trip. Vendors shouting out to you, seizure inducing lights and the air is filled with mouth watering food. We dipped in and out of shops buying fans, silk and trinkets. It was fun. Until Liza looks at me and goes "Niccgy. We must find..." she motioned to her head.
"Oh do you have a headache?"
"Nyet!" She stroked her hair.
Oh shit. This shit just got real. Did she mean--
"Da! we must find hair. Becos--dey Chinese people...they will have hair for us."
I have traveled some 6,000 miles to the Orient to find a Black Russian in search of hair?
Thank you white Jesus! I have a hair companion! And no one will low ball her because she's a scary Russian!
YES! DAAAAA! WE GO FIND HAIR!!!!!!
Between the Chinese and Lisa's broken English, my linguistics also started to sour. I had a weird European lilt, and at times communicated like I was a mime. Seriously when you spend 10hours a day and you're the only person where English is your mother tongue, it's inevitable. So to Madonna, Tina Turner and other Americans who escaped to live in other nations--I apologize for laughing at your linguistic affectations.
"Niccggy you are too soft. Dey Americans--you speak too poem like. You must speak like Russian, when we look for hair. Strong. No more nice hello sir American talk." So she taught me a few Russian terms right there on the crowded streets of Shanghai. Then we took our no Mandarin speaking asses set out to find the best weave. My friends, if you don't see the beauty in this story--then I curse a pox upon your house.
Lisa spotted a shop from 300 yards away. "We go."
She stomped into the shop. "Allo. Hair. Real. Now."
And do you know that woman pulled out bags of hair along with a calculator?
Lisa inspected the hair while the Chinese lady and I both cowered. The Chinese lady didn't speak English. Liza didn't speak Chinese. And I didn't speak Russian. It almost felt like a tense drug deal in a warehouse.
Lisa sucked her teeth. She was not impressed by the texture. It was too silky.
"Nyet spasiba. Niccggy. We go."
"We go to dat shop there." Stomp stomp stomp. "Allo. Hair. Real. Now."
I spent my days and nights with this crazy harlot. Ordering food, making art, drinking, laughing and even crying. I'll leave you now with one of our souse filled evenings. Enjoy possum.