Back for its third run, ZOTTO (an original work by Japanese Arts Network, Theatre Artibus, and Luster Productions - produced and presented with the help of Control Group Productions and Starry Night Productions) was an emotional and educational immersive experience about connecting with our ancestors and confronting painful family and local history. Bucharest Inside the Beltway had the great opportunity to see the show during its third run (it had sold out the previous two runs!) and speak with the creative artist at the helm of this important effort: Courtney Ozaki. Weaving together Japanese folk characters with the real-life story of Japanese-Americans in Denver, Ozaki and her collaborators brought the historic downtown Denver Sakura Square to life by taking the audience through a maze of rooms filled with imagination and testimony. Throughout the experience, we learned about the mass deportations of Japanese-Americans to internment camps in the West during World War II, and how many then settled in Colorado following the war because Colorado (in stark contrast to Wyoming) welcomed them. That said the community had to start from scratch and for so many families this painful history was buried. The show culminated in a startling honest and compelling oral history presented by Joyce Uriko Cole about her parents who survived the camps and the inherited trauma she has lived with and overcome through personal strength and the support of her loved ones. BiB was truly honored to be present in what felt very much like a sacred space. Congratulations to Cole, Ozaki, and the ZOTTO creative team on what was truly a "BEST OF" immersive Denver theatre event!
Another rockstar successful USA national Romanian Festival at the Wharf DC in the books for Bucharest Inside the Beltway! Again we were invited to run our wildly successful book booth - selling books by Romanian diaspora authors and non-Romanian experts on Romania. We covered all genres: history, poetry, photography, science, cookbooks, theatre, and more! BiB took the opportunity to host four surprise VIP DMV authors for hit book-signings throughout the weekend: Ioana Ieronim, Earnest Latham, Adela Sinclair, and Tope Folarin. On-stage BiB returned with four spoken word poetry presentations, featuring the words of Radu Vancu, Claudiu Komartin, Sir Harvey Fitz, Bypo Phoenix, Adela Sinclair, and Lady Godiva. Please visit BiB Facebook to view our photo album with the professional photos by Johnny Vacar that BiB considers to be the 2023 festival's greatest hits!
Bucharest Inside the Beltway had the great honor to co-host Romanian Ambassador to the United States Andrei Muraru in Colorado as part of his "50 States - One Community" American tour. Working closely with RAFA (the Romanian American Freedom Alliance) and Cyber Quibits, BiB was able to arrange an ambitious and fruitful program for the Romanian delegation: including (but not limited to) the local economy, business, city and state government, and - of course, as always - arts and culture. Please visit BiB Facebook to view the full album of professional photos by Erin Dvorak Clark.
BiB had the amazing opportunity to visit the impressive VICTOR BRAUNER exhibit at Muzeul Națională de Artă Timișoara. Brauner was a #surrealist #visualartist of many dimensions who ultimately was a rebel who marched to the beat of his own drum. A Jewish-Romanian, who is now buried in Paris’s Montmartre Cemetery, he suffered antisemitism and poverty throughout his life. These barriers did not stop him from staying true to his spirit and creating art that is fearless and thought-provoking to this day.
Ukraine+ Freedom Arts Showcase ~ Dec. 15, 2022 @MSUDENVER ~ Proudly Supporting Ukrainians of Colorado
Flyer by OANA MARIA CAJAL, the artistic force behind SHATTERED - Symbolic Gesture (Visual art and poetry in solidarity with Ukraine)
MIR I AM, AKA Jessica Miriam Chernila has been a dedicated member of the local arts and poetry scene in Denver nearly all of her life. The daughter of Beloved Local poet and personality Lenny Chernila, she is currently the host of the monthly Open Mic- Community is the Cure, where she teaches creative yoga classes as well. MIR I AM spends most of her time and labor supporting working for or with some of Denver’s older venues. She is currently a licensed and certified massage therapist at century old Lake Steam Baths and a co-lead singer in the Affirmation Funk band The Pamlico Sound who perform at venues throughout Colorado. She also began events of hosting Solstice and Equinox gatherings at the POETREE a tree in Cheeseman Park dedicated to local poets, past and present through hanging ornaments of beloved poems on the tree every season. She looks toward a new direction in life as a wellness coach integrating various facets of her own healing journey writing, yoga, music nature, and self-love! MIR I AM has 2 children Zion 23 and Isis 15 who are powerful artists in their own right! Continuing the family tradition of "Living Free and Loving Fearlessly!" Scroll down for Q/A.
Tell us a little bit about your work.
About 17 years ago we actually began an open mic at Doniece and Dena Derani’s Denver café when it was at 13th and Marion in Capitol Hill. That manifestation was very important for artists and those on the outskirts of society. It was a center of diversity where the margins became the focus, and that is beautiful. There always needs to be a space for that and it's rare to find spaces that are very open to that and even now even though it feels like people are more conscious and connected and accepting and open minded they're there's still a contingency of people who are fear based and hateful which is why safe spaces are important. Our open mic was a safe space. Around the year 2000, I started a magazine called Soul Lovely. I went and collected poems from different people and places, and we put together spoken word poetry events. Soul Lovely Zine is no longer a Denver Zine. Since then, I focused on open mics and spoken word poetry like Poet As Muse and Community is the Cure. Community is the Cure is still active and we have open mics regularly.
You do a lot of work in the Denver art scene, what’s your end goal for yourself and the community here?
There’s just so much fast-moving energy and people coming in, and it feels like everyone is taking over in a way. The most important thing to do is support local venues like the new South Broadway location of the Derani sisters’ café, Mercury Café, and Mutiny Information Café. Get out there and support the things that are already happening that belong to kind of this older tier. Also, just get involved because it's the only light we have in this darkness- it’s what creates openings. Give your money to local businesses especially older ones that need your support and get out there and be a part of the arts community. Other examples of local art venues to support are El Cento Su Teatro, Red Line Gallery and Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center. These are all places that need continual support and recognition. There's some beautiful new things coming in and younger minds and brilliant offerings, so absolutely support yourself, love yourself, and do your art but don't forget where to recognize the roots of it all.
Is there a part of your background that inspires you to do this work?
My last name is Chernila, which is Ukrainian or Russian for black ink. So, in my lineage there were poets, my great grandfather was a poet, and my great grandmother was a social activist. My father, Lenny Chernila was also a poet, and he dedicated himself to his and he was very beloved in this community. He's still considered an ancestor of the poetry world. In light of everything happening right now in the world, which is really devastating, I go by Mir-I-am. My middle name is Mir i am; the 1st woman poet in the bible. ‘Mir’ in Ukrainian means peace.
Denver is a very diverse city, and many have different rich cultural backgrounds. Why do you think it’s important to highlight this in the art scene?
It’s everything, it's what creates art you know, people's unique stories is what creates and cultivates and honors roots. Everybody has a story that is really important and if we if we hide our story then we hide ourselves. Art comes from a vulnerable transition of asking those hard questions about who you are and what matters and about what you have to offer, even when the world is telling you it doesn't matter. You can think that you’re alone and then you find out you're not alone. Sometimes your feeling of isolation is going to be the same as someone else’s, but you can at least gather to feel each other’s hearts, and you know and that's what art is. Art is an immeasurable opportunity to bridge the gap and inform people. Sometimes that comes from passion and love, and sometimes it comes from rage and angst and all of those stories are important. I always try to be really careful at open mikes not to let my own emotions get in the way of what people need to express. Respect the mic has kind of been an old school rule, you have to listen to who's speaking and you'll get your chance to say your piece later. Poet As Muse invites artists to come in and paint during open mics. The poet is the subject of the art so and that was kind of the beauty in it. I actually also want to credit Lu Cong for helping create Poet As Muse and also for naming it.
I know you're surrounded by a lot of like powerful moments all the time but is there one moment you’d like to share that stands out to you?
There are definitely a lot of moments, this is a hard one. I want to say the open mic that took place on September 29th was actually really powerful because it had a mother and daughter feature who used to frequent the original Derani café on 13th and Marion, which was through an open Mic there created by LadySpeech Sankofa called Freedom of Speech. It was a co-feature, and they had recorded a session took place years ago at the original café. The night of the 29th, they played that recording. It was a full circle experience that came to the new South Broadway location, which was amazing. I mean there are lots of moments but that is very fresh in my mind as being absolutely inspiring. To see how they have evolved and overcome life challenges since then has also been incredible.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to highlight or bring attention to?
There are so many things that we need to bring attention to. Closest to my heart though is honoring the way community can help heal people’s families. We are not isolated, and we need to come out of space of isolation. Allow yourself to be open to what can heal you, don’t be so open that you’re overwhelmed, but let the light shine through. It’s also important to say that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, challenging yourself is how you grow, there need to be forces at play to challenge the growth. Reject the way of thinking that you always have to be okay, this way of thinking has caused harm because people assume they need to be hurt, adding to a lineage of wounds, instead of reaching out. Spread love and be kind, people thrive in loving environments so let people speak their truth.
Congratulations to Zsudayka Nzinga Terrell on a stunning #artshow in #fortcollinscolorado this past weekend!
@bucharestinsidethebeltway had the great opportunity to check out her amazing work and chat with the prolific & inspirational #DC & #Denver artist!
BiB is very fortunate to have collabed with #Zsudayka before on a couple of theatre projects in #washingtondc for which she was commissioned to create the visual art for each show.
Please give her a follow across all SM platforms! You won’t regret it, she is swiftly establishing herself as one of #USA’s great #Black #woman #artists
#zsudaykanzinga #visualart #collage #blackartist #blackart #dcartist #denverartist #coloradocreative #womanartist #beautyofblacknessfineartshow #fortcollins #colorado #danaadibifar #cristinaabejan #bucharestinsidethebeltway
Our @bucharestinsidethebeltway August 2022 fundraising goal was $5000 and we are ecstatic to announce we surpassed it!
Financial breakdown: Over 80 authentic individual donors! $3000 from FB fundraiser! The rest from tax-deductible donations to our fiscal sponsor @fractured.atlas and direct donations to BiB via #paypal & check & cash!
Thank you everyone who contributed & got the good word out. This was BiB’s most ambitious fundraising drive in our 8 years of existence. This success proves that this arts & cultural initiative is worth it & here to stay.
Remember: all funds support BiB artists 100%
Please stay tuned to all BiB social media and our bibdenver.com #blog to discover the work of amazing creatives from #denver #bucharest and beyond!🖤
#arts #artsandculture #artists #creatives #colorado #local #international #grassroots #independent #byartistsforartists #bucharestinsidethebeltway
The Chained Voices art show and exhibit based in Denver, Colorado represents empowerment, healing, growth, and new beginnings. Chained Voices’ partnership with the DU Prison Arts Initiative at the University of Denver allows for larger-scale dialogue between communities and their members who were previously or are currently incarcerated. The mission of Chained Voices is to connect, empower, educate, and advocate by harnessing the power of art and collective humanity. This is all captured through the meaningful artwork made by individuals who are currently incarcerated. Though the exhibit has now ended, it’s important to highlight that art in all forms can be used to express emotions deeply buried within us- which holds especially true in the instance and for these artists. To describe their art, one artist said, “I have spent many years in isolation, so I had to find something to battle the mental warfare I was enduring.” Another explained, “prison has helped me uncover a creative side in me that I express through art. Through it I have been able to reflect and heal.” Art is not solely meant for consumption, it also serves as architecture to build bridges.
Learn more about Chained Voices and their mission here: https://www.chainedvoices.org
A tremendous honor to be invited by the Romanian Cultural Institute of New York and the Romanian Embassy to the United States to participate in the Romanian Weekend at the Wharf in Washington DC July 9-10, 2022. This was the first national Romanian festival in the USA's capital in 25 years. BiB is proud to have the only booth representing Romanian-American cultural groups! We sold books by Romanian-American authors and produced four spoken word performances featuring diaspora literary greats Domnica Radulescu, Adela Sinclair, Elena Secota, and Cristina A. Bejan. It was a joy to share the booth with our friends at Immigration Research Forum, led by Teodor Stan.
Play Synopsis: Igbo class is a safe space for Black students at Texas Light University. When that class becomes the backdrop of a viral video of an intense argument between Faith, a Black American Senior and Uchenna, a Nigerian American graduate student, the divide between the African community and the Black American community on campus is pushed to the forefront. In order to alleviate her campus' issues, Dean Thompson assigns Faith and Uchenna a mandatory project that will seek to connect the members of the Black community... if only they can put aside their differences long enough to create it. In this funny, ensemble-driven love story, We Both Suck Our Teeth explores the division and unity within the African diaspora.