A celebration with a simple idea: ‘It’s an important time to be creative’
It looks like this year’s final All Together Now, an inclusionary multimedia welcoming-of-all art series, is the brightest artistic buffet that organizers have cooked up to date.
Under the artistic nurturing of director Anna Rae, All Together Now has become a reliable event series that creates space for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ performers, along with their allies. Now, for the last installment of the year, happening this Saturday in Central Square, the crew behind the effort will continue fostering that sense of community, attracting even more new and unique performers from a mix of genres that don’t often intertwine.
For starters, people can expect an earful from Boston rapper, poet, and educator Oompa, who is “forever representing the queer, black, orphaned, hood kids and them.” Then there’s Jacqueline Ortega, who will be showcasing heavy metal apparel and one-of-a-kind jewelry and armor pieces. Plus Saraswathi Jones, a “purveyor of postcolonial pop,” who will address South Asian history and culture as well as the experience of being an immigrant in America.
Like I said, it’s not like other bills.
On top of all of the above, married artist duo Amanda Graff and Muhammed Seven will bring an original performance interweaving Graff’s acrobat and circus art with Muhammed Seven’s Iranian-American blue-collar folk music. It tells the story of their 20 years together in a rare tag-team approach.
“As parents, workers, and artists, we had to find the time to collaborate. Often we work together after our our son goes to bed,” Graff said. “But that has really been awesome, to make that time.”
Graff helped pilot a program bringing circus arts into after-school programs in Cambridge. She said art, in whatever form it takes, is a unique, particular lens into what life looks like from someone’s else’s eyes.
“It’s an easy time to feel divided, as artists, as people,” she said. “So it’s an important time to be creative. Any type of coming together is amazing.”
This particular “coming together” will be poet and movement artist Dev Blair’s inaugural performance outside of the BU campus. A third-year theater arts major and television and film minor, Blair is also an activist and cofounder of the #PoorAtAPrivateUniversity support group, and sees the show as a special opportunity to show their authentic self while exploring critical themes through poetry and movement.
“I am always asking, ‘What does it mean for me to have so many different artistic parts of myself, to be in that way a Renaissance person in a society that really tends to ask me to specialize?’” They continued, “It was really awesome to recognize that there was an art space that I could enter and bring the multitudes that exist within myself and me as an artist, to display that and have that be okay.”
Some topics that artists will be touching on in their performances will also address the idea, shared by some, that racism is only something that happens in the South. In doing so, organizers hope performances will foster allyship.
“There’s only so much I can do to get someone to understand a piece of my experience before it becomes exhausting,” Blair said. “But when it comes to my artistic expression, that is something that is so wholly fulfilling for me that I can put the messages that I want to get across in the context of these conversations, into my art, share that with somebody. It’s not necessarily a conversation in the same way, but there is a discussion that is happening in that moment.”
ALL TOGETHER NOW #8 WITH DEV BLAIR, SARASWATHI JONES, OOMPA, JACQUELINE ORTEGA, AMANDA GRAFF AND MUHAMMED SEVEN. SAT. 11.4. THE THALIA THEATER, CENTRAL SQ., CAMBRIDGE. 7:30PM/$10/$15. ALLTOGETHERBOS.COM