South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
Press Release

South Milwaukee PAC Presents Br(OK)en Genius

Friday and Saturday, November 21 & 22, 7:30 pm

By - Nov 10th, 2014 02:15 pm
Br(OK)en Genius

Br(OK)en Genius

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is proud to present Br(OK)en Genius, a visual, musical, literary and performance art experience based on the story of a child of the city of Milwaukee, Christopher McIntyre Perceptions (CMP). CMP is Br(OK)en Genius, both as the artist who created and directed the work, and as the self-described namesake of the project’s title. Br(OK)en Genius combines six spoken word poets and two musicians set against a photographic backdrop like a “living movie”  to narrate personal stories with the premise that by sharing the broken segments of our lives, we can cultivate understanding, unity, hope and healing, thus allowing the genius within each of us to thrive. About art, CMP says it is, “a fruit of my process but it’s deeper than art. The root of the fruit is revolution of the soul.”

“It’s one thing for poetry to deliver emotions through ink on paper. But when people who forged those words based on their own life experiences express their stories to an audience and interact with them, the impact is amplified,” says Rachel Sorce, SMPAC Executive Director.  “We’re proud to co-produce Br(OK)en Genius, and to play an active role in bringing together the greater Milwaukee community for this important work. We thank Br(OK)en Genius sponsors The Brady Corporation, Quarles & Brady Fellowship Open, Cain Enterprises, Dream MKE, Eagle Flair Graphics & Printing, North American Export Council and Old Mount Zion East Jerusalem, for helping to make this possible.”

In addition to the poetry and photography of CMP, the performances will also feature live poetry and music from Firey Phoenix (LaShawdra Vernon), Brit Nicole, Na’ima, Nigel Wade, Bobby Drake, Remy The Gambit, Monique-Elise and Montreal Cain. Framed photographic art prints of CMP’s works will be on display for purchase immediately following each performance. Br(OK)en Genius performances are on Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22, at 7:30 p.m. at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 to $15 and may be purchased online at southmilwaukeepac.org, by phone at (414) 766-5049, or in-person at the Box Office at 901 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, M-F from 10-4, and one hour before performances.

About Christopher McIntyre Perceptions (CMP)

Milwaukee-born C.M.P. is a self-taught artist and the founder of CMPerceptions, LLC., a company that uses spirituality and art to reconstruct communities. He has worked with many YMCAs and Boys & Girls’ Clubs, participated in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Kohl’s Family Sunday events, remains active in Milwaukee’s art community, Wisconsin 30 and with ART Milwaukee, RedLine Milwaukee, and much more. C.M.P. recently facilitated workshops at South Milwaukee High School for about 80 teachers and more than 300 students as part of an initiative to build stronger, more positive connections within the high school community based on understanding and compassion.

About the Spoken Word Artists, Musicians and Management

“Firey Phoenix” (LaShawndra Vernon) is a hip hop jazz fusion artist. Her body of work is rooted in human rights and social justice. As a member of a musical family, she was immersed in jazz compositions. Her grandfather played piano, grandmother was a jazz singer. She fell in love with hip hop at a very early age and became an emcee. She blends jazz vocals and revolutionary hip hop lyrics, and her music has a message focused on justice, love, and power. In 2013, Firey Phoenix and members of the Hip Hop Cypher (#HHC414) kicked off the 30 Americans exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This exhibit increased the Milwaukee Art Museum’s attendance significantly, and connected Firey Phoenix and Christopher McIntyre. They continued their art collaboration through a series of events during Bronzeville Week in the historical art and business district near downtown. She is currently serving as the Program Director of the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (MKE LIHF) Collaborative at United Way of Greater Milwaukee. She continues to use her gifts in bringing awareness for improving the quality of life in communities through music, activism and art.

Brit Nicole is a young lady who exudes faith, friendship, love and passion through her writing. She first took the stage at Poetry Unplugged back in 2010 and has since performed regularly there as well as at the New Word Document at Riverwest Public House along with Lyrical Sanctuary at UW-Milwaukee. She had her first feature in August at Brewing Grounds for Change and has since featured at Poetry Unplugged, Middle Earth MKE, Imaginary Heroes events, Voltage Teen Slam, Open Mic and more. She is completing her degree in Educational Policy and Community Studies. Brit uses her heart as well as her words to cultivate other young minds aspiring to live their dreams while trying to service the community in different capacities. Brit hosts an open mic every 2nd and 4th Monday evening at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center located at 1531 W. Vliet Street. “Poetry is more than just phrases on page…it presents the ability to connect with other like-minded individuals through the sharing of our gifts…that’s the best part” says Brit Nicole.

Na’ima was born and raised in a small town in central Illinois just outside of Urbana-Champaign. She moved to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University in August, 2009, and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in December, 2013. As a spoken word artist, she uses her poetry to express herself in a way she has never been able to. Her first performance was at PENtastic in March, 2014, and has continued to perform with the support of her PENtastic friends and family at Poetry Unplugged every Tuesday. She hopes that
Br(OK)en Genius can be the next step in her spoken word career while influencing change in lives and the community of Milwaukee that has accepted her with open arms.

Nigel Wade is a Milwaukee native who got his stripes appearing at open mics and  poetry slams around the midwest. Drawn in by his animated performance and poetic style, Nigel was told that he had a “…unique sound. You don’t sound like someone else, you sound like you.” by the founder of PSI, Mark Smith (So what?!) This unique style earned him a place on the Milwaukee National Slam Team from 2006 through 2011 and two Grand Slam Champion Titles. After spending the past few years performing for The Boulevard Theatre, The Skylight Opera, and The Florentine Opera, he is ready to devote his talents back to his first love…poetry.

As a poet, Bobby Drake has traveled across the United States. He is honored to have shared his talent at prestigious universities, nightclubs, radio station sponsored events, block parties, high schools and even street-corner sessions. He has shared the stage with national talent including, Dan Vaughn, Muhibb Dyer, and Harry Belafonte to name a few. As a volunteer, full time organizer and field director for The Campaign Against Violence, Bobby Drake has left his personal touch on many of the small victories that spelled the difference between winning and losing an election. His hands-on approach to organizing, including the disenfranchised in the political process to foster change, has given him a credibility that cannot be bought. Always aware of the power of words, his peers have labeled him, Provocative!; Poignant!; and Necessary to the spoken word movement! His fans have said of him, Bobby has a way of saying what everyone is pretending they don’t know. And, saying it in a way that forces you to deal with it. Available now wherever albums are sold, “Hands Down,” draws on the experiences of a millennial coming of age. With a decidedly cross genre feel Hands Down is thought provoking, emotional poetry seamlessly blended with Bobby Drake’s expertly orchestrated, live drummed music production. It has the repeat appeal of an Alternative or Hip Hop album, with the content often missing from today’s music: a message of Hope and Perseverance through personal revelation.

Remy The Gambit is not a poet for fortune or attention. He is not a charismatic leader or a social butterfly. He holds no slam titles, no award-winning pieces, and rarely appears at local open mics to share his work. The reason for this is very simple: Remy writes because it makes him feel good. And, while there is nothing wrong with awards, slam titles, or fortune that comes from poetry and spoken word, he writes for himself and performs when he does with the slight hope that his words will change someone’s perspective of their own life. “Because no two people are the same, but the issues life throws their way may be… If how I handled what life threw at me can help someone else in their struggle or at the very least let them know they are not alone, that they weren’t the only one.  How could I not share that with them?”

Monique-Elise is a creative and talented artist. She has enjoyed performing as a violinist, vocalist, dancer and actress.  Monique-Elise began as a child singing and playing the violin in church. While attending Marquette University and obtaining her degree in Biomedical Sciences, she became a member of the Marquette University Symphony Orchestra.  As a member of the Riverside High School Choir, she competed as a vocal soloist in the Wisconsin State Broadway Competition and was awarded 1st place. Monique-Elise has appeared in many musicals and was the lead actress in the musical, “The Pajama Game.” She continues to perform in local musicals and her most recent performances were in “The Music Man” and “Anything Goes,” productions of the Imagination Theatre of Germantown.  She continues to be a violinist as a member of her church band and also does various projects with local artists.

An active musician, mostly known for the sweet melodies crafted over piano keys, Montreal Cain is a renaissance man as well as a business owner of Cain Enterprise. Cain Enterprise is a full service marketing company dedicated to creating an experience through art design, innovative software, facilitating skills, marketing techniques, management skills, and love for the community.

Jessica Harris was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and surrounding areas. She grew up with a Christian upbringing that taught Jessica her morals and played sports that taught her how to work as a team. As she grew up, she found her love of creating abstract as well as ceramic sculpted art and a variety of different styles of music. After graduating high school, she began her first job working for the Milwaukee police department as a police aide. There she learned and excelled in the art of being organized as well as productive in a busy environment.  Jessica left the police department and has worked in several different industries including: customer service, mortgage, medical, cosmetic, community service, promotions/marketing, coaching, and banking. With her diverse background, loving care for people, organizational skills, passion for art and a never extinguishing optimistic fervor, Jessica is ready to overcome life’s challenges.

About SMPAC

The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) provides the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts.  Located on the South Milwaukee 6-12 campus, it serves the students of the city of South Milwaukee and provides professional services for more than 500 shows, performances, rehearsals and other events annually. Upcoming 2014-15 artists include WindSync’s Simple Gifts: A Holiday Sampler, Milwaukee Ballet II, the Pedrito Martinez Group, Jerome Kitzke’s Winter Count and Howl, Robert Trentham’s In Thinking of America: Songs of the Civil War and the 10th Anniversary Gala.

Student matinees, workshops and talk-backs for all grade levels are provided by some season artists, including Robert Glasper, the Milwaukee Ballet II, Avner Eisenberg, Sybarite5, Calmus, Christopher McIntyre Perceptions (CMP). Other artists and organizations that provide performing arts experiences for students include the Florentine Opera, Danceworks, Still Waters Collective and the Missoula Children’s Theatre.

MPAC also opens our doors to other presenters for artists such as George Winston, Lindsey Buckingham, Arlo Guthrie, Jesse Cook, Ruthie Foster, Tommy Emmanuel, John Hiatt, Ian Hunter, Joe Lovano, Cantare Chorale and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.  The SMPAC provides a home to the School District of South Milwaukee events and the Grant Park Players, the local community theatre.

The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is located at 901 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee between College and Rawson Avenues.  It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794.  Free parking is located in the northwest parking lot.  Patrons should enter door #9.  For tickets or directions, call 414-766-5049.  For more information about the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, visit southmilwaukeepac.org.

Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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