Coffee Rhetoric: HartBeat
Showing posts with label HartBeat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HartBeat. Show all posts

February 16, 2012

HartBeat Ensemble's New Play Institute Presents, Project: Turnpike

Still somewhat fresh off the success and much lauded spring/winter run of their original main-stage play, Flipside-- (a play I had the pleasure of blogging about from behind the scenes)-- which will begin touring around New England in March, Hartford based professional theater group, HartBeat Ensemble is already hard at work on a new stage production  currently in development called Project: Turnpike.

The work is based on the 2007 federal trial of the United States vs. Dennis Paris; a case that unfolded right here in Hartford.  

Project: Turnpike charts 72 hours in the lives of four exploited sex workers in a motel room on the Berlin Turnpike; a busy 4-lane Connecticut highway.
In order to bring this landmark case to the stage, true-to-their art-form, HartBeat Ensemble members interviewed and collected the personal stories of people affected by human trafficking and worked with human rights advocate Raymond Bechard, who wrote the book The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America. Raymond Bechard explains;
"With a long and sordid history, The Berlin Turnpike serves as a metaphor for the landscape in which human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and all forms of prostitution have existed in the U.S. for centuries, while continuing to flourish today." 
HartBeat Ensemble will workshop and debut a staged production of Project: Turnpike Friday, April 20th at 7:30pm (at a TBD facility), in the first of three planned staged readings as part of HBE's New Play Institute. The two-year project will commence in collaboration with an area college or university, also TBD, where HBE will work in-residence while teaching a master class on "The Creation of Original Work".

The New Play Institute serves to foster an environment of experimentation and creativity for HartBeat Ensemble and college students. It also offers audience members a chance to experience new theatrical work in its early stages.

General admission will be $5 and free for students with proper identification.

HartBeat Ensemble continues to create original professional theater based on stories from the community via main-stage plays, open-air performances, and educational out-reach programs. HartBeat Ensemble makes theatrical arts accessible beyond the barriers of class, race, and gender.

For more information on HartBeat Ensemble and Project: Turnpike, visit the official HartBeat Ensemble website or call: 860.548.9144 ext 115

**Additional Reading--  





February 09, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Ice Cream Man


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! That is unless you're lactose intolerant...

One ice cream man however, is providing goods that are capable of being digested; Hartford's own Stephon "Humble" Long. Connecticut is a small state brimming with talent that spans the arts and entertainment spectrum. Stephon, a well-known rapper, has managed to carve out a niche for himself and build a loyal fan base in the process, especially with the release of his single and accompanying video (which uses Hartford-area neighborhood(s) as its backdrop) "Ice Cream Man."

Stephon, who goes by the nickname "Humble" (a moniker he received from a close friend and brother from another mother, Kiandre "Fatal" Gillespie) - first realized his talent for writing lyrics at the age of 13. With the help of friend, Delontay Gordon, he honed his craft and used what he learned to form a rap duo with Gillespie called, Black Aces. “Am I humble? At times! And at other times my arrogance may show face” Humble Lol's, in reference to his nickname. Considering he's been diligent with mastering his craft and paying his dues since the age of fifteen (working fervently for about 9 of those years), perhaps a little self-applied pat on the back on occasion, is permissible.

"I've built up my fan base by performing for open Mics and by being a part of Hartford's own Paperboyz [a collective of Hartford rappers and producers] in the early 2000's," Humble explains. And while Ice Cream Man isn't his first single and video, it does seem to be his most lauded at 29,000 YouTube views and counting.

The video, which was directed by Alonzo Beckett of NE Video Entertainment opens as a nod to Ice Cube's popular urban flick, Friday, before exploding into a thumping version of the ice cream truck song we've all familiarized ourselves with as children. The song, produced by Luis "ChaseBeats" Boria, explains the duality of Humble's role as the purveyor of tasty frozen treats for children and street treats of ... ahem... a different nature.
Humble’s talent is undeniable; "Right now I'm currently working with local producers; but every local producer I'm working with is very goal oriented!" 

When prodded about his dream-list of producers to build with if presented with the opportunity, Humble answers enthusiastically, "Ooh, that's a good question!! I would love the opportunity to work with... I'm gonna have to keep it in the family and say Corron Cole[a Connecticut born, L.A. based songwriter/producer made-good and behind the musical stylings of acts like Justin Bieber, Jesse McCartney, and Jordin Sparks]- I admire his commitment to the music industry; and as for artists I’d love to work with... I'm gonna have to say Eminem and Jay-Z!" 

Perhaps one of the most admirable aspects of Humble's burgeoning rap career, is the passion he seems to have for Hartford... a city that's at times, unfairly judged for being the underdog and is juxtaposed next to New York and Boston. The bias prompts the dearth of talent and the city's offerings go unnoticed... and so it takes naysayers by surprise. 

As he reflects on his music, Humble makes it clear that it will always dictate the mood he's in at the time. "I write from the heart!" He says, "I don't live a fairytale life... It's real. I do it for the people! I do it for my supporters… I hate to use the word fans!"

Stephon "Humble" Long will be performing live at Foxwoods Casino, March 2 at Comix Comedy Club . Ice Cream Man and other singles are available for download on iTunes.

For booking and more information, visit PB Dolla Entertainment and Humble's Facebook page.