Our purpose…

From our lively discussion Tuesday–the following was decided.

The purpose of the community based performance project is 

share the voices of the many voices of /in Ypsilanti.

Through this sharing we may address issues of pride, division, isolation, honor, displacement,etc. 

This piece will be both a project of affirmation and education and awareness. In  a city divided, I think that such is evident, sharing the voices of many to many will both affirm and enlighten our community audience.

Given the purpose-go back through the prior postings, your own notes and begin to make connections –what are some of the voices of the many voices whose story we should/could tell? 

Start thinking in metaphors/visuals…

Post any additional comments of  the first day collaboration between CTT and the university students—



Ypsilanti’s Identity


“Good enuf for who it is For”


Power creates Division




Divided : EMU/U of M /Mich. Ave /23 / North/South Side/ Race /AA & ypsi


Yours not ours: County community could solve a lot of problems!

Nagging Sense of No Bodiness



South –North Divide


Differences in attitudes of voters + politians


Two downtowns are better than none.


Another Brick/ The Wall/Perform here?

Ypsitucky/ H-Fest/ No center/church/emuplasum /EMU

Comparisons/ Confusion


Empty spaces


Youth activities lacking or not promoted effectively




“gateway”? to what?


Wall ßypsi


Underdog: When does that identity become a detriment.


Transient is constant.

Talk is cheap.

Stereotypes bring us down


YPSI (Puzzle): Southside gateway /Town shop /Down Town #2 / Down Town #1/ North side




Be More Than “GOOD ENOUGH”

Communication: Bridging the gap btwn youth/adult/elderly/ race/faith/social status



Boundaries àCommunicating out of “comfort zone” /Breaking thru Boundaries



“Greatest diversity in day cares”


12-19 year olds ROAMING the streets


Disconnect-commuter school/church/community


How does technology/internet play a part in community & getting voices heard? Who has access and who doesn’t?

Is EMU “the” or “a” center?



The Wall

Always the “ OTHERS” describe Ypsi!

Do they know how great the community is? Do they pride about it?

Do Ypsi people like to tell their stories? How do they tell? How do we capture and perform it?


What is An Identity of Ypsi?


Just Passing through

Ypsilanti citizens only have the right to tell “their” story!


Ypsi, Where are you “HIDING”?

 “Healing” needed?

Where can we perform? Not one time but regularly –

Church in south…..? The water tower…..? EMU auditorium? Washtenaw county? Health center? (where all low incomes come)

Breaking Wall ßCommunity – based performance (Ritual Art)

Emerging Ypsi :To see Our performance?


Foremost ..thank you for patience and diligence today. There were a lot of us..lots of questions… and less time than I had hoped. 

I know that some feel more lost…frustrated…disappointed…others were empowered…excited..   Yi Hsin will soon post our collage responses and we will use them as we begin our collaboration  with CrossTown Theatre Troupe.  Take a moment to read below. 

The Panel. I sent the following message to the panel: 

We are so grateful for your time and presence today. It was a little unwieldy–much ground to cover for a small city. Your responses were candid, honest, thoughtful, inspiring, frustrating, and illuminating. They will give us great direction as we and CrossTown Theatre Troupe ( a theatre troupe made up of Ypsi youth, directed by MFA student, Jenny Sawtelle and undergraduate Shella Kelsey) become our co-investigators on this project. As we get further along in the project we may come back to you…perhaps to provide us a story, or a sound or be part of the project/production itself (i.e. tree)

Thanks so much as we embark on a project which we hope will reflect the issues, strengths, & challenges of the city. Warmly, Decky and the class.

The Purpose--what is the purpose of this project? Or what are they?  To create theatre which speaks about a specific subject?  To create a theatre piece to generate community dialogue?  For next week–come up based upon what you know now.. the panel, the blogs, the research, the reading–the purpose or purposes of this project. 

CrossTown Theatre Troupe 

This troupe, started in Fall and directed by classmate/MFA student Jenny Sawtelle and undergraduate Shella Kelsey, had their premier performance yesterday. I was remiss and did not share with you the bravery and depth of their first performance  and talk-back yesterday. Both the performance and talkback had a sense of fearlessness and readiness to speak truth to power and to the public. Though certainly a blog posting will not make up for what was not shared today.. I have no doubt that the youth in CTT will make sure that their voice is heard.   We will and/or they will share with you the mission of CTT. We also (prior to their arrival) go over some clarity of roles and the possible challenges of equity in this collaborative relationship.

All-this work is messy at times. This is not an excuse–  it is the  reality. There can always be new or better or different approaches-this is one way, not the way. Clarity of purpose will help guide -as will narrowing down the subjects/issues being explored and addressed.

My purpose in this class is two-fold. As the instructor it is my responsibility to expose you to this kind of process and work through research and practice so that you can adapt it/utilize it/embrace it–in your own work.  At the same time, my purpose is to ensure that we create an authentic community based performance and in this case, it is with CTT/youth.  And to do so–co-create this work- respect of those we engage and co-create is paramount.  Sometimes one purpose  (one of mine) may supercede another. It is never intentional. 

Please respond to this and to the post by Yi Hsin before next Tuesday (and please before 3pm on Tuesday). The youth will be arriving and joining our class an hour or so in.  We will also brief the readings prior to them arriving. 

stay warm. be warm. be. 


Our Landscape Landmarks

ypsilantdisrict-13I’ll also attach it .. but here are our findings. Scroll down and look at the overall:
possible questions for our stakholders

PLEASE provide commentary and feedback.


Ypsi Landscape 01/13/09
Water tower
Golden opportunity
Housing for students way too high/ Not many jobs that can support the rent
Ford plant 1930’s
I want to see more people
Does Ypsi have city plan for the road, buildings, transportation?
Where will the young people go?
Young —Under 20 (M-13% , F16%), 40-over 60 (M 11%, F13%), Age 20-40 (M23%, F24%)
Did they really think about the design of water tower?/ sexual!!
Where is the center of Ypsi?
Diversity—What is my cultural heritage? How did my family come to Ypsi? What is my culture heritage? How does my future fit in Ypsi?
What green nature does Ypsi folks have to use/ enjoy/ care for
Ypsi still has unpaved roads
West Ypsi 1890’s / East Ypsi 1860’s/ Deport town
Little hope / Depressed
High property and violent crime rate
Hanging from the ceiling:
Not only has the city lost businesses but entire city departments have been lost. Well, you can say they are lost Because many departs have website but no budget for example divisions in parks and Recs
Going ‡ Going ‡ Gone
Uninvolved /absentee parents
Violence in the school
U of M &Ann Arbor vs. EMU+Ypsi
Close to the clock
(1)Who is looking to the Future of Ypsi (2) what are they doing?
On the center table
My home Am I safe here?
No street lamp scary in walking at night
Drivers are very aggressive here, even in bad weather
Why many people aren’t in down town Ypsi?
Youth/ Crime / Hip/ young/ Drug /”happening”
On the side table
Drug deal
Why is the only building active near the bus station a strip club?
On the chair
Huron valley Catholic school/ HVCS Best school in Ypsi area?
The south side
Bored youth
Diversity is welcome but Ypsi is highly segregated
Drug deals
On the Door
Why do trains go through here but don’t stop here?
On the side
Historical dates+ up keep/ Heritage Fest/Depot down
Little pride in Now
History of Ypsi
(1) Who care about the history of Ypsi
(2) What history is “culturally” relevant today
(3) History VS Forward focus‡Priority

Empty/emptiness—buildings, streets, stores, purpose
Lack of Center
Sense of loss or city is lost
Pride in past/in what was
The city was ‘settled’ twice/two different downtowns –it’s beginnings are de-centralized.
‘golden opportunity’
Transportation: lack of buses, access/driving/bicycle paths/train stop no train/
Non-youth centered: bored, no rec dept.

Dualties /Paradox
Lack of public transportation, land-locked yet there is a depot and several trains which pass thru
Train passes through and the city stuck in its past
Diverse yet segregated
The lack of center, in culture , in meaning , in identity yet the desire for center

Drug deals hidden in every crevice.
Lack of streetlights /emptiness of streets
What is a city whose majority population is transient, temporary is not permanent, lives in temporary housing…how to create a center in a place, which is constantly in flux?
City Divide: the city of Ypsilanti and the students of EMU who live in Ypsilanti. Whose city is it? If the students make up the bulk of the population

Some possible stakeholder panel questions
What is your ‘stake’ in Ypsilanti? Who or what do you speak for?
Is there a center to Ypsilanti?
What are Ypsilanti’s strongest assets? Deficits?
Metaphor for Ypsilanti?
How does Ypsilanti’s beginnings impact its present?


crosstown1cross-town-MLK flyerPlease check out our collaborators at MLK Day at EMU on Monday

at 2:00pm Student Center Room 310A/B

Free.  Parking is free at EMU on Monday the 19th.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!