Detail View: RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive: Interviews

Filename: 
ds_0027_holmanstephz_cap_01.mp4
Identifier: 
ds_0027_holmanstephz_cap_01.mp4
Title: 
Interviews
Creator: 
Holman, Bob, 1948-
Subject: 
Holman, Bob, 1948- Interviews
Subject: 
Zawerucha, Stefa Interviews
Subject: 
American Sign Language literature
Subject: 
Deaf, Writings of the, American
Subject: 
American poetry 20th century
Subject: 
Deaf Poetry
Subject: 
ASL poetry
Summary: 
Part of a collection of interviews made for a film on ASL poetry, "The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox." In the first interview, Bob Holman, proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club and visiting professor at NYU and Columbia, discusses his involvement with sign poetry. In the second interview, Stefa Zawerucha, dancer and choreographer, talks about her work at NTID starting in the 1980s.
Publisher: 
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Digital Publisher: 
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - RIT Archive Collections
Contributor: 
Zawerucha, Stefa,
Contributor: 
Lerner, Miriam Nathan
Date of Original: 
2007
Date of Digitization: 
2018
Broad Type: 
moving image
Digital File Format: 
mp4
Physical Format: 
DVD
Dimensions of Original: 
89 minutes
Language: 
American Sign Language
Language: 
English
Original Item Location: 
RITDSA.0027
Library Collection: 
Sculptures in the Air: An Accessible Online Video Repository of the American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry and Literature Collections
Library Collection: 
Miriam and Kenneth Lerner ASL Poetry Collection
Digital Project: 
2018-2019 CLIR Grant-ASL Poetry and Literature
Catalog Record: 
https://albert.rit.edu/record=b3955032
Catalog Record: 
https://twcarchivesspace.rit.edu/repositories/2/resources/815
Place: 
New York - Rochester
RIT Spaces and Places: 
Henrietta Campus
Rights: 
RIT Libraries makes materials from its collections available for educational and research purposes pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.
Rights: 
CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Transcript: 
MIRIAM NATHAN LERNER: ...PLEASE? HOLMAN: BOB HOLMAN, POET, PROPRIETOR OF THE BOWERY POETRY CLUB, VISITING PROFESSOR AT NYU's TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS AND COLUMBIA'S GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE ARTS. MIRIAM: YOU'RE A VISITING PROFESSOR HERE. ARE YOU AN ADJUNCT? OR YOU JUST BOP IN? HOLMAN: IT'S A VISITING PROFESSORSHIP. SOMEHOW THEY ACQUIRED A NEW LINE FOR ME. SO... MIRIAM: COOL. HOLMAN: IT'S NOT A TENURE TRACK. BUT IT PAYS BETTER THAN BEING AN ADJUNCT. MIRIAM: ALMOST ANYTHING DOES. HOLMAN: THAT'S... MIRIAM: HA HA! HOLMAN: AND IT COMES WITH THE BEAUTIFUL TITLE OF VISITING PROFESSOR. I JUST DROP IN. TEACH ONE COURSE A SEMESTER-- ONE COURSE AT NYU IN THE FALL AND ONE COURSE AT COLUMBIA IN THE SPRING. MIRIAM: WHICH COURSES? ARE THEY INTRO? ARE THEY ADVANCED? HOLMAN: NO. THEY'RE BOTH GRADUATE COURSES. THE ONE AT COLUMBIA IS CALLED "EXPLODING TEXT." AND THAT IS A COURSE IN POETRY PERFORMANCE. IT'S THE ONLY CROSS-GENRE COURSE THAT THE SCHOOL OF THE ARTS OFFERS, SHOWING YOU EXACTLY HOW CONSERVATIVE THE COLUMBIA GRAD SCHOOL IS. BUT STUDENTS COME, LEARN-- THEY COLLABORATE ON PROJECTS WITH EACH OTHER ACROSS DISCIPLINES, USING-- AS TEXTS POEMS, OFTEN POEMS BY CONTEMPORARY WRITERS WHO ARE CONSIDERED DIFFICULT ON THE PAGE, EXPERIMENTAL-TYPE POETS, SHOWING, YOU KNOW, THE IDEA BEING THAT THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A STAGE POEM OR A PAGE POEM, THAT ALL IT NEEDS IS THE IMAGINATION OF THE VISIONARY TO WORK WITH THE POET NOW THAT WE HAVE THESE THINGS CALLED CAMERAS, THESE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES THAT POETS DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO LEARN TO USE. THAT'S SOMEBODY ELSE'S JOB, LIKE YOURS. AND THE COURSE I'M TEACHING AT NYU IS CALLED "ART IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE." AND IT'S A COURSE ABOUT THE UTILITY OF CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE FROM THE 1860s TO 2060. SO... IT'S RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF THE TRANSITION. AND WE'RE HAVING OUR PERFORMANCE OVER AT THE BOWERY POETRY CLUB IN TWO HOURS. AND THE CLUB, OF COURSE, IS IN ITS OWN WAY A KIND OF ANCHOR IN THE WHIRLWIND OF THE CURRENT GENTRIFICATION. IS IT THE FINAL DEATH KNELL TO THE TRANSIENT NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE, AS EVERYTHING BECOMES A THEME PARK OF ITSELF? OR ARE WE SIMPLY WATCHING ANOTHER CYCLE? LUCKILY, MY STUDENTS HAVE FIGURED IT ALL OUT AND WILL BE PERFORMING IT ONSTAGE TODAY. MIRIAM: WOW. TELL ME WHAT THE ANSWER IS AT THE END... HOLMAN: YOU GOT TO--OK, I WILL. I'LL CALL YOU UP. I THINK YOU'LL HAVE TO BE THERE. YOU'LL PROBABLY HAVE OTHER WORK TO DO. HOW LATE DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS ARE GONNA STAY HERE? ANY IDEA? MIRIAM: HOPE TO BE OUT BY 3:30 OR 4:00. HOLMAN: OH, BEAUTIFUL. OK. MIRIAM: IS THAT OK? HOLMAN: OH, SURE. MIRIAM: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A POET OR CONSIDERED YOURSELF A POET? HOLMAN: IN THE THIRD GRADE-- I WAS SICK WHEN THEY DID POEMS. AND WHEN I CAME BACK, THEY WERE UP ON THE WALL, AND I WAS REALLY UPSET THAT THEY HAD STARTED AT SUCH A JUVENILE LEVEL WITH THE WORK. SO I WROTE MY POEM. IT MUST HAVE BEEN FEBRUARY, FLU SEASON. I WROTE MY POEM, "GEORGE WASHINGTON FOLLOWED INDIAN TRAILS." EVEN THEN, I WAS A POLITICALLY CORRECT 9 YEAR OLD AND TOOK IT UP TO THE TEACHER. SHE SAID, "OH, ROBERT, THIS IS SUCH A LOVELY POEM. WHERE DID YOU COPY IT FROM?" SO I WAS HOOKED. YEAH. SO I GUESS 9, SINCE 9. MIRIAM: DID YOU START READING VERY SOPHISTICATED POETRY AT A PRECOCIOUS TIME... HOLMAN: YES, I WAS A REAL READER. MY MOTHER WAS A GREAT TEACHER, YOU KNOW, AND THAT MYSTERY OF HOW ONE GOES FROM THE VOICE OF YOUR MOTHER OR WHOEVER IS YOUR LULLABYER INTO READING YOURSELF, HOW YOU CONNECT THROUGH THE WRITTEN WORD, THROUGH THE PRINTED WORD IS SOMETHING THAT STILL IS INSPIRING AND MYSTERIOUS TO ME. SO I OWE IT ALL TO MOM. HA HA! MIRIAM: WHEN DID YOU JUMP FROM WRITING MOSTLY? I MEAN, YOU'RE VERY PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED. SO YOU DON'T ALWAYS WRITE JUST FOR THE PAGE. YOU PARTICULARLY WANTED TO CONNECT... HOLMAN: WELL, I DO ALWAYS WRITE FOR THE PAGE, WHICH IS TO SAY IF YOU WRITE, IT'S FOR THE PAGE, YOU KNOW? THERE'S NO WAY TO WRITE--WHAT ARE YOU... YOU'RE WRITING ON A PAGE, OR NOW YOU CAN WRITE ON A SCREEN, WHICH GIVES WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY, YOU KNOW, AT LEAST AN OPENING INTO SAYING, "WELL, I'M NOT WRITING FOR THE PAGE. I'M WRITING FOR THE PIXELIZATION OF THE LIGHT IMPLANTS," OR WHATEVER. I'M NOT THINKING ABOUT HOW TO PERFORM IT AS I'M DOING IT, AS I'M WRITING, BUT, WHILE I AM PERFORMING, I AM THINKING ABOUT WHETHER THESE WORDS ARE WORKING OR WHERE CAN THEY LEAD ME TO. SO IN A SENSE WHEN I'M PERFORMING, I CONTINUE TO WRITE, ALTHOUGH IN THAT SITUATION, I'M NOT WRITING. I'M IN THE AIR, RIGHT? SO, YOU KNOW, THE WORDS GET ALL MESSED UP WHEN YOU START TO INTEGRATE ORALITY AND LITERATURE AND TEXT. BECAUSE WE ARE SUCH TEXTUAL BEASTS RIGHT NOW THAT THE IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, WHEN HIP-HOPPERS DO THEIR POEMS, THEY SAY, "I'M GONNA READ FOR YOU," EVEN THOUGH THE POEM IS NOT IN THEIR HANDS, ON A PIECE OF PAPER AND IN SOME CASES MAY NEVER HAVE BEEN IN THEIR HANDS. IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS COMPLETELY CREATED. [DOOR BUZZES] SELENA GLEN DOES THAT. WELL, SOMEBODY'S AT THE DOOR. MIRIAM: THAT'S TOO BAD. HOLMAN: DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT? MIRIAM: HOW DO I DO IT... HOLMAN: SO YOU WANT TO GET ME BACK ON TRACK OR YOU WANT ME TO TRY TO GO BACK INTO IT? MIRIAM: NO, NO. I THINK I CAN SEGUES WHERE I... HOLMAN: OK. MIRIAM: WANT TO BE HERE. MAN: YOU'RE GOOD. MIRIAM: OK. SO...YEAH. YOU WERE SAYING THAT EVEN HIP HOPPERS, THEY SAY THEY'RE READING IT IF THEY'RE PERFORMING IT WITHOUT A PAPER IN FRONT OF THEM. AND SO WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR PARTICULAR FORM OF POETRY IF YOU HAVE A LABEL FOR IT? HOLMAN: WELL, YOU KNOW, OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, HERE I AM IN THE ACADEMY, WHICH IS WHY WE NEED LABELS, RIGHT? WE ALSO NEED LABELS BECAUSE THERE ARE JUST SO MANY MORE PEOPLE NOW. WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT THINGS FOR EVERYBODY TO DO. WE NEED LABELS BECAUSE THE HORRIFIC TRIUMPH OF CAPITALISM KNOWS THAT TO SELL SOMETHING, IT HAS TO HAVE A SPECIFIC AND SEXY NAME SO THAT PEOPLE ARE GONNA WANT TO BUY IT, YOU KNOW. RIGHT NOW, SPOKEN WORD HAS THE LEAD IN WHAT I DO. EVEN THOUGH WORDS LIKE "SPOKEN WORD" OR "POETRY PERFORMANCE" ARE AS MY TEACHER, WALTER ONG, SAYS, RETRONYMS. THAT IS TO SAY, IT'S THE RENAMING OF THE ORIGINAL ACCORDING TO WHAT WE CURRENTLY SEE AS THIS ENTITY. HIS EXAMPLE WAS "A HORSE IS AN AUTOMOBILE WITHOUT WHEELS." AND SO WHEN WE START TALKING ABOUT PERFORMANCE POETRY, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHAT ORIGINALLY WAS POETRY FILTERED THROUGH THE LENS OF HUNDREDS OF YEARS AND ONLY HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF TEXT TILL THE POINT WHERE SPOKEN WORD IS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY AND A TEXT IS CONSIDERED THE POEM. AND FOR POEMS NOT IN THESE BOOKS, WE THEN RENAME THE ORIGINAL ORATURE AS ORAL LITERATURE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I LOVE ALL THE CONFLICTS BECAUSE THEN YOU GET TO TALK ABOUT POETRY, WHICH IS THE NEXT BEST THING TO TALKING POETRY. MIRIAM: AND THAT MAKES ME JUMP A LITTLE. WE'LL PROBABLY GO BACK AND FORTH. I WAS GONNA GO, "HOW DID YOU MEET HIM? HOW DID YOU GET INTRODUCED TO DEAF POETRY AND ASL," AND ALL THAT, BUT I'M GONNA GO BACK TO THAT LATER... YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS IN ORAL AND PERFORMANCE AND ALL THAT. HOW DOES SIGN LANGUAGE POETRY FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE, DOES IT RELATE TO EVERYTHING YOU'RE TELLING ME ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THIS ORAL THING GOING BACK TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE AND THEN PRINT TOOK OVER? CAN YOU RELATE YOUR WHOLE EXPERIENCE OF...? [AIR WHOOSHING] HOLMAN: ARE WE OK WITH THAT HEATER? I COULD TURN IT OFF. I ALSO NEED TO AT SOME POINT, MIRIAM, I FORGOT TO PRINT OUT MY ASL POEM. I DON'T KNOW IF I'VE DONE IT FOR YOU, BUT I HAVE A POEM CALLED SOMETHING LIKE "IF I HAD ALL THE MONEY." MIRIAM: YOU SIGN IT... HOLMAN: I DON'T SIGN IT. MIRIAM: OH. HOLMAN: YOU CAN SIGN IT. I'D LOVE SOMEBODY IN AN OVAL. MIRIAM: HA HA! OK... HOLMAN: BUT IT'S ABOUT ASL. MIRIAM: OH, COOL. HOLMAN: SO I'D LIKE TO DO THAT, OK? MIRIAM: YES, GOOD. HOLMAN: WELL, I HAVE ALWAYS-- FROM THE SECOND I SAW PETER AND KENNY--AND THAT WAS MY FIRST TASTE OF ASL POETRY-- I KNEW THIS WAS PART OF THE SCENE, PART OF WHAT'S GOING ON NOW TO RECLAIM POETRY'S MUSICALITY AND ORIGINS SO THAT IT COULD HAVE A UTILITY IN A WORLD... THAT IS ANTIPOETIC, WHERE POETRY HAS BECOME THE PROPERTY OF A FEW SMALL BOOK PUBLISHERS AND WHERE POEMS ARE GENERALLY WRITTEN FOR OTHER PRACTITIONERS, WHERE POETRY--THIS IS WHEN I WAS COMING UP-- POETRY WAS GENERALLY THOUGHT OF AS SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY WAS GOING TO TEACH YOU AND IT WAS GONNA BE BORING, AND YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO MEMORIZE IT, AND IT REALLY WAS AN ANTIQUITY. NOW POEMS ARE VITAL IN THE LANGUAGE OF YOUTH AND THE WHOLE HIP-HOP CULTURE THAT IS... ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOVEMENTS GLOBALLY IS BASED ON POETS SPEAKING WORDS. SO IT'S AN AMAZING-- IT'S BEEN A GREAT RIDE IN THE MIDST OF A REALLY TERRIFYING DESTRUCTION OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE TAKEOVER OF CORPORATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE. BUT THE POETIC ECONOMY IS STILL STANDING UP, HE SAID, SITTING DOWN, AND THE POETIC OR GIFT ECONOMY. SO, YOU KNOW, THAT IS WHAT PETER IS DOING UP THERE. HE'S GIVING IT AWAY. HE'S GIVING IT AWAY TO EVERYBODY, AND EVERYBODY IS VERY HAPPILY RECEIVING IT. AND NOT ONLY THAT, BUT THEY'RE GIVING IT BACK. AND THAT'S THE POETIC ECONOMY AS OPPOSED TO $25 FOR A TICKET TO THE 92nd STREET Y, OR, "PLEASE GIVE MONEY TO YOUR LOCAL POETRY ORGANIZATION" SO THAT THEY CAN FUND THE SAME THING THEY WERE FUNDING 50 YEARS AGO. YOU KNOW, WHATEVER. IT'S A NEW THING, AND THAT'S WHAT IT FELT TO ME--A NEW THING. YOU KNOW, AND THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE MORE THE MAGNIFICENT IRONIES THAT POETRY INSISTS ON ARE FISCALIZED BY THE WORK THAT THE ASL POETS ARE DOING, STARTING WITH THE FACT THAT THE BEST EXAMPLE WE HAVE OF A POETRY IN THE ORAL TRADITION-- ORAL TRADITION BEING THAT WHICH IS NOT WRITTEN DOWN-- THE ESSENTIAL POETRY THAT IS ORAL IS ASL POETRY, WHICH CANNOT BE WRITTEN DOWN AND, THEREFORE, IS ONLY ORAL, AND YET IT'S FROM PEOPLE WHO DON'T SPEAK. SO, AGAIN, YOU FIND THE LANGUAGE FOUNDERING UPON ITSELF. AND WATCHING PETER'S ABILITY TO TRANSMUTE SIGN INTO DANCE, MIME, THEATER, SONG IS TO WATCH ALL OF THE SPECIFICATIONS OF ARTS INTO THESE DIFFERENT GENRES TO WASH AWAY AND TO SEE THAT WHAT ART IS IS COMMUNICATION OF A GODLY SORT, COMMUNICATION THAT IS IN THIS CASE WHOLE-BODY COMMUNICATION. AND THAT'S ANOTHER THING THAT ASL DOES THAT NONE OF THE OTHER POETRIES CAN TOUCH. YOU KNOW, WITH A POET IN THE ORAL TRADITION LIKE THE GRIOTS IN WEST AFRICA, THE JALI POETS, IT'S VERY CLEAR THAT THE POEM CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM THE EVENT. THE ANTHROPOLOGISTS ALWAYS HAVE A HARD TIME FIGURING OUT WHEN THE POEM BEGINS, BUT THE POEM BEGINS WHEN THE GRIOTS GOT THE KORA TUNED UP, AND SAYS, "COME ON IN HERE. WE'RE GONNA GET STARTED. LET'S GO. BRING EVERYBODY IN." AND THE FIRST WORDS ARE, "COME ON IN HERE. WE'RE GOING TO GET STARTED," YOU KNOW, BECAUSE AS THE PEOPLE COME IN AND THE POET SEES WHO THE AUDIENCE IS, THE WAY THAT THE POEM IS GONNA BE LAID OUT THIS TIME BECOMES CLEARER TO THE HISTORIAN/ARTIST/ KEEPER OF TRADITION, WHO IS THE GRIOT IN THE ORAL TRADITIONS. MIRIAM: SO IT'S THE SPONTANEITY OF WORKING WITH-- THEY HAVE SOMETHING POSSIBLY PLANNED OR THEY HAVE A WAY THEY'RE GONNA GO, BUT IT CHANGES ACCORDING TO WHO'S SITTING DOWN ON... HOLMAN: I THINK I'M DRAWING A KIND OF COMPARISON BETWEEN--IN THE HEARING WORLD HOW IN THE ORAL TRADITION THE FULL EVENT IS THE POEM. YOU CAN STRETCH IT EVEN INTO SAYING THAT A SLAM COULD BE THE FORM OF A POETRY SLAM WHERE JUDGES ARE PICKED OUT OF THE AUDIENCE, THE RITUALS THAT GO ALONG WITH THE SLAM. THE JUDGES HOLD UP THE NUMBERS, THAT THE AUDIENCE BOOS THE NUMBERS. YOU KNOW, ALL OF THIS KIND OF INTERACTION IS PART OF THE FRAME FOR THE POEM. YOU'RE NOT THERE. ONE OF THE REASONS WHY POETRY SLAMS WORK IS THAT YOU DON'T GO TO HEAR THE POET, YOU KNOW. YOU GO TO SEE THE SLAM, TO PARTICIPATE IN IT. YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR 10 DIFFERENT POETS. WHO ARE THEY? YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW, YOU KNOW, AS OPPOSED TO, "LET'S GO HEAR JOHN ASHBERY READ HIS LATEST PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING WORK." YOU KNOW, THAT'S ONE THING. "LET'S GO TO THE POETRY SLAM." THAT'S... NOT THE ONE THING, YOU KNOW. MIRIAM: IT'S LIKE GOING TO SEE "ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW." THERE'S A FRAMEWORK, BUT IT'S DIFFERENT EVERY TIME, BECAUSE OF WHO THE AUDIENCE IS... HOLMAN: I THINK "ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" DEFINITELY, YOU KNOW, IS A KIND OF ORALITY. YOU KNOW, THE COSTUMING AND THIS, YOU KNOW, BUT, OF COURSE, IN THAT CASE, AT LEAST SO FAR AS I KNOW, THEY'RE NOT MAKING UP THE WORDS. YOU KNOW, THEY'RE USING THE WORDS THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE FILM TO BRING THE FILM BACK TO LIFE, AND TALKING ABOUT HOW FILM INTERACTS--HELLO!-- WITH ORALITY, WITH POETRY IS A WHOLE NOTHER QUESTION. [TELEPHONE RINGS] MIRIAM: DO YOU HAVE TO GET THAT? HOLMAN: WELL, TO STOP IT FROM RINGING. MIRIAM: WHEN YOU WATCH PETER AND KENNY-- A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS, ACTUALLY. FIRST OF ALL, IN TERMS OF WHAT KENNY SAYS--HIS WORDS, WHICH HE SORT OF CONSIDERS CUEING. HE'S NOT AN INTERPRETER AND NEVER PRESENTED HIMSELF AS AN INTERPRETER. HIS GOAL IS TO GIVE AS FEW WORDS AND SOUND EFFECTS AS POSSIBLE SO THAT THE HEARING AUDIENCE CAN KIND OF REALLY FOCUS ON PETER, MAYBE PICK UP--START TO SEE THE SIGNS, NOT NECESSARILY LEARN THEM SO THEY CAN PRODUCE THEM THEMSELVES BUT START TO LEARN IT AS THEY GO SO THAT KENNY CAN VOICE LESS AND LESS. DO YOU FEEL THAT HIS WORDS ARE-- DO YOU WISH THERE WERE MORE? DO YOU WISH THERE WERE LESS? IS THERE, LIKE, A LITTLE VOICE IN YOUR EAR THAT KIND OF GIVES YOU A LITTLE BIT AND HELPS YOU ALONG? WHAT'S THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOU? HOLMAN: YOU KNOW, KENNY AND PETER ARE WORKING IN A ZONE ALL TO THEMSELVES. NO ONE ELSE THAT I SEE HAS BEEN WILLING TO LIVE WITH EACH OTHER FOR 20 YEARS AND FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HECK A POEM IS WHEN IT'S CROSSING OVER BETWEEN ASL AND ENGLISH. YOU KNOW, THERE IS NO GREATER EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR A HEARING PERSON TO LEARN WHAT SIGN IS THAN BY WATCHING FLYING WORDS. THESE ARE BOTH CONSUMMATE ARTISTS, WHO THROUGH THEIR PLAY ARE INVENTIVELY FINDING OUT THE CORE OF WHAT THIS LANGUAGE THING IS ALL ABOUT. AND BECAUSE OF THEIR PLAYFULNESS, BOTH IN CREATIVITY AND ALSO IN THEIR INTERACTION WITH THE AUDIENCE, THEY KEEP EVERYBODY'S INTEREST RIGHT THERE. MAKES IT DIFFICULT MAYBE FOR AN ACADEMIC STUDY OR EVEN A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS, TO ME, THE WAY TO PUSH THE INFORMATION OUT TO THE LARGEST POSSIBLE AUDIENCE. AND I THINK THAT WHAT YOU SEE IN THE PUBLICATION OF THIS RECENT BOOK-- DIRKSEN AND HEIDI'S BOOK. WHAT'S IT CALLED? MIRIAM: "THE BODY POETIC"-- HOLMAN: "THE BODY POETIC." I THINK YOU SEE IN "THE BODY POETIC" THE WAY THAT THE ASL ACADEMY IS MUCH MORE OPEN TO ALL FORMS OF THE POETICS IN THAT COMMUNITY THAN THE HEARING COMMUNITY IS. YOU KNOW, THAT DIRKSEN IS THERE HANDING OUT ACCOLADES TO KENNY AND PETER'S SHOW... AND THAT'S PART OF ASL. THERE'S NO DISTINCTION BEING MADE BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW, YOU KNOW. IS IT BECAUSE THERE AREN'T ENOUGH PEOPLE TO HAVE THAT? OR IS IT BECAUSE THERE IS INHERENT IN USING A WHOLE BODY OF LANGUAGE AND GIVING YOURSELF AWAY SO TOTALLY, IS IT A GIVEN THAT WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER? JUST SO MUCH TO EAT UP, YOU KNOW, IN THIS. MIRIAM: YEAH. THAT'S A GOOD POINT. HOLMAN: I WANT TO GET BACK, THOUGH, TO KENNY. YOU KNOW, KENNY'S WORK HAS EVOLVED EXTRAORDINARILY OVER THE YEARS. AND HE DOES DO A LOT MORE. HE IS MORE WILLING NOW TO BE ON THE SIDE AND TO DROP THE CUES, AS IT'S SAID, INTO THE EARS OF THE HEARING AUDIENCE. YOU KNOW, I THINK OF IT IN TERMS OF THE WAY THAT EDWIN DENBY USED TO WRITE HIS CRITICISM. TO MY MIND, THE GREATEST DANCE CRITIC THAT WE'VE EVER SEEN, AND A POET. DENBY WOULD NEVER HAVE A JUDGMENTAL PHRASE IN ANY OF HIS CRITICISM. HE WOULD SIMPLY ALLOW YOU TO SEE THE PLACEMENT OF THE DANCERS' FEET AND BODY IN SUCH A WAY THAT IF IT WERE AWKWARD AND NOT WORKING, HE'D SAY, "WELL, THAT'S TOO BAD. IT COULD'VE BEEN SOMETHING ELSE." OR IF IT WAS, YOU KNOW, SHEER-ELEGANCE BEAUTY, THEN YOU WOULD SAY, "AHH," AFTER SEEING IT THROUGH THESE WORDS. AND SO KENNY DOES NOT TELL YOU WHAT TO SEE. HE'S THERE IN IT, PUTTING A WORD IN THE PLACE OF-- IT COULD BE THE SIGN OR IT COULD BE THE MOVEMENT, OR IT COULD BE THE WHOLE GESTALT THAT PETER IS AT THAT POINT. LIKEWISE, HIS ABILITY TO TAKE THE REALLY--THE NOISES THAT PETER DOES MAKE, THE DEAF NOISES THAT HE MAKES-- AND LET THEM EVOLVE INTO SOUND EFFECTS THROUGH HIS WORK IS ANOTHER WAY OF GIVING US A WAY INTO THE DEAF EXPERIENCE. YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THE INTRO THAT FLYING WORDS DOES AT TIMES, WHERE THEY GIVE YOU A BRIEF EXAMPLE OF WHAT RHYMES ARE IN ASL POETRY, WHAT CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES ARE BEING USED IN ASL POETRY THAT ARE THE SAME AS, SAY, METAPHOR OR SYNECDOCHE IN HEARING POETRY IS A WONDERFUL WAY-- MAYBE THAT'S JUST BECAUSE I HAVE IN MY OLD AGE BECOME AN ACADEMIC, BUT I LIKE IT WHEN THAT DOES HAPPEN. I THINK THERE ARE LITTLE TIDBITS OF INTRO, YOU KNOW, TO HELP BRING PEOPLE A LONG WAYS. AND THAT'S ALSO PART OF KENNY'S GENIUS IN DOING THIS. SO, YOU KNOW, WHILE NOW IT'S MORE THAN EVER PETER OUT FRONT, ALTHOUGH WHEN THERE IS A DUET, IT IS NEVER ANYTHING LESS THAN BRAVURA ANYMORE. AND YOU'RE NEVER SEEING ANYTHING BUT THE 4-HANDED BEAST, YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY'RE HARD AT WORK IN THE DUETS. I THINK IT IS A MUCH--YOU KNOW, THAT THE PERFORMANCE REALLY HAS CONTINUED TO EVOLVE AND, YOU KNOW, IT CONTINUES TO BE, AS ALWAYS, AT THE HIGHEST POINT IT'S EVER BEEN AND JUST PUSHES ITSELF THROUGH PLAY. AND NOW THROUGH THE WHOLE ENERGY OF THE TRAINS HAVING GONE SO FAR. YOU KNOW, THE CHUG-CHUG, PUFF-PUFF OF "ON WE GO," THAT IT'S TAKEN ON THIS EXTRAORDINARY LIFE. MIRIAM: HAVE YOU SEEN OTHER DEAF POETS OTHER THAN KENNY AND PETER? HAVE YOU HAD ANY EXPOSURES? HOLMAN: YOU KNOW, I WAS AT THE BIG CONFERENCE DOWN AT GALLAUDET, AND I WAS AT THE CONFERENCE IN ROCHESTER IN THE LATE EIGHTIES. OR WAS IT THE EARLY NINETIES? MIRIAM: YOU CAME TO THE DEAF LIT CONFERENCE IN '91. HOLMAN: '91. MIRIAM: YOU WERE AT THAT ONE. HOLMAN: YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHERE I REALLY SPENT, I GUESS, 3 DAYS IN THE MIDST OF THE DEAF WORLD WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING-- I KNEW KENNY AND PETER BUT NOT AS WELL AS I DO NOW, AND REALLY GOT TO EXPERIENCE, I THINK, THE REAL DEAL BEFORE THERE WAS A REAL DEAL. MIRIAM: DO YOU REMEMBER--I KNOW THAT YOU WERE ALSO AT THE GELL HOUSE. THERE WAS A BRIDGE FESTIVAL IN THE SUMMER. HOLMAN: THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I MET KENNY AND PETER. MIRIAM: THAT'S WHEN YOU FIRST MET THEM. AND THERE WERE OTHER DEAF POETS THERE, TOO. AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU SAW THEM OR NOT. I JUST WONDER IF YOU HAVE A BASIS OF COMPARISON OR YOU REMEMBER ENOUGH ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE YOU SAW TO BE... HOLMAN: WELL, I'LL TELL YOU THIS: UM... OH, I CAN'T REMEMBER THE NAMES NOW. YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE THING. BUT I DO--THERE WAS A GUY WHOSE NAME BEGINS WITH "B" AND WHO WAS THE GREAT PROGENITOR. MIRIAM: BERNARD BRAGG? HOLMAN: NO. ANOTHER... MIRIAM: ROBERT PANARA? PATRICK GRAYBILL? AN OLDER GENTLEMAN? HOLMAN: MAYBE IT WAS PATRICK GRAYBILL. YEAH, OLDER. MIRIAM: BALD HEAD? DON'T REMEMBER? HOLMAN: YES. MIRIAM: YEAH. HOLMAN: YEAH. THAT WAS GRAYBILL? MIRIAM: PROBABLY. HOLMAN: YEAH. SO AND THEN, OF COURSE, I REMEMBER PEOPLE AT THE ONE IN GALLAUDET, THE GREAT BIG GUY WHO DID THE WALK THROUGH THE GRAVEYARD PIECE. YOU KNOW, DO YOU REMEMBER HIS NAME? MIRIAM: I'M NOT SURE... HOLMAN: I THINK IF YOU THREW NAMES AND GAVE ME HINTS, I COULD GIVE YOU SOME CAPSULE DESCRIPTIONS. THERE WAS THE WOMAN WHO'S WORKED A LOT WITH FILM, WHOSE WORK I'VE SEEN QUITE A BIT OF. BUT, YOU KNOW, IN MY WORLD-- YOU KNOW, ASL POETRY IS YOU KNOW, ONE OF MANY, MANY KINDS OF ORALITY THAT I'M WORKING WITH THAT I'M NOT SO FAMILIAR BECAUSE THAT WORLD IS MORE ENCLOSED THAN THE OTHERS. AND I'M HOPING THAT THIS BOOK WILL OPEN THINGS UP, BUT THERE'S NOBODY WHO OPENS IT UP OR WHO HAS TAKEN ON, YOU KNOW, THAT RISK OF... IT'S RISKY WHAT PETER AND KENNY ARE DOING-- TO BRING IT THIS FAR TO THE HEARING AUDIENCE. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN I-- LAST NIGHT'S CROWD WAS PRIMARILY DEAF. AND THEY WERE HAVING THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE. AND THE PEOPLE WHO WERE HEARING WEREN'T FAR BEHIND IN HAVING THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE. SO THE RISK REALLY IS WORTH IT. YOU KNOW, WHAT WANTS TO HAPPEN NOW IS THAT THESE POEMS CAN OPEN UP IN OTHER DIRECTIONS AND WITH OTHER POETS. MIRIAM: YEAH, THERE WERE SOME COLLEGE SLAM KIDS THAT WENT RIGHT BEFORE THEM. I WAS THERE AT 6:00 TO WATCH THE SLAM. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. AND THERE WERE 3 GUYS THAT JUST BLEW ME RIGHT OUT OF MY FEET, AND I ASKED THEM TO STAY. AND I SAID, "IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY TO GET IN, "WOULD YOU STAY? "AND I'LL INTERVIEW YOU AFTERWARDS. "AND YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LIKE IT. "I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. "AND BECAUSE YOU GUYS WORK SO MUCH WITH IMAGERY AND METAPHOR "AND INCREDIBLE STUFF WITH WORDS, "IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF THING, I'D REALLY LIKE YOUR TAKE ON IT." AND THEY REALLY LOVED IT, TOO. AND IT WAS GREAT TO GET THEIR COMMENTS AFTERWARDS. HOLMAN: WELL, MIRIAM, THAT'S WHY YOU'RE PRODUCE-- THAT'S WHY YOU GET TO BE THE PRODUCER. THAT IS A BRILLIANT IDEA. AND, OF COURSE, THE IDEA THAT, YOU KNOW, THE HIP HOP SLAM BEFORE THE ASL FLYING WORDS EVENT COULD BE MORE THAN JUST, YOU KNOW, TOUCHING ELBOWS AS YOU COME AND GO, BUT COULD STICK AROUND AND SEE, THAT'S WHY THE BOWERY POETRY CLUB IS THERE. AND IT WAS LAST NIGHT THAT I REALIZED THAT IN MY NEXT PROJECT, WHICH IS TO WORK WITH A DOCUMENTARY UNVEILING THE POETRIES OF ENDANGERED LANGUAGES AS A SENSE OF POLITICAL URGENCY, TO SEE LANGUAGES, WHICH, TO ME, ARE SIMPLY FORMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, AS MUCH PART OF THE ECOLOGY AS ENDANGERED PLANTS AND ANIMALS, BEGINS TO GET AT WHAT THIS LANGUAGE OF ASL IS ALL ABOUT. AND, OF COURSE, IT IS AN ENDANGERED LANGUAGE AS WELL. I'M WONDERING IF THE COCHLEAR IMPLANTS ARE GOING TO HAVE AN IMPACT IN THE ACTUAL POPULATION OF THOSE USING SIGN. AND IT'D BE INTERESTING TO TRY TO KEEP TRACK OF THE NUMBERS. RIGHT NOW, IT'S WONDERFUL JUST TO KEEP TRACK OF THE ART AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. DID A FEW VIDEOS, WHICH IS AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN COME TO A BOOK WITH ASL, WITH KENNY AND PETER. WE DID THEM FOR WNYC's POETRY SPOTS. WE DID THE ONE ABOUT THE DOGGIE. WHAT'S HIS NAME? MIRIAM: CHARLIE. HOLMAN: CHARLIE... THE VIETNAM BOMB-SNIFFING TUNNEL DOG. AMAZING PIECE. AND THEN WE DID FOR OUR VERY FIRST FORAY INTO PBS, US BEING JOSH BLOOM, MY PARTNER ON THESE TV SHOWS, AND ME-- AND MARK PELLINGTON, THE DIRECTOR-- HAD PETER DOING: "YOU HAVE ORDERED ME TO SPEAK," WHICH HE DID SOLO IN THAT SHOW, AND THEN, OF COURSE, PETER WAS THE LAST WORD IN "THE UNITED STATES OF POETRY," THE BIG AWARD-WINNING PBS SERIES. THAT WAS SUCH A BATTLE THERE. I MEAN, PETER WROTE A 15-MINUTE POEM TO BE INCLUDED IN "USoP." AND IT WAS--THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES AS TOLD IN ASL THROUGH EVERY POET AND ICONIC CARICATURE. PECOS BILL AND HIS OLD GIRLFRIENDS ARE INTERACTING. IT WAS JUST A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL PIECE. AND HE DID IT ALL IN ONE TAKE, WHICH STILL EXISTS ON TAPE AS "THE HERO TAKE," IT WAS CALLED. AND WE ENDED UP BEING ABLE TO USE 20 SECONDS, THE VERY END, THE VERY LAST WORD IS GIVEN OVER TO ASL. AND IT WAS ONLY THROUGH--I MEAN, THIS WAS A CUTTHROAT BATTLE AMONGST US... BUT I WAS NOT GONNA DO THIS SHOW IF WE WEREN'T GOING TO GET ASL INTO IT. LIKEWISE, WHEN I WAS A JUDGE OVER IN THE ZEBRA POETRY FESTIVAL IN BERLIN, WHICH IS THE BIGGEST POETRY VIDEO FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD, AND THERE ARE 5 JUDGES. AND ONE OF THE PIECES WAS A REALLY SIMPLE HEADS-- IT'S JUST STRAIGHTFORWARD, ONE CAMERA, ONE TAKE SHOT OF A DEAF POET IN GERMAN SIGN LANGUAGE DOING A POEM AND GETTING SO FRU-- THE DIRECTOR CALLS OUT SOMETHING TO HER THAT, CLEARLY, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT'S GOING ON, AND SHE CAN'T REALLY TELL WHAT HE'S SAYING ANYWAY, AND SHE JUST RUSHES PAST THE CAMERA, AND THAT'S THE END OF IT, UP AGAINST SOME REALLY HIGHLY PRODUCED NUMBERS AND SOME HISTORICAL PIECES THAT WERE FANTASTIC. BUT, AGAIN, THERE WAS A FEELING I HAD THAT THERE IS-- IF YOU DON'T GIVE VOICE TO DEAF POETRY WHEN YOU'RE WORKING ON FILMS, IF YOU DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS THE MEDIUM THAT YOU'VE GOT IF YOU'RE DEAF, THEN, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE MISSING PART OF WHAT FILM AND POETRY IS. AND IT TURNED OUT THAT I HAD AN ALLY, WHICH RARELY HAPPENS ON THESE JUDGING THINGS. AND HE, LIKE ME, AGREED THAT THERE WAS SUCH A POLITICAL EXIGENCY IN LETTING THIS PIECE BE ONE OF THE WINNERS THAT WE BOTH, UNBEKNOWNST TO EACH OTHER, GAVE IT OUR NUMBER-ONE VOTES. AND IF IT GOT 2 OUT OF 5 VOTES, IT WAS AUTOMATICALLY GONNA BE ONE OF THE 3 WINNERS. SO THIS PIECE--THE OTHER 2 PIECES WERE EXTREMELY SLICKLY PRODUCED AND WONDERFUL, EVOCATIVE...MUSIC, THE-WHOLE-9-YARDS PIECES, AND HERE'S THIS RAW LITTLE ONE-TAKE DOCUMENTARY OF AN ASL POET. NOW, IT'S STEP BY STEP TO BRING AWARENESS OF WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE--YOU KNOW, IN A WORLD WHERE YOU'RE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO LISTEN, WHAT IT MEANS THAT YOU CAN'T HEAR. AND IF YOU START FROM THAT POINT, HOW POETRY, IT DOESN'T CUT THE POETRY OUT. IN FACT, IT MAKES IT ALL THE MORE NECESSARY. MIRIAM: WHAT ABOUT THE TRANSLATION PROCESS? LIKE, WHEN YOU CAME TO ROCHESTER, I KNOW I INTERPRETED FOR YOU AT LEAST ONCE AND MAYBE TWICE. ONE TIME WHEN I WAS OUT HERE WITH JAMIE, I REMEMBER. AND I DON'T REMEMBER HOW MUCH TIME WE HAD TO WORK BEFORE WITH MY TRANSLATIONS OF WHAT I WAS GONNA SIGN FOR YOU, BUT EITHER WITH ME OR WITH OTHER PEOPLE THAT YOU'VE WORKED WITH, WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR YOU TO WORK WITH INTERPRETERS WHEN YOU'VE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE? HOLMAN: WELL, FIRST, MIRIAM, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT YOUR TRANSLATIONS GET BETTER THE LATER THE NIGHT IS AND THE MORE ALCOHOL IS CONSUMED. MIRIAM: WHAT ELSE IS NEW? HA HA! HOLMAN: AND, YOU KNOW, IT JUST BECOMES SO ORGANIC, THE TRANSLATIONS. AND LAST NIGHT'S PARTY--AND THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME PAT RUSSELL HAD EVER, YOU KNOW, SAT IT ON A DEAF CONVERSATION, BUT YOUR ABILITY TO KEEP THE TWO OF US AFLOAT IN THIS WORLD OF SIGN WAS JUST, YOU KNOW... IT WAS TOTALLY TERRIFIC, AND YET PAT WAS SO WORN-OUT AT THE END OF AN HOUR. YOU KNOW, HOW... THE ENERGY THAT YOU HAVE WHEN YOU'RE DEAF, THE ENERGY YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF AWAY TO COMMUNICATE IS, YOU KNOW, THE BEST EXERCISE ON THE PLANET, FULL-BODY EXERCISE, BEYOND PILATES. I'VE WORKED WITH DEAF TRANSLATORS THE SAME WAY I'VE WORKED WITH ALL TRANSLATORS IN PERFORMANCE, WHICH IS THAT THE MORE YOU CAN HAVE INTERACTION WITH THE TRANSLATOR, THEN THE MORE YOU CAN BREAK DOWN THE ARTIFICIALITY OF THE FORMAL POEM AND ALLOW THE EVENT ITSELF TO TAKE OVER. SO...THE VERY FIRST TIME THAT I HAD A SIGNING TRANSLATOR WAS AT THE BRIDGE FESTIVAL. IT WAS THAT GUY NAMED BOB. AND I BROUGHT HIM A QUESTION MARK JACKET TO WEAR AS I WAS AT THAT POINT PANIC DJ. I WORE A QUESTION MARK JACKET, WHICH IS WHY, I THINK, THAT THE WRITERS & BOOKS MAN... MIRIAM: JOE FLAHERTY. HOLMAN: OK. I WAS WEARING A QUESTION MARK JACKET. AND I BROUGHT AN EXTRA ONE FOR THE SIGNING TRANSLATOR, AND HIS NAME WAS BOB, TOO. JOE FLAHERTY GAVE ME THE GIG BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT I WOULDN'T JUST STAND THERE ON THE STAGE, AND I DIDN'T. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I TAUGHT A FEW MOVES TO BOB. SO WE WERE ACTUALLY DOING A LITTLE BIT OF DANCE AS I WAS GIVING MY POEM THROUGH THE MIKE AND HE WAS GIVING IT THROUGH HIS BODY AND SIGNS. SO IT'S A WONDERFUL TREAT. FOR PEOPLE--FOR A HEARING AUDIENCE SEEING SIGN FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT'S ALWAYS SO DEVASTATINGLY OTHER-- OR/AND EXOTIC--TO HAVE THESE SIGNS AND THIS KIND OF EMOTION COMING AT YOU. IT'S MORE DRAMATIC THAN SHAKESPEARE. IF SHAKESPEARE'S BEHIND THEM, THIS IS MORE DRAMATIC, THE PERSON IN THE OVAL... [NO AUDIO] WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO REALLY BE WORKED WITH, THOUGHT THROUGH, AND FOUGHT THROUGH AS WELL, YOU KNOW. AND ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS THAT PETER AND KENNY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO AND MAKE FUN OF, WHICH IS ALWAYS, YOU KNOW, EASES YOU UP, BECAUSE THERE AIN'T NO ANSWERS TO IT. JUST, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING IS LOST IN TRANSLATION. ONE OF THE FUNNIEST THINGS: "I WONDER WHAT THAT IS." BUT SOMETHING IS ALSO GAINED, RIGHT? MIRIAM: RIGHT. I REMEMBER WORKING WITH YOU THAT ONE OF THE THINGS I WOULD WORRY ABOUT WHEN I WAS INTERPRETING FOR A POET IS THAT THEIR WORDS MIGHT BE BEAUTIFUL AND IT'S GREAT STUFF AND I CAN COME UP WITH SOME REALLY GREAT TRANSLATIONS, BUT I NEVER WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF IT, BECAUSE THE POINT IS, EVEN IF THE DEAF PEOPLE HAVE TO LOOK AT ME TO GET THE INFORMATION, I'M HOPING THAT THE HEARING POET IS INTERESTING ENOUGH AND MOVES ENOUGH OR HAS ENOUGH CHARISMA THAT THE DEAF PEOPLE, AND ALSO THE HEARING PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO WATCH SIGN, AREN'T ALL FOCUSED ON ME. ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT WORKING WITH YOU IS YOU'RE VERY INTERESTING TO WATCH, SO I KNEW THAT I WOULDN'T BE STEALING-- YOU'RE CERTAINLY NOT SOMEBODY I'D HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MY STEALING YOUR STAGE TIME BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WHICH IS ALWAYS A WORRY, BECAUSE PEOPLE DO SAY, "OH, IT'S SO MUCH MORE FUN TO WATCH "THE INTERPRETER. I LIKE THE POETRY, BUT IT BRINGS IT ALIVE WITH THE INTERPRETER." THERE WAS NO COMPETITION BECAUSE YOU'RE VERY DYNAMIC! HOLMAN: I DISAGREE WITH YOU, YOU KNOW, AND I WOULD LIKE TO ALLOW SIGNERS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT TO DO, WHICH IS WHAT I DO WHEN I TRANSLATE FROM THE URDU OR THE CHINESE. YOU KNOW, I DO KNOW SOME CHINESE. I DON'T KNOW ANY URDU, AND YET I'VE TRANSLATED A LOT FROM THOSE LANGUAGES. AND WHEN I DO, I TAKE IT THE ONLY WAY I KNOW HOW TO TAKE IT, WHICH IS THROUGH ME. NOW, MAYBE IF I WERE A TRANSLATOR FIRST AND A POET SECOND, I'D THINK DIFFERENTLY. BUT I DON'T KNOW. HARD FOR ME TO THINK DIFFERENTLY. I'M ALREADY THINKING DIFFERENTLY. BUT I WISH THAT THE SIGNERS WOULD GO FULL-TILT BOOGIE ALL THE TIME. WHY NOT BE THE CENTER--WHO CARES, YOU KNOW? MAYBE THE POET SAYS, "OH, THEY'RE ALL WATCH..." THANK GOODNESS THEY'RE WATCHING SOMEBODY THAT'S MOVING AND INTERESTING, YOU KNOW. I DON'T CARE WHAT THAT IS. OR, "WOW! MAYBE I SHOULD DO SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT MORE HERE TO GET ATTENTION FOCUSED ON ME A LITTLE BIT," YOU KNOW. TO ME, IT'S A FALSE ISSUE, YOU KNOW, THAT ASL CARRIES IN IT THE SEEDS OF ALL OF THIS, THE ENERGY OF PERFORMANCE OF THE SPOKEN WORD. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? HIDE THAT? BECAUSE YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A POET WHO DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT? WELL, WHY DON'T YOU LET THEM LEARN ABOUT IT, AND WHY DON'T YOU GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE THE BEST EXPERIENCE-- THE DEAF AUDIENCE THE BEST EXPERIENCE THEY CAN? IT'S NOT ACADEMICALLY CORRECT, I'M SURE. YOU WANT TO DO THAT, LET THE ARTIST BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. BUT, TO ME, THE ARTIST ISN'T WHAT'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT. IT'S THE POEM THAT'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT, RIGHT? AND A POEM ISN'T WRITTEN UNTIL SOMEBODY HEARS IT. IF YOU'RE DEAF--HA HA--YOU'RE NOT GONNA HEAR IT ANYWAY. SO A POEM ISN'T WRITTEN-- AND...AN ASL POEM ISN'T EVER WRITTEN, OK? SO THERE IS NO POEM UNLESS THERE'S SOMEBODY ELSE THERE TO SEE IT. AND, YOU KNOW, SO... IT'S ALL UP TO YOU, THE TRANSLATOR. MIRIAM: I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HOLDS BACK, BUT IT'S ALWAYS A WORRY THAT WE'RE THE ONES THEY'RE WATCHING... HOLMAN: PLEASE, TRANSLATORS, SIGNERS, GO WORRY ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE NOW. YOU WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THAT. HA HA! MIRIAM: YOU'RE HITTING EVERYTHING, WHICH IS GREAT. I'M WONDERING ABOUT, IT'S A NEBULOUS TERM. I'M NOT SURE EVEN I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND IT, THE IDEA OF BEAT POETRY, BEAT INFLUENCE. WHAT IS THE BEAT-TYPE STUFF? AND THAT TERM HAS BEEN LIBERALLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY EMBRACED BY PETER AND DEBBIE RENNIE, WHO IS A DEAF POET ALSO, A COUPLE OTHER PEOPLE AS, "WELL, WE'RE SORT OF LIKE-- IT SEEMS LIKE THE BEATS HAD A BIG INFLUENCE ON US," AND ALLEN GINSBERG, OF COURSE, OH, BUKOWSKI BECAUSE, SO MUCH IMAGERY. AND IF YOU COULD RIFF ON THAT A LITTLE BIT--BEAT POETRY AND YOUR OWN STUFF, BEAT STUFF, WHAT YOU SEE IN ASL. HOLMAN: YUP. YOU KNOW, WHAT GINSBERG AND THE BEATS DID IN THE U.S. WAS TO FREE POETRY FROM A CLASSICAL MODE, PUSH IT OFF INTO THE WORLDS OF BOHEME, THE BOHEMIANS. WHAT THE BEAT POETS DID WAS TO FREE THE WORD FROM THE CONFINES OF THE ACADEMIC TRADITIONS AND OPEN IT UP BOTH TO THE WORLDS OF BOHEMIA AND TO THE EVENT OF THE POETRY READING, YOU KNOW? THINK OF IT. I MEAN, GINSBERG'S GREAT POEM IS "HOWL." THERE YOU HAVE IT. YOU CAN HEAR IT. YOU KNOW, WHAT I SEE THE DEAF POETS DOING, WHAT PETER TAKES FROM IT IS THAT SPIRIT OF LOVING REBELLION, YOU KNOW. AND JUST AS IT WAS GINSBERG FIGHTING FOR GAY RIGHTS, FIGHTING AGAINST THE WAR IN VIETNAM, SO DO THE ASL POETS IN THEIR VERY LIFE FIGHT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE DEAF COMMUNITY, OF A MINORITY WHOSE VOICE ISN'T BEING HEARD. THE PLAYFULNESS AND BEAT-- THE PLAYFULNESS OF PETER THE PICKING UP OF THE 5-DAY OLD BEARD AND A BERET-- ACCOUTREMENTS-- IS ALSO JUST A WAY OF RELAXING INTO A POEM. I DON'T THINK THAT THE IMAGERY THAT THE DEAF POETS USE IS REALLY WHAT THE BEATS DID. I SEE IT MORE SIMILAR TO THE OBSERVATION OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, OF COURSE, WHO WAS A GREAT TEACHER TO GINSBERG. BUT, YOU KNOW, HE HAD VERY SHORT LINES THAT WERE VERY DESCRIPTIVE AND ACUTE. AND THAT'S WHAT, IT SEEMS TO ME, THAT MOST--THAT IS, THAT'S COMMON AMONG ASL POETS, IS THAT BY HAVING THE IMAGE BE TRANSMUTED INTO A SIGN, THAT THEY'RE FOCUSING ON THESE CERTAIN OBJECTS, WHICH, THEN, TAKE ON A RHYME AND "LITERARY" LIFE OF THEIR OWN, ALL OF THIS BEING MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THE LONG-LINED WILDNESS OF GINSBERG AND CORSO. MIRIAM: GOT IT. I'M CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR TIME. IT'S 5 TO 2:00. AND YOU'VE HIT ON JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING I WANT TO ASK, UNLESS THERE'S ANYTHING ELSE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WANT TO-- HOLMAN: I WANT TO READ THE POEM. MIRIAM: OH, YEAH! LET'S SEE. MAN: ACTION. HOLMAN: OK, THIS IS "IF I WERE TO THROW MY MONEY." IF I WERE TO THROW ALL MY MONEY INTO ANYTHING, I'D THROW MY MONEY INTO THE DEAF COMMUNITY, IF I WERE TO THROW ALL MY MONEY ANYWHERE, I'D THROW IT INTO ASL BECAUSE THE FUTURE OF THE SPECIES IS IMMUNE TO ALL THE PREACHING AND THE SILENCE OF THESE MOMENTS IS BEST SPOKEN TO BY THE QUIETUDE OF FAR BY FEW OH, IN THE SILENCE YOU HEAR THE HEART DRUM, YOU HEAR THE EAR PULL AIR TOWARDS HAIR BUT IN THE GESTURE OF THE MEASURE OF THE PASTURE YOU ARE FOR SURE ASL'LL LEAD YOU PAST THE PASTURE TO THE GATE WHERE YOU WILL HEAR, SO TAKE MY MONEY, TAKE MY TONGUE, TAKE MY BREATH AND SEE IT FLY, LISTEN TO THE DEAF COMMUNITY, LISTEN TO THE POETRY, THE WHIRR O' MEANING COMING UP FOR AIR, WALK TOGETHER TO THE RIVERSIDE, MAKING SMALL TALK SIGN BY SIGN, THE BODY'S SPEAKING NOW, HUSH LISTEN WITH ECSTATIC EYES. MIRIAM: OH, THAT'S GREAT! CAN I HAVE THAT? HOLMAN: YOU CAN HAVE THAT. MIRIAM: CAN YOU SIGN IT? HOLMAN: I'LL SIGN IT, BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SIGN. [LAUGHTER] MIRIAM: DID I WALK INTO THAT OR WHAT? DID I JUST SAY, "HERE, TAKE ME, UNIVERSE, AND MOCK ME"? [CHUCKLES] THAT'S GREAT. YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT FOR THE INTRO LAST NIGHT. AWESOME. HOLMAN: IT WENT WELL LAST NIGHT. I THOUGHT IT WAS A LOT OF FUN. MIRIAM: BEAUTIFUL. THANK YOU. HOLMAN: OK, GUYS. YOU'RE WELCOME. YOU'RE WELCOME... [CONTINUOUS TONE DROWNS OUT CONVERSATION] MAN: ...IN THE BACKGROUND. THAT'S OK? [LAUGHTER] MIRIAM: SHE'S PERKING. PERCOLATING. ZAWERUCHA: PERKING. MIRIAM: ARE WE READY? AH, OK. SO I NEED YOUR NAME FIRST, PLEASE, AND WHAT YOU DO. ZAWERUCHA: MY NAME IS STEFA. LAST NAME IS ZAWERUCHA. AND I'M A DANCER AND A CHOREOGRAPHER. MIRIAM: AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A DANCER? ZAWERUCHA: I HAVE BEEN DANCING, OH, GOODNESS, FOR OVER 30 YEARS. WELL, YOU KNOW, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN DANCING AS A LITTLE GIRL, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS DANCING, BUT I THINK I WAS. [LAUGHS] MIRIAM: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE DEAF THING FROM THE BEGINNING, IF YOU DON'T MIND? ZAWERUCHA: WELL, THROUGH DANCE. MIRIAM: OK. ZAWERUCHA: I HAD JUST GRADUATED AND GOT MY MASTER'S IN DANCE. AND I WAS APPLYING FOR JOBS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND SENT THEM ALL OUT-- [WHOOSHING NOISE] ALL OVER. AND REJECTIONS WERE COMING BACK, AND THINKING, "OHH, WELL, I DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS IS ALL GOING TO END UP." AND THEN I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM NTID, THE NATIONAL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF. AND THEY SAID THEY WANTED TO INTERVIEW ME. AND I WAS LIKE, "WHOA! OK. IT'S HAPPENING." AND SO THEY FLEW ME OUT, AND I WAS INTERVIEWED. AND I WAS INTERVIEWED BY PATRICK GRAYBILL AND MEMBERS OF THE THEATER DEPARTMENT. AND THAT WAS MY FIRST MOMENTS INTO THE WORLD OF THE DEAF AND THE BEGINNING OF FRIENDSHIPS THAT LASTED A LIFETIME. MIRIAM: DID YOU PICK UP SIGN RIGHT AWAY? TAKE CLASSES? ZAWERUCHA: NO, NO. I HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF SIGN LANGUAGE AT ALL. I HAD VERY LITTLE EXPERIENCE IN DEAF CULTURE. HOWEVER, WHEN I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL, THERE WAS AN OLD VICTORIAN BUILDING THAT WAS RIGHT ACROSS THE HIGHWAY, AND YOU COULD SEE IT FROM OUR HIGH SCHOOL. AND IT WAS ST. JOSEPH'S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF. AND, PERIODICALLY, WE'D GO OVER THERE AND DO THINGS. SO IT WAS SOMETHING THAT IS SORT OF A VAGUE MEMORY, BUT IT CAME BACK TO ME THAT I DID HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL. BUT, NO, WHEN I FELL INTO NTID, I FELL INTO A NEW WORLD. YEAH. MIRIAM: SO HOW DID YOU PICK UP SIGN? YOU WERE TEACHING DEAF STUDENTS, AND YET YOU WERE STARTING OUT WITHOUT HAVING ANY SIGN SKILLS AT ALL? ZAWERUCHA: EXACTLY. MIRIAM: HOW'D THAT GO? WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU? ZAWERUCHA: THAT WAS SCARY. HA HA! I MEAN, YOU COULD IMAGINE. I WAS PLACED INTO A SITUATION WHERE IN 3 MONTHS, I WOULD BE-- ACTUALLY, IT WAS SHORTER THAN THAT. I ARRIVED IN JULY. AND BY SEPTEMBER, I WOULD HAVE DEAF STUDENTS IN FRONT OF ME. BUT I HAD A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL DEAF TEACHER. YOU ALL REMEMBER SAM? SAM HOLCOMB, I BELIEVE. YOU KNOW, HE WAS MY FIRST DEAF TEACHER, AND HE WAS WONDERFUL. AND HE JUST MADE LEARNING REAL. BUT MY TRUE TEACHERS WERE PEOPLE LIKE PETER COOK AND KENNY LERNER AND DEBBIE RENNIE AND PATRICK GRAYBILL. I LEARNED FROM FRIENDS. THEY TAUGHT ME SOMETHING THAT YOU DON'T LEARN IN A BOOK AND YOU DON'T LEARN IN A CLASSROOM. THEY TAUGHT ME THAT THE GOAL WAS COMMUNICATING AND REACHING OUT TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THAT WAS CREATIVE AND EXPRESSIVE. AND I ARRIVED AT SIGN LANGUAGE WITH THAT. THAT'S MY INITIATION INTO SIGN LANGUAGE, IS TO BE CREATIVE AND EXPRESSIVE AND TO COMMUNICATE AND TO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS, BECAUSE IT'S ANOTHER PERSON. AND YOU'RE REACHING OUT TO THEM. THAT'S THE POINT, AND I'M GRATEFUL FOR THAT. MIRIAM: WHAT YEAR WAS THAT, IF YOU CAN REMEMBER? ZAWERUCHA: I DO REMEMBER! 1984. 1984. MIRIAM: SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE MENTIONED IS THAT-- THE IMPROV CLASSES THAT YOU DID AT YOUR LOFT AND OTHER THINGS, I GUESS, THAT WERE MORE FORM...FORMAL-- EXCUSE ME--AT NTID REALLY HAD A BIG IMPACT ON THEIR WORK. SO THERE'S A FEW QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK RELATED TO THAT. AND ONE IS YOU HAVE THESE DEAF PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU, AND YOU'RE TEACHING THEM DANCE, AND YOU'RE LEARNING SIGN. AND I IMAGINE THAT YOU REALLY SAW, THE MOVEMENT OF SIGN IS QUITE A COMPELLING THING AS A DANCER, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY MOVEMENTS THAT ARE DANCE-LIKE AND WHATEVER. SO IF YOU WOULDN'T MIND TALKING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT, LIKE, JUST WHAT THAT WHOLE THING-- YOU'RE LEARNING SIGN. AT THE SAME TIME, YOU'RE TEACHING THE DEAF AND YOU'RE TEACHING THEM MOVEMENT, WHICH THEY ALREADY MOVE, BUT THEY'RE LEARNING A DIFFERENT WAY OF MOVEMENT. JUST RIFF ON THAT WHOLE THING IF YOU DON'T MIND. ZAWERUCHA: I FELL IN LOVE WITH SIGN LANGUAGE. I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. [CHUCKLES] I REMEMBER THINKING TO MYSELF THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I REALIZED JUST HOW COMMUNICATIVE MOVEMENT CAN BE. WHEN I EXPERIENCED SIGN LANGUAGE, I DIDN'T KNOW ASL FROM SIGN EXACT LANGUAGE OR SIGN ENGLISH OR, YOU KNOW, ANY OF THE VARIETIES OF LANGUAGES. I SAW MOVEMENT, AND I WAS MORE THAN COMPELLED. I WAS IN LOVE WITH IT. AND ANYONE WHO WOULD COME UP TO ME AND USE SIGN LANGUAGE, THEY WERE GIVING ME A GIFT. AND I WAS TOTALLY--YOU KNOW, I EMBRACED IT WHOLEHEARTEDLY, TO THIS DAY. I LOVE SIGN LANGUAGE. I TELL PEOPLE IT'S ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGES IN THE WORLD. MIRIAM: DID YOU FIND THAT YOU CHOREOGRAPHED DIFFERENTLY FOR DEAF STUDENTS YOU WERE WORKING WITH THAN...HEARING PEOPLE THAT YOU'D WORKED WITH BEFORE? WAS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT JUST THE NATURE OF SIGNING OR THAT THEY WERE DEAF THAT MADE YOU INCORPORATE DIFFERENT SORTS OF MOVEMENTS INTO YOUR WORK? ZAWERUCHA: I DON'T THINK I ACTUALLY CHANGED HOW I WORK WITH THEM. I THINK WHAT HAPPENED, IT WAS LIKE YOU ADDED TO THE RECIPE A VERY PARTICULAR SPICE, VERY PARTICULAR HERBS, THAT WHAT THE LANGUAGE WAS BRINGING TO MY WORK WAS MORE OF-- IT GAVE IT RICHER. IT MADE IT RICHER. IT GAVE IT AN ESSENCE AND FLAVORS I HAD NEVER TRIED BEFORE. SO IN THAT SENSE, SIGN LANGUAGE DID INFLUENCE ME. BUT AS FAR AS WORKING WITH INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING, I JUST CAME FROM MY OWN AUTHENTIC SOURCE, AND I JUST HOPED THAT WHEN I WAS WORKING WITH THEM, I WAS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WHAT I THOUGHT I COULD GET FROM THEM, WHAT I COULD REACH IN AND PULL OUT. AND IF SIGN LANGUAGE WOULD HELP ME GET THAT, THEN I WAS HUNGRY TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE IN ORDER TO GET TO THAT. SO IT'S NOT SO MUCH THAT, "OH, I'VE GOT TO LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE. AND I BETTER LEARN IT QUICKLY!" IT WAS MORE LIKE, "WHOA. HOW DO I GET THAT INDIVIDUAL PERSON "TO COME TO THIS PLACE THAT I KNOW ABOUT "AND THAT I REALLY WANT THEM TO GET THERE-- "HOW DO I LET THEM KNOW AND TRUST ME ENOUGH THAT I CAN TAKE THEM THERE?" AND THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE-- STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS-- THEY LET ME DO IT, YOU KNOW. THEY SHOWED ME THE WAY. AND I THINK THAT'S WHY IT WORKED. MIRIAM: DID YOU GO TO ANY OF THE PERFORMANCES THAT WERE HAPPENING AROUND THAT TIME? LIKE, THERE WAS THE CELLAR, WHERE THERE WAS A LOT OF DEAF-- FIRST THERE WERE SOME DEAF JAM THINGS HAPPENING AT SOME PARTIES, THAT HAVE BEEN CALLED HEADY MAZE THAT PETER AND DENNIS WEBSTER AND SOME OTHER FOLKS WERE DOING. MIKE HANSEN. THEN THEY WENT INTO THE CELLAR, AND THEY DID MORE PUBLIC SORT OF THINGS. WERE YOU PART OF THAT SCENE, OR DID YOU GO TO ANY OF THAT STUFF? ZAWERUCHA: IS JAZZBERRY'S PART OF THAT SCENE? HA HA! MIRIAM: THAT WAS A LITTLE BIT LATER. THAT WAS A LITTLE BIT LATER. BUT THAT, TOO. I'D LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THAT, TOO. ZAWERUCHA: I THINK I ARRIVED, LIKE, IN THE JAZZBERRY ERA. YOU KNOW, WE'D ALL GO AND GET FOOD AND THEN JUST GO WATCH OUR FRIENDS EXPRESS AND BE ARTISTS. YOU KNOW, IT WAS INTERESTING. WHEN I WAS AT NTID, I HAD STUDENTS, AND THEN I HAD FRIENDS. AND SOMETIMES I WOULD APPROACH MY FRIENDS. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE MY STUDENTS, THEY WERE ALSO MY FRIENDS, BECAUSE I UNDERSTOOD THEIR CREATIVITY, AND I RESPECTED THE LEVEL OF THEIR CREATIVITY, AND I REALLY WANTED THEM TO KNOW THAT I WAS MEETING THEM ON EQUAL GROUND. WHAT THEY KNEW AND WHAT THEY WERE OFFERING ME, I HAD HOPED THAT I WOULD RECIPROCATE THROUGH MY DANCE AND THROUGH THE ARTISTRY THAT I HAVE BEEN PASSIONATE...ABOUT. WHAT WAS THE SURPRISE WAS THAT MY PASSION WAS INCREASED BY THEIR PASSION. AND THOSE 2 WORLDS MET. SO, YEAH, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED BACK THERE--HA HA-- IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK. MIRIAM: IN ROCHESTER. THAT'S AMAZING. IT WAS LIKE THE NEXUS OF IT. PETER AND DEBBIE SPECIFICALLY HAVE SAID THAT THE MOVEMENT SORT OF THINGS THAT YOU WORKED WITH THEM WITHIN DANCE REALLY AFFECTED THEIR WORK. AND I WONDER WHEN YOU WATCHED, LIKE, THE DVD THAT I SENT YOU AND OTHER THINGS THAT YOU MIGHT REMEMBER FROM THAT TIME, CAN YOU LOOK AT THEIR STUFF AND GO, "OH, I CAN SEE HOW I HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF INFLUENCE," AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING EGOCENTRIC OR ANYTHING ABOUT SAYING IT, BUT YOU COULD MAYBE-- HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY SORT OF MOVEMENTS OR ANY SORT OF WAYS THAT THEY WORK THAT WOULD SHOW THAT YOU HAD A LITTLE BIT OF AN INDELIBLE STAMP ON THEM? ZAWERUCHA: WELL, YOU KNOW, MIRIAM, SOMETHING DID OCCUR. BY MY LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF SIGN LANGUAGE AND BY MY SORT OF INNOCENCE IN THAT REALM, I WOULD BRING MY FULL BODY EXPRESSION TO IT. AND THEY WOULD SHOW ME AN EXACT SIGN AND SAY, "OH, NO. THIS IS HOW YOU SIGN IT," AND BE LIKE, "OH! NOW I KNOW." BUT THEN WHEN I'D GO AND USE IT TO COMMUNICATE TO THEM, I WOULD ADD SOMETHING ABOUT ME AND MY MOVEMENT. AND I ALWAYS CALLED IT A KIND OF POETIC LICENSE. AND SO I'D BE TALKING TO THEM ABOUT MOVEMENT AND NOT ONLY BE ADDING MY OWN PHYSICALITY TO IT, YEAH? BUT I WOULD BE ADDING A CONCEPT OF TIME AND SPACE. AND IT'S TRUE IN POETRY, TOO, THAT THERE'S A PLACE BETWEEN THE WORDS AND A PLACE BETWEEN THE MOVEMENT. AND THAT'S THE PLACE I ALWAYS WANT TO GO TO CREATIVELY. AND THAT'S THE SPACE THAT CONTINUES TO INTRIGUE ME TILL THIS DAY. AND WHEN I'M USING MOVEMENT, IT'S JUST A PART OF MY BODY. I JUST CARRY IT. AND SO WHAT I BRING TO THE LANGUAGE, TO AN EXACT WORD, SOMETIMES I STRETCH IT, YOU KNOW? I LET IT BE MORE FLUID. I CREATE A WORD. I MOLD IT. I SCULPT IT. AND I THINK THEY WERE RESPONDING TO THAT. AND THEY WEREN'T CORRECTING ME. THEY WEREN'T SAYING, "OH, BY THE WAY, YOU'RE IN A FRAME, AND YOU SHOULD WORK WITHIN A FRAME," OR, "OH, YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SPIN WHEN YOU SAY THAT WORD," YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO THEY LET ME BRING MY GIFT TO THEIR LANGUAGE. AND I FOUND LATER, WHEN I LEFT ROCHESTER AND CAME TO NEW YORK THAT I WAS AROUND PEOPLE THAT WERE LOOKING AT SIGN LANGUAGE FROM A MORE EXACT FORM, RIGHT, AND I REALIZED HOW MUCH POETIC LICENSE I HAD TAKEN AND HOW MUCH THEY LET ME BRING MYSELF TO THE LANGUAGE. AND THAT, I THINK, MADE THE CHOREOGRAPHY CROSS BOTH WORLDS. IT WAS NOT ONLY A DANCE WORLD, IT WAS NOT ONLY A WORLD OF POETRY, WHICH, BY THE WAY, I VIEW ALL DANCE AS POETRY. I TRY TO FIND THE POETRY OF ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. AND I BELIEVE IT IS IN ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. SO, YEAH, I'M NOT SURE IF THAT EXACTLY ANSWERED YOUR QUESTION. MIRIAM: IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY. ZAWERUCHA: YEAH. MIRIAM: SO WHEN I LOOKED AT, LIKE, "MISSING CHILDREN" THAT DEBBIE AND KENNY WROTE TOGETHER-- AND I THINK THAT WAS ON THE DVD-- AND SHE HAS A LOT OF DANCE, SORT OF, MOVEMENTS IN THAT AS WELL AS SOME CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES--IN SLOW MOTION AND SOME OTHER THINGS. I HAVE AN INTERVIEW WITH HER, AND SHE DOES TALK ABOUT HAVING SOME DANCE BACKGROUND, BUT THE BULK OF HER DANCE INFLUENCE WAS YOU. AND I SEE HER MOVEMENT HAS GOT THIS-- THIS WON'T BE ON THE TAPE, BUT I HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF YOUR WORK YET, BECAUSE I HAVE TO FIND THE TAPES-- IF PEOPLE WILL GIVE THE DAMN THINGS TO ME-- OF THAT TIME PERIOD. AND THEN MAYBE I'LL SEE IT. I'M HOPING TO CUT THINGS, BECAUSE I THINK WE'LL SEE SOME INFLUENCES. AND IF I CAN FIND THOSE OLD PERFORMANCES, TOO, I THINK WE CAN JUXTAPOSE THEM AND SHOW THAT EVEN MORE CLEARLY. BUT I JUST WONDERED IF YOU, WHEN YOU WATCHED THAT, IF YOU GO, "YUP, THAT WAS A LITTLE THING THAT I USED TO DO," OR, "THAT'S THE THING THAT I KIND OF WAS TRYING TO GET MY STUDENTS TO DO MORE OF," OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. ZAWERUCHA: YEAH. I THINK I GAVE THEM THE LICENSE TO USE THEIR WHOLE BODY, NOT THAT I HAD TO TELL PETER AND DEBBIE TO USE THEIR WHOLE BODY OR DENNIS WEBSTER OR ANY OF THEM. WHAT I DID WAS I SAID, "THAT'S BEAUTIFUL. THAT'S AWESOME. AND WHAT IF...?" AND THEN I'D SHOW THEM THE WHAT IF. YOU KNOW? AND, PARTICULARLY, WHEN THEY WORKED IN MY ART AND MY CHOREOGRAPHY, I WOULD ASK THEM TO GO A LITTLE BIT BEYOND WHAT PERCEIVED BOUNDARIES WERE IN THE MOVEMENT AND PERCEIVED BOUNDARIES IN THE LANGUAGE SO IT COULD TAKE IT TO ANOTHER PLACE. AND I THINK THAT THAT'S WHEN IT WORKED MOST FOR ME, AND CONTINUES IN A CHOREOGRAPHIC SENSE TO WORK FOR ME. I USE A LOT OF GESTURES. AND I THINK THAT WHEN YOU CARRY LANGUAGE THAT IS TRYING TO COMMUNICATE SOMETHING AND YOU'RE USING GESTURE AND YOU ALSO HAVE A DANCE BACKGROUND-- A FORMAL DANCE BACKGROUND-- AND YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS, WHEN YOU GET THE FINAL COMBINATION OF ALL THAT, IT'S A NEW THING. IT'S A FRESH AND NEW THING. AND IT'S VERY PRECIOUS. AND I THINK THAT IF YOU TAKE THAT TO YOUR POETRY, YOU KNOW, THE SKY'S THE LIMIT. TRULY. MIRIAM: DID YOU USE ANY OTHER GENRES IN YOUR WORK? LIKE, I'M THINKING CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES OF THINGS THAT ARE STRONG ELEMENTS IN ASL POETRY. WERE ANY OF THOSE SORTS OF THINGS INCORPORATED INTO YOUR DANCE OR CHOREOGRAPHY? DID YOU USE SLOW MOTION OR CINEMATIC THINGS OR ANGLES, ANYTHING LIKE THAT? ZAWERUCHA: THROUGH MY DANCE BACKGROUND, OF COURSE, SLOW MOTION IS JUST EXQUISITE. AS FAR AS THE TECHNOLOGY OF USING ANY OF THE GENRES' TECHNOLOGIES, I DIDN'T HAVE THAT KNOWLEDGE. I CAME INTO NTID, YOU KNOW, A DANCER, A YOUNG GIRL WHO WROTE POETRY AND READ LOTS OF POETRY. I WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR IN COLLEGE, AND ONE OF MY DREAMS WAS TO BE A POET. AND THE BEAUTY OF DANCE WAS THAT IT IS POETRY. AND I CONTINUE TO SEE DANCING AS A FORM OF POETRY WHEN IT COMES FROM A DEEP AND AUTHENTIC PLACE. SO IT'S NOT THAT YOU MIRROR SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK OR YOU TRY TO BE A PART OF A PARTICULAR TIMELY EVIDENT-- OR EVENT. IT'S WHEN SOMETHING DEEP INSIDE YOU IS COMING OUT, AND IT'S COMING OUT IN A TRUTH. AND AT THAT POINT, THE LANGUAGE, THE MOVEMENT IS ONE. IS ONE. MIRIAM: DID YOU INCORPORATE SIGNS INTO... YOU SAY YOU USE A LOT OF GESTURE NOW, BUT AT THIS TIME WHEN YOU WERE LEARNING, DID YOU PUT ACTUAL SIGNS IN THE DANCES THEMSELVES? ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, YEAH. MIRIAM: AND SO WERE THE LINGUISTICS OF THE SIGNS SOMETHING THAT YOU WERE... WAS IT HOW THE SIGN LOOKED THAT WOULD MATCH THE MOVEMENT? OR WERE YOU LOOKING AT THE MEANING OF THE SIGN TO REFLECT THE MOVEMENT OR THE MOVEMENT TO REFLECT THE MEANING OF THE SIGN? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GETTING AT, SORT OF? ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, IT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION. AND THE ANSWER IS YES. I REMEMBER DOING SOME WORK WITH DEBBIE RENNIE. AND WE WERE DOING A PIECE CALLED "GIFTS" AND WHAT WE KNOW OF GIFTS. AND, YOU KNOW, DEBBIE IS SUCH AN INTUITIVE MOVER AND JUST A BRILLIANT MIND IN HER OWN RIGHT. AND, YOU KNOW, HERE I HAD THIS INCREDIBLE TOOL TO WORK WITH. YOU KNOW, A HUMAN BEING BUT, NONETHELESS, SHE WAS MINE, YOU KNOW. AND I WOULD BRING THE SIGN LANGUAGE TO THE MOVEMENT, AND THEN I WOULD DO PERMUTATIONS ON THAT. SO IF YOU HAVE A GIFT AND THEN YOU OFFER THAT GIFT TO SOMEONE, THERE'S SOMETHING BETWEEN THIS SOMEONE AND YOURSELF THAT THE LANGUAGE IS GOING THROUGH THAT PASSAGE. AND THAT'S WHEN A GIFT IS LIKE... [EXHALES] AND YOU CAN WORK WITH THESE SLOW MOTIONS. OR YOU CAN TAKE IT FROM SOMETHING NOT QUITE AN EXACT BUT THERE'S A GIVING AND A SHARING AND EXPRESSING, AND YOU GO PAST THE POINT IN BETWEEN. AND IT'S THAT MIDDLE PLACE, THAT SPACE-- THAT'S THE INFINITE. AND THAT'S WHAT I THINK POETRY GOES TO AND WHAT DANCE GOES TO. AND IT'S LIKE YOU HAVE A WORD HERE AND A WORD HERE. AND, AGAIN, IT'S THAT SPACE IN BETWEEN. AND YOU USE EVERYTHING--YOU KNOW, YOUR WHOLE PHYSICALITY, YOUR WHOLE MENTAL, YOUR WHOLE SPIRITUAL, YOUR WHOLE INTUITIVE. YOU TAKE EVERYTHING. YOU PUT IT IN THAT SPACE. AND THAT'S THE HOT SPOT. THAT'S THE LAVA. THAT'S THE PLACE WHERE THINGS HAPPEN. AND SO WHEN I WOULD COMMUNICATE TO...DEBBIE ABOUT GIFTS, I'D KEEP TRYING TO GO TO THAT PLACE. YEAH. MIRIAM: MM-HMM. COOL. [INDISTINCT CONVERSATION] MIRIAM: THEY TOUR ALL OVER THE PLACE. THE DIRECTOR LIVES IN WASHINGTON, D.C. MAYBE I'LL ASK YOU TO MENTION THAT NEXT. MAN: WHAT WERE YOU GONNA SAY? DIFFERENT MAN: THIS IS A FUNNY ASIDE... ZAWERUCHA: AND I COULD REALLY GET INTO THE FACT THAT THEY WERE USING SIGN LANGUAGE IN A POETIC LICENSE KIND OF WAY. WHAT I DIDN'T REALIZE WAS I WAS PICKING UP SIGN LANGUAGE FROM THEM. THEY WERE MY TEACHERS. AND SO, PERHAPS, I WAS TEACHING A MOVEMENT. I WAS USING A GREAT DEAL OF DISCIPLINE, A GREAT DEAL OF TECHNIQUE. I MEAN, I WAS EXPOSING THEM TO THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF DANCE, NOT ONLY FROM MY PASSIONATE SIDE BUT ALSO FROM MY MASTER TEACHERS. I COME FROM A LEGACY OF POWERFUL PEOPLE-- DANCERS WHO KNEW THEIR STUFF. AND THEY WERE EXTRAORDINARILY GENEROUS WITH THEIR KNOWLEDGE, AND IT WAS ALL GIVEN TO ME. AND NOW THEY WERE BEHIND ME. AND I HAD THESE YOUNG PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME. SO I WAS DEFINITELY SHARING SOMETHING TO THEM. AND WHAT THEY WERE SHARING BACK WAS THIS WHOLE BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF SPONTANEOUS MOVEMENT, LANGUAGE, AND, YOU KNOW, IT WAS JUST VERY RICH. [DEVICE BEEPING] AND I MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES, AND THE COFFEE'S READY. [LAUGHTER] MIRIAM: THAT'S A GOOD THING. GO AHEAD. ZAWERUCHA: YOU KEEP GOING, AND THEY'LL GET THE CUPS. MIRIAM: GO GET YOUR COFFEE. WHAT WERE YOUR TEACHERS' NAMES IF YOU'D LIKE TO MENTION, YOU WANT TO HONOR SOME OF YOUR TEACHERS? ZAWERUCHA: GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I HAD SO MANY OF THEM. AND I'M GONNA HESITATE BECAUSE I'D HATE TO LEAVE ONE OUT. MIRIAM: OK. NEVER MIND, THEN. ZAWERUCHA: BUT I WILL SAY THAT MY JOURNEY IN DANCE STARTED IN AN IMPROV CLASS IN NEW YORK CITY. AND IT WAS WITH A TEACHER NAMED NORMA [INDISTINCT]. AND SHE WAS A PRETTY POWERFUL LADY AND VERY, VERY CREATIVE. AN ARTIST. AND SHE SAW SOMETHING IN ME THAT I DIDN'T SEE. AND SHE KEPT ME AT IT. AND WHEN SHE GOT A JOB AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO, THAT WAS MY JOURNEY TO DANCE IN A SERIOUS WAY. UP UNTIL THAT POINT, I WAS STILL PLANNING ON WRITING FOR THE "NEW YORK TIMES"-- HA HA--AND WRITING. I WAS KEEPING JOURNALS REGULARLY AND JUST GOING TO POETRY READINGS AND LIVING A WORLD OF LITERATURE AND THE ART IN THE POEMS. AND DANCE CAME IN AND... [SLAP] I FELL DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH DANCE. YEAH. MIRIAM: YOU ARE TEACHING DANCE NOW TO KIDS, TO DEAF KIDS. ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, I AM. MIRIAM: AND I'M WONDERING, WHAT DO YOU SEE IN YOUR DANCE THAT'S INFLUENCING THEM? LIKE, HOW ARE YOU WORKING WITH THEM? ARE YOU WORKING WITH THEM IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN THE COLLEGE STUDENTS THAT YOU USED TO WORK WITH? AND WHY TEACH DEAF KIDS? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? ZAWERUCHA: WELL, I THINK THE QUESTION SHOULD BE, WHY NOT? YOU KNOW, WHY TEACH ANYONE? I BELIEVE IF YOU HAVE A GIFT, YOU SHOULD SHARE IT. YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOUR PATH IS, WHERE YOU'RE GONNA END UP, YOU KNOW. I HAD NO IDEA WHEN I WAS GETTING MY MASTER'S AT MILLS COLLEGE THAT I WOULD END UP IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, TEACHING AT THE NATIONAL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF. I DO KNOW THAT WHEN I ARRIVED AND BEGAN TO BE A PART OF IT, I REALIZED I WAS QUITE COMFORTABLE. SO IT SORT OF TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARRIVED, YOU KNOW, THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN FRONT OF US, BUT WHEN WE GET THERE, THERE'S A FEELING OF HAVING ARRIVED. AND, AGAIN, I WILL SAY THAT THESE FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES TREATED ME THAT WAY, AS IF YOU'VE ARRIVED. YOU KNOW, "WELCOME IN TO THE FAMILY." AND THAT WAS WONDERFUL, REALLY WONDERFUL. WITH CHILDREN, IT'S INTERESTING. WHEN I WAS TEACHING COLLEGE-AGE YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY WERE TELLING ME ABOUT THEIR HORROR STORIES AND THEIR DREAMS AND HOPES WHEN THEY WERE CHILDREN. AND I KEPT THINKING, "GOODNESS GRACIOUS! "WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE YOUNG DEAF CHILDREN "AND CHANGE WHAT I'M HEARING SO THAT THEY CAN GROW UP "WITH A MORE PERSONAL SENSE OF SAFETY, A MORE RIGHTEOUS SENSE OF 'I AM PRESENT IN THIS CULTURE. I AM HERE.'" AND KNOCK, KNOCK. YOU KNOW, "I'M HERE, AND I'M GONNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE." WE NEED TO GET THOSE YOUNG CHILDREN TO GROW UP AND BECOME THE KIND OF TALENTS LIKE A PETER COOK, LIKE A DEBBIE RENNIE, LIKE A PATRICK GRAYBILL. AND WHEN, SUDDENLY, I ARRIVED IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, AND I WAS IN THAT POSITION, I DID A LITTLE... YOU KNOW, I LOOK BACK AND REALIZED I HAD THOUGHT THAT TO MYSELF, THAT WE NEED TO MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE. SO I TOLD MYSELF THAT I WOULD TRY TO MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE ONE-TO-ONE ON EACH OF THESE STUDENTS. I WOULD TRY TO BECOME WHAT I WAS HOPING WOULD EXIST. YOU KNOW, HAVE I BEEN SUCCESSFUL? I DON'T KNOW. I DO KNOW THAT SEVERAL OF MY STUDENTS CAME TO THE READING LAST NIGHT, AND THEY WERE TOTALLY INVOLVED. AND ONE OF MY STUDENTS, ARMANDO, CAME UP, AND HE SAID HE'S GONNA TRY. YOU KNOW, HE'S GONNA TRY TO GET INVOLVED MORE WITH PERFORMING AND POETRY AND WRITING. AND I LOOKED AT HIM, AND I SAID, "YOU HAVE THE SENSITIVE HEART FOR THAT. YOU HAVE THE SOUL, THE SPIRIT. DON'T STOP. DO THAT." SO, YOU KNOW, THEY SAY IF YOU REACH ONE PERSON. SO I DON'T KNOW IF THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION, PER SE, BUT IT'S NOT THAT I CHANGED MY TEACHING BECAUSE THEY WERE CHILDREN AND DEAF CHILDREN. IT'S THAT I HAD TO BRING EVERYTHING I KNEW FROM MY NTID EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERIENCE THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS SO GRACIOUSLY GAVE ME. I HAD TO BRING THAT ALL BACK TO THE NEXT GENERATION, AND THAT I HAPPEN TO HAVE BEEN THE TRANSFER POINT. YOU KNOW, I'M LIKE THE CATALYST. AND, YEAH, I'LL KEEP TRYING. MIRIAM: YEAH. DO YOU SEE...UM... NO. THAT ONE IS FINE. I WAS THINKING ABOUT SIGNS AND DANCE WITH THE KIDS AND EVERYTHING, BUT THAT'S TANGENTIAL. THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT I NEED UNLESS THERE'S ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADDRESS. ANYTHING MORE... MAN: I THINK THAT WE SHOULD ASK HER A FEW THINGS. ONE--THAT WE SHOULD ASK HER WHAT SHE REMEMBERS FROM JAZZBERRY'S. [LAUGHTER] [INDISTINCT CONVERSATION] KENNY: JUST ME, DEBBIE, AND STEFA WORKING TOGETHER, YOU KNOW. JUST [INDISTINCT]. ZAWERUCHA: AND DOROTHY, THE WHOLE THING WITH DOROTHY. REMEMBER THAT? ZAWERUCHA: WHAT'S THE NAME OF THAT PIECE, STEFA... KENNY: THE ONE YOU TOOK NEW YORK. ZAWERUCHA: OH, "PLACE SETTINGS"? KENNY: YEAH... ZAWERUCHA: "PLACE SETTINGS." KENNY: THAT WAS REALLY... ZAWERUCHA: I MEAN, THERE'S SO MANY PLACES WE CAN GO WITH THIS. MIRIAM, FEEL FREE TO--I MEAN, KENNY, YOU'RE RIGHT... KENNY: YOUR TIME IS LIMITED, BUT I JUST THINK THAT JAZZBERRY'S AND WHEN WE CAME TO NEW YORK CITY, I THINK THAT THAT WAS REALLY A SPECIAL THING. MIRIAM: WHAT'S THE TIME THING THAT YOU TOLD ME ABOUT? THE PIECE THAT I KEEP ASKING YOU ABOUT. KENNY: "PLACE SETTINGS." MIRIAM: NO, NO, NO, NO. THE OTHER ONE... ZAWERUCHA: "PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM." MIRIAM: THAT ONE. KENNY: OH, OK. ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, THAT WAS PERFORMED. THAT WAS A COLLABORATION WITH MY HUSBAND, DAVID FRITZ, AND CAT ASHWORTH, THE VIDEOGRAPHER AND JIM--I WANT TO-- JIM DEMILLE, MUSIC. THERE WAS QUITE A FEW INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN THAT... [MAN SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY] ZAWERUCHA: NO. IN "PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM." MAN: THAT WAS DENNIS...? KENNY: DENNIS WEBSTER. ZAWERUCHA: OH, DENNIS WEBSTER WAS IN THAT. MAN: THAT WAS JUST YOU AND DENNIS, HUH? ZAWERUCHA: YEAH. AND PERFORMING, CAT. AND WE...THAT WAS FIRST PERFORMED AT NTID. AND THEN LATER WE PERFORMED IT AT THE PYRAMID ARTS CENTER IN ROCHESTER. WE WERE NOT ABLE TO TAKE IT TO NEW YORK CITY, BUT IT WAS ON CABLE. SO SOME PEOPLE, PERHAPS, HAVE SEEN IT ON CABLE. YEAH. AND THEN DURING THAT SAME PERIOD, DAVE AND I WOULD SORT OF DO CHILL DOWN TIME. YOU KNOW, IT WAS INTERESTING. WE WERE DANCING ALL DAY AND DANCING ALL NIGHT. AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE WOULD DO TO SORT OF JUST HANG OUT AND CHILL IS GO TO EACH OTHER'S HOMES AND CONTINUE TO BE CREATIVE, WILD MANIACS AND JUST, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, SKY'S THE LIMIT IN TERMS OF HOW WE'D PLAY TOGETHER AND CREATED TOGETHER. AND THEN IN A MORE FORMAL WAY, THEY TOLD US ABOUT THESE POETRY READINGS THAT WOULD BE IN DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER, WHICH WAS AT A RESTAURANT. AND IT WAS CALLED JAZZBERRY'S. AND IT HAD GREAT FOOD. AND PEOPLE WOULD GO THERE, AND WE'D JUST CHOW DOWN. AND THEN AFTERWARDS THERE WOULD BE THESE READINGS. AND DAVE AND I WOULD GO THERE, AND THESE WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND POETS--DEAF POETS--WOULD DO THEIR THING. AND I'D JUST SIT BACK AND BE IN SEVENTH HEAVEN BECAUSE THERE IT WAS, YOU KNOW? AND I WOULD WATCH THEIR ART AND THEIR PASSION. AND THAT WAS VERY INSPIRING. MIRIAM: DID YOU EVER GO TO ANY OF THE READINGS THAT WERE WITH HEARING PEOPLE WITH INTERPRETIVE PERFORMANCES THAT WERE REHEARSED? LIKE, A HEAVY-DUTY TRANSLATED, INTERPRETIVE PERFORMANCE OF HEARING POETS AS WELL? THE "PAINTED ROPE" SERIES THAT JIM COHN HAD GOING OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT? ZAWERUCHA: MY EXPERIENCE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THROUGH JIM COHN, MAYBE HEARING SOME OF HIS POETRY THROUGH HIM. MIRIAM: OK. ZAWERUCHA: THE TRUTH WAS, IS I WAS SO INVOLVED IN THAT CIRCLE THAT I WAS IN THAT I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPLORE. THERE WAS WRITERS & BOOKS. I THINK IN ROCHESTER, THERE WAS A PLACE CALLED WRITERS & BOOKS. AND I DIDN'T GET A CHANCE-- THERE WAS ALWAYS A LITTLE TAP ON MY SHOULDER, SAYING, "THAT'S THERE. THAT'S THERE." BUT I WAS SO INVOLVED IN THE CIRCLE THAT I WAS IN. SO I DIDN'T GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE THAT. PERHAPS THAT'S ANOTHER PASSAGE IN MY LIFE. IT WAS ENOUGH TO DO EXACTLY WHAT I WAS DOING. MIRIAM: WHAT ABOUT YOUR IMPROV GROUP? I DID WANT TO ASK ABOUT THAT. ZAWERUCHA: WELL, I GOT INTO DANCE THROUGH IMPROV. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT DANCE WAS, WAS IMPROVISATION AND JUST LETTING YOUR WHOLE BEING EXPRESS. AND SO I BROUGHT THAT INTO THE COMMUNITY. AND PEOPLE WOULD BE LIKE, "OH, I'VE NEVER DANCED BEFORE." I SAID, "WELL, WHEN I FIRST DID IMPROV, "I NEVER DANCED BEFORE. SO COME ON." HA HA! AND SO DAVE AND I HAD A LOFT IN DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER. I THINK IT WAS ON ST. PAUL'S. AND WE HAD ON FRIDAY NIGHTS OPEN IMPROV. AND IT WAS--PEOPLE WERE COMING IN FROM EVERY DIRECTION: DEAF, HEARING, ARTISTS, TECHNICIANS, WRITERS, MUSICIANS, VIDEOGRAPHERS. WE WERE A WILD GROUP OF CREATIVE PEOPLE. IT WAS RICH. IT WAS FUN AND PASSIONATE. AND FRIENDSHIPS, DEEP FRIENDSHIPS EVOLVED OUT OF THAT. YOU KNOW, YOU WORK WITH SOMEONE AT SUCH A LEVEL, YOU CAN'T HELP BUT BOND WITH THEM. YEAH. THERE'S THAT RICH BONDING THAT HAPPENS. AND SO THAT WAS THE GIFT OF THE ERA. YEAH. MIRIAM: COOL. AND IS THAT SOMETHING THAT IMPROV DID? OR DOES THAT CLICK, RESPOND TO YOU AND... ZAWERUCHA: IT WAS WONDERFUL... MIRIAM: KENNY AND DEBBIE DOING IT? CAN YOU SPEAK TO THAT? ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, WE HAD MANY BRANCHES. SO THE IMPROV GROUPS AT THE LOFT WAS ONE ASPECT OF IT. WE HAD THE CHOREOGRAPHIC PROJECTS THAT WE ALL DID. ONE WAS "PLACE SETTINGS" THAT KENNY LERNER AND DEBBIE RENNIE WERE INVOLVED IN, AND DAVID FRITZ. AND WE TOOK THAT TO NEW YORK CITY TO DANCE THEATER WORKSHOP. AND A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL TIME PERFORMING THAT IN NEW YORK CITY. IT WAS MY OWN WORK, SO I'LL LET SOMEONE ELSE TALK ABOUT ITS SUCCESS, BUT A REAL JOY TO WORK ON, A REAL JOY TO WORK ON. AND IT'S AN EVOLUTIONARY PIECE BECAUSE I DID IT YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS A GRADUATE STUDENT WITH A COLLEAGUE AT THAT TIME, A DANCER. HER NAME IS SUSAN GALLIGAN. AND SHE ALSO HAD WORKED WITH THE DEAF. AND HER EXPERIENCE IN "PLACE SETTINGS" WAS THEN REPLACED BY DEBBIE RENNIE YEARS LATER. AND IT WAS ABOUT A COUPLE AND THEIR AGING PROCESS FROM YOUNG LOVE TO THE TIES THAT BOND IN YOUR EARLY YEARS AND IN YOUR MIDDLE YEARS AND THEN IN YOUR OLDER YEARS, WHERE YOU BEGIN NEW TIES. AND YOU SEPARATE THE OLD TIES AND ADD NEW ONES. AND YOU DO PERMUTATIONS ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP INTO OLD AGE AND THEN THE PASSING AND THE SEPARATENESS OF THAT JOURNEY. AND I MUST SAY THAT DEBBIE WAS EXQUISITE. AND WHAT SHE BROUGHT TO THAT PIECE WAS A VERY EXACT AND FULL UNDERSTANDING OF AGING. SHE WAS ABLE THROUGH HER MIND, THROUGH HER SKILLS AS A POET, THROUGH HER SKILLS AS AN ACTRESS, SHE WAS ABLE TO AGE BEFORE OUR VERY EYES, THAT WHEN SHE PORTRAYED SOMEONE IN THEIR 80s-- SHE WAS IN HER YOUNG 20s-- IT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. AND IT WILL ALWAYS LAST IN MY MEMORY THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO TRANSFORM HER BODY AND DO THE MOVEMENT. AND IT WAS REAL. SHE MADE IT REAL. IT'S A GIFT THAT SHE HAD, AND THAT I HAD THE PLEASURE TO WORK WITH. AND, OF COURSE, DAVID IN HIS WILD ABANDON, HE JUST COMPLEMENTED IT. AND HE'S A RUNNING THEME. HE DID IT WHEN SUSAN GALLIGAN WAS HIS PARTNER. HE DID IT WHEN VARIOUS OTHER PEOPLE WERE HIS PARTNER. AND WHEN DEBBIE WAS HIS PARTNER, THEY HAD GREAT CHEMISTRY. WOULDN'T YOU SAY SO, KENNY? KENNY: OH, AMAZING. ZAWERUCHA: AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME CHEMISTRY. MIRIAM: IS THERE ANY DOCUMENT OF THIS? THERE'S NO FILM OF THIS? ZAWERUCHA: THERE MAY BE A DOCUMENT. I'M NOT SURE IT STILL EXISTS. I'D HAVE TO SEARCH IT OUT. LET'S SEE IF WE CAN FIND IT. MAN: THERE MIGHT BE ONE IN THE EARLIEST [INDISTINCT] PERFORMANCES IN NEW YORK. THEY AIRED A POEM DEBBIE DID THAT'S CALLED "CHOCOLATE." MIRIAM: "I RAPE CHOCOLATE." ZAWERUCHA: AH, "CHOCOLATE"! YEAH, YEAH. SO, YEAH, SO THAT CHEMISTRY WORKED REAL WELL. THE THING I HAVE TO SAY IS THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS, I FOUND THE CHEMISTRY WITH THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED WAS ALWAYS PERFECTION. [KISS] REALLY, REALLY FINE, REALLY FINE STUFF. SO I'VE BEEN A LUCKY WOMAN. KENNY: I HAVE ONE QUESTION FOR YOU. WAY BACK WHEN I DID... THIS IS ABOUT ME. SO YOU CAN TURN OFF THE CAMERA. MIRIAM: KENNY, I'M SORRY. WE DON'T HAVE TIME. KENNY: OK, BUT IT RELATES. MIRIAM: IF IT RELATES, FINE. KENNY: IT RELATES. I JUST WANT TO KNOW BECAUSE OF THE FEATURE. OK? MIRIAM: OK, FINE. KENNY: YOU SAID--WE WERE TALKING ABOUT PETER AND ME AND DEBBIE, BECAUSE WE WERE LIVING TOGETHER. AND YOU COMPARED ME WITH SOMEONE FROM A LONG TIME AGO ARTS SCENE. AND I WAS NOT AWARE OF THAT TIME PERIOD. DO YOU REMEMBER... ZAWERUCHA: WAS IT A PROFESSIONAL INDIVIDUAL? KENNY: IT WAS A PROFESSIONAL PERSON WHO WAS WORKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE, LIKE I WAS. AND... ZAWERUCHA: AND I MADE A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO? KENNY: YOU DON'T REMEMBER. ZAWERUCHA: I DON'T REMEMBER, I'M SORRY TO SAY. KENNY: OK, I WAS JUST CURIOUS... ZAWERUCHA: BUT, YEAH, I'M SURE YOU WERE. HA HA! KENNY: I WAS JUST CURIOUS. I WANTED TO KNOW WHO THAT WAS. ZAWERUCHA: DAVID, YOU HAVE A MEMORY OF ANYBODY? DAVID: I'LL THINK ABOUT IT. I'LL LET YOU KNOW. ZAWERUCHA: WE'LL GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT. YEAH. KENNY: THINK ABOUT IT. YEAH. ZAWERUCHA: YEAH. [KENNY AND MIRIAM SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY] ZAWERUCHA: I THINK I JUST WANT TO SAY ONE MORE THING, IF I MAY. MAN: YOU WANT TO STOP THIS? BECAUSE IT'S GONNA MAKE SOME NOISE. MIRIAM: OH, OK... KENNY: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. ONE SECOND. ONE SECOND. AND GO. ZAWERUCHA: IT'S GREAT THAT AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE THAT I STILL HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE FRIENDSHIPS AND THE BONDS THAT WE CREATED AND THAT THE ARTISTRY, THE PERSONAL EFFORT, AND PASSIONS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL IS CONTINUING, THAT EACH OF US ARE BRINGING TO OUR LIVES THE LENGTH OF THAT, THAT IT WASN'T A SHORT-LIVED MOMENT IN TIME THAT'S GONE, BUT THAT IT HAS AN EVOLUTION AND THAT IT'S CONTINUING TO GROW AND PROSPER. AND I THINK THAT SEEING THE WORK OF, LIKE, PETER COOK AND KENNY LERNER AND SEEING HOW IT'S DEVELOPED AND HOW IT'S GROWING AND THE PLACE THAT THEY ARE NOW, THAT'S REAL SPECIAL AND POIGNANT. AND I'M SO, SO HAPPY TO SEE THAT IT'S CONTINUING. I'M REALLY GLAD FOR IT. YEAH. MIRIAM: GREAT. I'M JUST GONNA SCAN NEXT... [PAGES RUSTLING] I'LL HAVE ANOTHER LOOK TO MAKE--THAT WE'VE GOT-- WE'VE COVERED BASICALLY... THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PAPER. I FIND THAT WHEN I'M LOOKING FOR IT THAT I HAVE IT. HERE IT IS. OK. ZAWERUCHA: HEY, YOU. MIRIAM: YOU MET ALL THREE OF THEM? I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE I'VE GOT THIS. YOU MET PETER, YOU MET DEBBIE, YOU MET KENNY, YOU MET PATRICK ALL THROUGH THE DANCE DEPARTMENT. YOU HADN'T MET THEM ANYPLACE ELSE BEFORE YOU MET THEM AS YOUR ENTREE INTO THAT WORLD. THEY WERE SOME OF THE FIRST... ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, A PETRI DISH WAS NTID. [LAUGHTER] ZAWERUCHA: YEAH, WE ALL SORT OF, LIKE, DROPPED IN. I MEAN, WELL, PATRICK WAS THERE. HE WAS FACULTY THERE. AND, YOU KNOW, PATRICK. PATRICK IS SO EXPRESSIVE, SO... I MEAN, I'M IN AWE OF HIS ARTISTRY. AND I REALLY HOPE I GET TO SEE HIM SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE. PATRICK'S FINGERS. THEY JUST, LIKE, REACHED OUT, YOU KNOW? HE USED THAT TIME AND SPACE WITH HIS HANDS IN A WAY I'VE NEVER SEE ANYONE DO IT. HE WOULD EXPRESS SOMETHING AND USE THE LANGUAGE. AND HIS FINGERS WOULD JUST, LIKE, LENGTHEN. AND THEN THE ESSENCE OF HIS POET WAS RUNNING THROUGH HIS FINGERS. AND HE WAS JUST A TOTAL PHYSICAL BEING WITH HIS POETRY. AND THEN HE WAS MY COLLEAGUE. YOU KNOW, I'D SEE HIM EVERY DAY. I WAS LIKE, "HEY, PATRICK. HOW ARE YOU? WHAT'S UP?" YOU KNOW? AND HE'D TEACH ME. AND THEY WOULD ALL TEACH ME. SO, YEAH. THE PETRI DISH WAS NTID FOR ME. MIRIAM: BEAUTIFUL. THANK YOU. ZAWERUCHA: YOU'RE WELCOME. MIRIAM: THAT WAS GREAT. THERE'S SO MUCH IN HERE. THERE'S A LOT OF GREAT LITTLE PEARLS THERE. ZAWERUCHA: I APPRECIATE THAT I'M INVOLVED.
Notes: 
"This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."
Notes: 
Title supplied by cataloger
Other Title: 
Heart of the hydrogen jukebox