SKYLIT: Janice Lee & Gabrielle Civil

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, essays, skylit by skylightbooks on October 13th, 2021
In the face of a slow but impending apocalypse, what binds three seemingly divergent lives (a writer, a photographer, an old man), isn’t the commonality of a perceived future death, but the layered and complex fabric of how loss, abuse, trauma, and death have shaped their pasts, and how these pasts continue to haunt their present moments, a moment in which time seems to be running out. The writer, traumatized by the violent death of her mother when she was a child, lives alone with her dog and struggles to finish her book. The photographer, stunted by the death of his grandmother and caretaker, struggles to take a single picture and enters into a complicated relationship with the writer. The old man, facing his past in small doses, spends his time watching television and reorganizing the objects in his apartment to stay distracted from the deterioration around him. A depiction of the cycles of abuse and trauma in a prolonged end-time, Janice Lee's Imagine a Death examines the ways in which our pasts envelop us, the ways in which we justify horrible things in the name of survival, all of the horrible and beautiful things we are capable of when we are hurt and broken, and the animal (and plant) companions that ground us.
How can you return to where you've never been? ( GHOST GESTURES ) conjures diaspora hauntings and traces black bodies across space and time. In Dakar and Banjul, Detroit and Montreal, Tlaxcala and Río Piedras, Gabrielle Civil showcases black bodies dancing, hiding, and re-emerging. In performance writing, she invokes the doll, the queen, and the ghost to explore where black women have never and always been. She plays hide-and-seek with her own transforming body and tackles history, identity, art, and desire. bring this here / bring this back / keep this here / bring us back / bring us here / bring us back to this. Incorporating chants, notations, images, and scores, ( GHOST GESTURES ) will spirit you away.

Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, Natalie Freeman, & Michael Kowaleski.

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

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