Mike Sell is Professor of English and member of the Graduate Program in Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Avant-Garde: Race Religion War (Seagull Books 2011) and Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism (University of Michigan 2005), and editor of Avant-Garde Performance and Material Exchange: Vectors of the Radical (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) and Ed Bullins: Twelve Plays and Selected Writings (University of Michigan 2006). His essays have appeared in TDR, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Modernism/Modernity, African American Review, and other journals.
To listen to an interview with Mike Sell, click onto the link:
Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism looks at the American avant-garde during the Cold War period, focusing on the interrelated questions of performance practices, cultural resistance, and the politics of criticism and scholarship in the U.S. counterculture. This groundbreaking book examines the role of the scholar and critic in the cultural struggles of radical artists and reveals how avant-garde performance identifies the very limits of critical consideration. It also explores the popularization of the avant-garde: how formerly subversive art is eventually discovered by the mass media, is gobbled up by the marketplace, and finds its way onto the syllabi of college and university courses. Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism is a timely and significant book that will appeal to those interested in avant-garde literary criticism, theater history, and performance studies.
“An important study that will raise the bar not only on scholarship of the Black Arts Movement, but on U.S. avant-gardism generally.”
—James Smethurst, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Wayne Carr is a licensed psychologist with a psychotherapy practice in Seattle.
To listen to Dr. Wayne Carr, click onto the link:
Arts in the Valley host Kim McMillon interviews literary icon Kim McMillon on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 & 14, 2013. Kim McMillon also interviews Melissa Kelly-Ortega about her Arts in the Valley monthly program, Eyes on the Community. Melissa lets the public know what’s happening in Merced and surrounding communities. Hip Hop Movement of UC Merced will also be interviewed about their upcoming programs.
To listen to the interview with Nikki Giovanni, click onto the link:
Melissa Kelly-Ortega is the Communication Specialist for Building Healthy Communities.
To listen to Melissa’s interview, click onto the link:
Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion plan of The California Endowment. In connection with staff-led, statewide policy initiatives, 14 communities, including Southwest Merced/East Merced County, are taking action to make where they live healthier. They’re doing this by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy food and more.
The goal: to create places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. Ultimately, we’re aiming at nothing less than a transformation in the way all of us think about and support health for all Californians.
For more information, please visit http://www.calendow.org/healthycommunities
Araceli, Reanna, and Alan from Hip Hop Movement of UC Merced will speak about their upcoming programs.
To listen to Hip Hop Movement’s interview, click onto this link:
Hip Hop Movement’s mission is to preserve traditional hip hop culture and promote awareness of the art within the campus and community of Merced.
They are a student-led organization of expressionist representing the four elements of hip hop:
Graffiti, DJ, MC, and Dance.
To learn more about HHM, visit
You can also visit their Facebook page at:
Arts in the Valley, Saturday, March 2 (8 PM), and Sunday, March 3 (2 PM), 2013, 1480 KYOS AM, Merced, CA
Arts in the Valley host Kim McMillon interviews Judy Juanita, the author of Virgin Soul, about her life as a former member of the Black Panther Party, and Estella Dunn, the President of the Merced Branch of the National Council of Negro Women about their membership drive.
To listen to Judy Juanita, click onto the link:judy juanita
Judy Juanita is an unusual and provocative writer who crosses the boundaries of genre, utilizing narrative, dialogue and journalism in poetry and fiction to probe social issues. A novelist, poet and playwright, her debut novel, Virgin Soul, about a young black woman coming of age in the 60s who joins the Black Panther Party, comes out from Viking on April 22. It has been excerpted in Crab Orchard Review, November 3rd Club, Imagination and Place: an anthology, and Rooms.
Novelist Jean Thompson said of Virgin Soul: “Hard to believe it’s been almost fifty years since the formation of the Black Panthers. The novel captures that time’s particular combination of violence and possibility, and the urgency of young people who invested everything in the possibility of change, even as grand rhetoric was undercut by very human failings. Geniece is smart, wounded, hopeful, and tough. It’s a pleasure to grow with her through these pages.”
Crab Orchard Review’s Allison Joseph said that Juanita’s fiction “should be required reading for anyone studying the vicissitudes of recent American history.”
Her poetry has appeared in Obsidian II, 13th Moon, Painted Bride Quarterly, Croton Review, The Passaic Review, Lips, New Verse News, Poetry Monthly and Drumrevue 2000. Ultimately, as critic Jendi Reiter said, her “hybrid poetic form liberates Juanita to include sentences that would feel too wordy and technical in a traditional lyric poem.” Referring to Juanita’s use of controversial language, Reiter said, “Some interesting postmodern themes arise…about language that points to its own inadequacy, yet cannot be silent. It’s also about the disjunction between signifier and signified. Repeat a word often enough and it starts to sound strange, almost nonsensical.”
In drama, Juanita’s themes are social issues overlaid with absurdity, humor and pathos (in one play, a distraught nurse whose teenage son has overdosed falls head over heels in love with a duck). Her seventeenth play, “Theodicy,” about two black men who accidentally fall into the river of death, won first runner-up of 186 plays in the Eileen Heckart 2008 Senior Drama Competition at the Ohio State University.
“Counter-Terrorism” was produced at The Marsh, SF, 2008, and at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2004. This play about a homeless truth teller and her bourgeois counterpart began as a one-woman play, self-produced and self-directed, before becoming a two character full-length drama.
She co-wrote “Knocked Up,” a commedia dell’Arte about the morning-after pill. The play, which toured periodically from 1993-2006 with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, challenged the status quo when the men in a village, having denied a woman birth control, become pregnant and bloated.
Another play, “Heaven’s Hold,” was produced at Brava! Theatre, SF and the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Since 2005, five of her plays have been produced at Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley, under the auspices of Woman’s Will, the Bay Area’s all-female Shakespearean company.
Judy Juanita’s poetry has appeared in Obsidian II, 13th Moon, Croton Review, The Passaic Review, Lips, New Verse News, Poetry Monthly, Drumrevue 2000 and Painted Bride Quarterly.
She was awarded New Jersey Arts Council Fellowships for her poetry and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She taught writing at Laney College in Oakland, California, from 1993-2012.
For more information about novelist Judy Juanita, please visit,
To listen to Estella Dunn, click onto the link:
Estella Dunn is currently employed by the County of Merced with the Department of Mental Health for 15 years. Estella is the President of the National Council of Negro Women; Secretary for Love, Faith & Hope, Inc.; and Board member for Circles Merced. She believes her greatest achievement was the launching of the first African American Youth Conference by the NCNW.
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a non-profit organization with the mission to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African American women, their families and communities. NCNW fulfills this mission through research, advocacy, national and community based services and programs in the United States and Africa. With its 28 national affiliate organizations and its more than 200 community based sections, NCNW has an outreach to nearly four million women, all contributing to the peaceful solutions to the problems of human welfare and rights. The national headquarters, which acts as a central source for program planning, is based in Washington, D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue, located between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. NCNW also has two field offices.
The NCNW was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, child of slave parents, distinguished educator, and government consultant. Mary McLeod Bethune saw the need for harnessing the power and extending the leadership of African American women through a national organization.
Tune into Arts in the Valley on Saturday, and Sunday, March 1 and 2 to listen to host Kim McMillon interview James Smethurst, associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, discuss his book The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s.
Emerging from a matrix of Old Left, black nationalist, and bohemian ideologies and institutions, African American artists and intellectuals in the 1960s coalesced to form the Black Arts Movement, the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement. In this comprehensive analysis, James Smethurst examines the formation of the Black Arts Movement and demonstrates how it deeply influenced the production and reception of literature and art in the United States through its negotiations of the ideological climate of the Cold War, decolonization, and the civil rights movement. Taking a regional approach, Smethurst examines variations in the character of the local expressions of the nascent Black Arts Movement, a movement distinctive in its geographical reach and diversity, while always keeping the frame of the larger movement in view. The Black Arts Movement, he argues, fundamentally changed American attitudes about the relationship between popular culture and “high” art and dramatically transformed the landscape of public funding for the arts
“A richly insightful and informative account of the often occluded racial dynamics of early modernism.”
–Journal of American Studies
“The most comprehensive work published to date on the Black Arts Movement, painstakingly detailing the movement’s national thrust. . . . This book is a monumental achievement and will serve as the definitive text on the movement for some time to come.”
–Journal of African American History
“Smethurst… has written a tour-de-force that will quickly become the definitive analysis of the sprawling and internally contradictory entity known as the Black Arts movement.”
–Against the Current
“Mapping important connections and offering a cornucopia of information, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s is a truly valuable contribution to the study of American letters. Smethurst gets it right! His thorough research and astute analysis overcome two decades of deliberate critical misrepresentation to help us examine a tumultuous era when visionary leadership and nationwide grassroots participation created a dynamic, paradigm-changing cultural renaissance.”–Lorenzo Thomas, University of Houston-Downtown
About the Author
James Smethurst is associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the author of The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946 and The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s, winner of the Organization of American Historians’ James A. Rawley Prize.
On Saturday, February 9, Arts in the Valley Host Kim McMillon will interview Poet Laureate of California Juan Felipe Herrera and award-winning musician and poet Avotcja. The show will air on 1480 KYOS AM at 8 pm on Saturday, and 2 pm on Sunday. You can also listen to the show on Arts in the Valley on Facebook.
To Listen to Juan Felip Herrera’s interview, click onto the link:juan-1
Juan Felipe Herrera is the author of twenty-eight books and currently serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He was a professor and chair of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University, Fresno, from 1990 to 2004 and a teaching assistant fellow at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa from 1988 to 1990.
‘Herrera’s work has received wide critical acclaim including numerous national and international awards. In a 2008 review of his work, Stephen Burt of the New York Times wrote, “All life, all art, involves boundaries, if only those of birth and death. Some poets keep us conscious of those boundaries; others, like Herrera, discover their powers by defying them. Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed.”’
To listen to Avotcja, click onto the link:avotcha-1
Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru’s Susana Baca at San Francisco’s Encuentro Popular & Cuba’s Gema y Pável, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Sonido Afro Latina, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Los Angeles’ Build An Ark, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., Terry Garthwaite, Big Black, The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc.
Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & with Jose Montoya’s Royal Chicano Air Force & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue. She Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu. Her Poetry &/or music has been recorded by Piri Thomas, Famadou Don Moye (of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago), Bobby Matos Latin Jazz Ensemble, & performed by The Purple Moon Dance Project, and was the 1st Poetry performed by New York’s Dance Mobile. She’s appeared at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in S. F., The Asian-American Jazz Festival in Chicago, as well as The Asian-American Jazz Festival in San Francisco.
Kim McMillon interviews author, poet, and activist Marvin X on the Black Arts Movement on Saturday, December 22nd at 9 pm on Arts in the Valley, 1480 KYOS AM in Merced, Ca.
His latest book is the Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley. He currently teaches at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, “Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.”
For speaking, readings and performance, contact Marvin X @ email@example.com,