When I did my one year performance series, “Abiola’s Kiss and Tell Live” at Madame X in NYC two things were certain. First of all, the audience knew for sure that they would enjoy the most sexy and diverse love, sex and dating storytelling series in the city. Secondly, you knew that we were going to have Mr. Mo Beasley, aka the Headmaster, somewhere up on that stage.
Mo is an erotic reading series pioneer. His series UrbanErotika is legendary. Now, Mo has partnered with well-known filmmaker Nicole Franklin to create a documentary about his 10+ year journey. The film is called “UrbanErotika: An Odyssey of Eros on Film.”
Sounds hot, right? Well, if you want to help them raise the $15K they need to make the movie you can visit their IndieGoGo film fundraising campaign. I’ll be bringing you their conversations about making this unique doc in the coming weeks. Check out the first conversation that I had with Mo below.
Oh – and I’ll be reading something sexy from “The Official Bombshell Handbook” on stage when Mo Beasley’s “LoveStorm” UrbanErotika anniversary show hits the BAMcafe’ on Saturday, February 11th, 2012 9pm. Join us!
Abiola: Tell me about this project.
Mo: The documentary “UrbanErotika: an Odyssey of Eros on Film” presents an evolution in expression in eroticism in the 21st century. The conversation is a sex positive journey using poetry, music and dance. A film of this nature around sex, sexuality and eroticism in the urban environment has yet to be done. It raises the lowest common denominator to the highest by welcoming all groups and preferences to a nonjudgmental open space and dialogue while having a good time.
The UrbanErotika documentary captures a 10-year odyssey of a live showcase—poetry, music, dance, theatre photography, and burlesque. It’s a bold and loving declaration where women get affirmed and men get enlightened.
Abiola: Mo, Congrats on 10 incredible years of setting the standard. What brought about this new collaboration with Nicole?
MO: The collaboration came about through a Facebook message, actually. Here’s our facebook exchange:
Hey Nicole! I hope you are doing well AND I hope you might be able to help me. I’m in need of an editor for 10 years of UrbanErotika video. Would you be interested in working with me on that? I need to have it done by the X-mas break 2011. Give me a shout if you would. Thanx! Mo Beasley
Hi Mo, I left you a lengthy message about this. Questions, questions…that’s a big one..hahaha. Let’s discuss and see what can be done. For the next 10 years can you think about editing as you go? (Note to self: Edit as you go…edit as you go…). Nicole
LOL!! Yes, I will be editing as I go. I was collecting as I went because I knew it was an experience that had to be captured. I’d figure out the rest later. Who knew it would be ten years later. I’ll give you a call tomorrow morning to figure out what we can do. Thanx for getting back to me so quickly.
Thus a documentary about a decade of UrbanErotika was conceived.
Abiola: UrbanErotika has been around for a long time, why now?
MO: The 10-year anniversary show has been on the horizon for a while and by having the live performance series recorded on video since our debut, a documentary celebrating this milestone was a natural fit. When we started erotic poetry shows were the stepchildren of the spoken word scene. Now there’s a plethora with varying degrees of sophistication. UrbanErotika has always been a welcoming space “…where all god’s children who touch asphalt and concrete may have their stories of eros told.”
Abiola: Beautiful. Explain what purpose UrbanErotika serves in the African American or People of Color community? Have you experienced resistance to this work?
MO: UrbanErotika allows African-Americans, and all folks of color, to take charge of their sexual images and stories, which is awfully uncommon in American (world) history. We received resistance from the very first show to the present.
Performers from the very 1st show on Feb 10, 2001 were apprehensive up until the time they hit the stage and were swept up in the love and acceptance. Gay/Lesbian groups resisted the show when we did our very first “UrbanErotika Pride” show. “F*gs and D*kes don’t wanna hear no poetry about p*ssies and d*cks…” respectively. We sold out our Pride shows three years in a room with a room full of gay, lesbian, straight, trans-gender, and curious folks. Some UrbanErotika all-stars have been asked to delete the credit from their bios and resumes when applying for jobs.
NICOLE: As a filmmaker who primarily focuses on Black women and children, I’ve experienced more “surprise” and “curiosity” from my audience rather than resistance. I believe this film will still fall into the category of film I for which I am known—work about our culture that educates as well as entertains. I find the UrbanErotika artform truly courageous and stimulating—if I can go there—and Mo’s commitment to it has been extremely impressive to witness. All of the UrbanErotika artists involved bring a special talent that begs to be captured on film.
Abiola: What happens in the video of your first production meeting?
NICOLE: Mo Beasley has wanted to produce a documentary of this nature for some time. In hearing him dissect the UrbanErotika concept, I am able to get a sense of the treatment of the material when it comes to weaving together a narrative. I’ve seen the footage.
I’m anticipating some pretty nice moments when everyone gets together to reunite for the 10-year anniversary show. But staying true to Mo’s vision is important to me and I just hope that what the audience experiences during the live shows translates seamlessly to film and television viewers who may be coming to into this “odyssey” for the first time.
Don’t forget to drop by to contribute to the IndieGoGo film fundraising campaign!