The Frank Zappatistas

Zeitgeist Arts Center

April 02, 2004

The Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center created a feeling of freedom Friday night with its vast warehouse space. A partition full of paintings divided the room. Like jazz, half the room was cluttered, while the other half was empty, open to be improvised upon.

The Frank Zappatistas multiplied the liberty with life-affirming beat poetry mixed expertly with jazz and dancing. The band was poet Dennis Fermento, dancer Nina Be, saxophonist Raja, pianist Julian Garcia, and percussionist Louis Carrillo. The performance called to shed skin, concede to urges, and re-invent the world. Quickly. This made sense since Fermento was reading works from rebellious beat poet Bob Kaufman. Kaufman used to say he "grew up somewhere in Treme," and he died in 1986.

Fermento paused in between delivery to give space and life to the metropolitan tone of the music. Nina Be mimicked the music's rhythm with her expressive and diverse dancing styles. She floated across the room clicking finger bells, rolled on the floor, and did some bad-ass tap dancing. At one point, Fermento broke from reading to chase Nina around the room in circles, slip sliding in his socks.

The group enriched my soul, and as a representation of freedom, the band reminded me the same thing is still alive.

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