Flesh & Bone #1: Take it from the top

On April 3, 2009 my band People, Places & Things found ourselves in the midst of a neo-Nazi rally in the Czech Republic. We had just embarked on a European tour and were changing trains in the small Czech town of Prerov on our way to Poland. The demonstrators surrounded the train station and the rally erupted into a street battle with attack dogs, tear gas, riot police and us: two white and two black American musicians running for our lives. Eight hours later, under armed security police escort, we finally were able to escape the country.

Since that life-threatening experience, I’ve wanted to produce some type of creative response: to express the feelings it generated, to revisit the encounter and all of the issues surrounding it, to reflect upon how it continues to shape our worldview.

On November 20, 2015 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of their Extensions Out Series, we will premiere Flesh & Bone, a new work inspired by our experience.

This blog will be a place to share what happened that day, our thoughts and reflections, as well as be portal to our artistic process. Along the way, I’ll post conversations with a variety of creative people to capture their thoughts, struggles and tribulations in a world of changing contexts within the larger confines of race and politics.

Please note that this is not a tribute to anyone nor a commemoration of something monumental. It is not recreation or re-imagining of someone else’s work and it is not a dissertation on race or the idea of blackness. This is a reflection on life, in the context of an experience that actually happened to us.

So let’s take it from the top. Here’s the full account of the events of April 3, 2009 from a blog post I did a few days after.

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