Intercultural Journeys presents new work by Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher

PHILADELPHIA, October 15, 2017 — Intercultural Journeys (IJ) brings Yolanda Wisher to the stage to perform her world premiere work, Pirate Jenny’s Conspiracy. On Sunday, November 5, Pirate Jenny, the vengeful heroine dreamed up in Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera, sails into the 21st century as a modern-day poet and blueswoman. Yolanda Wisher imagines this retelling, inspired by Nina Simone’s powerful 1964 cover of the iconic song. Musing on black love and rage, civil rights, and the meaning of womanhood, Wisher’s tour-de-force performance travels the continents of spoken word and song, with first-mate and double bassist Mark Palacio at her side.

“Pirate Jenny’s Conspiracy is a poem-song cycle that rails against the forces that would shrink or diminish my blackness and womanhood,” says Wisher. “It’s personal and it’s political – let’s just get that out of the way. Charting my journey from poet to singer to bandleader through spoken word, song, visual art, and dance, it's my most ambitious show to date. It represents the evolution of my practice as a poet, performer, and collaborator. I hope the show communicates the peculiar mix of rage and joy that has accompanied this artistic journey of mine.”

Yolanda Wisher (b. 1976) is the current Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, a distinction given to one talented poet, who is chosen as a leader in their discipline and is dedicated to advancing the city’s poetry community. A champion of poetry and education, Wisher uses her platform to speak about the African American experience, and the complexities of womanhood and activism. Wisher was the inaugural Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999), Pew Fellow (2015), and Knight Foundation Cities Challenge Finalist (2017).

“Yolanda Wisher’s powerful work is a timely and essential commentary on some of the most pressing issues we face today,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Managing Director of Intercultural Journeys. “Touching both on resonant themes and personal experiences, Wisher has created a beautiful and thought-provoking world with her dynamic performance.”

This is the second performance of Intercultural Journeys’ 2017-2018 season, Borders & Boundaries. The season continues in March with Dual Face | Dwimuka, a dance performance featuring renowned Indonesian cross-gender dancer Didik Nini Thowok. Thowok crosses intersecting layers of gender and cultural identity through richly storied dances and his own distinctive comedic expression. In April, IJ presents Syrian hip-hop artist and poet Omar Offendum in Syrianamericana. To close the season, in May, classical flamenco form unites with 21st century feminism, igniting the virtuosic stylings of Pasión y Arte in My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz.


Pirate Jenny’s Conspiracy will be held on Sunday, November 5 at 7:00PM in the Ibrahim Theatre at the International House Philadelphia (see map).