Last September I wrote about E. Patrick Johnson’s newly released book, titled Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South. At that time I had just finished working with Johnson to edit several video clips of him reading from his book to post to a series of web pages we were creating in support of Sweet Tea.
My respect for his reading and acting talents remains more than considerable. As a former children’s librarian I know that reading text off of a page to an audience can be a difficult process. No matter how well written the prose, it is still the reader who much engage the audience, who must draw them into the story and make the words come alive. Not only does Johnson do this, but he also does so in the context of bringing to life the individuals he interviewed for his book, providing each with personality, accents and vocal inflections as well as facial expressions and gestures.
Johnson is about to start his Fall ’09 Tour in support of “Sweet Tea”, continuing his live reading performances he calls Pouring Tea. From now through November he’ll be performing in at least ten states, from New York to Texas (with a stop in North Carolina to visit our friends over at Duke University). His full schedule can be found at Johnson’s homepage through the web pages of Northwestern University‘s School of Communication — where he somehow finds time to also be Professor, Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Performance Studies and Professor in African American Studies.
To promote Pouring Tea he’s made a video that’s part interview, part snippets from performances, and all wonderful. It’s posted below.
If Pouring Tea is coming to a theater or bookstore near you, go! Watch an amazing performer, be entertained, and buy an autographed copy of his book!