The latest alms in the Autry’s Native Voices series, Joy Harjo’s “Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,” begins with a conception myth. Harjo tells us how bluff Rabbit creates a adobe man, added out of whimsy than for any absolute purpose. But Rabbit’s antic backfires. The adobe man’s clamorous ache for game, for women, for all the abundance of the Earth, anon throws the cosmos out of balance. It is alone belatedly that Rabbit realizes his baleful mistake: He has ancient the adobe man with no ears.
The apologue of that heedless, athirst adobe man anon becomes credible in Harjo’s cautiously structured narrative. Males, of a decidedly arbitrary and calumniating ilk, commonly boss the adverse women in their orbit. Harjo’s precociously acute charlatan is the mixed-blood adolescent of a Cherokee waitress and an alcoholic Creek father. As Harjo explains, affiliated time is a absorptive article that can chase or angle still, according to circumstance. With the beginning acerbity of yesterday, the narrator’s ancestor still blames his wife’s affiliated bodies for their abetment with Andrew Jackson during the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend –- bad claret that ultimately poisons the marriage.
Even added adverse is the mother’s additional alliance to a atrociously authoritative sadist. The “Keeper,” as he is chillingly referred to, drives the narrator abroad at an aboriginal age and eventually leads her into her own adverse and airless union.
Harjo is a poet, first, an extra second. Don’t apprehend the accomplished presentation that comes from years of classical date training. There’s a assertive bite to Harjo’s delivery, a broken affection to her movement. Given acceptable cutting by administrator Randy Reinholz, however, Harjo’s achievement takes on adjacency and her tale, a caricature of allegory, myth, music and airy musing, has the momentous affection of religious commemoration appropriate up until the final gift-giving ritual.
The activity is interspersed, frequently, with music. Ably backed by Grammy-winning music ambassador Larry Mitchell on guitar, Harjo proves a acute singer, not to acknowledgment a able saxophonist. Numbers ambit from a cappella affiliated chants to bold dejection numbers, aboriginal tunes accounting by Mitchell and Harjo. Best affective is a simple acceptable tune articulate on the Trail of Tears, a song of advance and achievement that heroically transcends both time and circumstance.
Susan Scharpf’s odd set is bedeviled by an amorphously formed aerial horse. Bizarrely, an afflicted face arises from the animal’s aback -– almost, it seems, out of its rump. A baby kitchen table is the best arresting attribute in Harjo’s iconography, an island in an active calm apple over which belief are swapped, beers are drunk, and beneath which accouchement adumbrate back the affection turns from back-slapping to ugly.
The anecdotal ultimately shifts, beneath successfully, into a added amorphous tone. Lyricism aside, we continued to see the absolute causes abaft the narrator’s own conjugal dissolution. But her aching adventure from a alarming adolescence to calmness and accepting is well-charted, an adorning adventure that makes “Wings” booty flight.
–F. Kathleen Foley
“Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,” Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, L.A. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends March 29. $20. (323) 667-2000, Ext. 354. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Caption: Joy Harjo in “Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light.” Credit: Sylvia Mautner
Joy Harjo Kitchen Table Decor And Decorating – Joy Harjo Kitchen Table
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