Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rocks Karma Arrows: A multimedia theatrical performance exploring Boulder History through the lens of race and class

Rocks Karma Arrows is a multimedia contemporary theater piece looking at Boulder history in relation to economic and cultural diversity. The piece reveals the layers of stories embedded in the land we walk every day. Though the piece focuses on the 150 years since Boulder's founding, the context for the drama is the larger flow of history from a time when Boulder was covered in a shallow sea. Historical figures, like the great chief Niwot, come alive to tell of early Boulder and the final massacre here.

Interviews with local historians and Buddhist monks are woven into the drama with historical photographs and film. At times, the images occupy 180 degrees of the theatrical space, so actors are literally immersed in history, interacting with the photos, struggling with the voices of the past, and trying to understand their echo in the present.

Two Weekends Only!
July 23, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 and August 1, 2
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.

TIX: $18 general admission fee; $13 for students and seniors

July 23 Gala: $35
Thursday, July 30th: 2 for 1
Purchase tickets online at:
Tickets may also be purchased at the door

Where: CU-Boulder's ATLAS building, Black Box Studio, 1125 18th Street
**ATLAS is just north of Euclid Parking Garage.

Created by Kirsten Wilson and co-produced by the ATLAS Center for Arts, Media Performance at CU-Boulder

Performers include: Rebecca Brown Adelman, Jose Aguila, Joan Bruemmer, James Hoskins, Kerry Lee, Alexis Miles, Brian Mullins, Jim Walker, Victor Warring, Lizi Watt, Kirsten Wilson

For further information: 303-245-4660; adelichats @

Read what community members are saying about Rocks Karma Arrows:

"Kirsten Wilson's production of Rocks Karma Arrows provides a critically needed perspective to any conversation or consideration of local history, including the City of Boulder. The history of indigenous and oppressed people are much too often excluded in favor of the popular notion that the 'west was won' and that 'progress' was achieved only through the sacrifice of the Euro-American settlers and their descendants. It is essential that community histories be inclusive of the contributions, sacrifices and suffering of the non-dominant communities. Rocks Karma Arrows provides a sobering glimpse into the other often ignored 'other' history of our community. I highly recommend it!"
- Peter Salas (Diversity Liaison, City of Boulder)

"The Rocks Karma Arrows production presented the history of Boulder Valley and the City of Boulder in a very unique and honest way. This is a history that all Boulder county citizens need to be aware of - its sacredness to its planned isolation."
- Ray Ramirez (Native American Rights Fund"

Have you ever wondered why so many major streets in Boulder are named after Native Americans? Or asked if the "Curse of Chief Niwot" is truth or myth? I have always wondered about how Boulder got to be the place it is today. As a teacher, I appreciate the true value of knowing one's history to better assess the present and determine the future. Rocks Karma and Arrows takes us on a journey into the history of Boulder and surrounding counties. It is an excellent work of art that fulfills a mandate long ignored in this city, to know how we came to be. It is a valuable resource one can use as a base for growth and transformation of a community.
- Malaika Pettigrew (Institute for African American Leadership)

I attended an advanced showing of Rocks Karma Arrows and was awed by it. Knowing some of the sad history of Colorado, I was anxious to learn more, hopefully, on a deeper level. I was not disappointed. I did learn a lot, and I was totally captivated throughout the entire piece. It is difficult to present such sad and horrifying truths in a manner that deeply touches people and motivates them into action, rather than overwhelming them and making them want to close down and not hear or see any more. Kirsten has accomplished that superbly. I strongly recommend Rocks Karma Arrows to anyone wanting a clearer understanding Boulder's roots and how it came to be like it is.
- Betty Ball (Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice)

Boulder's histories often avoid or minimize the role of discrimination, elitism and racism. This unique theatrical production brings forward these issues in a manner one won't soon forget.
- Dan Corson, (Boulder historian and former Boulder City Council Representative)

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