North Carolina ’tis strange, passing strange

I just got a short note from director Christopher Burris, who has been teaching and workshopping and producing at a university in North Carolina and I admit I don’t know Greensboro from Winston-Salem other than it is not Asheville or Chapel Hill.

He sent some photos of “Passing Strange” the Broadway show about types of Black people, for instance middle class Blacks passing for, or being mistaken for, more street types or proletariat or precariat — a word I saw in The Economist for working class types who are in precarious situations economically or socially.

There have been versions this year of “Passing Strange” in Berkeley – -Shot Gun Players — and near Minneapolis – -directed by Austene Van — and in North Carolina.

I saw “Passing Strange” workshop at Stanford and several times in its formative run at Berkeley Rep, before Broadway or Public Theatre of New York.

I saw Stew and Heidi at Brooklyn Academy of Music in February, 2001 and then shortly thereafter but for a short term, truncated as it were, was his or their manager. Mostly for the marketing of “Something Deeper Than These Changes” cd. But we also worked together on successful live tours in the midwest –like Chicago, where I was born, in fact my father flew out for Stew’s show at Martyr’s his 80th birthday weekend — and East Coast like Great Woods near Boston, opening for Counting Crows and John Mayer.

I heard from Stew by email for the first time in a while, this spring, apropos of all this.

And also, I am doing a show or perhaps two shows with DaShawn and Wendy Hickman husband and wife from those same parts, near Winston Salem or Greensboro. My shows are June 5 in Palo Alto, free and outdoors at Mitchell Park Bowl, and also in Santa Cruz, the Kuumbwa center, Friday June 3. (They also are part of the Little Village Mother Fucker – that’s what its actually called, shibboleth — at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, across the street from Berkley Rep, on Thursday, June 2 but only 25 minutes set, with four other acts). I talked to DaShawn about trying to get to the “Passing Strange” show and we briefly discussed maybe a sacred steel version of some of those tunes, breaking out the church roots.

Yes, ’tis strange. (And that’s a reference or shout out to Shakespeare and Othello. Shout out to Shakespeare, Othello, Christopher Burris, Charlie Hunter, DaShawn Hickman, Spike Lee and my former client Stew (everybody knows that he’s really Daddy Feel Good, Yeah, Yeah Yeah, Yeaaah whatever that means…)



Hi Mark,

Hope this email finds you well.

I just wanted to pass along the program and some photos from our production of Passing Strangeat UNCSA. It was incredibly successful, having a real impact on the students here.

(dropbox: shout out to dropbox)

Much Gratitude,



PO Box 218 NY, NY 10014 



About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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