2011 Kresge Eminent Artist Bill Harris’ intention is two fold; first, to collaborate with two of Detroit’s finest artists, Reverend Robert Jones (a master blues historian and guitarist) and Aku Kadogo (an innovative stage director). Harris also wants to explore two possibilities of the theatrical experience: simple and complex.
Harris’ second literary performance during Art X Detroit 2013, Excerpt from “Booker T. & Them”, is an example of theater transferred from the page to the stage, taking advantage of the technical possibilities of the craft. Aku Kadogo is directing an excerpt taken from Booker T. & Them: A Blues, Harris’ book on the era of Booker T. Washington. Based on the myth of John Henry, that steel driving man, this passage presents an imagined life-threatening confrontation between Booker T. and his arch nemesis, Jim Crow.