Finally! Five years in the making, ” Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville” is coming to New York. Cannabis! is a fun way to teach those about the plant from its origins of Central Asia through the hip-hop culture. Fun fact: this is a exciting time to celebrate Cannabis! as it just became legal in the Empire State.
Cannabis! was scheduled to preform January 8th through January 15 th at La Mama. La Mama is a legendary venue in the East Village as part of the Prototype Festival. Unfortunatley, due to Covid-19 the show has been postponed. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy your tickets now and have something to look forward to. Buy your tickets and put it on the calendar. A night of Cannabis! while in New York? What could be better?
The central figures in the production are Grace Galu, composer, performer and musical director. Baba Israel, writer, performer and co-director. The seven-piece ensemble Soul Inscribed will be joined by dancers from the MacArthur award-winning troupe Urban Bush Women, and the “krumping” sensation Rocka Jamez.
Get ready for a full on show type of performance. I mean, it is New York so you shouldn’t expect anything less. It has been noted that, “There will be choreography for every song, for a sense of story-telling and theatricality,” Israel says. He describes the work as a “fully immersive multi-media performance.”
Cannabis! is actually conceived as a musical and theatrical reconstruction of the book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational and Scientific written by Project CBD director Martin A. Lee.
The musical throughout the show are meant to illustrate steps along the way in the evolution of cannabis culture. Songs such as “La Cucaracha” , “When I Get Low I Get High,” “(I Get High) With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Rainy Day Women” and “Kaya” are just a few that will set the mood.
Israel was reflecting on the show when he said ,“When I started working on the show five years ago, legalization felt a lot more distant. I expected the show to be more of a platform to advocate for legalization in New York, to be part of that mobilization. Now it’s turning out to be more of a celebration.” He quickly added, “But it is still federally illegal, and the way legalization has been unfolding in other states has been problematic. There is still a lot of work to be done.”
After each show, a panel discussion or presentation will take place to “address some of the issues that need to be resolved in New York and federally. Scheduled participants include representatives from the National Cannabis Party and the New Jersey-based Cannabis Education & Research Institute (CERI).
Cannabis! is something to celebrate and here’s to hoping we get to do so in 22022. Israel described the production’s vision as “This subject matter needs a real show that can honor the counterculture history, from the jazz musicians through the Beat generation, through the AIDS activism of the 1990s. We want to honor the richness of the tradition, and make sure that how we got to legalization doesn’t get whitewashed, as they say. And to remember who is affected by the war on drugs, remember the cultures that have nurtured this plant through prohibition” ( Project CBD).
Tickets can be purchased here.