Andrea Assaf, a nationally recognized Arab-American spoken word poet and playwright, will bring her talents to South Florida to continue inspiring LGBT teens to express themselves through the art of poetry.
From Feb. 1 through 5, Tigertail Productions will host a series of events with Assaf to foster creativity and expression.
“What they’re working with is getting young people to write, to express themselves, to tap into their creative spirit. When you do that, it is extremely powerful,” said Mary Luft, Tigertail’s executive director.
I hope that in some way, I can be a role model, or at least an example, of an artist who’s openly queer and has a very active professional life being who I really am and not being afraid to make that a part of my professional identity
Throughout the week, Assaf will lead workshops at LGBT group Pridelines and Miami-Dade high schools to teach students about spoken word and its role in helping students express themselves.
“I hope that in some way, I can be a role model, or at least an example, of an artist who’s openly queer and has a very active professional life being who I really am and not being afraid to make that a part of my professional identity,” Assaf said.
Assaf will host a SpeakOut Open Mic and Slam for LGBT teens at 6 p.m., Feb. 4, at Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr. Participants must be between the ages of 13 and 19 and all material must be gay friendly. Registration runs from 5 to 6 p.m. There will be a scored component of the event, as well as an unscored open mic.
Assaf will also perform her poetry and writing at 8 p.m., Feb. 3, at the Coral Gables Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave.
“Whether or not they already consider themselves poets, or think they don’t like poetry, I hope that they fall in love with the form,” Assaf said.
For the past 36 years, Tigertail has help recognize both local and international artists through performances and educational programs. The SpeakOut project started 10 years ago to help teens talk about themselves without judgment at a time where it wasn’t always safe to be open.
“A lot of young people are figuring out who they are and they haven’t figured that out yet. The project provides the opportunity to be in a safe space to write, to be recognized for their work,” Luft said.
Luft also has some advice for teens who may feel a little shy about sharing their work at these events: “Just come. Sit in the audience. If you don’t feel your work is ready yet, then you just sit and watch. The next year, they may be writing like crazy.”
IF YOU GO
▪ What: Andrea Assaf’s residency with Tigertail Productions
▪ Where: Performance at Coral Gables Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave.; Slam and open mic for LGBTQ teens at Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr.
▪ When: Poetry performance at 8 p.m., Feb. 3; Slam and open mic at 6 p.m., Feb. 4
▪ Cost: Free
▪ For information: Visit tigertail.com or call 305-324-4337