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The Peculiar Patriot

The Peculiar Patriot

A love story from both sides of the bars.

US Flag FROM NYC
OCT 17 - 28, 2018

Quilting The Narrative

The Peculiar Patriot

Throughout the performance of The Peculiar Patriot, Liza Jessie Peterson, as Betsy LaQuanda Ross, constructs a quilt, carefully sewing together the narrative of her incarcerated friends and family, each square of fabric representing their stories. With each quilted piece, we learn more about the intricacies of how mass incarcerations affects individuals and their communities. Stitched together like the stars and stripes of Betsy Ross’s original United States flag, our Betsy Ross sews a different American symbol,…

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What do private colleges have to do with prisons?

The Peculiar Patriot

The Peculiar Patriot (OCT 17-28) is amazing audiences throughout its Boston debut. Liza Jessie Peterson’s poetry and command of the stage communicate a story beyond the walls of any theatre and imparts on us a story often hidden below the surface. As we continue discussing mass incarceration, both nationally and within our state, it was important to discuss how ArtsEmerson and Emerson College are working to break down barriers and foster community. The Emerson Prison Initiative,…

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Arts Activism in America: Igniting Change

The Peculiar Patriot

This past weekend, ArtsEmerson was honored to be a part of the 10th Annual Boston Book Festival! Beyond interacting with our community and meeting so many of you, we also were a part of the “Arts Activism in America: Igniting Change” session in Dudley Square, moderated by our artistic director, David Dower, and featuring Liza Jessie Peterson (THE PECULIAR PATRIOT), as well as famed poet and leader of the Black Arts Movement, Askia Touré….

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A PECULIAR LOVE STORY BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DAVID DOWER

The Peculiar Patriot

In interviews, Liza Jessie Peterson often talks about The Peculiar Patriot as a love story. Her heroine, she points out, was modeled on the people she would see waiting in long lines in the middle of the night on Manhattan’s Columbus Circle for the buses that were going to take them to see their incarcerated loved ones in upstate New York prisons. They would travel through the night, some as much as eight hours,…

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The Peculiar Patriot: An Extended Reading Guide

The Peculiar Patriot

Not only is Liza Jessie Peterson a remarkable playwright, performer, and activist, but she is also an accomplished author in the genres of spoken word poetry and non-fiction. Peterson published her first book All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids At Rikers Island in April 2017 which details Peterson’s experiences at Rikers Island Academy where she taught a GED class to young inmates Peterson’s dedication and activism surrounding mass incarceration has…

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Mass Incarceration In Massachusetts

The Peculiar Patriot

The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration, with more than 2.2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails–that’s 716 out of every 100,000 citizens behind bars. In fact, as ArtsEmerson’s Artistic Director David Dower notes, most states, including Massachusetts “have a higher rate of incarceration than nearly …

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LIZA JESSIE PETERSON TURNS ACTIVISM INTO POETRY

The Peculiar Patriot

“It lit a fire in me. I had no idea just how Draconian, and racially biased, and how people are profitting from people being behind bars. So I took this information back to my class and started incorporating it into the poetry as best as I could.” – Liza Jessie Peterson on first learning about the term ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ As a playwright, actor, activist, and educator, Liza Jessie Peterson’s ability to create performance…

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THE PECULIAR PATRIOT: 15 YEARS IN THE MAKING

The Peculiar Patriot

What would it be like to work on a show for almost two decades before finally performing it? That is exactly what writer and performer Liza Jessie Peterson did for her show The Peculiar Patriot. This one-woman story follows Peterson’s character, Betsy LaQuanda Ross, who spends her time visiting and unearthing the secrets of penitentiaries in the United States. Peterson is bringing her piece to ArtsEmerson this October, however this show was initially conceptualized in 2003…

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