060: Producing multi-disciplinary work. Poet Coke Ariail taps into a team of artists for BAMBOO WIND.


“Bamboo Wind is a love story in seven parts.” It’s an ambitious multimedia project that springs from a poem and taps into the talents of a team of artists, including Shaleigh Comerford, a choreographer I interviewed in episode 048 of ASBX, a pair of actors, a dance ensemble, three photographers, a composer and the guest on today’s episode Coke Ariail.

Now in his seventh decade, Coke Ariail has been making art in many forms as an actor, director, painter, sculptor, poet, photographer, designer, and writer all of his adult life. He is the author of the poem BAMBOO WIND, the creator of the bamboo sculptures that will form the environmental labyrinth during the performance, and the producer.

Bamboo Wind will be presented at The Fruit in Durham on Jan. 17-20. GET TICKETS!

There are many magical moments in this episode including opening and closing with original poetry written and read by Coke. We discuss the purpose and meaning of art, how to translate a poem into dance, music, and photography, and art as a vehicle for communicating passion, emotion, and what’s really important in our lives.

Coke’s bio:

With his Masters work in Theatre and a strong background in art, Coke Ariail  spent most of his life professionally in Television and video production. But along the way he has also climbed telephone poles as a telephone contract installer, worked in construction, build a sailboat cradle for his grandson and a sailing dinghy for himself, restored his current twenty five foot sailboat, build and renovated houses, designed, built, and painted stage sets, designed stage lighting and made video recruiting shows for over fifty colleges throughout the country.  During the seventies at a time when there was no theatre in Durham that produced alternative theatre and new work by local artist, he helped found, and ran Pocket Theatre, a small theatre in Durham dedicated to presenting both original plays, experimental work and newer dramatic work.

He has worked as a television executive, both locally in Durham and nationally with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. where he served in many roles, including as an on-camera host.

He has written poetry all of his adult life, and has written over two hundred poems over the years. He has a newly completed novel, and has written and starred in a one-man play.  In the nineties when video first began to be able to move out of the studio he began to create video poems as a new way to present his poetic work.

In his role as Producer Mr. Ariail has produced over 100 video tape and television shows.  In his role as director he has directed 25 theatrical productions, at least a hundred video shows, numerous local commercials, television shows and satellite telecasts as well as legal settlement videos.

As a designer he has designed sets and lighting for over 30 theatrical productions, designed and produced over 30 theatrical posters, as well as designed and produced numerous publicity brochures.

For the last three years he has returned to an early love of bamboo as a material and has created an ongoing series of Bamboo Sculptures.  

Mentions: 048: How do we do the impossible? Choreographer ShaLeigh Comerford explores collaboration and sustainability

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. Additional audio editing by Merrybelle Park Productions.

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Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Coke’s bio.

[2:31] We start with a poem…

[4:21] Coke describes the (huge) scope of the Bamboo Wind project and how it came about.

[15:12] What has it been like for Coke to have others interpret and create based on his poem?

[26:23] Coke talks about seeing his work through other’s eyes, his video poems, and bamboo sculpture.

[34:40] Two questIons: Why at this point in his life, is Coke undertaking such a huge project? Why do we make art?

[42:50] How offering various art forms may create more accessibility to emotions and curiosity of other art forms

[46:26] What would it take for Coke to consider the Bamboo Wind project a success?

[48:17] We close with another of Coke’s poems, thanks, and sign-off.

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