Tag Archives: Ingenious Nature

Baba Brinkman’s hip-hop theatre cycle features Chaucer & a live onstage science peer-review in New York City

I’m happy to see that Baba Brinkman’s IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign was successful (my Jan. 25, 2013 posting), so he can introduce the first hip-hop theatre cycle (Evolutionary Tales) to the world. He will be performing three of his shows, Ingenious Nature, Rap Guide to Evolution, and Canterbury Tales Remixed in repertory off Broadway in New York City on weekends (Fri. – Sun.) starting Friday, May 31, 2013 and then, throughout most of the month of June. Here’s more from Baba’s May 29, 2013 announcement,

Greetings from the Player’s Theatre! We’ve spent the past two days setting up not one but three shows here, preparing for the world’s first-ever hip-hop theatre cycle: Evolutionary Tales.

We launch on Friday with a performance of Ingenious Nature, which was recently nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance Award in the category of “Best Unique Theatrical Experience” (which we didn’t win, but it was a nice acknowledgement). Use the code “Genious” to get $29 advance tickets.

Then on Saturday we’re taking the “peer-reviewed rap” theme to the next level, with a World Science Festival presentation of the Rap Guide to Evolution featuring Dr. Helen Fisher, Dr. Stuart Firestein, and Dr. Heather Berlin providing a live post-show peer-review talkback. Use the code “Darwin” for discount tickets.

Finally, on Sunday the Canterbury Tales Remixed will have its first off-Broadway performance since early 2012, tracing the evolution of storytelling from Gilgamesh to Slick Rick via Chaucer’s masterpiece. Use the code “Tales” for discount tickets.

We run until June 23rd, Fri/Sat/Sun. …

The Evolutionary Tales website offers a bit more information about each show,

Evolutionary psychology, sex differences in behavior, and the modern dating scene. Can science serve as a road map to romance? It turns out, ovulation studies make for awkward first-date conversation.
Fridays 8pm, May 31 – June 21
Rap Guide to Evolution interprets Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution for the hip-hop age, exploring the links between bling and peacocks’ tails, gangster rap music and elephant seals, and the species-wide appeal of Afro-centricity.
Saturdays 8pm, June 1 – 22
Canterbury Tales Remixed brings you a collection of the world’s best-loved stories, supplementing Chaucer’s masterful character-driven Tales with artful re-tellings of the epics of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. The evolution of storytelling!
Sundays 5pm, June 2 – 23
115 Macdougal Street, NYC
Ticket Info (866) 811-4111

This link will take you to the calendar where you select the show(s) you’d like to attend and click through to purchase one or more tickets.

I’m fascinated by the idea of live science peer-review onstage. I imagine that too is a world first, along with the hip-hop theatre cycle. I wish Baba and all his collaborators the best of luck.

Darwin meets Chaucer off Broadway, Baba Brinkman’s latest off Broadway show is looking for impresarios (financially speaking)

Mentioned here several times for his various ventures into hip hop, rap and science (my Nov. 23, 2012 posting  for his Ingenious Nature show in New York City; my May 24, 2011 posting about his Rap Guide to Evolution show at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, England; and my April 25, 2011 posting about the première of his Chaucer/Gilgamesh/Beowulf mashup rap in Vancouver, Canada; amongst many others) Baba Brinkman strikes again.  From Brinkman’s Jan. 24, 2013 newsletter,

Darwin Meets Chaucer Off-Broadway

Crowdfunding An Extension, and A Unique Experiment

Two weeks ago we finished up the initial run of Ingenious Nature, and immediately an offer came up to extend not just that show but all three of my shows, at a better-located theatre right on NYU’s main campus in the heart of Greenwich Village. The producers of Rap Guide to Evolution, Canterbury Tales Remixed, and Ingenious Nature would have to combine forces to make this happen, and they are now ready to partner on the project, but we have to raise the funds first. That’s where you come in.

I’m starting a crowdfunder drive with IndieGogo to get this never-before-tried theatre experiment launched. You can watch the pitch video here. If successful, we’ll run all three productions in rotation for one month off-Broadway, with two performances of The Rap Guide to Evolution and one each of the other two shows every week. And if that month goes well, we can extend this run indefinitely.

Here’s more from Brinkman’s indiegogo project page,

Help produce the first-ever hip-hop theatre cycle in New York!

Baba Brinkman and Jamie Simmonds have co-written (lyrics and music) and performed three critically-acclaimed hip-hop plays off-Broadway over the past two years. This crowdfunding drive will launch a never-before-tried concept, presenting all three plays in rotating rep for a one-month initial run right in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, with the possibility of extending indefinitely.

Located amidst the NYU downtown campus, the Player’s Theater offers a rare opportunity to showcase these original and groundbreaking works, each of which transforms a traditionally academic subject into a thrilling entertainment event. The 200-seat Player’s Theater is available for us to rent beginning in March, four shows per week for an initial four weeks, at $1,000 per show. To cover this $16,000 rental cost, plus the overhead for (your!) funder perks and Indiegogo’s 4% fee, we need to raise $20,000.

With turntablism by DJ Jamie Simmonds setting the mood, Baba’s skillful wordplay uniquely interprets the writing of scientists, literary scholars, the classics, and modern psychology, smoothly merging today’s most important ideas and stories with comedy, theatre, and hip-hop: cutting-edge intellectual entertainment at its best!

First and formost, [sic] contribute whatever you can! Even the lowest funding amount gets you an amazing (and hilarious) live album, recorded off-Broadway in January 2013. Above that the perks just get more and more interesting.

Second, please help us to spread the word! Use the share tools and post the YouTube video to your Facebook and Twitter sites. The more this crowdfunding drive goes viral, the more chance we have of sharing these performances with the widest possible audience, including future tours of your area.

At this point (Jan. 25, 2013), they have raised $1,215 and have 31 days left to reach their $US20,000 goal.  Here’s a sampling of incentives, from the project’s indiegogo page,


Digital Download

Exclusive digital download of Baba Brinkman & Mr. Simmonds brand new live album, Ingenious Nature, delivered in a personal Thank You email.

Estimated delivery date: February 2013


VIP Tickets & CD

Two tickets to one of the shows (same parameters as above). Includes a signed Baba Brinkman CD of your choice and a digital download of the new album.

Estimated delivery date: March 2013


Full Performance With DJ

…Full performance from Baba and DJ Jamie Simmonds at any venue of your choice (up to one hour in length, subject to both of their availability, travel and other applicable expenses not included). Includes ten tickets to any of the shows and a t-shirt, signed CD, and digital download.

Estimated delivery date: December 2013

Good luck Baba and company!

Baba Brinkman and the science of dating (Ingenious Nature show previews in New York)

I have mentioned Baba Brinkman before in the context of his Rap Guide to Evolution which is performed live and is available on CD. Tonight (Friday, Nov. 23, 2012), he previews a new show in New York, Ingenious Nature (from Baba’s Nov. 20, 2012 posting on his website),

INGENIOUS NATURE is a new off-Broadway show set to premiere on Friday at the Soho Playhouse. In the show I go on a series of dates with women I meet through OK Cupid (a dating website), while using evolutionary psychology as a roadmap to help understand the conflicts of interest and personality-clashes that ensue. Will I find a match worthy of parental investment? I date a creationist and explore the “behavioural immune system” theory of social conservatism, and a new-age yoga instructor teaches me about the seven chakras, which turn out to have a loose correlate in the psych lit as well. Putting theory into practice is wild ride when it comes to the science of mating.

Jamie Simmonds produced all the music for the show, and is also featured prominently in it as a character, performing virtuoso live turntablism to provide a distinctive sound and mood for each scene, as well as driving the storytelling ahead with comments and scratch quotes. Add a design team that includes Jason Boyd on lights (Q: “Can you make the theatre look like a Mobb Deep concert?” A: “Sure, I lit Mobb Deep’s last concert, so that shouldn’t be too hard”) and Erik Pearson (Canterbury Tales Remixed) on video projections, and you end up with something pretty spectacular.

There is a special deal (from Brinkman’s posting),

Darren Lee Cole, the artistic director of the Soho Playhouse, is directing the production with aplomb, and keeping me in check. Here’s an e-blast Darren just sent out, which includes a couple of awesome (limited time only) discount ticket deals for the show. If you will be in NYC between now and January 6th

Here you go

Single tickets normally $45 for $25 using code SOHO!


Subscribe to the Soho Playhouse season: 3 tickets for $99

Break a leg, Baba!