Bzzzline’s Featured Artist Jennifer Jajeh Performs in Los Angeles
Jennifer Jajeh’s thought provoking, and incredibly personal one woman show “I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid To Tell You” has extended it’s run in Los Angeles until March 19th. At the Theatre Asylum Lab, Jennifer creates an intimate atmosphere as she reinacts her experiences as a 2nd generation Palestinian American over a glass of wine. This relaxed atmosphere allows the audience to feel like they are simply spending the evening with an old friend, as she brings up issues of identity, an image obsessed entertainment industry, and an oppressed Palestine. This powerful, and moving one woman show makes Jennifer Jajeh Bzzzline’s new featured artist. For more information on this featured artist as well as how to get tickets to the show go to www.ihearthamas.com.
The show came together with the help of director W. Kamau Bell. Bell is a standup comedian out of San Francisco whose envelope pushing prose was exactly what Jennifer’s show needed. With his help Jennifer was able to convey the more painful, and controversial parts of her life with the audience. Out of frustration Jennifer randomly came up with the idea that she should start charging people who asked her silly questions about her nationality. Bell took that idea, and made it come to life, and now a sign stating “Ask A Palestinian” with different monetary amounts, written, and then crossed out underneath the tagline is an integral part of the show. The original version of the show was debuted in the Summer of 2008 at the New York Fringe festival, to a great response. This tremendous response from the New York audience spurned her to take the show on the road, and has kept it running all this time.
Jennifer uses artistic expression as a way of coping with tramatic events in her life, and as a filmmaker she is able to translate that reaction onto the big screen. Her artistic expression to 9-11 was a documentary called “In My Own Skin: The Complexity of Living as an Arab in America”. Five Arab women give their account of living as Arabs in a post 9/11 United States, and how they are treated because of their nationality. The film has won many awards, and can be found at http://www.arabfilm.com/item/220/. Jennifer attempted to use the same medium of film to cope while living in Palestine. However, because she was filming during a tramatic event rather than using it as a reaction to a tramatic event, Jennifer can’t watch her own footage. The closest she and and audience will come to watching the film is during the last part of “I Heart Hamas” as she reenacts what happens to her while filming in Palestine.
The reaction to “I Heart Hamas” in Los Angeles has been tremendous. Multiple shows have showed out, partly due to the support she receives from the Levantine Cultural Center, which is a local arts organization who highlights middle eastern artists.
Jennifer is now working on a web series called “In Bed With Jennifer Jajeh”. During this interview style series she makes the interview very personal by interviewing people in their actual be. This allows her to have more casual conversations with the artist allowing their real personality come out during the interview. To check out her new series go to her youtube channel In Bed TV http://www.youtube.com/user/InBedTV.
Jennifer will performing “I Heart Hamas” at Diwan: A Forum for the Arts Conference in New York City on March 25th and 26th. If you missed her performance in Los Angeles keep checking www.ihearthamas.com for future dates.