Once again we are sad as we were shocked today to learn of the death of our longtime friend, Poet and Playwriter Ron Allen.
Ron was a fixture around the Cass Corridor for years. producing poetry events and eventually full length stage plays for the locals. he departed his beloved D for LA in 2007; never looking back.
His work as "Money Greene" stole my heart. I so loved to see and talk with Ron. it was after a few illnesses and a stint as a local chef that he decided he needed to relocate to the hills of califor-n-i-a to find his fame and fortune; as his friend Ron Milner had done decades before.
when we heard the news it was startling, because like many others we thought of Ron as a kind of ageless character. always a 40ish comedic crumedgeon capable of entertaining everyone in earshot. Ron was a Genius in every sense of the word.
We are grateful to have known him so intimately for so long.
Money Greene, you done earned yo fleetwood now, so drive off with your backseat full of metaphoric lyricists and local legends. You Ron Will Outlive us all, as a legend my friend.
Ron Allen performing with Code Zero in Los Angeles, 2009
|Born||September 13, 1947 |
|Died||August 10, 2010 |
Los Angeles, California, USA
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Occupation||Poet, Playwright, Teacher|
Ron Allen (born September 13, 1947) is an Afro-American poet and playwright who describes his work as a "concert of language." The Detroit native employs intuitive configurations of language (i.e., image, trope, and metaphor) that invent new meaning and new structures for the exploration and expression of language arts, including poetry and theater.
Like fellow Detroit playwright Ron Milner, Allen's ear for the use of Afro-American language, particularly in Detroit, is exceptionally keen. Known for his experiments with poetic verse, character, theme and structure, Allen creates centers of language experiences and rhythm through his writing.
In 2007, Allen relocated to Los Angeles where he is presently in production of his recently completed screenplay “The Hieroglyph of the Cockatoo” which is scheduled for release in 2010. He released a new book of poetry in 2008 titled The Inkblot Theory, and performs with his L.A.-based jazz and poetry band Code Zero.
In a 2009 interview, Ron Allen described his artistic philosophy:
“My work is an exploration and expression of the abstract and physical nature of reality. Language or written text is the force that poetically drives the plot, character, and direction of my work. I use metaphor and trope to create landscapes of defamilarized environments and conditions that affect human consciousness.
“I attempt to walk the radical edge of meaning and theatricality in an assault on conditioned response in behavior and thinking in our culture. I am a critic of the norms that restrict innovation and restrict the search for freedom of ideas as a human imperative.
“My characters are social paradigms and objectified patterns of historical class and power. The point is the search for truth as undefined as that may be, but truth as realization on the scale of impersonal triumph and the struggle of more questions.
“The issue of race which I define as the ongoing muck of American culture is the center of much of my work. I strive to explore what it means to be black in an upside-down world – a world that makes the struggle for identity and power a radical act.”
He began his theatrical career in Detroit in 1997 when he formed his acting company “Thick Knot Rhythm Ensemble” which became the medium for the production of 13 plays he wrote and produced, including Last Church of the Twentieth Century, Aborigional Treatment Center, Twenty Plays in Twenty Minutes, Dreaming the Reality Room Yellow, WHAM!, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Relative Energy Sack Theory Museum, and The Heidelberg Project: Squatting in the Circle of the Elder Mind, a play loosely based on the life of Tyree Guyton and the struggle to create his Heidelberg Project.
After his move to Los Angeles in 2007, Allen has written three more plays: Swallow the Sun, My Eyes Are the Cage in My Head which was produced in 2008 by the Los Angeles Poverty Department Theater Company, and The Heiroglyph of the Cockatoo. His play Eye Mouth Graffiti Body Shop was produced in 2007 by the Theater of NOTE.
Ron Allen has published four books of critically acclaimed poetry, including I Want My Body Back and Neon Jawbone Riot. He is founder and director of Weightless Language Press. Ron Allen has taught poetry and theater for 13 years in the drug recovery community in Detroit and recently taught poetry and meditation in an assisted-living facility in Inglewood, California.
Ron Allen passed August 10, 2010 in Los Angeles.