HEART OF AMERICA: Stories from the New Ellis Island

HEART OF AMERICA: Stories from the New Ellis Island originally premiered 2010 under the title, BURNING LIBRARIES. HEART is an original performance work that brings to life 35 immigrant stories—from Yemen to Guatemala and from Vietnam to East Texas—through music, dance, aerial arts, puppetry, and video effects.  It was drawn from over 400 oral history interviews, that we conducted over a 6 year period from children in Oakland schools.  Because of the enormous challenges that these immigrant communities face, we are working to bring HEART back into the world.  You can watch video excerpts and learn more at HEART OF AMERICA.


The Lost American JazzBook winner of "Jazz Vocal Album of The Year" from the Independent Music Awards is being represented by Christensen Arts at APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) this January in New York. In addition JazzBook has signed a licensing agreement with Peermusic, the largest independent music publishers in the world. How swell is that?  For more on the JazzBook go to LOSTJAZZ.NET or CHRISTENSENARTS.COM/SPECIAL-PROJECTS.


LIKE A MOTHER BEAR is a solo performance that follows one woman’s extraordinary journey to healing in which she discovers the Great Bear Mother of imagination, the intimate connections between her infertility and the environment, and—in a powerful encounter in the wilds of Alaska— the very real endangered grizzly bear. You can learn more at LIKE A MOTHER BEAR.


The Prepared Table: A Feast of Foods, Live Performance and Stories from Iraq, Afghanistan and the F.O.B. (Forward Operating Base of the U.S. Military) was presented on November 11, 2015 as an alternative Veterans Day event at the Bellevue Club. It premiered one day before the terrorist attacks in Paris. Looking back, it feels that in some small way we were able to create an island of sanity in a world gone made—a least for a few moments. As imperfect as it is, the San Francisco Bay Area is a safe harbor for all of our multicultural identities, including the Iraqis, Afghans and military veterans who so generously agreed to be interviewed, and who were present at The Prepared Table.

And there were a lot of multicultural identities among our performers—from a Palestinian-American singer to a Japanese/Filipina dancer to an Israeli-American pianist. It’s what makes our part of the world a living, breathing answer to all the xenophobia that infects so much of this country and the rest of the world.

You can watch video excerpts and learn more at THE PREPARED TABLE.


Watch for future performances of  our works.

Albert Greenberg, Helen Stoltzfus, Co-Artistic Directors