The videos below demonstrate the scope of our artistic vision and why we consider our works Black Swan Events.

Excerpts from 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). 

THE PREPARED TABLE was presented on November 11, 2015 as an alternative Veterans Day event at the Bellevue Club in Oakland, California. It premiered four days after the terrorist attacks in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher kosher market. 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.


Tammi Brown, vocals Dan Zemelman, piano, musical director Special guests: Stanley Jordan, guitar Mads Tolling, violin Sheldon Brown, sax Dan Robbins, bass Joseph Hébert, cello Jason Lewis, drums Original music by Albert Greenberg & Dan Zemelman. Lyrics by Albert Greenberg JazzBook is the creation of Albert Greenberg in collaboration with Dan Zemelman The Lost American JazzBook is a project of Black Swan Arts & Media

Excerpts from HEART OF AMERICA: Stories from the New Ellis Island

full performance

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.


Black Swan's co-artistic director, Helen Stoltzfus premiered her solo play, LIKE A MOTHER BEAR, at the 27th annual “Ko Festival of Performance” in Amherst, MA in July 2018.

LIKE A MOTHER BEAR follows Helen’s personal journey to healing in which she discovered the Great Bear Mother of the imagination, the intimate connection between her illness and the environment, and the very real endangered grizzly bear that she encountered in Alaska.