#38: donnie l. betts
donnie l. betts quietly gets things done, while wearing every hat in the store: actor, director, filmmaker, African-American historian and radio-play producer. In his spare time -- if you can believe he has any -- he even markets a sculptural dog-waste receptacle called Paws Here.
To top a year already highlighted by directing The Color Purple at the Aurora Fox, betts's latest directorial project, Who Killed Jigaboo Jones, an explosive one-man show by Jeff Campbell, is in mid-run at work | space, with three more performances this weekend. And, as betts notes below, that's just a fraction of his ongoing agenda, which includes several documentary film projects in the fire, a New York production of René Marie's Slut Energy Theory and curatorial work at History Colorado.
We asked betts to take a time out to answer our 100CC questionnaire; read on to see where he went with it.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Paul Robeson: Powerful artist, activist and human being.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Jeff Campbell, writer and performer. Rene Marie, writer and performer. Dr. Vincent Harding and all nonviolent activists worldwide. They all are truth tellers.
Continue reading for more from donnie l. betts. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Every theater company producing the same show in the same theater season.
What's your day job?
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I'd give funds to artists who create works that help us be better human beings. If it is not limited to art, then I'd take care of my grandsons and my family. If it's just for art, then I'd create new work.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Combine our resources. Instead of fifty theatre companies, let's have twenty strong, well- run, well-funded companies.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
At the moment, Jeff Campbell.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
Producing and directing Destination Freedom. Co-producing and directing Who Killed Jigaboo Jones. Directing Slut Energy Theory with René Marie in New York at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Directing I Go On Singing, a play with music about Paul Robeson. I'm finishing my film, Voices of the West Bank, and continuing to work on other films, including documentaries about Henry Lowenstein, Dr. Vincent Harding and Five Points, as well as the web series, Rock Pile. work on two exhibits for History Colorado Center (Living West and RACE). I'm also spending time helping people be better pet owners by turning them on to Paws Here -- art serving nature.
Who do you think will get noticed in Denver's theater community this year?
SuCh (Su Charles), Jeff Campbell, Linda Morken and Daniel Valdez.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.