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White text on a blue background says "Dexter's L.A.B." Smaller black text beneath that says "an interview series on creativity." Around the edges of the image are various arts and crafts supplies.


Season 2 of Dexter's L.A.B. is now underway!

Season two of Dexter's L.A.B., a podcast series  from the Boston Foundation and Dunamis, is now underway!

Hosted by J. Cottle and Neo Gcabo of Dunamis, Dexter's L.A.B. celebrates and examines the creative process. In each episode, released every other week, we talk to a Live Arts Boston grantee about their craft and why the arts matter to them.

Much like in the children's animated television series of a similar moniker, Dexter's L.A.B. is a space where artists are invited to explore their creativity and inspire others to do the same. Episodes will be released every two weeks through June of 2022. You can find them here or on all your favorite podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

The Latest from the L.A.B.

Reynaliz Herrera is a professional musician, percussionist, composer and educator based in Boston but originally from Mexico where she studied and began pursuing music at the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza, with maestro Noel Savon.

Reynaliz has performed in different countries like Mexico, US, Canada, Cuba, Spain, Germany and Italy, and has performed and collaborated with many renowned ensembles.

Currently, Reynaliz is the director, composer and performer of her theatrical percussion company “Ideas, Not Theories” where she combines music for unconventional instruments like bicycles, and physical theater, and which she has recently presented in the U.S, Canada and Mexico in various venues and festivals.

During our conversation we discuss Reynaliz’ artistic family legacy, her love of finding the music in the everyday objects all around us, and the full body workout playing the bicycle as an instrument can be.

This is Reynaliz’ LAB.

Boston-based artist Omar Najmi splits his time between composition and performance, maintaining a busy schedule as an operatic tenor. 

As a performer, Najmi has recently made his international debut creating the title role in Joseph Summer’s operatic adaptation of Hamlet with Bulgaria’s State Opera Rousse. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in La Boheme with Opera Steamboat, Shakur in Thumbprint with Portland Opera and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera to name a few.  Najmi enjoys a long standing relationship with Boston Lyric Opera where he began his    professional career as an Emerging Artist (2013-2015).

In 2022, Najmi and his husband Brendon Shapiro co-founded Catalyst New Music - an organization dedicated to fostering, developing, and producing new works. Catalyst’s first project was a concert performance of Najmi’s new opera This Is Not That Dawn, a drama set during and after the Partition of India. 

In this episode, we discuss exploring hidden talents, dismantling ancient art forms and the complexity of nature vs. nurture. 

Welcome to Omar’s LAB!

U-Meleni's L.A.B. with U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo

U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is a Zimbabwean American poet, author, speaker, singer, and educator who has performed internationally in Africa and Europe. She is fiercely passionate about using her voice for women's empowerment, wellness, diversity & inclusion and the exploration of translation or "hyphenated identities" through her work.

U-Meleni is a member of New England Poetry Club, The International Women’s Writing Guild and an advisory board member for Write On The Dot , a community reading initiative in Dorchester. She holds a graduate degree in Education from Lesley University in Multicultural Education and Theatre and a Bachelors Degree in Social Psychology from UMASS Boston.

As an educator, U-Meleni has taught over 2,500 students through workshops in the Boston Public Schools and Communities on topics such as, holistic health and wellness education while incorporating the arts, violence prevention and social-emotional well-being to name a few. She has also done international work in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria and is multi-lingual speaking Shona, French and English.

She is currently working on a multi-modal poetic one woman experience “Roots & Revelations” about identity and belonging stemming from family roots in Leominster and Zimbabwe/South Africa. When not performing her work or collaborating with other artists, she is often running marathons, biking with her spouse and son for charity or social justice, competing in World Indoor Rowing Championships, or thrifting and traveling around the world.

In our conversation, we discuss the journey to becoming a poet, exploring family dynamics and defying societal norms and narratives.

This is U-Meleni's LAB.

Mariona's L.A.B. with Mariona Lloreta

Mariona Lloreta is a Catalan-American cultural producer and interdisciplinary artist working internationally in film, painting and dance. Mariona’s work celebrates the universal thread that binds our human experience as it examines the fine line between presence and absence, wholesomeness and brokenness, past, present and future. Her work dives into themes of identity, spirituality and collective memory, while reflecting upon the beauty and vulnerability of human existence.

Recent projects include writing, directing and co-producing the short film "A lua nunca morre" in Rio de Janeiro which has won the Best Experimental Film Award and Best Cinematography at the Oscar-qualifying Reel Sisters in Brooklyn, NY, and has been selected by Oscar-qualifying Edmonton International Film Festival, acclaimed New York Latino Film Festival, NALIP's Latino Media Fest, San Francisco Independent Film Festival and Miami Film Festival, among others. Her previous film, "Amenze, in between worlds," which she wrote, directed and filmed, won Best Cinematography at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY), received a Best International Film nomination at the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta, GA, and was selected by dozens of film festivals, including Oscar-qualifying Zinebi in Bilbao, Spain. Mariona also edited award-winning feature film "The Ghost and the House of Truth" (2019) in South Africa and produced narrative short film "On Monday of Last Week" (2018). She has directed and produced several documentary films, including "ReSignifications", commissioned by New York University and "The Lagos Music Salon" for Sony Music artist Somi in Nigeria.

Mariona is currently working on her first feature film and has recently completed "Altars," an experimental film about police brutality, commissioned by the City of Boston and the City of Cambridge. She is also producing several female-led, international projects. Mariona currently serves as Affiliate Professor of Screenwriting at Emerson College in Boston and as an instructor at creative writing agency GrubStreet.  

Soyoung's L.A.B. with Soyoung Kim

Soyoung L Kim’s work blends several practices, including painting, sculpture, writing, stop motion animation, and performance. Her background as 교포 Gyopo, as part of the Korean diaspora, allows her to move freely across artistic disciplines to create new works that blend those disciplines and to break those boundaries. Her work is influenced by her own childhood of many moves and displacements and the many stories she has gathered over the three continents she has called home at various times in her life. As a young Korean girl growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, she listened to her parents tell her Korean folktales, as well as stories about the struggles of the Korean people, in their fight for independence from Japanese colonization, in the Korean War, and in the struggle to build a country after the devastation of the Korean War that divided the country. She was shaped by the harsh beauty of the Kenyan landscape and the stories of the British colonization and the struggles of the Kenyan people for independence. All of these experiences and stories inform Kim’s work that aims to transport us to a place of liberation, where we are free from colonization and the burdens of racism, fear and hate.

Follow Soyoung (@soyounglkim) for more information about her work and upcoming showcases.

Phoebe's L.A.B. with Phoebe Potts

Too Fat for China follows Phoebe Potts, comic storyteller and professional Jew, as she tries, fails and eventually succeeds to adopt a baby.  After a US adoption goes horribly wrong, Potts finds herself surprised, disgusted and ultimately resigned to the role she plays as a middle class white lady in the business of adopting babies in the US and internationally. Potts’ tragicomic journey is about looking for more, more love, more life and more family and will do anything to get it, including having her morals and values fold in on themselves.

Jean's L.A.B. with Jean Appolon

 

In addition to being the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian Contemporary dance company has performed at major venues in Boston and has toured to Washington, DC and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During our conversation with Jean, we talked about his serendipitous and full circle start with dancing, the emotional depths he mines with his company, the way women, in particular, inspire his artistry, education horror stories, and of course, his LAB funded project (Cultural Connections in Haitian Creole and Spanish) a collaborative dance project with Gerardina Halloran that highlights and celebrates the deep connections between Haitian and Dominican cultures.


Dexter's L.A.B. Season 1: 2021

Brian's L.A.B. (The Flavor Continues)

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Brian Lim, co-founder of nonprofit The Flavor Continues, sat down with J. Cottle to talk about different creative approaches and finding your own creative identity. They also discuss the origins of The Flavor Continues and the organization's project with L.A.B. , "All Of The Above", a dance competition that bridges genre, experience and age gaps in the dance community.

Jinyi's L.A.B. (The Flavor Continues)

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Jinyi Duan of The Flavor Continues started her artistic journey in classical music. Playing music written by other people only fueled her drive to create something that was hers. Learn how street dancing became her artistic medium-of-choice in the third episode of Dexter's L.A.B.


Bao's L.A.B. (The Flavor Continues)

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Bao Pham is no stranger to the fork in road that many artists face at one point or another in their lives - the choice between a "stable" career and pursuing your art. Right now, she's choosing both. Outside of her 9-5, Bao works with the nonprofit The Flavor Continues. She spoke to J. Cottle about finding time for her day job and her art, the benefits of having multiple creative disciplines, and how creativity bleeds into all parts of her life.

Alex's L.A.B.

In this episode of Dexter's L.A.B., we spoke with The Flavor Continues Artistic Director Alex Ambila about the intersection of working in visual and physical mediums, the role trauma and pain can play in creativity, and the interplay between making art for yourself and the artistic things we're asked to create for others in order to pay the bills.



Maria's L.A.B.

Percussionist, composer, public artist, educator and arts entrepreneur, Maria Finkelmeier has spent her whole life asking questions she's only now getting the answers to. A chronic disruptor, Maria's work is about reaching unusual audiences and unusual spaces in unusual ways - all while asking why any of this is unusual to begin with. During our conversation with Maria, we discuss rules, who makes them and the joy of breaking them, sexism in the industry, artificial intelligence and the role it can play in storytelling, and so much more.

Ana's L.A.B.

Salsa dancer, artist, serial entrepreneur, advocate and so much more Ana Masacote's work is rooted in bringing cross cultural communities together and sparking conversations through the arts. During our conversation together, we discussed her project Queer Bodies in Motion, as well as reconciling multiple passions in order to build your own constellations, when to lean in versus when to pivot, Doug from the movie "Up", ownership versus delegation, and how creativity is really nothing more than intuition.

Wendy's L.A.B.

In what was arguably our most contemplative and philosophical episode yet, we spoke with Wendy Jehlen, founder and artistic director of Anikaya, about the artist as a storyteller, how her intercultural education and experiences shaped her artistry, and the inextricable interconnectedness of humanity. 

Francisco's L.A.B.     

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Francisco Rafart has mastered the Chapman stick, a relatively new, guitar-like instrument you won't often see out in the wild. He's also self-taught. Francisco sat down with Dunamis’ J. Cottle for the second episode of Dexter’s L.A.B. to discuss his decision to pick up the Chapman stick, learning as a creative process, his approach to composing and more. 

Anna & Jay's L.A.B. (beheard.world)

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Anna and Jay Myer of beheard.world believe everyone is innately creative; it's just a matter of learning where and how to apply one's creativity. In this episode, Anna and Jay discuss their work in bringing together dancers and artists from across genres and mediums to spark conversations about race and social justice, how expression and creativity is important for mental and physical health, and more.

Zayra's L.A.B.

In this week's episode of Dexter's L.A.B., we talk to percussionist Zayra Pola about family legacy, defying expectations, being an inspiration and always choosing joy. We discuss the difficulties of being a woman in relationship to her culture, her musical instrument, and even the genre in which she plays. Zayra has been through so much, but you'll never hear it in her voice. She is kind and, and operates from deep gratitude, joy, and using her skills to be in service of others. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabiola's L.A.B.

The National Museum of American History describes the cuatro as a five double string guitar-like instrument used to play música jíbara, Puerto Rican country music. On this episode of Dexter's L.A.B, J. Cottle speaks with Fabiola Méndez, an amazing musician whose primary instrument also happens to be the national instrument of Puerto Rico. They discuss Fabiola's culture and identity, her process and perspective as a Cuatrista, composer and educator. They also talk about adapting other works for the musical medium and embracing tradition, while also moving it forward.
Yvette's L.A.B.
A poet, writer, advocate and activist, Yvette Modestin is someone you should know, if only because she's been listed as one of the 30 Afro Latinas You Should Know. Internationally respected for her powerful voice and unshakable authenticity, I had the privilege to sit with Yvette as we discussed purpose, missions based in love, Blackness, and of course, hair.



Karen's L.A.B.

Karen Young and Taiko drums are the perfect pairing. Aside from the obvious cultural connection and celebration, Karen has made a practice of tackling issues much larger than herself while using all of herself. An inaugural Boston Artist in Residence, founder and director of the Genki Spark, Karen is a cultural artist, educator and organizer, who has - lucky for us - decided to call Boston home. In our conversation, we discussed culture, identity, community, creativity and better ways of going about our work.