7 thoughts on “Marquee de Me”

  1. Dear Nina,

    I recently saw ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ at the Leeds Film Festival. I was so impressed, and I think it is absolutely beautiful and intoxicating! You’ll be pleased to know that tons of extra performances have been put on to cope with public demand. One question I have…will it be going on DVD? I would love to purchase it and show my friends, perhaps you have some information regarding this.

    I hope to hear from you. Take care!

    Bianca x

  2. Hello Nina,

    I just saw your wonderful film at MOMA, and it was a delight from beginning to end. Funny, beautiful, charming sad, exciting, everything it could be. Loved the way you used your story, but most of all, I loved that you celebrated the totally unsung Annette Hanshaw. I have collected records and loved her for over 40 years, as have many of my friends. I have about 70 of her 78’s and 4 lps that were produced by English jazz authority Brian Rust in the 70’s. He knew, interviewed and loved her too. It was so thrilling to her hear voice and the accomplished jazz men who played with her broadcast in the theater to a packed house, and to see the words, Starring Annette Hanshaw, brought a tear to my eye. I almost spoke to her once, when 30’s swing singer Dolly Dawn called her from my appartment, but her husband said that Annette had already gone to bed and couldn’t speak. What a disappointment, I lost my chance to tell her I loved her. Apparently she didn’t enjoy making those records, so the interview with Brian Rust goes, but who would know it. And she first said “thats all” after she finished her initial audition for a record company, and they thought it was so charming, they asked her to do it on most of her records. Anyway, that is all, it is just so wonderful to have her appreciated in some small way again. Incidentally my two friends and I were the ones who raised our hands…I didn’t see who the fourth was, but we all love her. Come over some time and listen to her and so many others. I have about 13,000 78’s from the 20’s and 30’s. Thanks again for everything, and best of luck in getting your wonderful film viewed by many many more people.



  3. Hi Nina,

    I wrote a book of poetry entitled “Storytelling in Cambodia,” Calyx Books, 2006, where I also retell the Ramayana, with Sita rejecting Rama. I looking forward to seeing “Sita Sings the Blues.” Here is a poem from that collection:


    Shabby Valmiki, your beard long as imagination,
    your garments old as language,
    thanks for the offer,
    but I will not remain here
    inside your house of leaves.

    Although you believe
    you are my father and the father of poetry,
    I want nothing from you.

    Yes, you made me beautiful, but spring soon turns to winter.
    I’m sick of your description of the curve of my eyebrows,
    the softness of my throat, the fullness of my breasts.

    How dare you imprison me in Asoka Grove
    guarded by Rakshasas with upside down noses, cow legs,
    and voices that screech: Give yourself
    to Ravanna or we will eat you with sauce.

    Why did you force me to deal with the monster himself
    when he has hundreds of long-lashed
    women wearing sheer silks stitched with tiny bells,
    curling into each other on the floor of his bedchamber?
    Since you made him want me,
    I knew he would let me live,
    but I had to put up with his fits,
    rolling his twenty red eyes and shaking
    his hundred fingers in my face.

    Why did you make my beloved Rama loathe me?
    During my thirteen years of captivity
    simply imagining touching his dark-green hair again
    kept me from suicide.
    But when you finally reunited us,
    you hid the truth of my chastity from him.
    He who gazed into my eyes
    when I awoke in the morning and
    dropped off to sleep at night, could no longer
    bear the sight of me.

    I asked Lakshmana to build a pyre.
    He dragged logs and kindling onto the palace’s marble floor.
    Rama did not stop him.
    I thought I could not live without Rama’s love.
    If I’m impure let the flames take me, I said.
    The fire stripped my sari from me.
    I felt frozen as if clothed in snow and knew
    I did not need to prove my chastity to you,
    to Rama or anyone.

    When I emerged unsinged the sound of shell trumpets
    and lutes filled the air and garlands were strewn
    from my feet to my husband’s throne.
    He ran towards me, his arms outstretched.
    I refused to turn around.
    I covered my nakedness
    and left forever to live
    where women can tell their own stories.


    Best, Willa

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