Fascious Brings Hip Hop Theater to El Barrio
Anthony Martinez from the Bronx is a self-described “Hip-Hop Head” who is better known by his pseudonym Fascious. His mission is to promote Hip Hop Theater, telling and dramatizing what he calls the untold stories of the Hip Hop Generation.
Tonight you can catch Fascious in action when he performs his one-man Hip Hop Theater show “Penumbra” at Cemi Underground in NYC’s El Barrio.
Just like a poet, Fascious breaks down what every letter in his name represents.
“Each letter symbolizes several words beginning with that same letter, which collectively defines the essence of its meaning,” he says.
F is for the final fatal fights for freedom facing fickle fears frozen from finicky feelings forcefully fenced.
A is for the anticipation of Armageddon, awaiting are agents, apostles and after-life arrangements. Allocating Anthony Alphabetic acrobatics ascending authenticity…admire an angel’s anatomy
S is for the Schizophrenic suicidal side separated since Satan’s spectrum subsided significantly surpassing superstitions. Still some see sugar satisfying sacrificing self-sufficiency.
C is for the cascading colors confirming creativity concerning certain circumstances.
I is for the Ill ideas ignited instantly implying inconspicuous idioms I imprint inside my eyelids.
O is for the obvious, often-oblivious…opinions opposing our oval office oozing oil, omen orbits.
U is for the urgency underlying umbrellas uncovering underestimated ulcerations.
And the other S…that’s for serenity. Strings suppressing such severe solemn solutions.
While Fascious is rooted in the word “Fascist” which is known to have a negative connotation, he says, his name has a positive spin.
“As an adjective, the word Fascious contains flexibility with respect to meaning and allows more admittance to truth,” he says. “Fascious embodies the elements of one’s personality that permits militancy in advocating action over word as words are a means of action. In order for Fascious to gain power, he has to lead a movement and this movement begins…with music, poetry…the arts.”
Fascious is currently working with the Hip Hop Theater Festival, which aims to invigorate theater and Hip Hop by nurturing the creation of innovative work.
Hip Hop Theater, he says, serves as a way of bringing theater to young people from low-income and working class families who otherwise may not appreciate or patronize theater.
“How do you explain to a 14 year old kid whose father is in jail, whose mom is a drug addict, and who academically is on a 5th grade reading level that watching Hamlet is going to affect his life in a positive way? Hip Hop Theater seeks to address these and other such issues in a way that is tangible, multi-disciplinary, and overall engaging. It also seeks to preserve the art of live performance while promoting new work within the genres of Hip Hop and Theater through celebrating culture, community outreach and education.”
Fascious, who was born and raised in the Bronx near the Eastchester Projects, says that his childhood was not easy. Growing up he remembers that his father was in prison. He recalls the pressure to fall to the pits of drugs, gangs, and violence was “ infinitely overwhelming.”
But, he says, every struggle has proved to be an opportunity to grow and learn life lessons.
Luckily, he discovered his love of music early.
He remembers that it was in middle school when he decided to cultivate his passion for the Hip Hop art form.
“The first ‘rhyme’ or ‘lyric’ I ever wrote was in the hospital after hearing my grandfather’s last words delivered to me from his deathbed,” he recalls. “Writing became a way for me to facilitate my own therapy.”
His influences in Hip Hop range “from the socio-political elements that generated its initial movement to the words and rhythms of its poetry.”
Other influences include Hip Hop’s underground scene, salsa, merengue, boleros, funk, jazz, rock, gospel, and “pretty much anything I can get my hands on.”
“I like to keep my heart open and mind expanding,” he says.
His Bronx roots definitely influence his art.
“Bronx is the fertile mother in which birthed and served as the vessel for nurturing the founding movement of Hip Hop,” he says. “From DJ Kool Herc setting up block parties in 1973 and Afrika Bambaata advocating peace in the midst of gang wars and violence to Big Pun becoming the first Latin Hip Hop Artist to go platinum. The Bronx is a site of rich history and culture. Every block corner is an inspiration.”
Being a Puerto Rican from New York City is an inspiration too.
“As an individual living in New York City and of Puerto Rican descent, I take a lot of pride in representing both cultures,” he says. “But I especially stress learning the significance of my ancestral past.”
To learn more about Fascious, visit www.fascious.com. -- Clarisel Gonzalez