- Growing Up Bronx
Sometimes in life the stars are properly aligned and we get lucky. Such was the case with this one time performance of “County of Kings”. The show has been out of theaters for sometime. I wasn’t involved with the performance poetry side of things when it was first out so naturally I didn’t know about it. Once I read the book “County of Kings” and learned more about Lemon Andersen I really wanted to see the show live, but that wasn’t going to happen, the show was over.
Then I saw the listing on Facebook that said “County of Kings” for one night only in Lemon’s home town of Brooklyn. WHAT WHAT WHAT!!! I can probably say that this purchase now holds the record for quickest online transaction that I have ever performed.
Lemon Andersen performed this special version of the show for the “Beat festival”. This was pretty cool, I had Rock Wilk’s “Broke Wide Open” show coming up, I had just watched Lemon’s movie, and my man Melech Meir had also appeared in “Children of killers“. Me and my wife had been attending show after show starring people that I actually know! Who better to watch and support than our own friends?
By the time I watched this version of “County of Kings” I had already read the book, watched the movie, and seen parts of the show online. It’s safe to say I had a good idea of what to expect. Even so, it still felt new to me, there is nothing like seeing a show live. I didn’t realize how sick with the flow Lemon is when spitting to music. There is no doubt in my mind that if Lemon wanted to pursue the hip hop/rap path he would be on top of that game too!
WATCH ME! Lemon’s opening line, my favorite intro to any piece I have ever heard. The show takes us through Lemon’s life, from early beginnings where he is a kid at Coney Island dancing by the Himalaya with his mom, to later in life where he ends up in prison. One line that really stuck in my head is when he said “the worst thing about doing a prison bid, is coming back home”. Personally I’d be more worried about getting shanked or raped in prison, but that’s just me. LOL.
Before we proceed, we have to talk about the himalaya piece, because I don’t recall ever going to the Himalaya, but, I feel like I have a memory of living it. Lemon talks so passionately about the experience with his mom. He takes us right there to the moment. I have seen Millie dancing, showing her moves to her favorite song “Ring my bell”, and there you have little white boy Lemon matching her moves and loving life! You really see it!
Through the show Lemon takes us through an array of characters. Characters ranging from his nosy neighborhood viejita (which he voices by the way) to his step dad as he asks him to “time” what becomes a botched car theft sale.
The play take us up and down emotionally. There are periods where Lemon makes us laugh out loud, and others where us manly men will attempt to wipe and hide tears from our wives. By the end of this show you have a very good idea of what Lemon’s life was like, good and bad.
If this show comes back again, or to your area, you better take advantage and go watch it. It is a great show. As a great compliment to the show, I’d also recommend that you pick up the DVD for Lemon the Movie which actually follows Lemon throughout the entire process of taking “County of kings” from a dream to reality. It’s a great documentary that amazingly compliments the show.
Lemon is doing a lot of great things, he’s been on many talk shows ranging from NBC to the Spanish networks. His work has being pushed by some very notable people the likes of Russell Simmons and Spike Lee. As friends of Lemon we wish him continued success and look forward to seeing his upcoming theatrical works!
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.