C-Note's Performing Arts Source Material
The readily available documentary sources
Continued from the Home Page's The Performer
Video from People
Video from American Broadcast Company, Los Angeles (KABC-7)
Redemption In Our State of Blues received local press coverage,  statewide coverage,  regional coverage,  and national coverage. 
 Program helps inmates express themselves through acting | abc7https://abc7.com/society/program-helps-inmates-express-themselves-through-acting/1252240/
 What Prison Reform Looks Like Inside California State Prison, L.A. County | KCEThttps://www.kcet.org/shows/departures/what-prison-reform-looks-like-inside-california-state-prison-la-county
 More than a Performance | Vortexhttps://www.vortexla.org/the_strindberg_laboratory_20180305 [404--- Page Not Found]
 Flipping the script: LAC Inmates explore redemption through theaterhttps://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2016/08/flipping-the-script-lac-inmates-explore-redemption-through-theater/ [404--- Page Not Found]
 Southern Theatre, Vol. 58, Issue 2 by Southeastern Theatre Conference - issuu
 Inside the Program Training Actors in California Jails and Prisons | PEOPLEhttps://people.com/celebrity/inside-the-program-training-actors-in-california-jails-and-prisons/
The following images are digital copies from all levers of state government recognizing the prisoners work in the original Play Redemption in Our State of Blues. Some even by name, such as C-Note's Money Mike and Natidapoet's the poet.
Letter from California Governor "Jerry" Edmund G. Brown Jr, in it he acknowledges the prisoners contribution to Redemption in Our State of Blues, and wrote, "Inmates exposed to Arts programs are more likely to adjust to life outside prison and are less likely to become repeat offenders."
Certificate of recognition from the California state senate for the prisoner written Play Redemption in our State of Blues.
Letter from California state Senator Sharon Runner of the 21st Senate District who wrote, "My representative was taken aback by the professionalism and quality of the play that was presented. I also understand this play was written and performed by the inmates from the B yard at the prison."
Letter from California state Senator Holly J. Mitchell of the 30th District, whose letter had a staffers quote, "Redemption in our State of Blues was a rollercoaster of tear-jerking realism coupled with humorous lifestyle experiences that humanized the societal stereotypes of criminals."
Letter from California State Assembly Jack Lackey of the 36th Assembly District wrote, "I was clearly impressed by the outstanding acapella vocals, the humor of Money Mike, and the literary skills and Powerful delivery of the poet. I was reminded that there is great potential for all men to be a viable part of our culture."
Diploma of acknowledgement from The Strindberg Laboratory acknowledging C-Note created an original work in the play Redemption in our State of Blues.
Fathers and Sons 2017
By 2017, Michael Bierman and Meri Pakarinen were moving on with their work at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County. They had put on two plays plus an encore. Maximum security means maximum security for a reason. Their work as artist were being stifled by all the various managerial whims that a prison administration's bureaucracy brings. You can have sadistic guards, sadistic sergeants, sadistic lieutenants, who care very little of the opinions of their higher-ups. A State issued toothbrush in a California maximum prison is three inches in length. That should say everything about the type of concerns and paranoia guards bring to the table, especially when civilians are interacting with prisoners.
Their third and final play at the the B Facility yard at CSP-LAC, was called Fathers and Sons. It ran from March 15-17, 2017. It was directed by Leah Joki who was assisted by five professional actors under the supervision of Parkarinen, and consisted of 20-acts. These were established works from playwrights such as Shakespeare and August Wilson. It also included original works from the CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners.
After conversing with most of the prisoner writers on the play Fathers and Sons, C-Note heard frustrations of their stories being wilted down for creative censorship. After the play was over, he got all the writers together to rewrite the scripts in the way they wanted to. Nor were they limited to just the play they created for Fathers and Sons; they could include more stories. He told them he would get all their stories together typed up, and have them published by the Prisons Foundation. Along with the assistance of Mohammed E. White Ali, Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), is a multiracial work consisting of the edited and unedited versions of the written plays by the prisoners performed in March of 2017. It also included new material that were not a part of the original March playbill.
Another Wounded Soul
by Tuan Doan
Tears of Shame
by Tuan Doan
Running the Streets
by Mohammed E. White Ali
Father to Son
by Dontay Hayes
by Derric Burbie
Foolish Man's Land
by David Garcia
Chasing a Dream
by Travon Pugh
The Seed of Bonnie and Clyde (South Los Angeles Edition)
by Donald "C-Note" Hooker
Grandpa and Michael
by Jerry Cooley
My Father's Gone
by Ira BenjaminIn
In 2019, C-Note was under the tutelage of Los Angeles Poet Laureate 2014-2016, and author, Luis J. Rodriguez. He has been teaching a creative writing course at the prison for nearly a decade. During one of the classes, C-Note read and performed Act V, the final act to his play The Seed of Bonnie and Clyde (South Los Angeles Edition) from the play Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners). It was meet with roaring ovations by his peers. During their time together, both C-Note and Rodriguez were participating in the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLA's, inaugural art festival CALL, Connecting Art & Law for Liberation.
Below is C-Note's certificate in creative writing from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and signed by Luis J. Rodriguez.
Fathers and Sons | Prisons Foundation
FATHERS AND SONS (A Play Written by Prisoners) | Mprisondpoetz
Lost and Found 2018
In 2018, Leah Joki's No Joke Theater was allowed to bring it's program to the prisoners on B Facility. The No Joke Theatrical program focuses on acting, playwriting, directing, stage management and design by using classical, contemporary and original material from which the participants learn responsibility, communication skills, empathy and the desire to live life differently. Muhammad E. White Ali, who edited the acts in the play, Fathers and Sons (A play by prisoners), along with C-Note, was the official Stage manager for the act "Blythe," in the play Lost and Found. White asked C-Note to draw a menu and sign for Andy's Diner.
Blythe was written in 1991 by Dan McMullan, a prisoner at Chuckwalla Valley State Prison (CVSP). He wrote the play as part of a statewide playwriting contests conducted by the Arts-in-Corrections program. Blythe won first place out of 40 other entries. In 1992, the Arts-in-Corrections program selected it for a staged reading in Hollywood involving Ed Asner. At the time, Asner was the head of the Screen Actors Guild. At the last minute, the reading was cancelled by the warden of CVSP. He insisted the play be removed.
Reporter Mary Rees writing for the Berkeleyside on November 17, 2016, wrote, "Part of it was they wouldn't let us perform it inside the prison; they thought it would be embarrassing for the officers," director Leah Joki said in a talkback session after the play. "But they signed off for it to go out to Los Angeles, and the warden kind of forgot that he had signed this off months ago, and apparently he was at another meeting with these other wardens saying, 'I can't believe that they're doing a play about your prison with these big-name actors.'... I think he was embarrassed, and he pulled it."
The play takes place during the early 1990s at Andy's Diner. A fictional diner in Blythe, a tiny desert town near the Arizona border, and the location of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. Two residents and a waitress briefly gripe about the unfulfilled promise that the prison would bring more people and more growth to the town. When a prisoner goes on the lam, two corrections officers from the nearby prison drop in. The success of this work is the raw humor that juxtaposed the seriousness of the topics discussed.
"I just wanted to give the work that desert landscape feel of expanse, isolation, and the kind of place that produces alien habitation. I wasn't told what medium to use," says C-Note, "But I chose a felt-tip pen on 100lb paper. Other artist may not have grasped the communication value in flat shapes, as opposed to three-dimensional ones through the use of light and shadow."
This Concrete Life 2019
This Concrete Life was a 1-day, 90-minute, solo and group theatrical performances by prisoners at the California State Prison at Los Angeles County, Facility B-yard. It was the accumulation of 16 weeks of theatrical training by the theatrical troupe Fugitive Kind Theater.Fugitive Kind Theater is a Los Angeles-based troupe committed to social justice by amplifying the voices of the incarcerated and returning citizens.
FKT believes art has the power to heal, and uses storytelling, through Spoken word, music, dance, theater, and comedy, to bring transformation.
Besides his participation in several group performances, C-Note recited his 700+ word, tongue-twisting, poem, THE CRIMINALIZATION OF OUR AMERICAN CIVILIZATION (This Is Not A Manifesto) to resounding applause.
In the winter of 2019, a once in a 100-year pandemic struck. Covid-19 was an airborne virus that struck the lungs. In order to mitigate its lethalness, social distancing became a protocol. As a result, gatherings were deemed as the main culprit of community spread and were banned through executive edicts. Until this Global crisis is vanquished, the performance arts will unlikely return in prison settings.
Hip Hop Rock (2020)
Hip Hop Rock is a single off the soundtrack 1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works. All songs on the soundtrack were produced by C-Note except the first single. Hip Hop Rock is being highlighted here as it is the first single from the soundtrack that will be released by The King of Prison Hip Hop as a full scale music video.
Throughout his work as an artist, C-Note has had a knack for fusing the old with the new, this style with that style, and Hip Hop Rock is no different. C-Note seemingly transitions Hip Hop into Rock and Rock into Hip Hop, it is this transition from one Epic to the next that makes him truly an artist for the ages.