Beth Schenck (Guthrie Project) Brenda Usher-Carpino & Biggi Vinkeloe

FRIDAY November 18, 2016
7:30pm, $10


The Guthrie Project is a collaboration between (saxophones + compositions) and Matt Wrobel (guitar), who have been playing music together for over a decade. After their son was born in 2011, Beth began writing short musical poems out of a growing interest in small scale/minimalist structures that could exercise both musical restraint and freedom of space. The product possesses an expansive, cinematic quality that has been described as “lyrical, rich and biting” (Greg Burk, Beth and Matt have performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan and have performed with world-renowned musicians Henry Threadgill, Rajeev Taranath, Jim Black, Bill McHenry, Andrew D’Angelo and many others. Last year they relocated to the Bay Area from Brooklyn, New York.

Beth Schenck, Saxophones/compositions
Matt Wrobel, Guitar

 Brenda Usher-Carpino and Biggi Vinkeloe

 Brenda, an African-American, was born in San Antonio, Texas, the fourth of six children. Her family moved to California when she was ten years old. She graduated from Berkeley High School, then started her first year of college at U.C. Berkeley during the outbreak of the Free Speech Movement. She also experienced the Viet Nam War protests and demonstrations, and witnessed the birth of the Black Power movement and the blossoming of the drug and “flower child” sub-cultures while there. She graduated with a B.A. degree in French.

Brenda worked for two years at the university in Undergraduate Admissions before returning to the classroom and receiving a Master’s degree in French from CSUH. Eventually she received her Ph.D., again in French Language and Literature, from Stanford University.

Since her earliest memory, Brenda has been drawn to the craft of writing as a form of personal expression, communication and creativity. On and off, the earnest pursuit of a writing career has been put on hold, although she has been writing throughout the years. It is only within the last several years, however, that she turned to playwriting, primarily because before that she had convinced herself that she possessed a novelist’s mentality even though she had always been drawn to the stage in terms of acting. The original draft of “Blood Types” was written in 2000 and has undergone many revisions. Brenda has written two other full length plays that deals with interracial relationships, as well as shorter pieces. She is currently working on a monologue, and has other playwriting projects in mind, including one she intends to title “You Are NOT Leontyne Price”.

In 2009, Brenda returned to the classroom to receive her MFA in English and Creative writing.

Brenda, a gay women ever since she can remember, is divorced and is the proud mother of a daughter who graduated with honors from Harvard University in 2003, and received her J.D. from Hastings School of Law in 2013. Brenda has resided in Oakland for the last 36 years.


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