Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Silk Road co-founders talk about journey from medical setback
by Andrew Pirrotta
2022-05-03

This article shared 1290 times since Tue May 3, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Malik Gillani co-founded Silk Road Rising—a theater company focused on sharing the life stories of the overlooked and underrepresented people living along the Silk Road in Asia and the Middle East—with his husband, Jamil Khoury, almost 20 years ago.

Two years ago, Gillani suffered a debilitating stroke that left him with aphasia, the loss of ability to express speech. This traumatic event has forced him to spend these last two years diligently working to regain crucial functions through the help of speech therapists as well Khoury and his own unshakable spirit of positivity.

Windy City Times spoke with Gilliani and Khoury.

Windy City Times: With aphasia being in the news with such a big name as Bruce Willis having the disease, it seems that there is a lot of misinformation regarding the forms this disease takes. Can you speak about what the main thing you believe people should know about aphasia?

Malik Gillani: Reading, writing and talking.

Jamil Khoury: It is important to note that there are different types of aphasia.

Most aphasias tend to be a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or an aneurysm. … Depending on how the language center is affected by the stroke, it can manifest in different ways. The form of aphasia Malik has is called Broca's aphasia. [It's a] non-fluent aphasia, so he has all of his comprehension. He understands everything. His cognitive abilities and memories were not impaired. The problem is finding the words.

He also has a condition called apraxia, which is a speech disorder. Apraxia is making the sounds that produce the words. [With] Bruce Willis, everyone is grateful that he has come forward with his story, because so few people know about aphasia; we did not know the word prior to Malik's stroke.

We believe [Willis] has a condition called primary progressive aphasia, which is not stroke-induced. Primary Progressive aphasia is more akin to Alzheimer's or dementia. … His family has not yet confirmed that, so we are just speculating. With primary progressive aphasia, it is a downward trajectory, while Malik's form of aphasia you can work to restore those abilities.

WCT: How has this [condition] influenced the art you make and the way you make it?

JK: Malik has spent a good many years—18 years prior to the stroke—fighting to give people a voice and create space for voices that weren't being heard; now, he is without a voice. He has quite literally lost his voice. He is working to recover language, and to recover his voice. So we see a parallel between the struggles that Silk Road Rising has tried to address—which has to do with people who have been excluded from the American story—and now the challenges that people with aphasia face to be understood.

WCT: The disabled/differently abled community has faced a lot of marginalization, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. Do you think that more involvement and inclusion from both communities would prove a powerful way to bring about change?

JK: I think [there] is an intersectional case to be made. We have always integrated queerness into many of the stories that we tell, and working with queer playwrights to grapple with issues within the community, so neurodiversity is something that affects the LGBTQ community as well.

[There are related issues regarding] visibility, cultural capital, invisibility and a certain marginalization. So much of the face of stroke recovery in this country happens to be straight and white; Malik is a Brown, immigrant, Pakistan, queer Muslim.

MG: Invisible.

JK: And now disabled.

WCT: You've recently partnered with Texas Tech's STAR program. [Note: The STAR Program of Lubbock, Inc. strives to maximize communication abilities and life participation for persons and their families who are affected by aphasia and other communication challenges.] It speaks about music being an influence on recovery. Will you be incorporating music into your productions?

JK: We have created something that is very much in the early development stages, called Aphasia Arts Forum. This is part of our partnership with Texas Tech. There is a pre-existing relationship between the art school and the STAR program. … There is a role that art plays in stimulating and building new neural pathways. If the part of the brain is destroyed, that part is not coming back; the amazing thing about this organ is that the remaining parts can take on this process of building new pathways, [although] that can take years. We talk about rewiring and remolding our brain, and there is truth to that.

We do plan to create art here [Chicago] … and are utilizing the work we are doing with Texas Tech to lead to the creation of a work that audiences will be able to engage with. There is a lot of work being done at different universities looking at how art and the brain work together, how art is an ally to neuro-healing. … This can be applied to cases of childhood autism or Alzheimer's and dementia. People are looking at art as an intervention.

WCT: Before your stroke, you seemed to be involved in the back end of things. Do you have a desire to perform?

MG: Yes, [to be an] actor…

JK: Malik now has a desire to be onstage. The play is called The Art of Aphasia and it will be written over the next few years. Our goal is to produce it in 2026 and for Malik to perform it. So we want to give him the time to learn a lot in our collaboration with the university, and we have set that as a goal.

>I>

For more about Silk Road Rising, visit www.silkroadrising.org/ .


This article shared 1290 times since Tue May 3, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Celebration of trans icon Gloria Allen's life on Oct. 6 2022-10-01
- A celebration of life for the late Chicago trans icon "Mama" Gloria Allen will take place Thursday, Oct. 6, at 10 a.m. at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., inside the third-floor theater. Allen founded ...


Gay News

THEATER About Face showing LGBTQ+ play 'Mosque4Mosque' 2022-10-01
- About Face Theatre opens its 2022-23 season with the world premiere of Omer Abbas Salem's new play Mosque4Mosque, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. Mosque4Mosque is a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first ...


Gay News

More special guests announced for Chicago International Film Festival 2022-09-29
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois (September 28, 2022) — Today, the Chicago International Film Festival announced new guests and details for its 58th edition, running October 12 - 23, 2022. Film screenings and programs will take place at theaters ...


Gay News

MUSIC Jessie Mueller and Seth Rudetsky at Steppenwolf on Jan. 14, 2023 2022-09-28
- On Jan. 14, 2023 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Steppenwolf Theatre and Mark Cortale will present Tony winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful; Waitress) for a hometown concert, hosted and music directed by Sirius XM ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Cardi B, Sam Smith, 'Wednesday' series, Sean Hayes, Serena 2022-09-25
Video below - Cardi B clapped back at someone on Twitter who declared her a celebrity who "came out as bisexual but never dated someone of the same gender," per Out Magazine. The tweet,—featuring pictures of Cardi, Grimes, Lady ...


Gay News

Jackalope Theatre Company announces 15th season 2022-09-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (September 20th, 2022) — Jackalope Theatre Company announces its return to in-person productions with its 2022-23 season featuring the Among the Dead by Hansol Jung, directed by Jackalope Artistic ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore to permanently close; festival gains new home 2022-09-23
- The board of directors of Underscore Theatre Company announced the company will close its doors permanently after eleven dynamic years of producing musical theatre in Chicago, including 16 world premieres. However, the company's Chicago Musical Theatr ...


Gay News

THEATER The Gift running thriller 'The Locusts' Oct. 20-Nov. 19 2022-09-23
- The Gift Theatre will conclude its 2022 season with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger's thriller The Locusts, commissioned and developed by The Gift and directed by ensemble member John Gawlik. The Locusts will run Oct. ...


Gay News

COMEDY Extra performances added for Jerrod Carmichael at Steppenwolf 2022-09-23
- Due to popular demand, Steppenwolf Theatre has added two additional performances of Emmy award-winning comedian Jerrod Carmichael's new solo show on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5, at 10 p.m. as part of ...


Gay News

MUSIC Cabaret singer Jeff Harnar talks Sondheim, coming out 2022-09-23
- Jeff Harnar wasn't born in Chicago, but he will tell you first-hand that it is his home. Having spent his formative years in this city, Harnar discovered a passion for musical theater. Decades later, he has ...


Gay News

Out comic/writer Sam Jay talks career ahead of Wicker Park performance 2022-09-22
- Stand-up comic and Emmy-nominated writer Sam Jay will be performing at The Den Theatre, located in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, on Sept. 23-24. The first Black lesbian writer in Saturday Night Live's history, Jay is a ...


Gay News

COMEDY Cameron Esposito at The Den Theatre on Dec. 30-31 2022-09-22
- The Den Theatre is welcoming back LGBTQ+ comedian Cameron Esposito, performing two stand-up shows on Dec. 30-31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Esposito (a onetime Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree) ...


Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces fun enhancements to the Clue live on-stage experience 2022-09-19
-- From a press release - Chicago (September 16, 2022) — Mercury Theater Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Kristi J. Martens and Executive Producers L. Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon have announced fun experiences ...


Gay News

'Phantom of the Opera' closing on Broadway after 35 years 2022-09-18
- After more than three decades, The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history, is closing. A representative verified that the play's final performance will be on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. It will have ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Cabaret' at Metropolis through Oct. 22 2022-09-17
- Musical Broadway classic and hit film Cabaret re-creates the decadent and complicated world of 1929 Berlin at the Arlington Heights venue Metropolis Performing Arts Centre through Oct. 22. Cabaret is Kander and Ebb's legendary musical masterpiece ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.