We recently ran into our mono-monikered friend Stew, who’s been rehearsing “Notes of a Native Song,” a new assemblage of songs, texts, and video inspired by writer James Baldwin. As with his Tony Award–winning musical Passing Strange, “Notes” is a collaboration with Heidi Rodewald, a longtime musical partnership that goes back to their hard-rocking days in the Negro Problem. So why James Baldwin, we asked him, and why now? “For too many,” Stew replied, “Baldwin functions as just another civil rights action figure trapped in a clear plastic box, exhibited on the kente-cloth mantel, and mined ruthlessly for poetic quotes. Baldwin was my first encounter with punk rock, and we’re trying to rescue him from PBS respectability and drag him back to Giovanni’s room, where he belongs.” “Notes” premieres tonight.

Wed., June 3, 7:30 p.m., 2015

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