The Fire Next Time with Kim Hines

Hello!

When I read his work I feel like he was a good close friend that I lost. That’s how much he resonates with me.

Today we meet Kim Hines and we’re talking about the book that saved her life: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

Kim Hines is a playwright, actor, director, and author. Her plays have been produced across the United States, including tours at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Kim has performed at many theaters including the Illusion Theater, Penumbra Theater, and the Guthrie Theatre. She was a founding member of Mixed Blood Theater. Kim has directed at theaters across the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and at Cornell University in New York, University of Northern Iowa, and Kansas University. Her YA novel Wingo Fly was published in 2020.

The Fire Next Time was a 1963 national bestseller. It galvanized the United States, giving passionate voice to the civil rights movement. Both a evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and an examination of racial injustice, this book is an intensely personal and provocative. It is written as two “letters, ” on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Connect with Kim

facebook: facebook.com/kim.hines920/

website: simplykimhines.com

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Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
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Transcript

This transcript is auto-generated by our recording platform Riverside.fm. This transcript does not include episode narration and contains the original full interview between J.P. Der Boghossian and today’s guest. It is approximately 85% accurate and will include spelling and grammatical errors. For any quotation purposes, we strongly recommend referencing the audio.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Kim, would you like to introduce yourself?

Kim Hines .
My name is Kim Hines, I’m a second -generation native, Minneapolitan, theater artist, visual artist. A lot of people don’t know that part. I don’t know what else you want to know!

J.P. Der Boghossian .
I want to hear more about that. So first, let’s start with a theater artist because you are like an icon of the local Minneapolis St. Paul theater scene. So can you give me a little bit of the background in your theater that you do locally in the Twin Cities?

Kim Hines .
It’s so funny, you say that I’m an icon and I was dealing with some younger actors not terribly long ago in a workshop and they came over, I mean, we were online and…

Kim Hines .
Oh wow, you’re Kim Hines. You’re a –

And I felt like, wow, a pioneer. And all I could think of was the covered wagon, you know, and going across the, yeah, yeah, very much so, very much so. And it was a very interesting discussion and I felt so old. I felt very, very old, you know. Oh, no, no, no, but that’s what it made me think of. That’s what it made me think of. Because I feel like I’ve always been in theater, like I was born in theater, but I wasn’t.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
I know that’s very colonial.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh, that’s not what I was intending.

Kim Hines .
I got involved in theater because of busing. And my grade school, Warrington Elementary, was the first school, predominantly black school, to be torn down in the name of integration. And they did not want to upgrade the school because the school is one of the oldest schools in the Twin Cities.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh really?

Kim Hines .
It was built in the th century and they didn’t want to do any upgrades. So they decided to split the school up and send the kids to different schools. And I wound up, this was after fourth grade and I was bussed to Bancroft and there was a teacher there, George Capitz, who was, he was just a fantastic teacher.

And we did things there that I never ever would have gotten the opportunity to do at my old school. Fifth grade was, I was, my mind was blown wide open because that’s when I realized that we had less than, you know, their gymnasium didn’t have asbestos falling off the ceiling.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm.

Kim Hines .
And every time we did anything, the janitor would have to come in and sweep all the asbestos off the floor. And this was a common occurrence. We never had brand new books. I think we had brand new books one time the whole four years that I was at Orington. We only had one or two black teachers. I mean, I could go on and on and on.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
It was, and I went to band craft and go, oh my God, you know? And we did things that just wouldn’t happen at Warrington, you know? The whole class learned how to knit so that we could make afghans for the Red Cross. I mean, even the boys, the boys had to learn how to knit. I mean, I’m telling you, Mr. Capitz was…

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
What?

Kim Hines .
He was the first male teacher I ever had and he was just fantastic. He was very arts oriented and he was just fantastic. And he is the one, he looked at me one day and he said, you’re gonna pull together a play for Halloween. And I go, well, I don’t know anything about putting on plays. I play the violin, but, and I sing.

and I play the piano, but I don’t know anything about plays. And he said, go to the library, find a play, ask the librarian to show you some plays. And so I found a book of plays. I picked one. He said, now pick out people in the class to play the parts. And so I did. I didn’t hardly know. Some of the kids had gone to my home school, but the other kids I didn’t know, all the white kids, I didn’t know them. So we put on the play and it was bad. It was awful.

knew our lines and I gave the lead to myself.

He said, okay, I’m gonna give you two weeks to make this a whole lot better. I go, okay. So we learned our lines and that kind of moved people around. I didn’t know what I was doing. And he thought it was a stitch. He loved it. So then he had us do the play for other classrooms. And so everybody laughed and loved it. And then I thought that was it no more plays and he says all right you’re gonna pull together the Christmas play.

The next school I went to Lyndale. The old Lyndale school. They didn’t have any kids of color there at all. And we were the only one we were bused in and all the parents picketed and called us the N -word and everything. We were they wouldn’t let us off the bus and we were on the school bus and they tried to turn the bus over with us on it. OK.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Lyndale.

Kim Hines .
Police had to be called and I don’t know why I keep thinking that the National Guard was called. It was a huge deal and we did not get in until a couple of hours before school was over. And no black parents came because they didn’t want to escalate anything. And this went on for not quite a week before they let us in. And teachers wouldn’t call on us in class and I mean,

I had a wonderful teacher, Robert McCart loved him, loved him, but there wasn’t any theater going on at that school, very blue collar school, very, very blue collar. And so I went on to Bryant for seventh grade and they had a great theater program. And that summer I got to experience the Children’s Theater. I got to experience the Edith

I got it. I can’t think of her name. There’s a theater in St. Paul. It’s no longer a theater, but there was a theater in St. Paul. I got to experience the Guthrie, the Guthrie space. That’s where I met Fran Bennett for the first time. I was like years old and I was just so, oh my God, I was like in heaven. And I knew that this was what I was going to do. Even though my parents said, nah.

This is just aphasia going through. And my dad kept saying, I don’t know that many people who survive in theater. I mean, Sammy Davis Jr., but you know, he used to say stuff like that. And I’d say, dad, dad, you know, they wanted me to go into the sciences, because I come from a medical family. And so everybody was in the sciences except for a couple of my siblings.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hahaha

Kim Hines .
You know, and they went into finance. They were science and math. Okay. I was, I was the artist. My siblings, they all were artistic, but they didn’t trust it enough to pursue it as a career. You know? So.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Okay.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
So where did you go to college or university? McAllister, okay. I’m assuming you were a theater major.

Kim Hines .
McCallister, yeah. I was speech and theater major and visual art major. I would have done interdisciplinary arts thing, but the departments didn’t get along. So I can say safely that I was a.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Wow.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Thank you.

Kim Hines .
in music, visual.

You know, they just wouldn’t work together. You know, a wonderful example of how to put the student last, you know, I mean, it was all about egos. I just, so, you know, I had to figure out something else. But yes, speech and theater and visual art.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
So when you got started then after McAllister, or did you do grad school? Did you just jump right into the?

Kim Hines .
No, before I was out of undergrad, I did not do grad school. Before I was out of college, I helped start Mixed Blood Theater. That was started by McAllister students. We were sitting in the green room doing Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht and Jack Ruler and Russell Curry and Steve Yocum and myself.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
that far wow

Kim Hines .
I’m just trying to think if there was anybody else. We were sitting around talking about, well, Jack and Steve are a couple years older than I am, and they were getting ready to graduate. And Jack said, what are we gonna do once we leave here? And everybody’s talking, and he said, if I don’t get into veterinary school, let’s start a theater. And he didn’t get into vet school. And so he…

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Both.

Kim Hines .
He was in charge of dealing with kids doing, I don’t know if these kids had one foot in jail and one foot out, or I don’t know what the situation was, but he would do these activities with these kids. He said, I got offices over at the firehouse and we’re not doing anything with three quarters of the building. Let’s, you know, I’ve already talked to the powers that be, let’s turn it into a theater. And so,

we got more people involved. There was just us, but then there were people like Marion McClinton and Jeff Ewing and Ralph Lemon, the MacArthur choreographer, MacArthur recipient, David Carlson. I mean, you know.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Amazing.

Kim Hines .
Terry Bellamy, I mean, eventually Faye Price. I mean, we were all, and we turned it into a theater and we couldn’t get anybody to come see us. And so Jack drove around Minneapolis and he would, in a big old bus, a big old rusty school bus, and he’d say, hey, hey you, yeah, yeah, you waiting for a bus? You wanna see a play?

Yeah, I’ll bring you back. No, I’ll even drive you home afterwards. It’s free. It’s free. And that’s what he did. And sometimes we’d have five people in the audience and there’d be of us on stage. I mean, there’d be more people on stage than there was in the audience. It was sad. And Jack kept saying, no, we got to do this. We got to do the show even if there’s no audience. And we let him take over because he wasn’t really an actor and he was a so -so director.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hahaha.

Kim Hines .
but he could do administrative work. And so that’s why we let him be in charge. Because nobody else wanted to be in charge. We’re all tired, okay? We’re sitting up here. He borrowed lights from various places. There were sometimes we had tin cans up there with bulbs in them. I mean, we just, we wired the place ourselves. We hung lights ourselves, you know? I mean,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Uh…

Kim Hines .
It was crazy. It was crazy. And we had plays and rap.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Really? So you did the whole thing, like the whole experience.

Kim Hines .
Yeah. Yep.

Yeah. And people did not catch on until the last show of our season. And that was pretty awesome. We did Indians by Arthur Colpitt with real Native Americans.

playing the roles of Native Americans. And, um,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Wow.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
that radical authenticity and decolonizing the theater from the beginning.

Kim Hines .
Yes, exactly. And so we, you know, people started to catch on. I remember when Peter Vaughn was standing outside trying to get a ticket and he said, this is crazy. You’re all a bunch of kids and you’re making theater. You’re doing something that’s more interesting than what’s happening at the Guthrie.

And I talked to him for a little bit, you know, and we started getting great reviews. And that’s the beginning of mixed blood. Excuse me.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Now at the beginning, were you able to kind of take on multiple roles like directing and acting and writing or did that come later?

Kim Hines .
not in the beginning because Jack was very…

provincial. I’m better at comedy than I am drama. He wouldn’t let me do any comedy at all. He said, you’re a dramatic actress, that’s what you’re going to do. And he didn’t want to find any plays where the main role was a female. And his girlfriend, Liz Georges and I, we read so many scripts, and we said, here’s at least eight scripts that you can consider. He wouldn’t do it.

And I knew I wasn’t going to be there long. I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay. We did To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, and I played Lorraine Hansberry. And that was a very popular play. And I knew that I was probably going to leave not long after that show closed. I was there for almost four years. And then I left. I was going to move to New York.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
with my boyfriend who I’d been with for five years. We were gonna move towards marriage and it didn’t work out that way. And my dad called me, he said, listen, before you move out to New York, you got people that are calling and asking for you. You got some voiceover work, Donahue’s calling you for a show.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
Lou Bellamy is calling you to join the company. I said, oh, really? Okay, so I came back. My dad said, you might as well move out there with money. And so I was doing all these gigs and then Lou asked me to join the company. I said, well, I’m moving out to New York. He said, well, just postpone that for a little bit. Because he had been over at Mixed Blood and he didn’t like how Jack ran things.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
So he started Penumbra. And so I was with Penumbra for several years. I wound up not moving out to New York. I started working with Out and About, except one of the things that happened after I left Penumbra, I was an actor at the Playwrights Center. And the Guthrie was looking for a black

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
a young black actress, and they gave him my name. I went in for an audition and I got it. And they said, you have to go union.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh. Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
There were only three union houses, the Guthrie, Old Log, and Chanhassen. And Chanhassen, Old Log, they weren’t hiring any black actors. And I had to think long and hard, but I figured, well, I’m going to be moving out to New York, so this will be good. This will be good. And I became union, and I did not move out.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
So I started leaning towards drama.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah. Mm

Kim Hines .
and I could be an actor.

Kim Hines .
So I still got to work with a lot of very well -known playwrights, you know. And then kind of, you know, also after college, I had lost pounds. So I was no longer a character actor. I was now the girlfriend next door or the mom or, you know, all these, you know. And Fran Bennett, who was the acting and movement coach at the Guthrie.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
And uh, I was like, I’m not sure if I’m going say it. I was like, I’m not sure I’m to say if I’m going have to

Kim Hines .
time she said, oh, she said, I know you wanted to lose that weight, but you’re in a category where there’s so much competition, and you’re not going to get decent roles. She said, don’t gain all the weight back, but gain some back. And I did. And I got more roles. But character actors, they don’t tell you when you’re in your s, you’re not going to get decent roles until you hit your s and s. Now,

I could play somebody much older as Liviu Choulet at the Guthrie, artistic director. He said, I love you. I’m trying to find something appropriate for you. He said, the problem is, is that you’re a character actor and you do age really well. He said, nobody would ever know, except your face, you look too young. And then we got to wig you and then we got to put all this makeup on you. And then you don’t look real. You don’t look.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
you

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
normal compared to all the other actors. And then he said, besides, we don’t hire year olds to play and year olds. We can find actors in their s or s. So he kept trying to find something. And in the meantime, the board said, well, we don’t want a whole lot of people of color over here. And he left. And so then I had to leave the Guthrie. So that propelled me in a different direction.

because there weren’t that many plays being done in the Twin Cities for black actresses. I said, well, maybe I should think about maybe doing a little writing. I did a little bit of writing and then people were requesting things and I started to get commissions and Out and About was the first one to commission me. And…

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Wow.

Kim Hines .
then they went under before the play was produced. Oh, it’s crazy, crazy, crazy. Yeah, yeah. But I, yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
No!

Well, thank you for that background information. I really appreciate it. That helps. I kind of craft that together into using, you know, voiceover with your work in the beginning of the episode. Um, and I do want to be mindful of your time because my technology has been failing us, uh, today. So I really, um, anyway, so. So Kim, what is the book that saved your life?

Kim Hines .
James Baldwin, the fire next time.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
And how would you describe it to folks who haven’t read it yet?

Kim Hines .
It is a book where Baldwin writes.

It feels like a letter that he writes to his nephew about America, black people in America, black people dealing with the dominant culture, which is European, white European. And the wonderful thing, it feels like…

Kim Hines .
It feels like a stream of consciousness. Now that’s me. A stream of consciousness by a person who is very steeped in history, who is also an observer. Writers tend to be observers, you know? We are always paying attention. We listen to what people say. We watch what people do. Actors do that as well. Playwrights do that.

And James Baldwin also wrote a couple of plays. So we’re always observing, and then we talk about what we have seen. And that’s what he does to this young man. He describes, you know, this is what’s going on. Can I share a little bit of the book? Because I picked out two very short passages.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Absolutely.

Kim Hines .
that I felt said what, it just so moved me. And I just have to say.

I’m a child of the s and s. I was born in the mid s. And the civil rights movement, there was…

You know, on both sides. You had black people screaming and running because…

Kim Hines .
saying how

How dare you? I refuse to see your humanity. And you’re not gonna take my power away from me. You’re not gonna do it. I’m not gonna let you. You’re subhuman. You’re an animal. You’re, okay? Emotions. And what Baldwin did for me, he said, all right, we got all this emotion. Let’s take that and put it over here. And now let me articulate.

just very succinctly what I see going on. I had not ever read anything that was so clear. It was something a teacher had us read. It’s just a snippet in some elective I was taking. That’s how I was introduced to Baldwin. And I liked what I was reading and I go,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm, I was gonna ask.

Kim Hines .
Oh, wow. And so for Christmas, my parents and my godparents were saying, well, what do you want for Christmas? And I said, I want every book that you can find written by James Baldwin. And I want some books by Nikki Giovanni. And they gave me, I think I got, I didn’t get all of his books, but almost.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
And so let me read this.

Kim Hines .
The treatment accorded the Negro during the Second World War marks for me a turning point in the Negro’s relation to America. To put it briefly and somewhat too simply, a certain hope died, a certain respect for white Americans faded. One began to pity them or to hate them. You must put yourself in the skin of a man who’s wearing a uniform of his country, is a candidate for death in his defense, and who’s called a [N-word].

by his comrades in arms and his officers, who is almost always given the hardest, ugliest, most menial work to do, who knows that the white GI has informed the Europeans that he’s subhuman, so much for American male sexual security, who does not dance at the USO the night white soldiers dance there, does not drink in the same bars white soldiers drink in, who watches German prisoners of war being treated by Americans,

with more human dignity than he has ever received at their hands, and who at the same time as a human being is far freer in a strange land than he has ever been at home. Home. The very word begins to have a despairing and diabolical ring. You must consider what happens to this citizen after all he’s endured when he returns home. Search in his shoes for a job.

for a place to live. Ride in his skin on segregated buses. See with his eyes the signs saying white and colored, and especially the signs that say white ladies and colored women. Look into the eyes of his wife. Look into the eyes of his son. Listen with his ears to political speeches, north and south. Imagine yourself being told to wait.

And all this is happening in the richest and freest country in the world and in the middle of the th century. The subtle and the deadly change of heart that might occur in you would be involved with the realization that a civilization is not destroyed by wicked people. It’s not necessarily that people be wicked, but only that they be spineless.

Kim Hines .
Does this not ring true today? Okay.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
If you told me that was written last year, I’d be like…

Kim Hines .
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I consider him America’s prophet.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm. Mm.

Kim Hines .
Because he has been on point in everything that he’s written about white and black America. This is the last little piece I want to, because this soul rings true. And I have had this conversation with many, many, many white people. White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other. And when they have achieved this,

which will not be tomorrow, and may very well be never, the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.

And what I have said to a lot of my white friends, especially the ones who want to help deal with the problems in America in regards to race, don’t come talk to me. Go talk to other white people. I’m not the problem. White people, and I found this out when I did genealogical work. So many of my white friends, why are you trying to find out about your family?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
I go, wait, what? What are you gonna find out? Okay, so you go back and you find out about this particular person did this and that particular person did that. So how does that affect you? And I go, so you don’t know anything about your family, am I correct? Because you’re talking like you don’t know anything about your family and how they came to be here. He goes, well, you know, my dad was born here. I said,

Yeah, but you’re not indigenous. Okay. So where’d your people come from? I don’t know. I don’t know. They came from Europe, I guess. And you don’t know why they came here. Oh, no, they just they decided they just come to America. I said, No, no. There’s so many reasons for packing up all your stuff and moving to another country.

And % of the time, it’s not to sightsee. It’s trauma of some sort. We were starving. We were being conscripted to fight in a war that we didn’t wanna fight in. We were part of a, they were pushing us into a pogrom.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
our father committed a crime and the prisons were overflowing so they said you can either go to prison or here’s a one -way ticket to America. I mean, you see what I’m saying? There was no work. There’s trauma. It’s always some type of trauma. And white people, they don’t wanna know anything. Most of them don’t wanna know anything about their ancestors. So they don’t understand that they’ve come from trauma. And –

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
dad came from some trauma.

Kim Hines .
That’s why he drank.

That’s why, and he made life.

So all of the people have some type of addiction because of it. And it goes on from generation to generation to generation. And what I know for sure, because of that trauma, you gotta look for a whipping boy. You gotta find somebody that you can project your anger onto. Okay?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
And that’s where women and people of color come in to play, and children.

And the trauma goes on and on and on. It becomes a new type of trauma. And we never come together because trauma keeps you from seeing the humanity in other people.

Kim Hines .
Baldwin, getting back to Baldwin, he talks about this in so many different ways. He talks about it in his novels.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
This guy, you know, every time I read him, I’m just going, yeah. Now, do I feel hopeful? No, no, I don’t feel hopeful about America. But it helps me to understand it. And when he says you either hate white people or you pity them, and I used to, when I was younger, I used to just hate them. I used to hate what they do. And now I pity them. It must be very lonely and sad.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
must be very sad that you would exact this type of behavior unto other people. It’s just, you know, you look at, oh my gosh, all the MAGA folks.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
And they’re the epitome of what he’s talking about. Only they’re just, they are not there. They can’t connect the dots.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm. Mm -mm.

Kim Hines .
and they’re holding this whole country hostage. Baldwin says, it’s not the wicked people, it’s the spineless people. You got all these spineless people in the Republican party, they won’t snatch their party back. You got all these effing Democrats who think that very spineless and they think that their education and at times socioeconomic,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
also spineless.

Kim Hines .
bracket is going to save them or keep them from being affected. They’re dreaming. Yes, they’re spineless.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
So you read this in McAllister for the first time? No, not McAllister. Oh, high school. Oh, wow. Okay.

Kim Hines .
No, no, high school, high school. I went to Marshall University High School and it was very progressive. The smallest school in the district. Like very easily I could, in one class I would have five students and in another class I might have as many as . Or film class, there’d be , you know, because everybody like.

film class, but you know, it was a school that was very, very different. All the offerings were different. Sometimes we had professors who taught classes because they were trying out their textbook through us, you know, and we had classes that just weren’t offered at other schools. You know, nobody else was offering Mandarin Chinese. Nobody was offering Hebrew.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
No.

Kim Hines .
Nobody was offering Arabic. I mean, we had a lot of different languages offered. We had classes that, you know, organic chemistry. That wasn’t offered in most high school classrooms. Are you kidding? Animal behavior. I took that for a solid year. I loved it. Worked at the zoos. Learned all about animals. That’s why I can’t go to a zoo today. Because I know too much.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -mm. Yeah. Yeah.

Kim Hines .
It tears me open. I can’t I can’t watch it. I can’t watch it. Yep.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

So in high school, were you aware of Baldwin’s sexuality? Like, did that come up or did you learn that later?

Kim Hines .
No, I learned that later. I learned it when I read Giovanni’s Room and Another Country and I go oh and the thing of it is my parents didn’t know he was gay either so They got me all these books and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t but you know, it wasn’t it wasn’t foreign to me You know LGBTQ

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Okay.

Kim Hines .
community, you know, that wasn’t foreign to me. I grew up at Children’s Theater. Okay? I was around gay men all the time. There were more gay men than there were straight men. I mean, there were straight men there. I’m being facetious, but you know what I’m saying? So, I mean, I was around, you know, LGBT community all the time.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
So then did Baldwin at some point have a role in your own coming out process or how you understood yourself as a queer person in the world?

Kim Hines .
No, no, nope, nope, nope. Wasn’t until much later when I saw some of the things he had gone through. I mean, it resonated with me. I mean, I understood it. I did not go through, my experiences were not his. You know, he was a contemporary of my parents. He was born in the s, you know. But I could understand his anger and frustration.

Um.

and how he was perceived. I think it didn’t matter to me that he was gay. It didn’t matter to me. And I have to say this because for black people, I’ll just speak for black people, our sexuality is not, that’s not our culture.

White people don’t have a culture. You guys jettison your culture away. So when you come out as queer in any sense of the word, you call that your culture. That’s not my culture. My sexuality is, it might be in the top five things. It doesn’t have to be. That’s not how I see myself in the world, you know? And so,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
Baldwin, when he writes, it’s mostly from the standpoint of being a black man living in white America and how he had to leave here in order to feel that he was human. He had to take up residency in France.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
So, you know, and when you read his books, there’s, you know, you always, race is always a factor, always a factor.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
So, you know, as always from a Black standpoint, the amen corner, you know, he talks about the church. That’s part of the Black culture. It’s got nothing to do with LGBTQ, you know. And I think that that’s something that, I had to explain that to somebody. Now I’ve had to explain it more than once, you know, and it’s always to white people because they don’t get it, you know.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
this woman who was a lesbian separatist. And that was, you know, you ask her, who are you? I’m a lesbian separatist, you know? And I go, okay, well, that’s not your culture. Well, yes, it is. Because she didn’t have anything else to hold on to. Or felt she didn’t have anything else to hold on to. Or had a warped sense of, well, men are part of culture, so I’m a separatist, so I don’t have anything.

You understand what I’m saying?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
We start to have many issues, problems, and concerns when we don’t understand.

things, especially when we don’t understand ourselves and where we come from. We also have problems when we don’t understand how things work. That’s another thing. My father used to say that to me.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
I don’t know.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
So then what was your reaction when you were reading Giovanni’s Room and Another Country? Like how did that like, well, I guess what was your take on them when you read them first time?

Kim Hines .
Well, you know, at the time I considered myself heterosexual. I mean, I was going to move to New York to be with this guy. And then I, I hang out with his family and everything and I realized I was more attracted to his mother than I was to him.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
And I had to say, I said to myself, ooh.

some things here. It wasn’t the first time I was attracted to women, but I had I had squelched it because I grew up black.

There’s a certain type.

Kim Hines .
And I was trying to be the dutiful daughter. I was trying to push myself into that mold. And I was successful on one level, but on these other levels I was not. And, you know, there were many times I said to myself, oh, geez, I’m not happy.

Can I be not happy for years if I stay with this person? You understand what I’m saying? And then when I…

I found myself very attracted to his mother. I said, okay, I have to get out of this. I just have to get out of this, you know, which is what I did.

And, um…

Kim Hines .
I came back to Minneapolis and I worked with Out and About Theater and I started to work with Up and Over, which was the female part of, you know, the lesbian part of, no, it wasn’t all lesbians. I would just say women.

Kim Hines .
And I hung out with this guy.

Kim Hines .
And we were very close and we talked about, you know, coming together and becoming a couple and everything. And race got in the way on his family’s side. Race got in the way. And I, you know, when you’re a person of color in America, you have to pick and choose your battles, which Baldwin did all the time.

And then I just said, okay, I need to be honest with myself.

And I came out after spending a couple of evenings with somebody I went to college with. A lot of talking, a lot of other things. And the whole time I had Baldwin on my, I had his books on my shelf.

You know, and he was an artist, and I’m an artist. And I was bringing other writers in. I was really, I went through this phase where I was just reading nothing but books by people of color. Baldwin was the only male for a long time. I mostly read Alice Walker, and of course, Toni Morrison. Oh my God, Toni Morrison.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
Oh my God, she’s the only female author where I’ve read her books more than one time.

There were Gloria Naylor, there were all these black female writers and I didn’t know what their sexuality was. I just knew that they were strong females that were artists.

But Baldwin was always constant, always constant, because racism in America is constant. And I would go back and reread certain parts of Fire Next Time just to confirmation, affirmation of what I was going through, you know? I mean,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
My father had told me a lot of the same stuff, but I needed to have some, what you would call aesthetic distance.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
You know, and Baldwin did that for me. He did that for me. And so there would be many times I would come across people who were white and I go, okay, you know something, you need to read Baldwin. Here, take this book. I don’t want it back. Just keep it and read it. And I don’t want to talk to you till you’ve read the book. And there were some people, I never spoke to them again.

Okay. And then I handed that book out to many young black people. And mind blown.

bring that book up today. I’m not handing out any more copies because I’m a senior on a fixed income. So I’m not doing that. But I tell people you see that at used bookstores and said you better pick that up. That’s, you know, for the longest time when I didn’t have a lot of money, I’d pick up extra copies that way. I give them to people. I say, you need this more than I do. You know?

But I always had, I didn’t give away all my copies. I always have a copy on my shelf. I love that man. I wish I’d met him. I wish I’d known him. And sometimes when I read his work, I feel like he was a good close friend that I lost. That’s how much he resonates with me. You know?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm. Mm.

Kim Hines .
And right now I’m getting emotional because that’s what it feels like. That’s what it feels like that I lost a really good friend. He died way too soon. You know, he’s of that generation. They smoked a lot, drank a lot. You know, most of them didn’t even get to . A lot of them didn’t get to or they were so debilitated by the time they hit .

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
They wanted to go. I just, even now, I remember when he passed away.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
just

I just kind of like sat and was quiet for a long time.

Kim Hines .
went back and read If Beale Street Could Talk, which was one of his last novels. It’s about a young black man who is, well, a kid. He’s being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. And at the same time, he’s gotten his girlfriend pregnant. And so she’s going to have this baby without him. And you don’t know, he’s left the ending very ambiguous and you don’t know.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
what’s really gonna happen at the end. And that part, you you’re left.

With a, for me it was a profound sadness and I remember reading the last chapter many, many times.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Thank you.

Kim Hines .
and he shows the family, the families of both of the kids, these are teenagers, and you know, you know what this country has done to these families. You know, you know what racism has done. And that’s what I loved about Baldwin. He was so honest and truthful about race in America.

There was no covering it over or spraying fancy perfume on it or just telling one little tiny portion of it. He told, he showed you the ugliness of it because that’s what people of color have to deal with every day. We never know what level of it we’re going to encounter, but we’re gonna, we know we’re gonna have to deal with this every day. Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
If you could have had a conversation with him, what would you have wanted to talk about?

Kim Hines .
So.

Kim Hines .
Oh wow. I wish he had lived longer so that we could talk about the LGBTQ community and how he experienced it once he left America.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
because Europe…

I’m not gonna say they embraced the LGBT community, but they weren’t freaked out by it. I mean, there were a lot of things that were done on the down low, but everybody accepted it as, well, that’s just how that is. Yeah, he’s married and he’s got kids and he’s got a boyfriend on the side. What’s the problem?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
I would have loved to hear what he had to say about Europe as opposed to America and what his experiences were in America, you know, as a black gay man, you know. Would have loved to have that conversation. I would have loved to have had a conversation if he were around today.

his take on what’s going on today. And where does he think this country is going? Because I think we’re on a precipice.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
And I think the majority of America doesn’t get that. The ones that are spineless that could do something, I don’t think they get that. And I am now very fearful of what America is going to look like in the near future. This election coming up is huge. It’s huge. It’s more than just casting a vote, you know? And so I wonder.

And, you know, I try to put myself in his place, Baldwin’s place, because he too at some point wondered where America was going, you know.

I mean, after the Civil Rights Bill and the voting rights, I think white America said, okay, we gave you that, so just calm down now, simmer down now. But we all knew that that was not, and things were bubbling up. By the time we get to the end of the s, we got the Black Panther Movement. We have the FBI moving in and trying to,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
infiltrate black organizations and Fred Hampton was murdered and that was huge.

I wonder how much of that is still going on today.

See, I wonder how much has changed. I don’t think a whole lot has changed. I think it just, same song, different lyrics. And so I would love, I would have loved to talk to Baldwin about what’s going on today. Oh my God, and where he thinks we’re going. And does he think those spineless people are going to wake the F up? Or are they just going to?

just let it slide. Well, you know, we got money in the bank and we’ll be okay. We got extra water. We got a couple cases of water. We’ll be okay.

Kim Hines .
You know, because there’s some people that see it that simply, you know, and just have no clue. They’ve never delved any deeper, you know. I feel when Baldwin moved to France and he talks about being able to breathe, because he grew up in Harlem, I think about America.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
that there will be little islands of places where we can breathe. Whether you’re talking about black people or LGBTQ, if you are other, whatever that is, there’ll be these little islands. I think Minnesota will be one of those islands because I see legislation moving in that direction. Washington State, they will have little pockets.

of islands like Seattle. There’ll be little places throughout America where you can go and breathe, but the majority of the country won’t be like that at all.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
That’s my prediction. And we’re surrounded by red states.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
Minnesota. So I feel like Baldwin was progressive. Anytime you’ve got people who are progressive, the powers of B get a little nervous.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm. Isn’t it amazing how much more they get nervous about progressives and they do fascism? It’s like they’re willing to tolerate fascism all day long, but oh my goodness, if progressive comes around and it’s like they’ve seen, you know.

Kim Hines .
you know, and you, you, you,

Kim Hines .
Exactly. Yes. Yeah.

Kim Hines .
Oh, most definitely, most definitely. And I don’t know why there is such a fear of everybody getting their share, their fair share, and people putting into the pot their fair share. I don’t quite understand the pathology of all of that, behind that fear. I don’t get that. But what usually happens is,

those progressives, if they’re not strong, they leave like Baldwin did, like a lot of black artists did. Because it’s not worth having to do that kind of fighting. It’s very difficult because you can’t do anything else. You know, so I, you know, I have always, I’ve been all over the United States and I keep coming back to Minnesota because there’s some sanity here. I’m not saying there’s all.

is % sanity. I’m not saying that, but I’m not saying that. We got some work to do, but we got more sanity here than most places. And so I keep coming back, you know? Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
This has been so lovely. Thank you for your time today. I have one final question, which is what’s next in life for you?

Kim Hines .
Oh gosh.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hahaha.

Kim Hines .
That’s a crazy question.

Kim Hines .
I’ve been in theater for something like, I don’t know.

years, years. And I’m not saying I’m tired of it. Theater is changing. The pandemic changed my field. I see us moving towards elitism where only the rich can go to the theater. Because the pandemic events are not going to go away. And theaters will not be able to break even.

because of the social distancing and what have you. And so those ticket prices are gonna have to zoom up and it’s only the rich who are gonna be able to afford it. And then we’re gonna go back to theater being only for Eurocentric people.

unless people of color start doing guerrilla theater or pulling together their own, you know, little communities, theater communities. I have a health issue, I have a health disorder that keeps me from acting and directing. So the only thing I can do in regards to theater is to continue to be a playwright.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mmm.

Kim Hines .
I have coached artists and actors virtually. So coaching is another thing that I will continue to do. And I’m getting back into visual art. I haven’t done that, oh my gosh, over years, almost years. And I used to do pen and ink. I’m not confident in getting back into pen and ink. I might.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Wow.

Kim Hines .
I might. I sometimes have numbness in my hands. So that affects how, you know, I use the quill. So I’ve gotten into collage. I do collage work. And I do them on a very small scale. Four by six. And I’ve just started three by four. And I’ve already been asked to be, to show my work in a show in January of,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh wow.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Congratulations.

Kim Hines .
Thank you, thank you. So I’m very excited about that. I wanted to get back into some type of art that took the place of acting and directing. Because the directing took me all over the US, directed in a lot of different places and I really, really enjoyed that. I have been involved with some projects.

at various colleges virtually, but it’s not necessarily the same, you know, it’s not really the same. And so.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mmm. Yeah.

Kim Hines .
you know, getting back into visual art. You know, I used to be in commercial graphics. I used to do illustration and type setting and design and layout work. And I haven’t done that in eons. So I’m not doing layout. Well, I kind of sort of am with the collage because I’m doing layers and I am designing these pieces. So, but, you know, I’m just.

I’m trying to embrace the word senior. I don’t feel like a senior, you know? I just have to tell this little story. When I turned , my mother called me up on my birthday. She said, so which birthday is this? I said, . And she said, ? Well, wait a minute. Well, how old are your older brother and sister?

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Ha!

Kim Hines .
And I said, well, they’re and . Well, how old are the twins? And I said, they’re .

Oh, I got all these old kids. How did I get all these old kids? I wait a minute. When did you turn six? What? I said, Mom, you’re . You had me at . OK, well, I don’t feel . And I said, well, how old do you feel? Well, I feel like I’m in my s most of the time. She said sometimes there’s some days I feel like I’m in my s, but most of the time I’m in my s.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Oh wow.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
And when she said that, I said, ooh, there is a lesson here. And so this last birthday, people were asking me, you know, what birthday it was. And I said, you know, today I feel like I’m . I was born in . You do the math. I’m not telling anybody. I’m just going to tell you how I feel today.

And there’s some days I feel like I’m and I’ll say that, you know? But, you know, age is really, it’s just a number and it’s taken me this long to understand this. But, you know, when people say, well, you know, you’re a senior and I’m just going.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm.

Kim Hines .
Wow, really? Because I don’t feel like I’m a senior. I don’t feel that way at all. You know? When I have to use my cane, eh, okay. But, you know, most times, so, I mean, so, you know, the future is embracing how I feel as opposed to what it says on the piece of paper, you know? And spending more time, you know, when you’re in theater, you’re not ever home.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Ha ha ha ha ha.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
You know, you’re not ever outside. You’re in a building, you know? And so I had my property dug up and I had Minnesota native plants put in all over. See, I can’t do gardening anymore. So, you know, I had somebody do it for me and I will be spending much more time outside, taking in the sun and…

becoming reacquainted with my home in a way that I’ve never been able to really do for any long period of time because I was always on the road, you know? And so making my home my sanctuary, that’s the future. So doing my art, making my home my sanctuary, and sometimes, well, no, it’s not sometimes. You know,

We all grow up and we’re told this is your liv…

Kim Hines .
is your kitchen. This is, you know, and so I’m rethinking. Well, maybe I want my dining room to be a

Kim Hines .
I’m not hosting dinner parties, you know? And if I want people over to sit and talk, I can have them in the…

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah.

Kim Hines .
If we want to eat something, I can pull out my oak TV trays. You know? And we don’t have to be at a table because I’m using that for my artwork. You know? I don’t know. The future is making what I want.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

Kim Hines .
making it happen the way I want. I know that I haven’t articulated that very well. Well. Oh gosh. Well, I’m on Facebook a lot. I will be making announcements.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Perfect, that’s perfect. How can folks connect with you if they wanna go see your gallery showing?

Kim Hines .
and I’ll always be doing that. Whatever, you know, I’ve got a, I’m writing an oratorio for LGBTQ consortium of choirs. We don’t have a name for it yet, but it’s about Pauli Murray. I don’t know if you know who she is. Black, the first black female Episcopalian priest.

She was also a lawyer. She wrote all of the foundation work that made Brown versus the Board of Ed happen. And she never got credit. The men got credit and they used all of her stuff. Okay. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought a case before the Supreme Court on gender bias. She gave Pauli Murray credit. Pauli wrote a lot of the material that Ginsburg

Ginsburg used. And so, you know, she’s been behind the scenes doing some fantastic work and nobody, nobody knows. So this oratorio, I’m writing the lyrics and the narration and Stephen Malloy is, he’s out in LA. He’s the composer. And choirs, LGBT choirs from across the nation.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm.

Kim Hines .
performing the piece.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Wow! Yes!

Kim Hines .
Yeah, yeah, so I’m still writing. Yes, I’ve got another commission in the hopper, I can’t tell you with whom. It is local because the contract hasn’t been hammered out. But I’m still a playwright. I want to now live life on my terms as an artist and not be, if I don’t get any more commissions, I’m all right.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
That’s not it.

Kim Hines .
Okay. I got other plays that are already out there, you know, that get done, you know, so I’m not, I’ve got another one that’s touring called Ain’t I a Woman? And that one’s touring, that one tours up out of Florida. And they’ve got another play that, a brand new one that I’ve written for them, I was commissioned. And that one is about,

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Mm -hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Yeah. That’s fantastic. Yes.

Kim Hines .
Black women who decided that they weren’t going to be bought. You know. So, yeah, I’ve got I got things going on, you know. My my business studio egg, because we’re always we’re always hatching something. And that’s that’s what I do. You know. So.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
And the Facebook page is the best place to find out updates and when the oratorio will be performing and when the gallery. Okay.

Kim Hines .
Yes, yes, yes. And message me if you want me to coach you. You know, I have a sliding fee scale from to an hour for individuals. I also coach small nonprofits from to an hour. Sliding fee scale.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Okay.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Great. And that’s for acting coaching or is that for any type of?

Kim Hines .
Yes. All types of, I deal with content, I deal with structure, I deal with time management, financial management, I can help you pull things together. If you get audited, I can tell you, I can help you set up your chart of accounts. If you’re trying to track your expenses, this, that, and the other. I deal with…

Oh my gosh, any kind of goal you want to set up for yourself, you know, I can help you with that. Sure. Yes, you want to know anything about me as a playwright, go to simplykimhines .com.

J.P. Der Boghossian .
Okay, well, we’ll definitely include information about that and we’ll include links to your Facebook page as well in the show notes and on our website. So. .com. Perfect. We’ll link to that as well.