January 14, 2013 |
THE CROWD ROARED as Kai Davis walked toward the stage and took her place behind the mike. She stood there for a moment, silent, her wavy locks glistening beneath the spotlight. She rubbed her eyes, took a deep breath and released a stream of poetic verbiage before an intimate audience at a poetry slam Friday night inside Studio 34, in West Philadelphia. The spoken-word poetry scene (also known as slam poetry) is booming in Philadelphia. After the sun sets, the poetically inclined and curious file into venues throughout the city to share their work or, as some poets call it, to "get free.
June 20, 2012 |
WHEN ERICA HAWTHORNE, a/k/a RhapsodE, was making her album "Spoken Inward," she was put in a tough position. With limited funds — meaning limited time in a studio — she had to choose. She could perfect a song or not go into massive debt paying studio bills. Hawthorne knows firsthand how far a couple hundred bucks can take an artist. It's why she thought up her innovative microgrant program, Small But Mighty Arts Grant, which gives Philly artists — from painters to DJs to spoken-word phenoms — a chance to receive from $200 to $1,000 to help with a project that will significantly affect their careers.
June 13, 2012 |
IN THE SUMMER of 1776, a small band of determined underdogs gathered at a fortress of freedom called Independence Hall and challenged an entrenched, seemingly invulnerable power. Two-hundred-and-thirty-six years later, just a short ride from that hallowed spot, an equally challenged band of insurrectionists from its "Fishtown fortress of freedom" is taking on a seemingly insurmountable foe. Earlier this spring, WWIQ-FM, a/k/a IQ 106.9, went on the air with a single mission: To pry listeners and ad revenue from two AM radio stations that have dominated the nonsports "spoken word" realm in the Philadelphia market for decades: all-news behemoth KYW (1060)
May 14, 2012 |
Pop Beach House Bloom (SubPop sssf ) Beach House's music can be so beautifully dreamy as to be soporific. There aren't a lot of tempo changes or stylistic shifts going on from song to song or album to album, as French-born singer Victoria Legrand's somewhat androgynous vocals take flight on patiently soaring melodies that rise over repetitive keyboard washes decorated with Alex Scally's always subtle slide guitar embellishments....
May 2, 2012 |
It's a warm Friday evening in April, and the doors to Vine Street's Asian Arts Initiative are wide open, literally and figuratively. As on any third Friday at the community center dedicated to discussing the issues and art of Philly's Asian American community, Family Style Open Mic is on a roll. Poets, storytellers, dancers, singers, spoken-word performance artists, and their friends — a mix of ethnic groups that establish the initiative as a promoter of cross-cultural dialogue — hang out at a preshow reception noshing on appetizers from Sampan and watching the Penn Lions drum troupe.
November 17, 2011 |
In today's cacophony of opinions and information, one person's voice can easily be lost. Yet some voices still rise above the rest, with stories of struggle, survival, and salvation demanding to be heard. Some of these storytellers will tell their tales at the 10th Anniversary First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art, which began Thursday and continues through Nov. 20 mostly at venues in Old City and offered free or at low cost. This year, the festival celebrates storytelling that recounts the beauty and tragedy of life, as experienced by real people.
October 14, 2011
NEAT FREAKS are invited to an UnLitter Us rally and neighborhood cleanup event tomorrow at South Philadelphia High School, at Broad and Snyder. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features food, drinks, face painting and live performances. Scheduled speakers are Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson, local rap artist Tone Love and UnLitter Us spoken-word poet Greg Corbin. - Phillip Lucas
August 29, 2011 |
AFTER 10 YEARS as one of the leading names in spoken-word poetry, Bassey (pronounced B- ah -see) Ikpi is retiring from the spotlight. But before the Nigerian-born Ikpi - who performed with Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO and on tour - officially throws in the towel, she'll take her show, "Basseyworld Live," to Time on Thursday for one last go. Ikpi will perform older and newer works. "This is my farewell tour, if you will," she said. Also taking the stage is the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, which recently beat out 50 teams from across the country to take top honors at the 2011 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival.
July 27, 2011 |
Kai Davis is standing on a stage in San Francisco. Three thousand strangers stare at her, waiting in silence. She breathes and visualizes LOVE Park. There, the 18-year-old has performed more times than she can count. Davis dives into her performance - a poem, but not just a poem. Through spoken word, Davis brings the whole city of Philadelphia onto the stage of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. With the points from her performance, Davis' team then wins Brave New Voices, the largest competitive spoken-word event in the world.
July 15, 2011 |
"Never satisfied, I will practice my practice forever. " These were the powerful words spoken by Sinnea Douglas, 18, as she performed for a City Hall audience yesterday her spoken-poetry piece about wanting to become a teacher. Douglas is one of the six members of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement team who will bring their rhymes, cadences and powerful messages to San Francisco for the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam team championships next Wednesday through Saturday.