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Spoken Word

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ENTERTAINMENT
October 8, 2000 | By Annette John-Hall, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It has been referred to as the fifth element of hip-hop. But in actuality it was the first. Long before the first graffiti artist tagged a wall with a can of spray paint and the first B-boy spun on his head, long before the first MC rocked the mic and the first DJ scratched out a beat, there was the spoken word. Words that flowed from the pen onto the page, through mouths reaffirmed. Poems born of the African griot, fueled by the cultural creativity of the Harlem Renaissance and stoked by the revolutionary energy of the '60s arts movement.
NEWS
December 23, 2004 | By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
"Thurgood Marshall. KRS-One. Odetta. " Sonia Sanchez stood on the stage at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York on Friday and read a Who's Who of names, only she wasn't just reading. Hers was more a poetic recitation - inflected with African clicking sounds - of the literary giants, musical geniuses, civil-rights stalwarts, dope MCs, and plain old rabble-rousers who influenced her life as poet, teacher and activist. "Tupac. Duke Ellington. Fannie Lou Hamer. " She kept going, forcing the audience to weigh each name for its unique contribution.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 28, 1994 | By Dan DeLuca, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Lollapalooza '94 arrives in Philadelphia on Monday with its hipper-than- thou reputation to uphold. And, Lord knows, it has the attractions: human drag racing, virtual-reality rides and George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars among them. But when the rock-and-roll circus sets up at FDR Park, across from the Vet, its best weapon against charges of stagnation and corporate sellout will be the oldest, most basic communication tool in the world. The spoken word. High school English teachers may find it hard to believe, but the coolest place to be at this year's 'palooza - outside of the chilled-to-50- degrees Rain Rooms - just may be the Revival Tent, where what alternative icon Henry Rollins calls "the P word" - poetry - is the lure.
NEWS
May 2, 2012 | By A.D. Amorosi, FOR THE INQUIRER
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 2003 | By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
First things first. Please don't call Ursula Rucker a spoken-word artist. Sure, she's performed at "spoken-word" events, contributed "spoken word" on albums for the Roots, and dropped two "spoken-word" CDs of her own - the latest, Silver or Lead, came out this week. "I get that people need to understand. Spoken word explains the fad of it, the Russell-Simmons-Def-Poetry of it," says Rucker, one of the featured artists performing in Divine Women, Divine Work, a three-day festival at the Painted Bride Art Center that runs today through Sunday.
NEWS
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
SPORTS
March 17, 2005 | By Tim Panaccio INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sometimes, you have to open up your mind to unlock all other talents that go with being a college basketball player. For Penn's Steve Danley, a sophomore forward, that began a few years back when a friend at Berkeley introduced him to spoken word, a musical-literary mix of poetry performed to hip-hop in three-minute cadences. "It's an underground kind of thing, but it gives you a lot of range to write about things," Danley said. He said spoken word was "more clandestine" than performance poetry, "with a hip-hop beat when you speak.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 29, 2011 | BY MOLLY EICHEL, eichelm@phillynews.com 215-854-5909
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.
NEWS
October 23, 1998 | by Renee Lucas Wayne, Daily News Staff Writer
Saul Williams has folded his angular frame into a booth at Dave & Buster's on Delaware Avenue. He is contemplating fried mozzarella sticks, the state of hip-hop and a newly emerging poetic consciousness. Although not necessarily in that order. You expect Williams, a spoken-word artist and the star of "Slam" - a powerful independent film opening nationally today - to be a lot more talkative, to be a little more like his character, Raymond Joshua, a natural poet who finds his voice in an unlikely place, who uses words like some folks use drugs - to get free.
NEWS
September 24, 1987 | By David Bianculli, Special to The Inquirer
Spoken-word "readings" of classic and modern fiction have been around for decades, as most anyone who has sat in a high school English class can recall (usually with some pain). It's only been in the '80s, though, that books on audiocassette, once produced and sold primarily for the visually impaired, have become hot properties. How hot is hot? According to Grady Hesters, executive vice president of Newman Communications Corp. (generally credited with spearheading the spoken- word cassette in America)
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NEWS
January 14, 2013 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer ransomj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2012 | By Molly Eichel and Daily News Staff Writer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2012 | By CHUCK DARROW and Daily News Staff Writer
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)
NEWS
May 14, 2012 | Freelance
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....
NEWS
May 2, 2012 | By A.D. Amorosi, FOR THE INQUIRER
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 17, 2011 | By Maki Somosot, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
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
ENTERTAINMENT
August 29, 2011 | BY MOLLY EICHEL, eichelm@phillynews.com 215-854-5909
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.
NEWS
July 27, 2011 | By Drew Singer, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
July 15, 2011 | By HANNAH EHLENFELDT, ehlenfh@phillynews.com 609-668-9929
"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.
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