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Archive for May, 2006

Performance @ Peace Cafe at Busboys & Poets

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Untitled document

Written by Ruby K, cross-posted from JewSchool: Alternative Views and Culture

As a part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival . . . . I trudged over to Busboys and Poets for the performance. Wasn’t even sure I was gonna spit cuz of the long day and the rough several I’ve been having. But the talent Sarah Beller assembled from the community to bless the mic was as diverse as it was talented. If this event is an indication of the quality of the rest of the schedule, get out to these shows.

I arrived to a packed house (almost wasn’t allowed in it was so full!) and Jon Braman spitting crazy rhymes over a UKELELE! Yes, y’all read that right. The DC Guerilla Poetry Insurgency rolled deep, with Jessica Philie, Mo Alem, Hawah Kasat, Shahid Buttar and Kristen Arant all bringing some serious fire. Particularly dug Mo’s “Flip Side of a Coin”, Hawah’s In-A-Me, and Shahid dropping science with Bagdad Blues with Kristen putting the heartbeat into it with some SERIOUS drumming. Aref Dajani’s gutsy mini-set had him busting out opera, a classic Mahmoud Darwish poem, and his own beautifully crafted response to the Shma. Eric Seader did some old peace favorites, but snuck a tune of his own titled F.W. in the middle which really had the crowd going. Anna Mwalagho brought some great words, Yori translated his Hebrew poems on the spot for us, Jewish acapella group Makela brought music and David Ben Reuven brought his musings. And of course, some of my favorite dc folks closed out the show with a rousing singing of Salaam/Shalom.

I was moved, so I wrote a new piece during the performance (think it was Mo’s piece that lit the fire) and performed it there.

Performance + Workshop @ Cesar Chavez Charter High School for Public Policy Greenspace Festival

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

written by Wendy Bailey

Thank you for your presence on Saturday. I feel continually blessed to work and play with the variety of folks I do here in DC, and am especially reminded of this on days like Saturday. When spirits converge for common purpose, who have been previously linked for related reason, but have not met at that particular nexus, magic happens. Many commented on a distinct energy they saw in me, and I felt it; I was absolutely fueled by the way good work was weaving; by the creative, sometimes quiet, focus and self-direction of all attending; by the returning to a way people have gathered always. I believe spaces can be sacred, can be sanctified, and that when they are, strands of ceremony surface–there was synergy, there was breadbreaking, there was drumming, there was dancing, there was story remembered and made. The land outside of our cafeteria had been abandoned, poisoned, had become a dumping ground, rendered useless; it seemed symbolic of what has become of much of our natural space, and our society. I have much regard for concepts of ecopsychology; that we absorb our physical surroundings, that they become manifest through our thinking, feeling, behaving. Saturday, we altered regard for the land–we actually amended components of the soil, that plants could absorb nourishment from it; we cleansed the space of trash; we laid foundation for fruition, reversed degradation. And I would venture to guess we did this in ways and ripples we will never know.

It has not been lost on me that gratitude is a blessing–that to be grateful is to be blessed. And to witness kindness. I feel I spend much of my life teaching about and responding to injustice and ruin. Sometimes it surprises me kindness can still exist, and that it can surface from the most simple acts and basic circumstances. I don’t know why sun, soil, plants, afternoons turning evenings, drums, can bring the good out in people, but I sense they always have.

I write this with tears in my eyes. Thank you.

Lyrical Ambush in Dupont + Post-Ambush Chillin @ Hobbit House

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Written by Laila Shereen

May 1, International Labor Day, the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency struck once again in Dupont Circle. The lyrical ambush has shifted from its previous position on the fountain, facing South…to facing East. The crowd came out on this late beginning of Spring in Washington, DC. The crew and the people walking by were on fire….sidewalk chalk art seems to be one of those things that people passing by love to participate in. All sorts of different faces came up on the mic, including Pete P. adorable 8 or 9-year old girl, WIlliam from Denver who was walking by looking for dinner, Nik Schiller, the hottest graphic map artist, and rappers like Jessica, Damien, Dan, Jess, and many others freestyled while Pimp Daddy Fadi, Vishal, Meesha, and others stayed solid on the drums. Welcome Spring.

Meanwhile, embedded camera crew (Ellie, Sam, Rob1 [documentarian], and Rob2 [ from Shepardstown, WV])…and all their equipment set-up there on the circle’s sidewalk. The cameras were on!! Power to the people. The flow between the drummers, the folks on the mic, the camera crew, and all the other humans walking by was positively on!! It was on. Love to the people. Power to the peaceful….

And so afterwards, about 20 people or so made the walk up 18th Street to the Hobbit House for a more intimate gathering, answering questions from the camera crew. How did we first connect with the GPI? What it’s like experiencing our discontent in “Washington,” Babylon itself? And what it’s like to be the voice of the discontent in the capital of the American empire? We were asked about the divisions and fractures within the progressive left and how the GPI sees its role. It was a fascinating and engaging discussion among a variety of voices representing the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency. Stay tuned for more information about the documentary….

The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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