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Hi folks! We’re at Bossa Bistro & Lounge every second Tuesday of the month. Join us there, 2463 18th St. NW DC, on January 14th 7-9 PM for the first open mic of 2014.


This spring, Laurie started actively pursuing an ongoing collaboration with Sol y Soul and the BlackOut Arts Collective, two other groups in the community doing work similar to that of the Guerrillas. The first concrete opportunity emerged in "The Other Side," a hip hop play put together by Sol y Sol, also featuring TriFlava.

We performed the show tonight in Space A at The Studio Theater as the closing act of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, which ran all week at a variety of venues including the Kennedy Center and Howard University. A packed house of around 200 people offered a standing ovation for the show, which one guerrilla in the audience described as "magnificent."

The Washington Post's Style section ran a front-page article today discussing the festival and its reflections of conscious hip-hop. After noting "The Other Side," and mentioning its appearance at the Studio Theater, the article quoted Sol Y Soul Director Regie Cabico (who also directed "The Other Side") at length:

"Hip-hop has created a generation where teens are attracted to poetry more than ever," Cabico said. "In the '70s, everyone wanted to be a rock star. In the '90s, everyone wanted to be a spoken-word poet. In this particular decade, you are seeing multi-performance artists coming together. . . .People are taking the power onto themselves. I feel we are heading into a new era. Who knows where it is going?

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Today's guerrilla gathering offered our first chance to check in with each other in awhile, as well as a spontaneous opportunity for a lyrical ambush that landed us on the nightly news broadcast of at least one local network affiliate. First, the notes:

  • Jess is moving away in the next week: she handed off Treasurer duties to Laurie + Cesar Chavez connections to Jeff
  • Jeff will help with compiling the weekly email calendar — Laurie and Jeff will be trading the responsibility every other week.
  • Shahid will compile a list of ways to plug in for newcomers
  • Discussed outreach to new organizers + the possibility of shifting wintertime lyrical ambushes from DuPont Circle to mobile ambushe
  • Saturday, July 7, 6pm at Fire Swamp (a house) 1029 10th St.—Jeff's birthday kegger vegan straight edge (root beer and cream soda kegs and vegan hot wings)
  • Next guerrilla gathering: Sunday, July 15 from 12 – 2pm at the Belmont House

Next, the low-down on a lyrical musical strike, guerrilla-style:

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Facilitating: Shahid
Notes Person: Mo (grrrr)
Present: Shahid, Laila, Fadi, Mo, Cherie
Joining for part of the gathering: Cesar, Jaime

Note: Cherie also submitted some personal notes that she shared during the meeting and asked to be included in the notes

NCOR – March 9-11, 2007:
  • We still have to find out what our time slot is. (Mo)
  • Shahid and Cherie are in to facilitate.
  • Kristen may have a time conflict but will be able to lend drums regardless
  • Laila would preffer to step back, unless no one steps up
  • Mo will probably be out of town. Will participate if he is in town
Video and Audio Recording
  • Laila: We have access to a "top of the line" recording studio at Georgetown. Room needs to be reserved in 2 hour increments. We are still aquiring the software engineering skills necessary to fully leverage the resource.
  • Open Call – to all those who want to learn the technical skillZ.
  • Open Call – If anybody wants their poetry to be recorded, Laila will facilitate the space, but the performer will have to organize getting people in and out of the space.
  • Open Call – Artists that organize and end up recording are invited to be a part of a GPI CD compilation.

Abram's Creek:

  • One Common Unity is asking us when we want to have a retreat.
  • We have to engage a broader swath of folks.
  • Suggestions: Memmorial Day; calling for more organizers to bottomline the retreat.


  • Lois was one of the (sociology?) faculty Jess and Shahid met at a conference they attended last fall and performed at on behalf of the GPI. They discussed a trip to Boston, and she appears below to invite us on two alternative weekends this spring. Faculty members are offering a $500 stipend for the group.
  • We will be reaching out to other universities in Boston
  • Possible Dates: April 12th or April 19th. Involves a trip to Boston and a 4 day weekend committment.
  • Who is interested: Mo, Fadi, Laila, Shahid
  • Shahid is bottomlining.
  • We need to build the capacity within the group to organize these kinds of trips.

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I presented these thoughts at the GPI meeting yesterday (February 11). Just feelings I've been having around the whole theme of revolution and how art could be even more effective in making it happen. This by no means is a dis to any of the efforts made by the GPI to help the world in some way, but more a challenge for us artists to use our brains and talents to be an even more threatening force to all forms of oppression.

I have been in cynical withdrawal from normal life and the GPI, wondering and questioning everything that I do and that I see everybody else do. It could be considered a type of madness or depression, but on the other hand, if you look back at history up until this very moment, have there not been operations underlying the public eye? Of which the perpetrators pimp people’s ignorance in order to thrive? I just wonder, what makes us different? How is our art helping to alleviate the pain that we speak of? How is it having a direct hand in stopping the carnage in the world which we criticize and protest (but inadvertently create)? Using art to combat destruction and misery is healing to people who feel the pain being talked/rapped/sung about and is fascinating, repulsive or offensive to others not familiar with the issue or is in favor of the cause of the issue. One element to manipulate to the cause of getting messages across is the content. Another one is through delivery.

The reason why I push good performance is it gets people’s attention, not necessarily by annoyance, but also by touching people emotionally in a non-intrusive or "digestible" way, even though at times I feel like people who are not compassionate need a tank of unavoidable truth about violence and poverty to roll over them. One medium to dispense a message is through drama. People love to get distracted by something they enjoy and like to escape into a situation that is not their own if only for a little while. If something is too preachy, boring, or monotonous in any way period, you lose the attention of most of the people you’re trying to address. Not everyone is trained to have respect for all performers no matter what is going on.

If a group or individual does something theatrical, it does not have to be long. As a matter of fact, short and concise is the best combination when expecting the attention of random passerby who most likely had another destination in mind. Also, when you add passion to good performance, people can feel that. And when you can write performance material in such a way that gives out doses of information interspersed with fluctuating tones or moods, people feel motivated because the material inspires them. They feel like they are a part of something and not just preached at. Let us take lessons from random people that we see on the street, i.e., who stand on the sidewalk and swear up and down that the world is coming to an end, Jesus is our only saviour, blah blah blah, etc, etc. How often do people actually stop to listen, and walk away agreeing fervently and whole-heartedly? None that I’ve seen. You can’t please everyone, and you most certainly aren’t going to get everyone to agree with you, no matter how you say what you have to say. But you can make a difference in the impact you are trying to have on the general public with sharpened performance skills and changing the game up every so often with different methods, and hopefully not only be preaching to the choir. Read the rest of this entry »

Attendees: Laurie, Jeff, Ken

Jan. 27 Mobilization

· Rhythm Workers Union are meeting at 5th Ave (on Mall). Putting together Mother Drum Ship at 10:30, call to meet at 11AM. Expecting about 10 DC RWU, with about 5 from out of Town. March moves at 1pm (Laurie planning to meet with this group)

· Jeff is meeting with Howard Community College SDS aka Radical Block – marching from Dupont Circle at 11AM.

· Critical Mass from Dupont at 2pm on Saturday of the March.

· Ken has been doing some outreach — also potentially doing the stage management on the day of. Focus on keeping the program short – because of the weather etc. Massive Civil disobedience planned – but no specific details are yet available. Telling folks to bring white roses, which is symbolic of a anti-nazi underground group that resisted during Nazi Germany. Expecting about 500,000 to be there.


Laurie to send to Ken chant sheets

Laurie will make sure GPI system is deployed

NCOR Workshop

March 9-11


· Jeff wants to be one of the presenters, NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS? WHO IS WILLING???

· Ken volunteered to help out with drumming instruction with a specific focus on rhythms.

· We will need drums and shakers.

Upcoming performances
FRI. Feb. 2 – Shanti-Saallam – NOT PERFORMANCE

· Potters House in Adams Morgan (No more details available at this time)

SAT. Feb. 3 Juliana Bottomlining: Laila, Mo, Laurie, Bob, Cherie,Kristan and myself

· Saturday, February 3, 7:00PM

· Benefit to support Oglala elders
St. Stephens and the Incarnation Church
16th and Newton Sts. NW (Columbia Heights Metro)


· Nathan of Jubilee is looking for poets to write on fasting as part of a National Rolling Fast. You can get more details by emailing:


· Ken say a great movie on Cuba that put on SALSA — he’s planning to get a copy and hopes to put together a screening in the future.

· Empower DC Gig – featured Joe Briggs and Lamont Carey – great messaging and reception.

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GPI Organizing Gathering   11/12/06

Attendees:  Laurie, Jeff, MaiLynn, Jess, Shahid

Reportback from Friday 11/8/06

Great Show

Shared bill with Rovics, but didn’t actually see him

Really engaged students

  1. anniversary of War actions (full week of activities etc)
  2. Al-Fishawy getting together college students
  3. Possible meeting to disucss ideas of what they want to approach partners for


Need to submit application

Jeff suggested we submit 2 workshops ( 1- drumming, 2- poetry)

Trying to get us back-to-back workshops

Report from Abrams Creek

Share Abrams Creek Space

Entering in fiscal sponorship – will be decided on case by case basis

We will incorporate (will cost about $80) in order to accept tax-deductible donations

Performance Requests

Discussed problem with getting requests and email non responsiveness

Jeff agreed to collect the calendar requests and make announcements at circle for folks to follow up

New Process

    1. Jeff will email requester with the following email:

Thanks for writing!  We appreciate your invitation and look forward to helping support your efforts.   
Like any insurgency, our's is a loosely knit network within which collaboration can at times be challenging.  We'll share word of your request with other guerrilla poets, identify those available to fill your need, and introduce them to you so you can share details directly.  FYI, we are sometimes unable to find artists to fill requests, especially on short notice.  
We launch a bi-weekly outdoor open mic "lyrical ambush" in DuPont Circle from 7-9pm on the first and third Mondays of every month.  If you'd like to share your vision with the guerrilla community and help recruit poets (which is effective, as voices more closely connected to any struggle are usually the most compelling), it's probably the best chance to do so.  Bring flyers, as large numbers of passersby will…well…pass by over the course of the evening.  
Please feel free to reach out at any point if you have any questions.

Poetry & percussion to protect the peace, 

The Guerrilla Poets

    1. Jeff will bring a calendar of events and share them with all artists at the circle.
    2. Jeff will email to organizer the emails/numbers of all those who express interest.
    3. Jeff will share the group if interested artists with each other – welcoming people to play a coordinating role (rather than just their individual participation).


GPI Gathering — Sunday, October 8, 2006

NEXT GATHERING:   November 12, 2006, location TBD

Attendees: Jeff, Laurie, Shahid, Mai lynn, Travis and Hunter


·        G-town – Urban Fare – Oct. 27 – possible opportunity (UPDATE: we found out later today 10/8 around 8pm – this is not happening)

·        Spring Tour:  We're working on a spring tour hitting campuses in the midwest, including Purdue and the University of Michigan.  We have lines on more potential opportunities through a few different sources.  Shahid will be following up on the academic departments and let the group know the plans.

o       Plan to hit 2-3 college campus in a 100 mile radius. 

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This post features an ethnography written by Brendan Kiernan, American University, Class of 2007. Selected excerpts appear here; "read more" to read the complete ehtnography:

We are a group of individuals dedicated to using poetry and spoken word to speak truth to power….We host free speech gatherings at places like the DuPont Circle Park and the National Mall. We facilitate workshops at high schools, universities, and conferences. We support community members, organizations, and movements by playing at fundraisers, protests, and other venues. Describing the Guerilla Poetry Insurgency is like capturing a single moment of time. We are always growing, members come and go, venues change, political issues change, and so does energy for movement building….

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The guerrillas rocked the spot during the Adams-Morgan day festival, turning the front portch of the Belmont House into a fourth"stage" with live music.  The house hosted a garage sale, and with a series of arts booths lining one side of Belmont Street, a small army of folks rolled through over the course of the afternoon.  Check out video  of pieces by Shahid and Kristen, as well as a fabulous exchange with Josh, recorded and produced by video blogger Sini Vlaisavljevic.

We dropped a drumming set with poets rotating on the mic, amplifying with our mobile wireless system before bringing out the big daddy behemoth system later in the afternoon.  We also came inside for a short meeting that included Kristen, Mo, Fadi, Jeff, Juliana, Damian, Shahid, Josh, Ken, and John.  Read on for the notes….

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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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For more info or to inquire about availability to perform:

(800) 886-6157

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