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Archive for October, 2006

Guerrillas rocking Georgetown on Halloween night

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Tonight was spectacular, a vivid display of the potential held by any tight crew of assertive, creative folks.  We started out at The Old House on M Street in Georgetown, building a solid initial presence with 3-4 drums and a small amp before things really got swinging and the crowd started filling in.  We dropped "War on Terror" and the "American Dream" as a crew, and grooved to extraordinarily tight performances by Mo, Jessica, Jeff, Laurie, Cesar, Josh, me, and several random folks who rolled through.  People passing by occassionally stopped briefly to get down like they meant it, which raised the energy every time, and we had some success getting the crowd engaged in chants including "If You care, get our of your chair," "Get the Bush out," "La Lucha sigue (the struggle continues)," and "Vive Venezuela…y Chavez tambien."

After we'd been passing the mic around for around 45 minutes, two police officers came over to challenge our right to play (inspiring a retired lawyer named Andy to approach us and offer to lend his services) before a little diplomacy prompted an agreement that we'd move 20 feet down the street to an alcove in front of a Park Service building. We rocked it there for awhile, until some Park Service rangers came by and made us clear part of that space…and then all hell started to break loose. 

We were hitting the mic (and the drums) pretty hard, and the crowd was riled up and apparently disinlinced to leave.  Sidewalks on both sides of the street were packed, so people started spilling out into the street…and then some moron among the army of police present — who at one point actually brought in a helicopter, as if they had nothing better to do — decided to charge into the assembled mass of 40-50 people with a group of officers mounted on horses


Guerrillas kickin blues & funk against war & imperialism

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Several crews of guerrillas have been meeting recently to record their creative work, including a group collaborating with Bomani "D-Mite" Armah at Park Triangle Productions.  Featuring Ken Quam (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Jessica Philie (backing vocals and lead vocals), Kristen "Drum Lady" Arant (oboe, djembe, backing vocals, vocal arrangement) and Shahid (lead vocals), two recently mixed-down GPI anthems include:

Anti-War Ammunition

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

A few recent news reports have offered solid grist for the peace mill:

Jon Braman’s “Climatastrophunk”

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

You ain't never seen nothin like John Braman's ukulele & hip-hop fusion. Check out his first music video, featuring videography by Mark Betancourt as creative as Jon's musical mix . . . . 

And no, this is not some kind of Halloween trick.  Check out the video — it's a treat!

On Guerilla Poetry

Monday, October 30th, 2006

it is the bricks in the wall with
the crumbling mortar
that make the ambush come alive.

where the dandy lion
cracks the pavement – insisting on life
is where the poetry of time
exists as resistance
to these feeble kings
who’ve had their beds maid
by starlings on strings.

Where trees commit suicide
rather than shade a tyrant’s
around-the-world infanticide,
the poetry that rises from the rubble
is the insurgency to cause
those feeble kings much trouble.

when a lover – or three
find within themselves
a yearning to just be,
there will you see
actions of poetic insurgency.

Sharing the GPI with Academics at Urban Culture Conference

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

"We want you guys to come to our school!"–a reaction from professors at the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association (MAPACA) 2006 Annual Conference, after hearing about the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI). Guerrilla poets Jessica Philie and Shahid Buttar met arts and humanities academics on Saturday, October 28, 2006, in Baltimore MD while performing and presenting in a panel called "Urban Culture 2: Defining & Negotiating Public Space in the City." Other panelists discussed outdoor sculpture and visual arts, as well as public performance as it relates to immigrants and the concept of being American.

Coming out of the audience and weaving around the room, we kicked the group piece "War on Terror, War on Drugs," which later became a focus of conversation. By starting with spoken word, taking the chairs out from behind the presenter's table, and turning to be next to the people watching us, we took them from one atmosphere to another. Issues on our minds hung on rhythms in the air. We paused the lyrical ambush to talk about what the GPI is and does in DC and elsewhere. Diversity, dialog, community, politics, art, expression, new media, free speech, all words that came to mind when reflecting on how art collectives like the GPI are defining and negotiating public spaces.

After sharing thoughts on the value of artivism and engaging the public, the audience snapped along to the "Baghdad Blues" and then asked questions, one of which sparked a debate with all sides being open to new points of view. After the panel, we listened to the director of a Baltimore art museum talk. A smart and funny woman and lover of the arts, she inspired us with her words: when it leaks from your eyes, hands, and heart, then it's art. We also talked with professors, students, writers, architects, television and music professionals–a variety of people brought together by a self-described alternative association. The GPI will be following up with requests from MAPACA members for visits to college campuses.

GPI Features at University of Maryland

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Late on the night of Tuesday the 24th, a lyrical cell of Guerilla Poets, including Laurie, Sha, Jon, Bob, Hawah and Mo,  obliged the invitation to become the feature act at the new weekly 'Terpoets' open mic event on the University of Maryland Campus.

As the Guerilla's lurked and mingled in the crowd of 50 or so, they were dazzled by the talented student poets that took turns on the mic. When they were finally announced, the Guerilla's ambushed the crowd with a decentralized rendition of 'War on Terror' that allowed different poets to engage the audience from different parts of the room as they approached the mic.

The 'War-on-terror' helped set the mood as different Guerrillas took turns leading the audience on a rhythmic roller coaster that included high energy ukulele+rap pieces by Jon, harmonious rhymes and songs by Laurie and Sha as well as pensive pieces by Hawah.

The result was a well rounded performance that a number of students later described as inspiring. Conversations after the show were fulfilling as several students, and one parent who was also present, shared their perspectives and pledged a renewed dedication to their own artistic expression.

Terpoet open-mic events take place every Monday at 8pm in the basement lounge of Dorchester hall on the University of Maryland's main campus in College Park. Check it out.

This is a Celebration of Love and Beauty of Our History

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

I read this recently on the GWU Radio Program WRGW – The Voices of Reason hosted by Guerrilla John Baker.   A listener requested a copy – so I figured I'd make available to anyone!   DC Guerrilla are welcome to contact John to appear as his guest!

This is a Celebration of Love and Beauty of Our History

Our history

Whose history?

Our history

Whose our?


Poetry in the news…..

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Baghdad Poets Find an Oasis for Violence

Poet Nikki Giovanni Won't Apologize For Her Comments 

Iraq Soldier Describes War in Poetry 


Restoring Poetry to Afghanistan 

Bumpin in My SUV

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Brother, where do you think your emissions go?
Pollution, smog, global warming, we all know,
but lo! And behold, here’s some mo’ to be told:
death traps on wheels, tariffs on steel,
if oil dependence doesn’t kill us first, we’ll
destroy the earth in our search for consumption
but instead, our reaction’s to weapons of mass destruction?

when you’re killing Iraqis at a level of abstraction
committing us to war for your satisfaction.
“But I need traction!”
There’s a new faction on this scene,

dropping sugar in gas tanks to glean folks off obscene
wasteful, hateful, shameful greed.
“Consume all you want — ten times what you need.
The rest of us will all get down on our knees,” (singin)

Chorus: Bumpin in my SUV
everybody see me, everybody be me.
Bumpin in my SUV
together we can be materially free


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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