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Lyrical Ambush in Dupont

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Written by Kristen Arant

The evening of Monday September 4's gray sky threatened rain; the GPI sound system had  been kidnapped to Camp Democracy; and several of the guerrillas were playing in the dust at Burning Man — yet 5 committed guerrilla poets who happened to hang around rocked it out with immense team spirit!

The organizing crew involved Kristen, Henry, Andrew, Jeff and Chris, who all stepped up to the plate to help with logistics and MCing. Kristen got a chance to show off little known MC skills, while Andrew and Chris, not often bold in sharing their art, stepped up to the mic to diversify the VOICE of the GPI. In addition, She Poet of the Rising Moon Nancy Umanzor came through and wowed the croud.

We got the sound system up and running and began with a piece written by the Goddesses Of Rhythm – the new crew of young women from the Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP), who are preparing for four upcoming performances at the DC Arts Center. The piece, which focusses on Education Reform, was rocked by Kristen and Nancy – a 17-year-old YWDEP member who showed up and moved us with her bravery and sincerity, later sharing poems including one about young women who think it's their job to be young lovers.

After a few intros, we began to gather a crowd of radical cheerleaders and the like, along with dupont residents not partaking in Labor Day BBQs, and the police even showed up twice, pulled their car upright to the fountain, and watched!

Highlights include: Nancy drumming with Kristen, Henry, and Rhythm Worker James Handley (a true showing of gender/age/racial diversity!); Lyndi Borne and Chris Otten's freestyling / contest on who could throw out the best bush quip; Kristen taking on Shahid's "Baghdad Blues;" the Radical Cheerleaders bush-bashing cheer; Andrew sharing his poem with us (sorry we forgot the drums, Andrew!); Cherie's last-minute appearance and performance of the requested song/rap: "you wanna keepme numb because you wanna keep me dumb"; and falafel shop after-party with nancy, cherie, and andrew.

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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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