e.g. bailey: Behind the scenes with the spoken word innovator

24 February 2010 at 12:15 pm (Music, News, Press, Releases, Spoken Word, Theatre) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

e.g. bailey: Behind the scenes with the spoken word innovator
By Rebecca McDonald (B Fresh), City Pages

The Twin Cities would not be the same without e.g. bailey. Even if you’ve never met him, you’ve most likely heard his voice on the radio, experienced one of his many theatrical productions or concerts and albums he has produced through Tru Ruts Endeavors/Speakeasy Records. He is co-owner of these organizations with his wife, Sha Cage, another staple poet in the community. There is never a lack of excitement in e.g.’s life, so Gimme Noise went behind the scenes to share in his journey to the release of his debut full-length album American Afrikan this past Saturday (pics here).

Gimme Noise: What has your journey in the Twin Cities poet’s scene been like since you moved here many years ago?

e.g. bailey: You end up in a place by circumstance and sometimes you realize that it was where you were meant to be. I had been here once as a kid but only remembered that after I had moved here. Like any good romantic, I was following my heart across the Midwest, and ended up in Fargo then Minneapolis. I dove into acting classes, worked in a warehouse and debated the eternal question of ‘L.A. or not L.A.’ and a job working for Prince sealed the deal. Prince had just released a book of poetry, so I used it as an excuse to start an open mic at the New Power Generation store. It was my first connection with the poetry scene here. All kinds of folks used to come through. It was a Prince store so there were some wild moments, but I met some folks I’d later work with in the spoken word community, like Anika and Yolanda ‘Right On’ Jackson.

Finally, I had to make a decision. I could keep making Prince the best artist he could be (which obviously he didn’t need much help with) or be the artist I needed to be. So I resigned, paid two months rent, and by a stroke of luck ended up with Sirius B. It’s a long story since then but that connection with Sirius B has made all the difference in doing what I do now. I connected with with folks like J. Otis Powell!, Ani Sabare, Rene Ford, Carolyn Holbrook (S.A.S.E.), Patrick Scully, and organizations like the Walker Art Center, Pillsbury, and Intermedia Arts. I couldn’t have found a better community to be doing art. I was embraced beyond what I could have imagined. Without it I probably would have L.A. or busted. And I’m not sure I would being doing spoken word.

GN: Describe your new project, “American Afrikan,” which you celebrated the release of on Saturday?

eg: ‘American Afrikan’ is a historical and symbolic experience of being an Afrikan in America, using the medium of spoken word. Sometimes I use spoken word to create non-linear narratives, like I did with ‘Blues for Nina,’ a spoken word theatre piece about Nina Simone; or the 20 minute short film ‘village blues’ about returning to Afrika; or ‘Patriot Acts,’ merging the different disciplines of theatre, dance and film with spoken word to present post-9/11 views of America. I am always looking at ways to push the boundaries of spoken word, and trying to innovate the art form. With this project, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a spoken word album that would present the many different forms of spoken word, and ways of experiencing spoken word, but still be able to engage the audience in some kind of a story.

GN: Why is this project special to you and others who performed with you on Saturday?

eg: I’ve fallen in love with this project the way you fall in love with your first child. You’re just amazed at how it has grown from a little seed of an idea. It’s so much a part of you but at the same time it becomes something larger than you. It’s a tribute not only to this amazing tradition of spoken word and the artists that laid the foundation, like Baraka, the Last Poets, Ginsberg, but also a tribute to my family and my history. That’s why you see images of my family throughout, and hear their voices on the album. And why it’s dedicated to my brother who died while I was making the album. I also wanted to celebrate the abundance of Afrikan talent in the community, and tell our story through this medium which is part of our griot tradition. I received a call yesterday from one of the artists, and after hearing the album, thanked me for creating it. You can’t ask for anything more special than that.

GN: You are very well known nationally and travel frequently with your poetry. In comparison to other cities, what have you seen as a unique element of the Twin Cities scene?

eg: I’ve said for years that the spoken word community in Minnesota is one of the top five in the nation. Though we’re relatively small and haven’t received the kind of attention other communities have, it is one of richest, most diverse and innovative spoken word communities in the country. I’ve also always felt that we’re one of the most musical spoken word communities because of our close relationship with the music scene here. A number of artists have explored and are exploring spoken word with music, but we have a long history of spoken word bands and collectives here from Ancestor Energy to NOW! to Arkology to Poet Tree to Trektah Beam Express to FIRE. We’ve also frequently merged it with performance art and theatre. That’s why it’s possible to make an album like this. Without all those experiences working with musicians, and experiments with different disciplines it wouldn’t be possible to synthesize all of it. I think that Minnesota is finally starting to get the respect it deserves in spoken word, especially with how well the Slam community is doing and winning the National Poetry Slam [this past year]. It shows that we haven’t just been paying lip service to the talent here.

GN: What advice do you have for artists who want to be career artists, to pursue their dreams in music/poetry?

eg: Create your art and don’t be deterred, even if you don’t get the response or support at first. But make sure you love what you do. The career will come, for better or for worse. Sometimes it’s not what we dream it to be. I thought I would be more of an actor or a writer. I never expected to be a spoken word artist. It’s just something I always loved, poetry with music, even when I was in high school listening to Jim Morrison, then discovering the Last Poets, then the Beats, then Amiri and so on. I didn’t know it was actually still being done, that you could do it as a career, or even that it was called spoken word. That was much later, after I had already fallen in love with it. Stick with what you do, if it’s meant to be your work, it will happen. If it’s not, you’ll still be rewarded by doing it.

Originally posted on City Pages on 24 February 2010.

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Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records feature by Rift Magazine

26 October 2008 at 9:00 am (Music, News, Press, Releases, Spoken Word) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

tru-ruts-rift-logoWhen artists work collectively to achieve a creative goal, it makes it easier for that group to move forward and to apply that leverage to push their art. While spoken word in the Twin Cities has taken a backseat to the burgeoning hip-hop scene, Trú Rúts Endeavors and Speakeasy Records has been working the connection to help create a larger scene.

If you have seen spoken word performance, you know how powerful and soul bearing it can be. It takes poetry reading and storytelling to a higher level. Trú Rúts Endeavors and Speakeasy Records are trying to spread that message through Hip-Hop, World Music and different forms of media. It hasn’t been an easy road, but as they find their way they hope to find the local audience and local media attention they are looking for and make the Twin Cities a place where spoken word artists can thrive.

Rift: What is the Difference between Trú Rúts Endeavors and Speakeasy Records?

Trú Rúts/Speakeasy Records: Trú Rúts Endeavors is structured as an artistic enterprise within which are various entities that cover various disciplines, including music, film, theatre, visual art, etc. Speakeasy Records is the record label under Trú Rúts. We also do artist management, booking, producing, promotions, and a variety of other things. Speakeasy Records is an artist centered independent label that strives to bring innovative, unique and conscious work, and artists, to the forefront. Unlike many labels in the Cities, it is a multi-genre label that includes not only hip hop and spoken word, but also world music and jazz. It will continue to expand into other genres as it grows. However, it is grounded in spoken word and hip hop because that is where its roots were first planted, and it is the community from which it grew. It was one of the first independent, and now one of the strongest, spoken word labels.

Rift: Who started the labels and who is involved?

TR/SR: Trú Rúts was founded by innovative artist and visionary, e.g. bailey. A multi-disciplinary artist working in spoken word, film, theatre, radio and music, he developed Trú Rúts and Speakeasy Records, while working in the groundbreaking spoken word and music collective, Arkology. Upon returning from a four month pilgrimage to his home in Liberia, and other parts of the world, including Dubai, Amsterdam, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana, and Hong Kong, he re-conceptualized and re-energized the enterprise and the label, releasing the first official release, Words Will Heal the Wound, the first spoken word compilation in Minnesota, in 2001. Currently Trú Rúts is managed by e.g. bailey and his partner and fellow labelmate, Shá Cage aka Lady Sha. The current roster of artists include Truthmaze, El Guante, Quilombolas, See More Perspective, along with e.g. bailey and Shá Cage. However, other projects, which consist of collaborations within the label, include god’s pager, Madiba and Afrika 7. The label has also released albums by Zell Miller III, and Nazirah P. Mickey. In addition to this it continues to release cutting edge compilations including the first compilation to highlight the reggaeton movement in Minnesota, Highstylekyle + Tru Ruts present Lightning + Thunder (Volume One). It also has several UK/US co-releases in the works, including a number of upcoming singles and albums by its roster of artists.

Rift: With the very hot Hip-Hop scene in town, has that help make Spoken Word more popular?

TR/SR: The hip hop scene here has certainly influenced the spoken word scene, and there have been a number of collaborations, along a number of artists that work in and move fluidly between each of the genres. However, the popularity of the spoken word art form in Minnesota is attributed to the very hard and consistent work of artists such as e.g. bailey, Shá Cage, J. Otis Powell!, Truthmaze, Bao Phi, Frank Sentwali and a number of others too numerous to list completely. The dedicated work by these artists, including the commitment of such organizations as the MN Spoken Word Association, S.A.S.E., Edupoetic Enterbrainment, Walker Art Center, The Loft and others, have taken spoken word from “people reading from their journals” to a legitimized art form. In addition, the spoken word community here has been dedicated to not only getting spoken word recognized as an art from but also as an educational tool to inspire literacy and creativity in youth, along with documenting and spreading knowledge about the legacy and tradition of the art form. The community here has also developed the first spoken word grant, the first spoken word conference, and one of the first spoken word radio show and formats. All this has contributed to making the Twin Cities one of the most innovative scenes in the field.

However, the scene has still had a difficult time garnering support from media, and even audiences. The kind of support that has thrust the hip hop scene in the national spotlight. Or the New York, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, San Francisco scenes into the national spotlight. In someways it is due to the popularity and focus on the hip hop scene. In the wake, a number of other disciplines and artists get overshadowed. Therefore there has not been the emergence of an artist such as Saul Williams or Jessica Care Moore, Mark Bamuthi or Talaam Acey, Beau Sia, Ishle Park, 2Tongues, Regie Gibson, Ursula Rucker, Sekou Sundiata, Carl Hancock Rux and numerous others. Without the support, the Minnesota scene will continue to be innovative and cutting edge but largely overlooked.

Due to these kinds of obstacles, a number of spoken word artists in the Cities have ’stepped away’, or have moved primarily, or exclusively, into hip hop, sometimes disavowing spoken word and their connection to it. This often gives the art form a sense of being a stepchild, when in fact it’s the most native of art forms, the most native of sons, without which hip hop would not exist, or exist as we know it today. Part of the work of Speakeasy Records, and it’s commitment to spoken word, is to surmount some of these hurdles, and continue to push spoken word in Minnesota into the national consciousness, while at the same time continuing to evolve into the complete and multi-genre it strives to be.

Rift: Since Minneapolis has a pretty diverse music scene, have you found it easy to fit in our have there been some barriers?

TR/SR: Fitting in has never been our goal, and often when you are part of the advance guard, working at the cutting edge, it can be a difficult and lonely road. So there has been barriers, often those that come with the stereotyping of what you do, whether it’s spoken word or hip hop, world music or jazz, being an independent label or even being from Minnesota. However, you persevere, and you find your niche and your audience, which we are starting to do. If there is anything that defines labels and artists like us, it’s making something out of nothing. Whether it is making a dollar out of fifteen cents, or as Atmosphere puts it, gold out of lemons. The struggle defines and divines you.

Rift: What are your upcoming releases or events?

TR/SR: We are currently working on a number of releases slated for late summer through the winter, including singles by Quilombolas, See More Perspective and Truthmaze. A mixtape by El Guante, called ‘Conscious is Not Enough’ that will debut during the RNC. After years of bring other endeavors to fruition, e.g. bailey will release the EP, ‘American African African American’. Also forthcoming is a remix of Shá Cage’s debut album, Amber People; a US/UK hip hop compilation, which will feature artists from around the globe, including several noted special guest artists; and a Speakeasy Records label compilation. www.truruts.com

Posted on www.riftmagazine.com
October 26th, 2008 by Riftyrich

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‘As Channeled Through…’

16 October 2003 at 9:00 am (Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

News Release
For more information contact:
Carolyn Holbrook
SASE: The Write Place
Artistic/Executive Director

SASE: The Write Place celebrates its tenth anniversary with authors, living and dead

On Thursday, October 30th, the night before Halloween, SASE: The Write Place will begin a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary.

The first event, ‘As Channeled Through…’, promises to be a unique fundraiser, featuring conversations with Emily Dickinson, June Jordan, Larry Neal and Ayn Rand, three authors who passed on, leaving America with its incredible literary legacy.  (See attached sheet for biographical information.)

The event will take place at the American Swedish Institute from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. with hors díoeurves, cash bar, a silent auction, mystical Tarot readings by Jan Miller and music provided by deejay, Del Dilla.  There is a suggested donation of $25 and up.

At 6:30, America’s most loved poet, Emily Dickinson will be ‘channeled’ through Dickinson scholars, Eleanor Heginbotham and Erika Scheurer.

At 7:15, June Jordan and Larry Neal, celebrated authors from the Black Arts Movement will be ‘channeled’ through multi-disciplinary artists/Black Arts Movement Scholars, e.g. bailey and Sha Cage.

At 8:00, objectivist author, Ayn Rand will be ‘channeled’ through performance artist, Joan Calof and storyteller, Carla Vogel.

The American Swedish Institute is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. Off-street parking is available on the south side of the building. Additional parking can be found on Park Avenue and surrounding streets.

Artist Bios

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is America’s best-known female poet and was one of the foremost authors in American literature. She lived a very private life and only ten of her poems were published in her lifetime. After her death, 1700 poems, which she had bound into booklets, were discovered.

Eleanor Heginbotham, a Professor of English at Concordia University Saint Paul, is the author of Reading the Fascicles of Emily Dickinson: Dwelling in Possibilities (Ohio State University Press,). She is current President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Fulbright Association. Before her arrival in Saint Paul, she taught in Liberia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and for many years in Washington, D. C., her other home. She has been a Board member of the Emily Dickinson International Society. She currently serves on the Cedar Exchange Board and on the Program Committee for the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. She co-chaired the Fitzgerald International Conference in 2002 and, in earlier years, with Erika Scheurer, the Dickinson Conference, “To Make a Prairie: Emily Dickinson and the Imagination.”

Erika Scheurer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas-St. Paul where she has taught undergraduate writing, literature, and writing theory and graduate seminars in Emily Dickinson for ten years. She has delivered academic papers in her two research specialties—Emily Dickinson studies and composition theory and pedagogy–publishing articles in the Emily Dickinson Journal and the Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin as well as in various composition journals. Her research focuses on the concept of rhetorical voice in Dickinson’s poems and letters and on the poet’s early education in the area of composition. With Eleanor Heginbotham, Scheurer is the co-chair of the Minnesota Chapter of the Emily Dickinson International Society and together they have organized many Dickinson-related gatherings. She currently serves as the Membership Chair of the Emily Dickinson International Society.

June Jordan (1936-2002) is best known for her poetry, which has been noted for its range of emotions. She was also a significant contributor to children’s literature. In addition, she published novels, plays, essays, Poetry for the People, A Blueprint for the Revolution and a memoir, Soldier: a Poet’s Child.

Larry Neal (1937-1981) was one of the most influential scholars, authors and philosophers of the Black Arts Movement. He is best known for his work with Liberator Magazine, Negro Digest and Black World and for co-editing Black Fire, a collection of theory, poetry and prose by writers of the Black Arts Movement, with Amiri Baraka.

e.g. bailey is an actor, spoken word artist, film maker, playwright and producer. The ultimate collaborator, he has co-founded and co-produced many productions and organizations including Write On RaDio!, @rkology, a spoken word and music collective, the MN Spoken Word Association, the first spoken word conference, Singers of Daybreak, blues for nina: a poetic interpretation of the life and music of nina simone, for SASE: The Write Place and the Twin Cities Black Film Festival. He was commissioned by Pangea World Theater to adapt Chinua Achebe’s novel No Longer at Ease to the stage and produces Words Will Heal the Wound: a celebration of community through poetry. For info, visit http://www.truruts.com.

Shá Cage is Development Director of The MN Spoken Word Association and is founding and co-Managing Director of female theater collective, MaMa mOsAiC. She is a company member of Pillsbury House and Pangea World Theaters and has worked with a wide variety of area theaters. She is co-writer (with MaMa mOsAiC) of Making Medea, The Bi Show and multimedia piece, and The Menstruation Project; also Penumbra Theater’s Conflama. Her awards include 2003 Jerome/Playwrights’ Center Many Voices residency, administered by the Playwright Center, a 2003 Forecast Public Arts Grant and a SASE/Jerome writer’s award for her poetry. For more information about Shá, visit http://www.truruts.com.

Ayn Rand (Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum) (1905-1982) is best known as the author of the epic Atlas Shrugged.  She also authored The Fountainhead, We The Living, and Anthem.  But she was also an influential intellectual, inspiring thousands of people to study and follow her philosophy of objectivism.

Joan Calof is a playwright and performance artist who has performed at many venues including the Minnesota History Center, the Playwrights’ Center, Patrick’s Cabaret, and four Fringe festivals, to favorable reviews in the StarTribune and City Pages. She was selected by the Playwrights’ Center for a Jones Commission, and was twice selected as an Associate Member. Her work has also been published, including an anthology of scenes for mature actors entitled A Grand Entrance.

Carla Vogel is a writer and storyteller. She specializes in Jewish/Yiddish folklore, performing locally nationally. Presently she works with Kairos, an intergenerational dance group, and the Bridges Program at the Children’s theater. She is co-founder of the Wild Yam Cabaret and Chutzpah Café.


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village blues

23 February 1999 at 7:00 pm (Film, Music, Poems, Shows, Spoken Word, Videos) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nu Ark Experiements presents:  village blues

an improvisational cinematic collaborative

produced by e.g. bailey and Ayesha Adu
music produced by Jeremy Ylvisaker & Kitundu

“Amma I have lost another child.

Amma my child is gone…”

Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Mpls, MN  55408

Tuesday 23 February

village blues, an experimental improvisational film that deals with the disintegration of interpersonal and social relationships within the Black community.  The nature of the improvisation is centered around three poems written by e.g. bailey, and serves as the common link within the process between the artists involved.  The images are based on the poems, as is the soundtrack.  However, each was done separately.  Ayesha produced and shot the images, while e.g. produced the audio––neither was allowed to see the other’s work.  Both elements of the film would then be brought together at the moment of presentation, hence the improvisational aspect of the film.  Often in improvisation there is a common structure or theme, or a musical line, upon which everyone improvises.  The goal was to bring this method to filmmaking and explore the possibilities.  And further explore the relationship between spoken word and filmmaking.

Artists Include:

Ayesha Adu
e.g. bailey
Rachel Flomo
Mankwe Ndosi
Leah Nelson
J. Otis Powell!
Jeremy Ylvisaker

evening will begin with 20 minute open mic

a post-film discussion will follow

$3 suggested donation

“even in death,

there is birth”

This series is supported by a grant provided by the MN State Arts Board through an appropriation from the MN State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

Co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, KMOJ, the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Da X-Factor Newz and KFAI’s Write On RaDio! (Thursdays @ 11am).

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Nu Ark Experiments: In Conversation

1 September 1998 at 9:00 am (News, Press, Spoken Word, Theatre, Work Notes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nu Ark Experiments : In Conversation
September 1998

The Nu Ark Experiments, a series of experimental spoken word performances produced by e. g. bailey for the Minnesota State Arts Board in collaboration with S. A. S. E:  The Write Place and Intermedia Arts, began in May of 1998 and will continue through April of ’99.  To help explain the Nu Ark concept, an excerpt of a conversation with e. g. bailey and Genesis, bassist of Arkology, follows:

E.G.:  The Nu Ark Experiments is a series of spoken word performances to showcase the different ways that spoken word can be presented.  We have a strong and lively spoken word community but most of the time they tend to be poetry readings.

Genesis:  At small venues.  I’ve noticed that the Nu Arks, they’re all different places.  They’re not places that ordinarily have spoken word.

E.G.:  But (again) most of the time with spoken word events, it’s usually just a straight ahead reading.  It’s usually with a poet reading their work.  But one of the things I’m trying to do with the Nu Ark Experiments is expose the different ways that it can be done.  Not just with poets and musician, but stretching that too.  Starting with that foundation and that mix of bringing poets and musicians together but then looking at presenting it in a performance art vein.  Looking at presenting it in a film vein.  And focusing on various themes like community.  Focusing on concepts, like with Soft Red Read that we did at Nautilus Music-Theater, where it was focused on non-linear music, non structured music, non melodic types of things, and looking at working with the concept of space and with some of the ideas that Sun Ra talks about.  And creating a soundscape and a landscape of sounds and music for the words to be a part of.

Genesis:  And work with movement.  That was important.

E.G.:  Part of the Nu Ark Experiments is to also give others in the community an opportunity to perform.  Give other artists in the community an opportunity to work with spoken word.

Genesis:  Recognize the new format.  And they might work better in the new format than the traditional format.

E.G.:  Looking at collaborating with Truth Maze (Brother Heru), who also organizes and facilitates readings.  Working with Siddiq of the Rhyme Sayers Collective and giving him an opportunity to work in another vein other than just as a DJ mixing hip hop and able to find other things musically that he wouldn’t normally be able to find.

Genesis:  And he could bring that back to the Rhyme Sayers.

E.G.:  And hoping to complete the collaboration with Ayesha Adu (on Village Blues), who is a filmmaker, who has worked on just about every major film that came through here in the last couple years and a couple independents, and written a couple screenplays.  But again working with other artists.  Not only allow them another opportunity to present their work, another vein to present their work through but to also showcase them and bring them to the attention of the spoken word community.  And say this spoken word is not a monolithic thing.  Poetry readings and poetry itself doesn’t just have to be isolated to just reading your poems in front of a microphone in front of an audience.  That it can involve music.  It can involve movement.  It can involve film.  It can involve just about anything that you want it to involve.  It doesn’t just have to be read.  Spoken word gives poetry the freedom of being.  Being sung.  Being musical.  Being a straight forward reading.  Being just music even.

Genesis:  We have started things where the rhythmic part of what’s being said turns into the rhythmic basis for the music so that it’s still there (and) echoes that line and whoever’s hearing they’re still aware of what made that line that made that rhythm and everything else that’s said on top of it carries a different weight because of it.  So it’s not just like the band is playing some rhythm.  No they’re keeping a chant behind.

E.G.:  And what comes through, in having seen Trekteh Beam Express and working with Arkology doing the work that we do, it really opens up spoken word away from this idea that it’s just about reading poems.

Genesis:  Bitter poets in coffee shop.  That old idea.

E.G.:  It says spoken word can be anything.  It can be more than this.  That’s not to devalue that, it’s to give it another path that poetry can take.  And that’s the essence of it right there.  The Nu Ark Experiments developed out of the concept  of arkology.  Of ways of travel.  Of means of travel.  Whether that travel is musical.  Whether that travel is words.  Here is a new ark.  Here’s a new…

Genesis:  A new beginning?

E.G.:  A new beginning.  And again with just the word ark.

Genesis:  All those associations right off the bat.

E.G.:  The Ark of the Covenant, which aligns with a new beginning.  The arc.  The shape of something.  The Ark.  Noah’s Ark.  And taking that and working in the concept of experimentation.  Of it allowing it to be different.  Allowing yourself freedom for it to be other things.  To develop into other things.  And most of the time we are not sure exactly what the outcome of it will be.  But it’s matter of putting the experiment into place.

Genesis:  It makes it more of that journey.  We know we’re gonna start here.  We don’t know where home is, if it’s gonna be home.  What the end’s gonna be.  It’s the joy of discovery.

E.G.:  And really working within that idea of traveling.  Allow yourself the freedom to travel.  Allow yourself to find other spaces.  Allow yourself to become other things.  Allow yourself the freedom to express yourself.

The next Nu Ark Experiment will be September 15th is titled Open House Under Sky and will explore the sense of community.  See the listing on page ____ for dates of other experiments and workshops and/or call xxx-xxxx for more information.

This series is co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, Da X Factor Newz, Powderhorn Writers Festival, Write On RaDio! and KMOJ Radio.  It is supported by a grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

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Nu Ark Experiment: Wordshop: Shouting into the Storm

21 April 1998 at 9:00 am (News, Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre, Workshops) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Poets! have you ever wanted your words bathed in music, floating on a quarter note.  Instrumentalists! have you ever conjured a melody while listening to a poet read.  Then Space is the Place.  Become a part of Wordshop: Shouting into the Storm, a workshop for musicians and word masters.  Discover the joy and beauty of spoken word.  e. g. bailey and members of Arkology will conduct a workshop seeking to explore ways of uniting words (spoken, sung, written or shouted) and music of all kinds.  Participants will learn the process of creating spoken word pieces and explore with other musicians and poets how to find spaces of their words and sounds.  The workshop will also include exercises in improvisation.

The workshop will take place on October 10th from 1-4pm at the West Bank School of Music located at 1813 South 6th Street Mpls.  Call 822-2500 to register or for more information.

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to share their discoveries at the Nu Ark Experiments performance (Postmodern) Work Songs on Oct. 20th at Gingko’s Coffeehouse.

This workshop emerges out of the Nu Ark Experiments a series of spoken word performances aimed at showcasing the different ways spoken word can be presented.  The series includes experiments with performance art, with improvisation, with film, with non-structural music and with visual arts.

Future performances include (Postmodern) Work Songs on Oct. 20th at Gingko’s Coffeehouse.  And Side B, a collaboration with sound sculptor and visual artist Kitundu at Intermedia Arts on Nov. 17th.

This series is supported by a grant provided by the MN State Arts Board through an appropriation from the MN State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

And is co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, KMOJ, the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Da X-Factor Newz and KFAI’s Write On RaDio! (Thursdays @ 11am). Call 288-9491 for more information.

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Nu Ark Experiments Press Release

21 April 1998 at 9:00 am (Film, Music, Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre, Workshops) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

For Immediate Release
April 21, 1998

“Open Palm Prayers” Melds Music and Poetry
In Jazz-Influenced Show at Intermedia Arts, May 19, 1998
Performance Launches ‘Nu Ark Experiments,’ A 12-part Series
Exploring ‘Force and Energy of the Oral Tradition’

A talented group of improvisational musicians and poets will demonstrate a new, multi-sensory approach to uniting word and music in performance, at an evening-length show called “Open Palm Prayers” on Tuesday, May 19, 1998. The performance takes place at 7:00 p.m. at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis. Tickets are $6, or $3 for Intermedia Arts Partners. Reservations may be made by calling (612) 871-4444.

The key to the performance concept is a jazz-influenced melding of poetry and music, according to organizer e.g. bailey, a member of the performance collective Arkology. “Our goal is to create a spoken word/music synthesis based in the aesthetic of the jazz ensemble,” bailey said. “The work can originate in a word, a concept, an image, or a sound, and then each ‘instrument,’ including the voice, enters the ensemble on an equal footing and has an opportunity to lead and shape the experience.”

“Open Palm Prayers” marks the first event in a 12-part series of innovative spoken word and musical events called Nu Ark Experiments. The aim, bailey said, is “to experiment with the presentation of spoken word by melding it with other art forms, including music, dance, and film.” The series involves ten performances of set pieces and improvisational works, and two workshops designed to introduce others to improvisational techniques for blending art forms in performance. The performances and workshops will occur at several venues in the Twin Cities over the next ten months, beginning with “Open Palm Prayers” at Intermedia Arts.

At the core of the Nu Ark Experiments is a group of well-known, multi-talented artists, most of whom are members of the improvisational performance collective Arkology. At “Open Palm Prayers,” for example, e.g. bailey will contribute his skills as a “verbalist,” joined by Arkology members Kona (drummer), Dennis Maddix (bass), and writer/vocalists Mankwe Ndosi and Miré Regulus. The collective has also appeared with other Twin Cities musicians such as Kevin Washington, Rene Ford, Sam Favors, Markiss, Michael O’Brien, Doug Reed, and Tom Speath.

“We will explore forms and avenues not normally associated with spoken word, with the hope of bringing new life to poetry, and giving back to it the force and energy inherent in the oral tradition,” said bailey.

The idea for the Nu Ark Experiments series originated with Blues for Nina, a 25-minute spoken-word/music performance about the famed singer Nina Simone that bailey presented for the opening of the 1997 Twin Cities Black Film Festival, in collaboration with five other artists. “The audience response to that piece as well as the music/word interaction in the rehearsal process motivated me to explore how to further develop this performance structure,” bailey said.

Nu Ark Experiments is produced with support from a Cultural Collaborations Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Co-sponsors for the series are SASE: The Write Place and Intermedia Arts, and KFAI Fresh Air Radio 90.3 FM Mpls/106.7 St. Paul.


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Nu Ark Experiment: Under Sky Open House

21 April 1998 at 9:00 am (News, Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre, Workshops) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Come experience the Nu Ark Experiments.  Join e. g. bailey and members of Arkology for the fourth installment of the Nu Ark Experiments: Under Sky Open House on September 15th at the Powderhorn Park at 7:00pm.  The performance will focus on the concept of community and will include poets from the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Roy McBride and Amy Ballestad, and guest musician Yolanda Jackson.

Powderhorn Park is located at E 34th Street and 15th Avenue South in South Minneapolis.

The Nu Ark Experiments is a series of spoken word performances aimed at showcasing the different ways spoken word can be presented.  The series includes experiments with performance art, with improvisation, with film, with non-structural music and with visual arts.

Future performances include Wordshop: Shouting into the Storm, a workshop for poets and musicians, at the West Bank School of Music on Oct. 10th.  (Postmodern) Work Songs on Oct. 20th at Gingko’s Coffeehouse.  And Side B, a collaboration with sound sculptor and visual artist Kitundu at Intermedia Arts on Nov. 17th.

This series is supported by a grant provided by the MN State Arts Board through an appropriation from the MN State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

And is co-sponsored by SASE: The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, KMOJ, the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Da X-Factor Newz and KFAI’s Write On RaDio! (Thursdays @ 11am). Call 288-9491 for more information.

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Nu Ark Experiment: (Postmodern) Work Songs

21 April 1998 at 9:00 am (News, Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(Postmodern) Work Songs, a celebration of experimentation uniting song, poetry and music.  e. g. bailey and members of Arkology along with community poets and musicians will share work developed at the Wordshop: Shouting into the Storm, a spoken word workshop for poets and musicians, at the West Bank School of Music.  The performance emerges from the Nu Ark Experiments, a series of spoken word performances seeking to explore the ways of uniting words (spoken, sung, written or shouted) and music of all kinds in live, sometimes improvisational performance.

The performance will take place on October 20th at 7:30pm at Gingko’s Coffeehouse located at 721 Snelling Avenue in St. Paul.  It will include guest poets and musicians from the Wordshop spoken word workshop.

The Nu Ark Experiments is a series of spoken word performances aimed at showcasing the different ways spoken word can be presented.  The series includes experiments with performance art, with improvisation, with film, with non-structural music and with visual arts.

Future performances include Side B, a collaboration with sound sculptor and visual artist Kitundu, finding the spaces between spoken word and visual arts, at Intermedia Arts on Nov. 17th.

This series is supported by a grant provided by the MN State Arts Board through an appropriation from the MN State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

And is co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, KMOJ, the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Da X-Factor Newz and KFAI’s Write On RaDio! (Thursdays @ 11am). Call 288-9491 for more information.

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Nu Ark Experiments

21 April 1998 at 9:00 am (Shows, Spoken Word, Theatre) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Nu Ark Experiments is a series exploring the creation and presentation of spoken word, the art of combining poetry with music.  The goal of the series is to create a reflective, improvisational performance structure by melding music and spoken word.  It is to create a synthesis based on the idea of the jazz ensemble and create a multi-sensory experience with several elements coalescing at once.

The series will also explore the intersections between other art forms and spoken word, i.e. visual arts, film, performance theatre.  And will aim at working with non-profit and grassroots orginzations to cultivate interaction and community building.  We hope to build stronger relationships between musicians and poets, and among the growing Twin Cities spoken word community.  To achieve this, performances will occur at different venues, including sites traditionally reserved for either music or poetry, but not necessarily both.

The series will involve ten performances and two workshops.  The ten performances will be a public form to test the growth and accessibility of this style, while the workshops will instruct participants on combining the elements of live music and spoken word, and allow practical experimentation by bringing in experienced musicians.

The series is a produced by e. g. bailey and two organizations, Intermedia Arts and SASE, The Write Place.  Intermedia Arts is an arts organization, known for its commitment to new art and multi-disciplinary projects, its involvement with arts in the community, as well as its support of projects that are specifically by artists of color.  SASE is a more grassroots organization focused on connecting with writers where they are in their communities, through a reading series in coffeehouses and art spaces, and grants.

The series involves artists from the spoken word and music collective, Arkology.  Arkology has been creating spoken word performances for the past year, at a number of venues in the Twin Cities, including Groove Garden, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the University of MN, Phyliss Wheatley Community Center and the Walker Art Center.  And they recently open for Roy Ayers at the Hyatt Regency.

There will also be collaborations with local artists and musicians, including Kitundu, painter and dj; Truthmaze, poet and producer; and Rajiah Johnson, musician.

The goal of the Nu Ark Experiments is to allow the community to experience spoken word in new and vital ways.  To experience the power and force that poetry can affect in their lives.

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