The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce its 2014-2015 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota’s capital city. Events take place at the Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street, 7:30-8:30 p.m., each with a featured curator. All ages are welcome, and there is no cover charge. The series is filmed by SPNN. Browse video here.

Lowertown Reading Jam 2014-2015: "Dakota Writers Speak to Presence: Honoring the 38+2"

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On the 152nd anniversary of the largest mass execution in the history of the United States: the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato for their role in the U.S. Dakota War, contemporary Dakota writers speak to Presence. We speak several generations after the U.S. Dakota War and the United States government’s expulsion of Dakota from Minnesota. We speak, even as we are often erased or misrepresented in mainstream media and culture. We are here. Please join us as we reflect, remember, and share.

June 25th 2014: Ben Weaver presents "Things we have given up, for what and why?" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the ninth in its 2013–2014 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota's capital city and the widely popular genre of spoken word. "In the face of progress we have given up many things. Those we have given up unconsciously are the most disturbing. So busy moving forward, we fail to see what we have dropped along the way. We have left the rivers, forests, and soil to fall into neglect. We have traded the night sky and stars—for what? Why? We have given up walking, knowing the names, stories, histories, and uses of places, animals, and plants. Other things, not all necessarily related to nature, have also been left behind." Featuring performances by Ben Weaver • Heid Erdrich • Kara Olson • Brad Zellar • with emcee Robert Karimi

May 28, 2014: David Mura presents "E/Merging Voices of the Twin Cities on Race & Identity" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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Featuring performances by David Mura • Chantz Erolin • Nikko Sencer-Mura • Dorothy O’Berry • Malanda J. Simba • Dane Verrett • with emcee Robert Karimi. In recent years a whole new generation of poets, spoken-word artists, and rappers have appeared on the Twin Cities' art scene. Their work explores the issues of race and identity and the changing demographics of our area. Some of the young writers on this bill come from the Voices Merging program of the University of Minnesota. Some are connected with the independent local hip-hop scene and the rap producer Julian Fairbanks.

April 23, 2014: Robert Karimi presents "Poetry about Food & Sex" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with a group of some of the most fabulous Twin Cities poets/activists/storytellers who will set the table with nourishing delicious poems that will leave you hungry for more. From radical love, to feeding the masses, to Burger King sex, to wannabe porn starification, these sexy poets have run the gamut in their perspectives on the subject. And, yes, don't worry, we'll make time to talk about microaggressions...because our performers are far from being one-dimensional! Special aphrodisiac surprises on the Black Dog Café menu, concocted by The Peoples Cook, to get you in the mood before and after.

March 26, 2014: Ifrah Mansour presents "West Bank Footprints; Hidden, Awe-inspiring Stories" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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Where have your footprints taken you? Through storytelling, spoken words, poetry, chanting, singing, crafting, and painting, we retrace our footprints and reflect as educators, community organizers, artists, students and fellow supporters on our journeys to romance the West Bank neighborhood in the midst of our greater personal journeys. The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the sixth in its 2013–2014 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota's capital city and the widely popular genre of spoken word. Featuring performances by Farhiyo Abdulkarim, Janet Curiel, Safy-Hallan Farah, Ifrah Mansour, and Lula Saleh.

February 26, 2014: Chay Douangphouxay presents "CAN YOU HAND(LE) IT?" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the fifth in its 2013–2014 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, feauturing performances by Chay Douangphouxay, Donte Collins, Naomi Ko, and Kevin Yang. The word “hand” has an extensive array of meaning, both literally and figuratively.  Without bounds, we use spoken word to play with the endless allusions that the word “hand” has in the English language, as well as its roles in our lives.  For example, the use of our hands can be used to create, mold, and shape matter into universes; at the same time the hand can be used as an instrument for mass destruction. I guess anything is possible when all hands are on deck!

January 22, 2014: Guante presents "Let the Bars Breathe" at the Lowertown Reading Jam

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Featuring performances by Guante, Desdamona, Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures), Metasota, and See More Perspective. Come listen to five, singular voices in the world-renowned Twin Cities hip hop scene share their writing. Performing either a capella or accompanied by vocal percussion, the artists present an "unplugged" rap show that will highlight rap as a unique, dynamic poetic form with its own rules, values, and philosophies. The aim of the performance is not to divorce the voices from the beats in an attempt to compare and contrast rap with other forms of poetry, but rather to decontextualize the words in order to hear them from a new angle and gain a deeper appreciation for the craft of rapping.