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


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

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June 19, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with Too Black


TOO BLACK, a graduate of Ball State University, is a poet and spoken word artist from Muncie, IN. The name TOO BLACK developed from wanting to challenge the perceptions of blackness and humanity in general.  Influenced by a wide variety of artist and historical figures, from Malcolm X to George Carlin, TOO BLACK brings a versatile perspective to the stage.

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


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.

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June 5, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic presents Nature Poems


Now that summer has reached full throttle, let’s celebrate it! This is the space for natural poems. Tonight is a space for poems that celebrate the water, the wind, the earth, the universe, animals, plants, and everything in between. We all know that Minnesota summers come and go very swiftly, our poetry can make it last a bit longer.

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May 29, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with Fres Thao


Fres Thao is an advocate for the Arts; believing Art is direct energy from the soul. As a Hip Hop pioneer of the Hmong American community, he has been an active lyricist, performer, producer and mentor since the early 90’s. Founding member of nationally dispersed Hip Hop group, Illegoaliens and Twin Cities based collective, Pupils of the Storm, Fres has released numerous albums, mixtapes and compilations including his recent full length album Mind Full Of. He was a recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative, accessing funds to create his "Mind Full Of" vinyl project; the first full length Hmong Hip Hop vinyl record album. He is in the process of writing an illustrated children's poetry book.

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May 22, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with RACBD


RACBD is to create a "RONDO RENAISSANCE" on University Ave in St Paul (the Green Line - LRT) from Griggs to Rice Street. We are developing a Historic Rondo Arts, Cultural, and Heritage District to strengthen and expand the African American business community.  We want to leverage the legacy and history of the Rondo community to build a distinct business district that draws present visitors and new visitors to existing and new African American owned businesses on the Avenue! ASANDC’s current work on identifying and supporting the growth of arts and cultural destinations in Saint Paul forms the foundation for this project. This project is a tool to bring alive the idea of utilizing art and culture as a community and economic asset to bring benefits to and opportunities to enhance current African American businesses and promote the growth of new ones on the University Avenue (the Green Line).

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May 15, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with brilyahnt peace


brilyahnt peace is a North Minneapolis native, currently exploring the solar—stars and spirit. A former student of the University of Minnesota and a (soon exiting) member of Voices Merging, she is on an ongoing journey to grow, heal, and speak. Poetry is her meditation and lifeline. Truth is her seed. Peace.

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May 8, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with Leah Clark


Leah Clark is a solo acoustic artist that passionately writes her own music. She's been playing guitar and writing songs for over five years now and is looking to break out of her shell to share her music with anyone that will listen. In her free time she likes to swing in the park, spend time with family and friends, and take naps with her cat, Walter.

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May 1, 2014 - Soul Sounds Open Mic with Mic RNS and writing workshop

Mychal Batson

"My love for words began in elementary. I've been in special poetry/writing groups since I can remember because I've always been an "above average writer". I also grew up surrounded by hip hop—so becoming an MC was almost inevitable. Though Just Cause is my first official project, I have been recording/writing rhymes since I was 14. I am finally at a point in my life where I feel comfortable with who I am as an artist and can actually afford to put myself out there. Let's be honest here, being an MC is expensive."

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