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

The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the eighth 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.

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The “E/Merging Voices of the Twin Cities on Race & Identity” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. All ages, no cover, donations welcome. Food and beverages for sale.

“E/Merging Voices of the Twin Cities on Race & Identity”

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.

The young writers are reading with nationally known poet, fiction, and creative nonfiction writer David Mura. As a Sansei, or third-generation Japanese American, Mura has written extensively on race and identity and the lives of young people in the Twin Cities.

Listen to/Download the Reading Jam

[ca_audio url_mp3=”https://saintpaulalmanac.org/audio/20140528-LRJ-David-Mura.mp3″ url_ogg=”” width=”497″ height=”30″ download=”true” skin=”regular” align=”none”] Download MP3 (right click on Windows/Ctrl + click on Mac and Save As to your hard drive)

About the Performers

DavidMura_Par_DAVID MURA most recently published the poetry collection The Last Incantations (Northwestern University Press). He’s written three other poetry collections: After We Lost Our Way (National Poetry Contest Winner), The Colors of Desire (Carl Sandburg Literary Award), and Angels for the Burning. He’s written two memoirs, Turning Japanese (a New York Times Notable Book) and Where the Body Meets Memory, and the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire. He teaches at the Stonecoast MFA Program and the VONA Voices Writers’ Conference. He’s been featured on the Bill Moyers PBS series The Language of Life.

ChantzErolinCHANTZ EROLIN is a well-known local rapper and a member of the collaborative group Audio Perm. He’s appeared at the Fine Line Music Cafe and First Avenue, and has toured around the country. Chantz has collaborated with artists like Guante, Rapper Hooks, and Sophia Eris. He was recently featured in the multimedia issue of the Asian American Literary Review on mixed-race identity.

NikkoSencer-MuraNIKKO SENCER-MURA is a rapper and a spoken-word artist who has worked with Audio Perm produce Julian Fairbanks. He’s also a member of Voices Merging, a multicultural student-based artist coalition at the University of Minnesota that is dedicated to providing venues, workshops, and a comfortable atmosphere for all types of artists. He was recently featured in the multimedia issue of the Asian American Literary Review on mixed-race identity.

DorothyO'BerryDOROTHY O’BERRY is a poet and member of Voices Merging, a multicultural student-based artist coalition at the University of Minnesota that is dedicated to providing venues, workshops, and a comfortable atmosphere for all types of artists. She received a 2013 Children’s Defense Fund “Beat the Odds” scholarship.


MalandaJ.SimbaMALANDA J. SIMBA is a poet who has studied at the University of Minnesota. His poem “If Ever I Had a Daughter” is on found on his YouTube channel.

DANE VERRETT is a member of Voices Merging, a multicultural student-based artist coalition at the University of Minnesota that is dedicated to providing venues, workshops, and a comfortable atmosphere for all types of artists.

karimistandardAt root a storyteller and community engagement specialist, ROBERT FARID KARIMI mixes humor, rasquache aesthetics, and performance to communicate poems and stories that feed audiences an interactive cross-cultural collision of joy, pop culture, and personal history in theatres, grocery stores, backyards, and off-Broadway. His writings have appeared on NPR and in newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies, most recently Asian American Literary Review. A national poetry slam champion, he has been featured throughout the country at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café, Def Poetry Jam, The Chicago Theater, and The Loft. His visual work and public engagement artwork is exhibited at museums and community artspaces worldwide. Throughout the last twenty-two years, he has designed and led arts education opportunities for all ages; taught university performance workshops; mentored the next generation of arts leaders; and shaped the voice of mixed culture arts and literature around the world. Creative Capital, the NEA, the MAP Fund, Zellerbach Foundation, and MSAB have invested in his recent projects, all of which include a community of multidisciplinary artists. He works at ThePeoplesCook as an arts educator, public engagement deviser, playwright, director, and community arts consultant. He has lived and worked in Minnesota since 2006 and is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. For more, go to www.ThePeoplesCook.org or www.Kaoticgood.com/bio.html.

Location

The “E/Merging Voices of the Twin Cities on Race & Identity” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul.

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