Announcing the Inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Finalists

This year, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks launched the inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate program. The program seeks to identify one Saint Paul poet between the ages of 16 and 24 to serve as the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate for a year. That young artist will receive mentorship from nationally-renowned poet (and Saint Paul native) Danez Smith, engage in performances and civic engagement opportunities throughout the year, and inspire other young people to tell their stories, raise their voices, and be heard.

The submission process is now closed! Thank you to our incredible panel of judges (Khary Jackson, Desdamona, Danez Smith, Kyle Tran Myhre, and Duncan Slagle) and congratulations to this year’s finalists:

  • Henry Benjamin
  • Samoa the Poet
  • Chavah Gabrielle
  • Armand McCoy
  • Cynthia Zapata
  • Donte Collins
  • Talia Young
  • Karinna Gerhardt
  • Lindsay Schaefer
  • Xavier Columbus

All of the finalists will perform their work at a poetry slam on Friday, May 19 at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul at 7pm. This competition will decide who will serve as this year’s Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate; don’t miss it!

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


National Poetry Month: The ReVerb Open Mic and Instagram 30/30

ReVerb is still the place to be for a weekly opportunity to share your work, listen to others, and build community. This free, all ages open mic goes down every Thursday from 6-8pm at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul. Share whatever you’re feeling, or take part in one of the weekly theme/form challenges. Also, don’t forget about the workshop on every first Thursday of the month at 4:30pm.

TruArtSpeaks has also been posting writing prompts to help propel anyone trying to do a “30 poems in 30 days” National Poetry Month writing challenge. If you find yourself stuck, or are just looking for a little inspiration, check them all out here.


The Endowment Recap: A Beautiful Night of Hip Hop and Community

On April 15 at Icehouse in Minneapolis, some of the leading lights of the Minnesota Hip Hop community came together to both raise money for TruArtSpeaks and celebrate the birthday of the organization’s founder and Executive Director, Tish Jones. From the legend, I Self Devine, to up-and-coming artists like BdotCroc and Dem Atlas, to longtime friends and allies K.Raydio, Guante, and Crescent Moon, the stage featured one unforgettable performance after another. Host Danez Smith and DJ Kool Akiem held us down all night long, and b-boy crews Deadpool and MN Real showcased once again the spirit and vitality of Hip Hop culture. THANK YOU to everyone who performed, and to everyone who came out to support. Let’s do it again. Photos coming soon.

We’ve got a lot more on the horizon! Keep in touch: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr.

April 15, 2017: THE ENDOWMENT

THE ENDOWMENT is a celebration of Hip Hop culture and the spirit of resistance that drives it. Featuring some of the most dynamic, boundary-pushing performers in the Twin Cities hip hop scene, as well as dancers, poets, and the legendary DJ Kool Akiem on the wheels of steel, the intergenerational lineup is based around the theme of “what we inherit, we pass on.” In that spirit, the show is also a fundraiser for Twin Cities organization TruArtSpeaks, as well as the birthday celebration of the organization’s founder, Tish Jones.

April 15, 2017 at Icehouse in Minneapolis | 21+ | Doors at 10:30pm
Tickets are available now ($10 in advance, $15 at the door)

MEET THE ARTISTS:

I SELF DEVINE: Chaka Mkali, also known as I Self Devine, is a musician, Mc, community organizer, racial justice trainer, graffiti artist, muralist, program coordinator and director of organizing and community building at Hope Community Center in Minneapolis. As an Mc, I Self is known as an integral part of the Atlanta and Twin Cities underground Hip Hop community as ½ of the duo Micranots, ½ of Semi Official, ¼ of the Dynospectrum, and as a soloist. Over the last decade I Self has released over 10 albums of political conscious socially aware music capable of moving the crowd as well as uplift the spirit and sustain the movement.

DEM ATLAS: Since signing to indie heavyweight Rhymesayers Entertainment in late 2013, deM atlaS hasn’t wasted any time in spreading his brand of Hip-Hop music across the world. Steadily on the road since his signing, he was able to find the time to release his unofficial debut, DWNR, in late 2014.

BDOTCROC: Brynne Crockett, also known as BdotCroc, has been rapping since the age of eight years old. She was born and raised in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bdot started her official music career in 2008 after she graduated high school by recording and writing music and then performing at any venue granted to her. Fans and supporters would say “She’s not dope for a FEMALE MC, she’s a DOPE MC.”

GUANTE: Guante is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator based in Minneapolis. His work has been featured on Upworthy, Welcome to Night Vale, Everyday Feminism, the Huffington Post, and beyond, garnering over ten million views online. Guante has also performed live at the United Nations, as well as countless colleges, universities, and conferences, where he uses art as an entry point into deeper conversations about identity, power, empathy, and resistance.

CRESCENT MOON W/ ANDREW BRODER: Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures, Mixed Blood Majority, Oddjobs) teams up with Andrew Broder (of Fog, The Cloak Ox) to make music as dark, challenging, and furious as the times in which we live.

K.RAYDIO: No dashes or spaces. Soul based. Hip hop embraced. Writer and vocalist raised in Minneapolis, MN. Defying convention since 1988.

DJ KOOL AKIEM: From underground mixtapes in the early nineties and the various Micranots releases, to 2006’s Mixtape Deluxe, DJ Kool Akiem formerly of the Micranots and DJ for MF DOOM has been providing a steady diet of funk to the public for years now. Lacing ornate and eclectic samples over rugged drum hits and 808 kicks, Kool Akiem’s productions have a distinct feeling that provide just the right amount of stimulation not to take attention away from the lyrics of his various collaborators. While most producers stick to a time-tested formula, Kool Ak constantly keeps it fresh by reinventing his production style without losing the urgent bump that folks have grown to expect from his tracks.

FEATURING DANCE CREWS MN REAL AND DEADPOOL!

AND HOSTED BY DANEZ SMITH

That’s a one-of-a-kind lineup, all for a great cause. We can’t wait to see you there!

It is Time to Be Heard – Register Now for the 5th Annual MN Youth Poetry Slam Series!

3b946b1d-70c1-43ba-8f7c-759bf3d9b83aRegistration for the 5th Annual Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series is Now Open!

For the past five years, TruArtSpeaks’ Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series has provided a platform for hundreds of youth poets to tell their stories and speak their truths to big, energetic audiences. As the country—and the state—head into uncertain times, it is more important than ever to hear these stories and listen to these perspectives.

Through a series of eight poetry slams, Be Heard seeks to identify six youth poets who will both represent Minnesota at the annual international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam and festival in San Francisco in summer 2017, and serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year, receiving mentorship in writing, performing, and arts leadership.

While the competition element of the series represents an incredible opportunity for the top six poets, the series itself is set up as a space for everyone—from youth slam veterans, to first-timers, to the audience itself—to build community through art, present counter-narratives, and call into being the world in which we want to live.

The full schedule is below; interested poets (who must be between 13 and 19 years old, and have a Minnesota address) can register at www.TruArtSpeaks.org. All bouts begin at 7pm and are open to the public.

  • Preliminary bouts:
    • January 14 at the Black Dog Café in Saint Paul
    • January 21 at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth
    • January 28 at the SteppingStone Theater in Saint Paul
    • February 4 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis
    • February 11 at the New Century Theater (Hennepin County Theater Trust) in Minneapolis
  • Semifinal bouts:
    • March 4 at Macalester College’s Kagin Commons Hill Ballroom in Saint Paul
    • March 11 at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
  • Finals:
    • March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater in Minneapolis

To register for the slam, click here. For additional inquiries, please contact info@TruArtSpeaks.org


Poets, prepare your pen and person for 912x912-write-to-be-heard-v2-tas-01#BeHeard17 with this series of FREE writing & performance centered workshops at the Minneapolis Central Library. This is your chance to work on concrete description, imagery, writing for social change, writing for performance, form, device and more with some of the Twin Cities’ most recognized slam poets!

No registration or sign up required. Just save the date, show up and be ready to BUST!


912x912-flip-the-script-digital-flyer-v2-tasSave the Date/Register Now: Flip the Script! is an annual writing and performance conference where poets between the ages of 13 and 19 engage with professional artists and arts organizers through workshops, panel discussions, community-building, and more. Presented by TruArtSpeaks, and co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, the conference’s third installment will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

#FTS3 will feature leading voices in the national spoken word movement, including Danez Smith, Zhalarina Sanders, Donte Collins, Ed Bok Lee, Andrea Jenkins, Ollie Schminkey, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., Jake Virden, and Khary Jackson, as well as dozens of youth poets sharing their stories and sharpening each other’s skills. Register here!


Interested in supporting MN youth poets img_8962during #BeHeard17 by serving as a volunteer during one of the events? Email info@truartspeaks.org with your availability and join us as we power youth voice in Minnesota!

Judges, Time Keepers, Greeters and more are needed to make this series vibrant each year and we welcome you all to the cypher! Thank you in advance for helping us power the slam series – can’t wait to hear from each of you!


#ReVerbOpenMic is back up and running this week with a writing workshop to kick things off at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul! Be sure to stop by and share your creative genius with us before the end of 2016!


Our work would not be possible without the support of generous and committed arts, social justice and youth advocates like yourself. Thank you for all you do to support this movement. To continue support our work, #BeHeard17, #FTS3, or more, click here.


Be sure to stay connected with us via social media – @truartspeaks – on all platforms; See you all soon!

Now, More Than Ever, is the Time to Be Heard

be-heard-svtd-final-tasGet Ready: It is Time to Be Heard

Sharpen your swords and spread the word. The Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series has not only expanding geographically, but conceptually, and it kicks off this January. The 5th annual Be Heard series is bringing in two major changes:

  • A Duluth area preliminary bout
  • Not only will the six poets that advance from the final bout represent MN at Brave New Voices in San Francisco summer 2017, they will serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year being mentored in writing, performance and arts leadership

Registration opens on December 1st, 2016 – slots fill quickly – so register fast. Rules, FAQs and additional info can be found on our website.

So, get ready, mark your calendars, tell a friend, share the link, form a writing circle and write a poem. If you are a young person between the ages of 13-19 this is your opportunity to tell your story. It is your opportunity to be heard.


Get ready to rip the mic; join us for the Write to 5x7-write-to-be-heard-flyer-back-v1-tasBe Heard writing and performance workshops over winter break.

Write to Be Heard is a free spoken word workshop series for any young poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Open to youth between the ages of 13 and 19, this five-part workshop will offer tips, tools, and tactics related to turning ideas into poems, crafting memorable imagery, improving performance technique, and more. Whether you’re new to spoken word and just looking to dive in, or you’re an experienced writer looking to be challenged, Write to Be Heard will be a space for you to sharpen your skills and have some fun.

December 19 – December 23 (M-F) at the Minneapolis Central Library
Conference Room N-402

2-4pm


img_8545We look forward to seeing and speaking to you all this evening at the Guthrie Theater as we discuss the struggle for civil rights, American History and the future as told through the lens of Washburn High School’s Black Voices students and their eloquent response to Parchman Hour.

 


As you seek community, support, a space to listen and be reverb-end-of-2016-web-flierheard be sure to count #ReVerbOpenMic as a reoccurring event FOR YOU. We would love to see you.

Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul every Thursday from 6-8p hosted by Desdamona.

Congratulations & Thank You!

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that came out to Page. Stage. Engage. at the University of Minnesota last Friday. We appreciated you joining us in conversation and hope we continue to speak courageously with one another in an effort to understand and relate. DJ Just Nine, Amani Ward, Speakers of the Sun, Speak Poetry, Al Taw’am, Guante, and Tish Jones, you all were inspiring, thank you.

Check out the visual recap of the night with photos from Uche Iroegbu Photographic below!

Congratulations to Lizzie Esposito on winning the Bookmark Poetry contest! Look for Lizzie’s work at all upcoming events!


TruArtSpeaks is a KnightArts Challenge Recipient, #10for10 + More!

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TRUARTSPEAKS TO LAUNCH SAINT PAUL YOUTH POET LAUREATE PROGRAM
Youth poet will model civic engagement through performances, education, and moreWith support in the form of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks is excited to announce the launch of the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Serving youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with a current Saint Paul address, TruArtSpeaks will present a citywide spoken word competition to identify one poet to serve as the youth poet laureate of Saint Paul for one year. This young artist will receive an educational scholarship, opportunities to perform at city and community events, and mentorship from nationally-renowned artists on the TruArtSpeaks roster.

While the youth poet laureate honor can only be awarded to one poet each year, the program aims to engage many more. In keeping with the KnightArts Challenge’s mission to fund “ideas that engage and enrich St. Paul through the arts,” the Saint Paul youth poet laureate program is meant to excite, energize, and encourage young writers and performers, while also ensuring that the eventual winner can serve as a catalyst and inspiration for the next generation of youth speaking truth to power.

“Young people have so much knowledge and expertise already,” says Tish Jones, Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks (and a former “youth poet” herself). “This program will be about honoring that, while also identifying one of these dynamic young artists to really model what it means to be a leader in both an artistic sense and a broader, community-focused sense.”

“It’s clear that spoken word reigns in St. Paul,” Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation, said after TruArtSpeaks’ Tish Jones performed at the arts challenge awards event. A perfect sentiment to begin our journey of honoring poetry in Saint Paul.

Further updates and information will be posted at www.TruArtSpeaks.org.

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


img_8053A Love Song, A Death Rattle, a Battle Cry | Book Release Event
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this critical contribution to the literary community in MN. Not only is this Guante’s release event, it will also serve as an open mic for the community and a space to really direct spoken word, performance and the role of art in social transformation. SAVE THE DATE!


#ReVerbOpenMicreverb-end-of-2016-web-flier
We are making a major pivot towards the #BeHeard season and #ReVerbOpenMic is the place to be if you want to prepare yourself for the upcoming competition. Various themes, workshops and featured artists are all here to help prepare you for the next season! For those of you not competing, this is the perfect space to hone in on your craft! Stop by, we are here every Thursday from 6-8p!


img_8381Huge Thanks to the #10for10 Contributors!
We greatly appreciate the love and support from our beloved community of family friends. The donations that you made will drive the work forward in very meaningful ways! Your donation will support the development of a crew of emerging arts leaders, a community open mic space and the creation and publication of new works from area youth; thank you!


As always, be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date with all things youth, poetry, Hip Hop and TruArtSpeaks!

This Friday: THE SEND OFF (Update Announcing Special Guests) + Rooted Recap and more!

2016 Be Heard MN Send Off Image

The #BeHeard16 Send Off Show is this Friday (June 17): 7pm at the UMN Rarig Center’s Thrust Theatre. Tickets will be available at the door, but you can also reserve yours ahead of time here.

The Send Off is the last chance to see the whole 2016 Be Heard team in action before they head to Washington DC this July to represent Minnesota at Brave New Voices. The team will also be joined on stage by some of our community’s boldest and most experienced voices: Desdamona, Danez Smith, Guante, and Khary Jackson, as well as members of the TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board (including Isha Camara, Keno Evol, Fatima Camara, and Donte Collins; member Chava Gabrielle will also be co-hosting). This is a very special lineup featuring some of TruArtSpeaks’ family, and we can’t wait for you to see the show.

We have been (and will continue to be) posting videos from some of our guests on Twitter and on the Facebook event page’s wall. Check them out!


photo: DigieMade Photography

Huge thanks to everyone who made ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening at Intermedia Arts such a success, including the organizers, artists, and everyone who came to see the three sold-out shows.

Members of the Be Heard team performed on all three nights; even TruArtSpeaks’ Executive Director Tish Jones got on the mic.

Check out a slideshow of images from the production here.

Also, be sure to check out Intermedia Arts’ other upcoming events, programs, and opportunities here.


seemore reverbFinally, while we gear up for the Send Off and the Brave New Voices trip, remember that the ReVerb open mic is still going strong, every Thursday evening at 6pm at Golden Thyme Cafe (921 Selby Ave.) in St. Paul. Every first Thursday also features a free workshop session at 4pm for anyone looking to sharpen their skills.

ReVerb is free and all-ages, so no matter how much experience you do or don’t have, swing through and share a piece, get some feedback, and/or just listen to others. It’s a space for us to build community and have some fun, each week.


As always, keep in touch via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr for updates!

“Page.Stage.Engage.”, Future Corps Fellowships, New Video, and More!

PSE_handbillIt’s been an incredible couple of months for TruArtSpeaks. We have some big announcements on the horizon, and a few exciting updates to share right now too.

Just Announced: “Page.Stage.Engage” on 11/6
On Friday, November 6, catch a special performance at the U of MN’s Whole Music Club w/ TruArtSpeaks family Guante, Tish Jones, members of the 2015 Be Heard MN team and more! Doors are at 7:30pm. All ages. Free.

“Page.Stage.Engage” is about exploring how art– especially hip hop and spoken word– can and does respond to injustice. Through performances, some discussion, and a few surprises, we’ll try to grapple with that question, as well as provide plug-in points for people who want to keep the discussion moving and/or get involved. Hope to see you there!


YouthSpeaks Future Corps OpportunityFCF_graphic
Youth Speaks is launching a two-year Future Corps Fellowship program, designed to complement and expand upon their BNV Festival Future Corps program!

The Future Corps Fellowship aims to support the growth of emerging arts professionals through experiential learning opportunities. Following a comprehensive application process, eight Fellows will be selected and placed at a host organization from within the national BNVI Leadership Cohort. Serving as full-time, salaried staff, Fellows will support their host organization in advancing its mission and its capacity to create safe spaces for writing and performance opportunities that elevate youth voices.

Get more information and apply HERE. Applications are due November 1!


Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Donte Collins, Chava Gabrielle, Fatima Camara and Khary Jackson at Porchfest. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Donte Collins, Chava Gabrielle, Fatima Camara and Khary Jackson at Porchfest. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

TruArtSpeaks in the Community
We’ve been building with our Twin Cities community, and are proud to have taken part in some great events recently.

First, members of the TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board performed at Minneapolis’ Powderhorn neighborhood’s Porchfest on September 12. Later that month, TruArtSpeaks youth ambassadors sat on a panel as part of the #Konopka2015 conference on equity & opportunity in health and education at the U of MN.

 

Keno Evol, Tish Jones, Chava Gabrielle, Hasani Harris and Laresa Avent at Kanopka.

Keno Evol, Tish Jones, Chava Gabrielle, Hasani Harris and Laresa Avent at Kanopka. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

In October, TruArtSpeaks roster artist See More Perspective had a beautiful two-night run at Patrick’s Cabaret for his #YesYesYes-themed multidisciplinary CD release show, featuring multiple artists from the TAS circle. Later that month, Youth Advisory Board members Keno Evol and Chava Gabrielle performed at the big Victoria Theater Design Reveal Party at Arnellia’s in Frogtown.

This is all on top of the weekly #ReVerb open mic (every Thursday night at 6pm at Golden Thyme Cafe), which has been on fire lately, featuring artists like Glo Pesci and See More Perspective, as well as all of our regular and not-so-regular performers and family.


Finally, check out TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board member Chava Gabrielle with a new poem called “Fool’s Gold.” The concrete imagery, the attention to detail, the powerful delivery– it all comes together in an unforgettable way.


Remember to check us out on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr for regular access to the fun stuff!


For questions or more information contact info@truartspeaks.org

To make a donation please click here!

Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference

Flip the Script!Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference will take place at the Loft Literary Center on Sunday, February 21st, 2015 from 12-5p. Young writers between the ages of 13-19 will have an opportunity to work with Minnesota’s premiere arts educators, writers and performers while also receiving valuable information about college opportunities and professional development in the arts field. Register here and see below for a detailed agenda for the day.


Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference comes jam packed with food, performances, a panel discussion, workshops and more! Choose from one of two tracks as your learning community for the day and prepare to have your mind blown!

Flip the Script!

12:00p – Registration & Light Refreshments

12:15p – Welcome from TruArtSpeaks & the Loft Literary Center

12:25p – Performances & Panel Discussion // “Slam Poetry: What’s the Point?” moderated by Tish Jones

  • Featuring: Laresa Avent, Hieu Minh Nguyen and Saymoukda Vongsay

1:25p – Breakout for Workshops

1:30p – Workshops:

  • Writing & Performance Track // “Spoken Word & the Ancient Art of Storytelling: Finding Yourself In and Through Your Poems” – with See More Perspective
  • Professional Development Track // “Spoken Word Outside of Slam: Building and Managing Your Career” – with Guante

2:30p – Break

2:45p – Workshops

  • Writing & Performance Track // “Getting Elemental: Breaking Down the Separate Elements of Performance” – with Khary Jackson aka 6 is 9
  • Professional Development Track // “Life After Be Heard and BNV” with Danez Smith & Tish Jones

3:45p – Break

4:00p – Closing Seminar

4:30p – Dinner, Community Building and Reflection

5:00p -Conference Close


Laresa HeadshotLaresa Avent is a two time Be Heard MN slam team winner and avid writer. Her work has been published in two chapbooks, Future Calls (TruArtSpeaks 2014) and For Closure (TruArtSpeaks 2014). Graduate of Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Avent is a natural born leader who helped the Southwest Spoken Word club blossom into the student led model of critical self expression that it is today. A singer, model and dedicated member of her community, Laresa is a poet on the rise – look out.

 

PC: Michelle Tacheny

PC: Michelle Tacheny

 Hieu Minh Nguyen is a poet, author, and performer. He was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, by a single, Vietnamese-American, mother. He is the author of This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Press, 2014). Hieu is a Kundiman fellow, a recipient of the VERVE grant from Intermedia Arts, and a recipient of the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant from The Loft Literary Center. His work has also appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Journal, PANK, Anti-, Muzzle, decomP, Indiana Review, and other journals. He also works at a haberdashery.

 

 

 

Mooks

Saymoukda Vongsay I’m a poet, playwright, and creative fiction writer who enjoys miscombinations. I believe in doing everything a little abnormally and dislike to be placed in tiny boxes. In 1981 I was born in a Thai refugee camp to the daughter of a Lao provincial governor and the son of a hard-working farmer. The nurse that delivered me was rocking out on her walkman the entire time. Maybe that’s why all of my favorite memories are triggered by songs. I’ve been a poet since I can remember. My composition notebooks were my confessionals. Sometimes I recite my poetry from memory with flair and people tell me I’m a spoken word poet. Truth-telling time: my hands sweat every time I approach the mic.   

In 2009 I co founded The Unit Collective of Emerging Playwrights of Color. As part of the collective’s monthly Madness Series, 8 of my flash plays had stage readings at The Playwrights’ Center and Yellowtail Sashimi (a flash play about “asianphilia” and “sisterhood”) was featured as part of the collective’s production at the 2010 MN Fringe Theater Festival. I co wrote The Cooking Show con Karimi and Comrades that premiered at the Asian Artist Initiative in Philadelphia (2012). My first full-length play, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals (KFZ), as part of the Jerome Foundation/Mu Performing Arts’ New Performance Program had a world premiere in October 2013 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. It debuted to high acclaim and was named “Best Production of 2013” by L’Etoile Magazine. 

That’s dope, right?

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