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SUAF: Event Pre-cap

An action-packed week!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

As a huge fan of the groups that will be performing in the Savannah Urban Arts Festival, I thought I’d give you a run-down of the festivities that I’m most looking forward to. A “pre-cap,” if you will.

TUES – 2009/05/05 – Hip Hop Night – Tantra Lounge @ 10pm

Today kicks-off the First Annual SUAF, and there’s only one local hip hop crew that can get the party started right. They go by the collective name, Dope Sandwich. With members that range from DJs, to Emcees, to B-boys, they’re best known for making a Tuesday night in Savannah synonymous with Hip Hop night at the Jinx. If you enjoy hip hop in its true form, then you will love what Dope Sandwich is serving up. You can catch Dope Sandwich and their excellent skills tonight at Tantra Lounge on Broughton Street at 10pm.

WED – 2009/05/06 – Savannah Urban Arts Film Festival @ 4pm – 11pm

The second day of the Festival consists of two very cool screenings from two very different aspects of the festival. The first is a showing of MacArthur-winning activist, Majora Carter’s, thought provoking lecture on her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx. In this talk, she details her struggle, and it shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy. Sponsored by Green Life Space, the 4pm showing takes place at the Charles H. Morris Center, location of the Market at Trustees Garden, and is free to the public. What a great way to get geared up for Greenfest later this week.

Once you’ve gotten fired up about fighting Savannah’s environmental injustices, I suggest you take that energy over to the Sentient Bean where you can travel back to 1971 and relive an electric James Brown concert, thanks to the Psychotronic Film Society. Apparently this film has never been released or broadcasted in the US, and features an entire live show the late great Brown did in France, while backed by the classic lineup of The J.B.’s (the line-up with Bootsy Collins from P-Funk on the bass).

THURS – 2009/05/07 – The Official Launch Party – 7pm – 9pm/10pm – 2am

At 7pm, Kokumo Collective Dance Company, the professional adult dance company under the Abeni Cultural Arts dance studio, will perform The Passion of Dance at Savannah High School. These inspirational dancers are very passionate about their art form and are really dedicated to the artistic process, integration of different art forms, and celebrating cultural diversity. I can’t wait to absorb some of their positive energy.

Then at 10pm, LiveWire Music Hall will host the Official SUAF Launch Party, complete with live music and an art exhibition featuring the collective works of Lawrence Green. The music line-up is filled with my local favorites: Brittany Bosco, KidSyc, the Chatham County Bosses, and Mafamadix, providing a nice blend of Savannah’s urban music styles and sounds. I’m almost positive there will be even more talent performing that night, and will prove to be a stand-out showcasing of Savannah’s talent.

FRI – 2009/05/08 – Shut Up And Fight – 7pm/9pm

Spoken Word and Poetry Slams are always a good time, and Savannah has several talented spoken word artists you should go see. At Cha Bella’s Restaurant The Deep Pockets will host their competitive Regional Poetry Slam. Should be exciting…

Then later that evening, Play Date Savannah is hosting The “Shut Up and Fight” (SUAF) Madden and NBA Live 2009 Live Tournament will take place, along with other games to encourage the fun of competitive spirit. So, stick around Cha Bella’s after the poetry slam for some good food, music, and fun.

SAT – 2009/05/09 – SUAF The Show Out – 9am – Midnight

The SUAF Show Out takes place in conjunction with GreenFest 2009 at The Charles H. Morris Center. An all day long affair, everything from live music, community yoga, organic and local food vendors, graffiti art demonstrations, beatmakers battle, and GreenFest forums will be taking place. Plus, there will be book signings with Bill Strickland and Jeff Chang, who will hold discussions that afternoon (see schedule below). If you don’t participate in any other event during SUAF, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t make it to this one.

Panel Discussions, sponsored by the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs

1:00pm – 2:00pm – Jeff Chang – Is the author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, an in-depth cultural history of hip hop and its social impact, which uses hip-hop as a window to explore the cultural, social and political history of late 20th Century America. He has also edited a compilation of essays discussing the aesthetic of hip hop titled Total Chaos, and is the political blogger for Vibe magazine. Mr. Chang has contributed to numerous national publications, including Mother Jones and the Washington Post, and is one of America’s most incisive cultural journalists. His writing continues to be the definitive portrait of the most influential youth movement in the world today, and it will be a treat to hear him speak on Saturday.

3:00pm – 4:00pm – Bill Strickland – I talked a bit about Mr. Strickland in my previous post, but not enough can be said about a man that grew a nearly bankrupt community training center into an innovative and successful organization. Strickland has won a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, lectured at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, served on the Board of the National Endowment for the Arts, and received the “Coming Up Taller” Award, presented to him at the White House by former first lady Hillary Clinton. Mr. Strickland’s Manchester Craftman’s Guild Jazz series (the longest running and most successful jazz subscription series in America) produced over 1200 concerts and garnered three Grammys. His creation of unconventional models for education, training, arts and, most importantly, hope is something I can’t wait for him to share with the audience.

5:00pm – 6:00pm – Panel Discussion – Bill and Jeff will be joined by local community leaders as moderator, DaVena Jordan, leads the audience in an intimate discussion of how the arts and creativity play a role in our community as it pertains to education and the building of a sustainable creative economy.

8:30pm – AWOL Benefit Concert, featuring Grammy Nominated and Savannah born artist Anthony David

Anthony David born here in Savannah, recently released his major label debut Acey Deucey on Soulbird Records, a joint venture of Universal Republic Records and multi-Grammy winner India.Arie. With Brittany Bosco, another Savannah artist performing also, this will prove to be an excellent show!

Well, that’s my 0.02 cents, but as you can see, SUAF has a lot to offer: education, entertainment, community interaction… I encourage you all to participate in some of the SUAF events, and experience first hand what the Savannah urban arts are about.

For more information visit The Savannah Urban Arts Festival website.

Philip Joyner

Not only can the man stare down CSS code until it writes itself in sheer terror, but he is famous around 220 E. Hall St for what we like to call his “happy dance”. Few have seen it, and those who have can’t get enough.