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UCRiverside Center for Ideas and Society Hosts Southern California Hip Hop Theater Festival

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Riverside

Free, Public Event Will Include Several Performances


The Cali Hip Hop Theater Festival will draw the brightest lights of the newly emerging genre to the University of California, Riverside from 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.


The free festival, to be held in Watkins 1000 and Room 1500 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building on the UCR campus, will include a “poetry slam” as well as several solo performances featuring the rich language, style and sound unique to the hip hop culture. Space is limited.
The event is sponsored by the UC Riverside Center for Ideas and Society and funded by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation on “Intellectual Diversity and Excellence.” The Center fosters collaborative and interdisciplinary research, performances and conferences in areas that advance the understanding of human experience.
“Just as Jazz was a new art form in the 19th and 20th centuries, hip hop represents an artistic explosion of the late 20th and early 21st centuries,” said Emory Elliott, director of the Center. “Its artists draw upon diverse culture heritages: African, Euro-American, Caribbean, and Asian and they borrow from Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Black orator, and evangelical preaching, traditions of social and political protest. It is an original American art form, but its sources and influences are global.”
Danny Hoch, Aya de Leon, Will Power and Jonzi D are scheduled to perform original hip-hop theater pieces, said Rickerby Hinds, an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who is a visiting assistant professor of theatre at UC Riverside. “This is a different kind of theater, one created by and for the hop hop generation,” said Hinds, the organizer of the event. “This generation grew up on MTV, Nintendo, the Internet, live wars televised on CNN, AIDS, and instant communication,” he said. ”Their way of looking at the world has been changed.”
The festival, Hinds said, speaks to issues at the heart of this new art form, including identifying the hip hop theater aesthetic; determining what is new and what is duplication; negotiating the conflict between hip hop’s focus on clothes, shoes and jewelry and the idea of accessibility to all people; and understanding the global implications of hip hop.
Maps and directions to UCR can be found on the university's web site at ideasandsociety.ucr.edu/hiphop. Visitor parking costs between $4 and $6 per vehicle.
The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 16,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at www.ucr.edu or by calling 909-787-5185. For a listing of faculty experts on a variety of topics, please visit mmr.ucr.edu/experts.
Rickerby Hinds was born in Central America and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He received his BA from the University of California, Riverside, and his MFA in playwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television in 1996. His plays include: Daze to Come, Blackballin’, Birthmark, One Size Fits All, Straight From Tha Underground, Film Noir, and Keep Hedz Ringin’. His work has been developed by The Mark Taper Forum, ASK Theater Projects, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New York’s PS 122, London’s Royal Court Theater, The GeVa Theater, and Cornerstone Theater. He is devoted to defining and chronicling the hip hop theater movement and has taught and lectured on the topic at the University of Cincinnati (where he also served as Visiting Assistant Professor), University of Houston, Wilberforce University, Howard University, Stanford University, University of Massachussetts, Amherst College, and the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He is currently also a lecturer at the University of California Riverside and the University of Redlands, and is working on a book on hip hop theater. Keep Hedz Ringin’, his adaptation of Richard Wagner’s Ring of The Niebelung, is his latest project.

DANNY HOCH (www.dannyhoch.com) is an actor, writer and solo performer. His three solo shows Pot Melting, Some People, and Jails, Hospitals, Hip-Hop have toured over 50 cities to sold out houses, and have won awards including 2 OBIES, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, NEA Fellowship, Sundance Writers Fellowship, 1998 CalArts/Alpert Award In Theatre, 1999 Tennessee Williams Fellowship. Most recently, Mr. Hoch is the recipient of a 2000-2001 fellowship from the New School's Vera List Center for Art & Politics. Mr. Hoch produced the first New York City Hip-Hop Theater Festival this past June at Performance Space 122, bringing together a variety of Hip-Hop generation plays and performances together from all over the country, and asserting Hip-Hop's importance in the arts. He has written and acted for television and film. His book Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop and Some People is on its second printing by Villard Books/Random House.

AYA DE LEON is an African-American/Puerto Rican writer, performer, and teacher who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.Her style ranges from saucy, biting political irony to the lyrical faith of her prayer poetry.This year, she has been an artist-in-residence at Stanford University, teaching spoken word and performance. In 2000 she was a member of the Western regional championship San Francisco Poetry Slam Team and a 1999 winner of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Poetry Slam. She was recently selected by the California Arts Council for an Artist Fellowship in spoken word. Her one-woman show, "Thieves in the Temple: The Reclaiming of Hip Hop," which was recently featured at the Hip Hop Theater Festival in NYC. She is currently touring with the Hip Hop Theater All Stars, and working on various projects.

WILL POWER (www.willpower.tv) is an actor, rapper, playwright, and spoken word artist who has performed or lectured in 25 states and over 55 cities. Power‚s solo show, the Gathering:a hip hop theater journey to the meeting places of Black men, is considered by many to be one of the first hip hop theatre pieces ever created.Power played the lead male of the film, Drylongso, which was a hit at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, and was shown extensively on the Independent Film Channel and BET. His work has been featured in publications such as VIBE, The Source, American Theatre, and on numerous television stations including Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC.Will Power‚s lyrics and music have also been heard on MTV and sitcoms such as Moesha.
JONZI D (www.jonzi-D.com), a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School in 1992, is active in the British hip hop culture. He is featured in the „One Hell of a Storm‰ poetry album and „The Rebirth of the Cool‰ compilation CD. He has performed in Europe, Southern Africa and America. TV credits include The South Bank Show‚s „Looking for the Perfect Beat‰ and „Different Voices.‰

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