A Saturday Cipher

Gathered in a circle, with our backs to each other, a woman walked the circumference of bodies, tagging each of us with a celebrity’s name . Without saying a word, and without knowing our assigned characters, 14 labeled staff and Board members wandered around a board room, reading one another’s back to match up with their pair. On […]

Arts Summit Revives SW Community

There are no pews in this darkened sanctuary. Atop the booming pulpit, a DJ spins a sampled sermon for the head-nodding congregation, colored in sweeping orange and yellow spotlights, the few among them kicking MF Doom lyrics the way a disciplined believer spits scripture. The revival on the second floor is fitting for hiphop’s holy […]

At 30, I’m OK Being Unhip

While teaching in an after-school program one evening, Epiphany walked up and punched me in the face. It happened in the middle of a writing exercise I gave my students. The enthusiasm of some had them writing right away, while others sighed and laid their heads on the desks. One of them rolled her eyes […]

Courttia Newland’s “A Book of Blues”

Fresh off a flight from London, Palermo hits the beach in Lamu. He sets out to enjoy an island he read about in an in-flight magazine while traveling to do a poetry show in Italy. Meeting and falling for the gorgeous Salini, who’s on break from her studies and her overbearing mother, might not have […]

Forum Discusses Hip Hop’s Rites of Passage

n.   pl. rites of passage A ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative of a transition from one stage to another. Much like its predecessors, hip hop has its own rites of passage that varies little among local scenes throughout the country. Gabe Benn (emcee “Asheru”) was 21 when he went through […]