An OMAI and First Wave Tradition
OMAI’s Line Breaks Festival is comprised of performances, lectures, and discussions by First Wave students and invited professional artists engaging with the local campus community. Inaugurated through OMAI’s sponsored Marc Bamuthi Joseph Arts Institute Residency in the spring of 2007, the Line Breaks project culminated in a final performance of student work called “Just Bust!” – an event, which has evolved into our monthly open mic, now running for 12 years. Line Breaks has since evolved into a week long festival that cultivates performance art and brings the top new aesthetics in contemporary performance art to the UW-Madison campus and surrounding community.
About Line Breaks 2018
This year’s annual three-day Line Breaks Festival showcases the creative work of students in UW-Madison’s First Wave program, a multidisciplinary program that has hip-hop at its core and embraces elements of music, dance, theater, literature, and spoken-word performance. The artist scholarss who’ve gone through the program continue to make an impact nationally and in Madison, from 2012 graduate Danez Smith’s well-deserved ascent in the poetry world to a steady ferment of distinctive young musicians.
This year’s Line Breaks moves from the festival’s longtime venue, the Overture Center, to the Play Circle at the Memorial Union. On Friday, comedian Kenneth Dizon will present a solo show, which should offer an intriguing window into how First Wavers bring together strands from disparate modes of expression and performance. The festival’s music showcase, on Saturday night (9 p.m.), is probably the easiest point of entry for people unfamiliar with First Wave and the artists connected to it. It features performances from artists including Obasi Davis (an MC and Oakland native who’s been putting out a steady run of sold music under the name Basi), Hiwot Adilow (a gifted poet/singer/rapper who’s developed a solo set of achingly beautiful R&B songs), singer-songwriter Tehan Ketema, and rapper Chetta Hill.
The festival wraps up on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m.) with a screening of the documentary The Louisville Lip: MC Muhammad Ali, produced by First Wave student Mackenzie Berry and edited by Berry and fellow First Waver Nia Scott. The film looks at how the politically outspoken boxer influenced hip-hop, both in its verbal stylings and in its heavily masculine gender dynamics. It offers something of a corrective to the latter by specifically emphasizing the contributions of female hip-hop artists. Berry interviewed artists including veteran Queens rapper Roxanne Shanté, Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, and Kurtis Blow; and critics and scholars including Jeff Chang and Dr. Shanara Reid-Brinkley. I’ve seen just the trailer but Louisville Lip looks like a deeply researched documentary, and it comes at a moment when people could use a bit more perspective on athletes using their platforms to advance social-justice causes. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Berry, Scott, and Roxanne Shanté.
2018 Schedule of Events
Friday, APRIL 6
Memorial Union, PlayCircle
SOLO SHOW 7:00 p.m.
“When I was a kid” by Kenneth Dizon
Saturday, April 7
Memorial Union, PlayCircle
MUSIC SHOWCASE 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Featuring: Obasi Davis, Hiwot Adilow, Dequadray White, Tehan Ketema, Chetta Hill
First Wave Cypher
Sunday, APRIL 8
Memorial Union, PlayCircle
VIDEO SCREENING 2:30 p.m.
“Louisville Lip: MC Muhammed Ali”, a film by Mackenzie Berry
Followed by a Talkback with Roxanne Shanté
2018 LINE BREAKS FESTIVAL PERFORMERS
Kenneth Dizon is a stand-up comedian. He tells jokes. So you better laugh.
Showcasing the many talents of First Wavers Obasi Davis, Hiwot Adilow, Dequadray White, Tehan Ketema, Chetta Hill and finally, a First Wave cypher!
Mackenzie Berry’s “The Louisville Lip: MC Muhammad Ali” is a documentary film that explores Muhammad Ali’s influence on Hip Hop and how Black women shaped the culture. Early Hip Hop MCs, Hip Hop scholars, and friends and family of Muhammad Ali recount Ali’s public use off rhyme as a promotional tactic for his boxing career, with some claiming Ali as Hip Hops first MC, supported by the release of his 1963 poetry album “ I am the Greatest.” The project explores how Black women shaped Hip Hop as a parallel to how Black women helped shape the life and career of Muhammad Ali.
Past Line Break Festivals
Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2017
Tearing Down the Walls, First Wave Touring Ensemble (2017)
First Wave Poetry Sharing (2017)
First Wave 10th Cohort
Dancing Towards Change, Featured Local Dance Artists
Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble
Love Has No Season, Featured Artist, Rain Wilson
Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble Garrett Pauli
2017 LINE BREAKS FESTIVAL PERFORMERS
Kaleidoscopes/Collide of Scopes
Goddess At Your Feet
The Sun Doesn’t Always Come Out Tomorrow
Where Guilt Exists
Ball and Chain
Romeo and Juliet
- Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2016
Line Breaks - Guest Performers (2005 - 2015)
Jessica Care-Moore (2005): Internationally renowned poet, publisher, activist, rock star, playwright, actress, educator, thespian, filmmaker, performance artist, producer, five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner, and CEO of Moore Black Press.
Kalamu ya Salaam (2005): Poet, author, filmmaker, and teacher.
Marc Bamuthi Joseph (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010): Spoken-word poet, dancer, and playwright who frequently directs stand alone hip-hop theater plays.
Jeff Chang (2007): Author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and Who We Be: The Colonization of America, co-founder of Culturestr/ke magazine and Coloredlines daily news site, and Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
Dr. Rennie Harris (2007, 2008, 2014): Artistic Director, Choreographer and Director.
Sambada (2007): Brazilian band.
Alix Olson (2007): American poet and Spoken Word artist.
Kamilah Forbes (2007, 2009): Assistant Director and Artistic Director.
Danny Hoch (2007): American writer, director, and performance artist.
Dennis Kim (2007, 2008): Hip-Hop and Spoken Word artist from Chicago, and a co-founder of I Was Born With Two Tongues, an Asian American spoken word quartet, and Typical Cats, a Chicago-based hip hop collective. He is a teaching artist at Youth Speaks, Inc.
Mayda Del Valle (2007): Poet, performer, teaching artist.
Lauren Whitehead (2007): Spoken Word artist.
Rafael Casal (2007, 2009, 2011): American writer, performance poet, recording artist, educator, playwright and founding member of The Getback.
Dahlak Brathwaite (2007): musician, actor, poet, and educator
Omar Sosa (2007): composer, bandleader, and jazz pianist.
Roger Bonair-Agard (2007): Poet and Performance artist.
Willie Perdomo (2007): Poet, children’s book author, Artist-in-Residence, Workspace, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is co-founder/publisher of Cypher Books.
Gambian Griot Alhaji Papa Susso (2007): Griot or jeli, master kora player, and director of the Koriya Musa Center for Research in Oral Tradition.
Staceyann Chin (2008): Spoken-word poet, performing artist and LGBT rights political activist.
Rokafella & Kwikstep (2008): Hip-Hop dancers, Artistic directors of Full Circle Productions, a Hip-Hop dance theater company.
Josh Healey (2008): Award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist.
Kevin Coval (2008): Poet, playwright, educator, organizer, Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors.
Patricia Smith (2008): Poet, spoken-word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist.
Wale (2009): American rapper.
Colin Munroe (2009): Canadian singer-songwriter.
First Wave Music Ensemble (2009): Student performers.
Amir Sulaiman (2009): Poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow.
K Swift (2009): American DJ, MC, radio personality and entreprenuer.
Lemon Andersen (2009): American poet, spoken word artist and actor.
Beau Sia (2009): American Slam poet.
Christopher Walker (2009): UW-Madison assistant professor of Dance and First Wave Hip-Hop Theater Ensemble artistic director.
Janelle Monae (2010): Grammy nominated American singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer signed to Bad Boy Records, Wondaland Art Society, and Atlantic Records.
Colman Domingo (2010): Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominated and OBIE, Lucille Lortel, GLAAD Award winning film, stage, and television actor, playwright, and director.
Stew & Heidi (2010): A four-time Tony nominee, Stew leads, along with his collaborator Heidi Rodewald, two critically acclaimed bands: The Negro Problem and Stew. Works: Post Minstrel Syndrome (TNP 1997), Joys and Concerns (TNP 1999), Guest Host (S 2000), The Naked Dutch Painter (S 2002), Welcome Black (TNP 2002), Something Deeper Than These Changes (S 2003) and the cast album of Passing Strange (2008).
Queen GodIs (2012): International Poet, MC, Artistic Director and Performance Art Therapist whose work serves a host of communities seeking transformation through art.
Hapasan (2012): multiracial Japanese American capoeirista and house dancer based in the Bay Area.
Chanel Matsunami Govreau (2012): Performance storyteller, printmaker and costume designer.
Paul Oakley Stovall (2012): Playwright.
Brad Simmons (2012): Musical director.
GIRLilla Tactics (2013): Devan Rode, Macca, Peipei Yuan – Bgirl workshops
Dawn Crandel (2013): Performing Xenophobadelica. Dawn is a dancer, choreographer, theatre artist, poet, grassroots cultural activist and educator.
Michael Sakamoto (2014): Interdisciplinary artist active in dance, theatre, performance, photography, and media.
Jamilia Woods (2015): Poet and vocalist.
Line Breaks - First Wave Performers (2008 - 2015)
First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble (2008): Performing The Wheatley Prompt, Chisel me Man, On Loving and Learning, Puppets, I am Woman, Hear us Roar, Casualties – Casualties, The Sound Of, Yusef, Immigrante, Goodbye.
Alida Cardos-Whaley (2008): Performing Underground Rail Hop Revolution.
First Wave 2nd Cohort Ensemble (2009): Performing Boomboxed.
Ben Young (2009): Performing The Void.
Karl Iglesias (2009): Performing If a Tree Falls.
Gabriel De Los Reyes (2009): Performing Formal Introduction.
First Wave 3rd Cohort Ensemble (2010): Performing The Issue.
Danez Smith (2010): Performing The Problem With Sundays.
Camea Osborn (2010): Performing Langely Street.
Jessica Diaz-Hurtado (2010): Performing El Viejo Detras Del Escritorio or The Old Man Behind the Desk.
2nd Cohort Works (2010): Asia Elliot, Gabriel De Los Reyes & Angela Thompson – Performing Built into the Walls // Rebekah Blocker, Leslie Thomas, Camea Osborn, Dianna Harris & Asia Elliot – Performing Get a Room // Michael Sherer, Ben Young, Krystal Gartley, Rebekah Blocker, Andrew Thomas, & James Gavins – Performing Home is Where
First Wave 4th Cohort Ensemble (2011): Performing Control Alt Delete.
First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble Show (2011): Performing Dog Years: A Wisconsin Experience
Danez Smith (2011): Performing For Those Who Pray in Closets.
Jasmine Mans (2011): Performing Bloody Mary
Asia Elliot (2011): Performing Working Class
Gayle Smaller (2011): Performing In Other News
William Giles (2011): Performing Still Born
Kelsey Van Ert (2011): Performing Birdies
Cydney Edwards (2011): Performing Get a Room
First Wave Music Ensemble (2011): Boomboxed – The Remix.
First Wave 5th Cohort Ensemble (2012): Performing Common Denominator
Shameaca Moore & Myriha Burton (2012): Performing Duo Show – Failing with an A
Ashley Street (2012): Performing The Silent Streets are Burning
Nakila Robinson (2012): Performing Little Big Woman
First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Shock
Dominic Nicholas & Jill Fukumoto (2012): Performing Duo Show – Forget It
First Wave 6th Cohort Ensemble (2013): Performing Welcome Mat at Capacity.
Dakota Alcantara-Camacho (2013): Performing Buried Beneath Bombs and Lattes
Asia Elliot (2013): Performing Working Class
Nakila Robinson (2013): Performing Little Big Woman
Natalie Cook (2013): Performing Some May Think Light isn’t Heavy
Gethsemane Herron-Coward (2013): Performing Witness
First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Kingdom Bequeath
Dominique Ricks (2013): Performing Cross-Walk
Richard Jones Jr. & Rebekah Blocker (2013) Performing duo show PPK: Parenting Preachers’ Kids
Erika Dickerson (2013): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies
Marlon Eric Lima (2013): Performing Don’t Just Stand There
Niko Tumamak (2013): Performing The S**t We Go Through
First Wave 7th Cohort Ensemble (2014): Performing Fire Under the Skin
Erika Dickerson (2014): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies
Elton Ferdinand III (2014): Performing Flounder
The Bellhops (2014): Performing Honey in my Tea
T Banks (2014): Ensemble Performing Loud and Unchained
Nakila Robinson & Ashley Street (2014): Performing Duo Show – The Miseducation of Mil Chet
First Wave 8th Cohort (2015): Performing Staying Hungry.
Hiwot Adilow (2015): mine.
Melana Bass (2015): What does In/Justice Look Like
Jill Fukomoto (2015): Liminal Creatures.
LaLa Bolander (2015): SPILL.
Zhalarina Sanders (2015): Rose Gold.
Natalie Cook (2015): Manikin.
Garrett Pauli (2015): Skeletons of Silence.
Ajanae Dawkins (2015): Atlantic.
John Paul Alejandro (2015): In the Belly of the Iron Beast.
T Banks (2015): Loud and Unchained – Spiritual.
Kelsey Pyro (2015): Break the Cycle.
Joseph Verge (2015): Labels.
FXFW: First by First Wave (2015): Featuring CRASHprez, Lord of the Fly, Broadway, Amy Alida, Sean Avery , with Special Performance of Joseph Verge’s “Labels”
Rich Robbins (2015): Opening for Jamilia Woods