On Thursday, April 19, The Studio hosted a pop-up show at the Chazen featuring spoken word, live music and visual art. The show was titled Youth Culture — an appropriate title, as every performer was a student at University of Wisconsin.
The show was well attended and the intimate atmosphere of the lobby was nearly packed with kids and adults alike, all related by their common interest in youthful art.
The show began with spoken word by three Studio residents: Onam Lansana, Simone Williams and Isha Camara. The audience had to be reminded that spoken word is not like regular poetry, where the audience is expected to stay silent. Rather, they were encouraged to make noise whenever they heard something that resonated with them.
All three poets explored the issue of racial injustice in today’s day and age, with Camara focusing on the position of black women in society, and overcoming systems of oppression that force people of color into shorter, harder lives.
After the spoken word performance, Oakland native Basi performed some groovy hip-hop tracks, which lightened the mood a little and got the audience moving and swaying to the beat. He did not shy away from the issues the poets tackled, however, and continued exploring themes of racial injustice, as well as empowerment, in his music.
When Basi finished his performance, more Studio residents, Tommy Curtis (guitar), Dillon Moore (drums) and Ryan Kieck (keys) took the stage to perform some original music. While the lyricism was not quite as potent as the previous performances, the free-flowing style of the band made it seem like they’d been playing together for years, instead of just the few days they’d been practicing for the show.
The final performance featured Zion Richardson and Lamont Wallace, two members of Dorm Room Studios, the group that blew up earlier this semester with their hit single “That Ass Was Fat.” Zion and Lamont showed they could rap about more than girls and parties, as they were accompanied by the previous band of studio residents, rapping about unity and the role of our generation to make positive change.
Following the performance, the audience had the opportunity to mingle and look at the art on the walls, all of which was created by studio residents. Much of the art explored female body image. Perhaps the most striking piece was a large canvas which was the collaborative masterpiece of at least 20 studio residents, featuring different styles and flavors.
If you missed this amazing show, don’t fret. Just stay on the lookout for more Studio events. They constantly hold showcases in Sellery’s Blackbox Theatre, as well as different events campus-wide. Just head to floor 2B to find out more, meet some residents and spend time with the coolest community on campus.