Tuesday, October 4, 2022

2nd Annual LA Get Down Festival is Back in Town!

Shihan Van Clief, Festival Artistic Director. Photo by Neil Raja

LOS ANGELES, CA  – Greenway Arts Alliance (Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz, CoFounders and Co-Artistic Directors), in association with Da Poetry Lounge, presents the 2ND ANNUAL LA GET DOWN FESTIVAL, celebrating hip-hop and spoken word.

The festival takes place from April 7 – 28, 2018. Events will be held at the Greenway Court Theatre (544 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles) and Melrose Trading Post (7850 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles). Da Poetry Lounge Co-Founder Shihan Van Clief serves as Festival Artistic Director.

The 2ND ANNUAL LA GET DOWN FESTIVAL will play host to the 10th Anniversary of inkSlam: L.A.’s
Premiere Poetry Festival with awards sponsored by Greenway Arts Alliance in celebration of Greenway’s
20th Anniversary and National Poetry Month. Other festival highlights include: Dahlak Brathwaite’s
critically-acclaimed one-man performance Spiritrials; Atlanta based Poetry vs. Hip-Hop; invitational team
and indie slams from all over the country from youths to adults; showcases; workshops; and other

“We are excited to provide a platform to the incredible talent and diverse voices of Los Angeles and
beyond. In light of recent events in our country, it’s a perfect time for expression and coming together through spoken word events like ours,” said Whitney Weston, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of
Greenway Arts Alliance.

“If you want to get past the 24 hour news cycle and really connect with what is happening in your Los
Angeles community, Shihan is your guide,” stated Pierson Blaetz, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of
Greenway Arts Alliance. He added, “The talent that he is gathering for our annual LA Get Down Festival
is extraordinary.”

“This year the LA Get Down Festival has upped the ante in regards to programming. Poets from around
the world will take the stage and facilitate workshops breaking down preconceptions of what poetry is
and what it could be,” said Shihan Van Clief, Festival Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Da Poetry
Lounge. “From Dahlak Brathwaite’s Spiritrials to Poetry vs. Hip Hop, we’re looking toward to giving
people a real opportunity to experience the full range of emotions expressed through poetry. I can’t
wait for the festival to get started.



Saturday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. (NOTE NEW TIME)
Spiritrials starring Dahlak Brathwaite (Photo below)
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

In Spiritrials, addiction, religion, and the law intersect in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program. A
timely exploration of the American criminal justice system, this multi-dimensional play blurs the line
between hip-hop and dramatic performance. Dahlak Brathwaite (writer/performer) weaves through the
autobiographical and the fictional, music and monologue, to examine his place in what appears to be a
cultural rite of passage for a young Black male.The Portland Mercury said, “It’s a powerful and
persuasive account of racism and injustice the War of Drugs has wrought…humorous and poignant.”
And, the Sacramento News & Review praised Brathwaite, “His presence is breathtaking,
chilling…dynamic and heartfelt.”

Thursday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m. (NOTE NEW TIME)
Poems are Gay!
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

Hosted by Edwin Bodney, the evening features luminary poets from the LGBTQ community including Fei
Hernandez, jayy dodd and Aleah Bradshaw with special musical guest Jade Hendrix.

Friday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m.
Say Word Finals hosted by Kat Magill
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

Competition is a great catalyst to building character, which is where the Say Word Youth Slam Team
steps in. Each young poet will write, edit and perform original works, adhering to pre-set guidelines and judged on a point system at each Slam event. The top-scoring poets advance toe semi-final and final
competition rounds where the top five poets earn a spot on the Say Word Youth Slam Team.

Saturday, April 14 at 9:00 p.m.
Chingona Fire
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

Chingona Fire, a Latina Feminist poetry collective from Los Angeles, was founded by the poets Angela
Aguirre and Yesika Salgado in February 2016. Their goal is to create safe space and visibility for women
of color. Aguirre says,”Patriarchy will have you believe that, and internalize that, so we are trying to
change that narrative to one that celebrates with other women instead of competes with them.” She
added, “We need to stop feeling pain and jealously from someone’s success and instead see it as them
breaking a barrier that’s helping you get closer and closer to that door.”

Sunday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m.
Emerge and See: Youth Poetry Showcase hosted by Matthew Cuban Hernandez
Location: Melrose Trading Post Main Stage

Emerging youth poets from Fairfax High School and other schools throughout LAUSD perform their
original works.

Arianna Basco a.k.a. “Lady Basco, HEARTSTORMS

Thursday, April 19 at 9:00 p.m.
Atlanta Based Poetry vs. Hip-Hop featuring Queen Sheeba and DJ Knodat
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

Is Poetry and Hip-Hop really one in the same? Have emcees forgotten their roots? Is poetry a lost art to
today’s musicians?

Friday, April 20 at 9:00 p.m.
Heartstorms written by and starring Arianna Basco aka Lady Basco (Photo above)
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

A play. A show. A mic. Heartstorms tells the story of the people who come; the lives in their art; and the
lady that holds down the mic.

Saturday, April 21 at 9:00 p.m. (NOTE NEW TIME)
inkSlam Indie Championship hosted by Shihan Van Clief
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

The 10th Annual inkSlam Indie Championship features twelve of the nation’s most recognized poets
competing for $1,500 in prizes sponsored by Greenway Arts Alliance. InkSlam is produced in association
with Da Poetry Lounge.

Friday, April 27 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 28 at 8:00 p.m.
What It Iz
Location: Greenway Court Theatre

Adapted by ten incarcerated artists in a creative writing workshop, facilitated by acclaimed poet and
performer Bryonn Bain, at the oldest women’s prison in the State of California, the California Institute
for Women (CIW), What It Iz is a prison abolitionist, hip-hop theater, and spoken word remix of The Wiz.
The spring performances at Greenway Court Theatre benefit programs serving incarcerated youth at BJN
Juvenile Hall, where workshops based on the production, engaging human rights and transformative
justice, have inspired an oral history project and college course using theater to develop legislative

NOTE: The above performances are subject to change.

Multi-faceted hip-hop artist, Dahlak Brathwaite, performs SPIRITRIALS

Writing and performance workshops are facilitated by Alyesha Wise, Matthew ‘Cuban’ Hernandez and
Taalam Acey; and publishing and touring workshops facilitated by Daniel Lisi.
Visit www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org/LAGetDown for a full listing and schedule of the LA GET DOWN
FESITVAL workshops. All workshops are subject to change.

The 2ND ANNUAL LA GET DOWN FESTIVAL is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s
WeHo Arts program. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts or follow via social
media @WeHoArts. Additional support is provided by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs;
and by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Greenway Arts Alliance, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary year, kicked off their milestone last
October at the Melrose Trading Post with a community event and accolades from Los Angeles’ Mayor
Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz, Los
Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, West Hollywood’s Mayor John Heilman and LAUSD Superintendent
Michelle King. For two decades, the nonprofit GAA has been uniting communities through art, education
and social enterprise. Greenway, a community leader and role model in social enterprise, runs the
Greenway Court Theatre (a professional 99-seat theater), the Greenway Institute for the Arts (an arts
education program at Fairfax High School, Title 1 high school in Los Angeles) and the Melrose Trading
Post (a weekly open-air arts based marketplace).

The 2ND ANNUAL LA GET DOWN FESTIVAL will take place from April 7 – 28, 2018. Tickets and passes to
the festival are available online at GreenwayCourtTheatre.org or by phone 323-673-0544. For a full
schedule visit GreenwayCourtTheatre.org/LAGetDown. Single ticket prices range from $10 – $30. Full
festival passes are also available for $75. Patrons 25 or younger can select five events for $25.

Venues for the 2ND ANNUAL LA GET DOWN FESTIVAL include:
Greenway Court Theatre
544 N. Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Melrose Trading Post

On the Campus of Fairfax High School
7850 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Main Stage




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