Ruts Revival



with special guests I SELF DEVINE (Rhymesayers), ANALYRICAL (Background Noise Crew), SKETCH TC, DJ STAGE ONE, 2013 (featuring members of Junkyard Empire) + others

The Tru Ruts crew has been putting in work, both on stage and behind the scenes, for a very long time. A record label, a theater production company, a film studio and a Twin Cities cultural institution, Tru Ruts is dedicated to supporting talented, forward-thinking artists, putting on events that go beyond the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, and nurturing the next generation of young writers and performers. Join us in celebrating some big steps made over this past year: national distribution, slam championships, high-profile performances, critically-acclaimed album releases, successful youth programs and much more. And THANKS for all the support!

May 1st • Fine Line Music Cafe
318 North 1st Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401

8:00pm doors • $5 (21+) • $8 (18+)

Freestyle Theatre presents Experiments in Hip Hop Theatre

WED. APRIL 21st, 2010

Tru Ruts/Free Style Theater is excited to showcase an evening of 10 Minute Hip Hop & Spoken Word theater spotlights.  This effort is a precursor to a larger festival the company is organizing in Fall 2010 under the curation of  E.G. Bailey and Sha Cage. Tru Ruts is known locally, and nationally, as a cross genre producer whose mission is to bring innovative artistic endeavors to fruition that honor and celebrate culture and tradition.  Bailey and Cage move effortless as spoken word performers, actors, directors, community organizers and educators. The two had been in conversation with the national Hip Hop Theater Festival (NY) and the  Walker Art Center about the viability of a festival of this nature and have since moved to nurture Twin Cities based works and artists. Participating artists range from newcomers to heavy hitters including: Hip Hip lead artist of the BLEND, Toussaint Morrison;  Slam Champion, Guante; Writer and Director, Anton Jones; Playwright and Poet, Ed Bok Lee; and selections by Cage and E.G. Bailey featuring Amiri Baraka’s work along with Spoken Word luminary J. Otis Powell!, dancer Aneka McMullen, musicians Kevin Washington, Chris Cox (Junkyard Empire/2013), and Josh Granowski.  The community is invited to witness this provocative (experimental) evening spotlighting selections from each artist followed by a short dialogue about this developing art form.

Tickets can be purchased at The Theater show is at 7:30pm and is followed by the big annual URBAN GRIOTS gathering bringing the spoken word community together in music, dance, and community at 9pm. Tickets for both shows are $15 or $3 for Urban Griots. Music by DJ Steely (Kinda Cloudy). For more information call Bedlam at 612-341-1038.

“This evening will be a great snapshot that allows the larger Twin Cities community to see what an incredibly diverse urban theater community is burgeoning right here under our heels. In recognition of the absence of artistic access for developing actors and directors involved…we hope to help nurture this ‘locally grown’ voice and talent for the next few years and ultimately produce a larger Midwest festival that brings artists together to cross pollinate. There are already so many talented artists on the precipice of the form. We are excited to have Bedlam on board as a Partner.” e.g. bailey & Sha Cage

Tru Ruts presents ‘Theology: Love & Revolution’

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents
J. OTIS POWELL’S ‘Theology: Love & Revolution’  REMASTERED & REISSUED!
Jazz-Inspired Spoken Word Artist’s First CD breathes new breath

“J. Otis Powell! spells his name with an exclamation point and demands truth, sincerity and accountability.” –Pulse of the Twin Cities

“Powell’s delivery is deeper, more measured, adding a gravity and weight to the words simply through his bass intonation alone.” –Justin Schell

“I live and work in an aesthetic informed by jazz principles and I practice true democracy as art and religion in a world resistant to all three.” –J. Otis Powell!

Noted Twin Cities writer and performance artist, J. Otis Powell’s first full album THEOLOGY: LOVE & REVOLUTION was a ground breaking work bringing together three of the Twin Cities finest musicians and five word performers in a cataclysmic word-funk-jazz-playground! The album, which was originally released in 1998, is reissued and re-mastered by Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records and available for download online beginning April 6, 2010. The re-mastered version breathes new life into the album illuminating the already rhythmic possibilities. The reissue attempts to expand this innovative work to a broader audience regionally and nationally.

The form of THEOLOGY defies convention.  The music palette of the album almost evokes an outer-worldly audio response. Appearing like prose, its very genesis and thrust is poetry, and it must be read as such, the rhythms of the words contributing as much to the meaning of the piece as their literal definitions.  Further, the plurality of voices heard in this recording is an integral part of the piece.  While THEOLOGY purports to examine the different dimensions of self, in its larger context it is about community, and how the community of voices around us can inhabit beings, and help us to become ourselves. There is also a deliberate fluidity in its time frame, expressed through an ever-changing verb tense, that imitates the fluidity of the spirit in conversation with itself and the rest of the world: “I am ever-changing, liquid like time.  I am not a destination but a journey.  I am changing seasons, I am the reason I traveled such distance to love.  I am at once my lover/myself, we are one with the theology of time, space, and an ancient dream coming true.” Be advised that this is not your typical spoken word. To be transported simultaneously through the musical and theatrically delicious way that Powell does is a delight!

His interdisciplinary background informed the selection of star talent. Word performers Lynette Rieni-Grandell, Venus De Mars of All The Pretty Horses, Dee Henry Williams, and Earcie Allen provide vocal layering that at times is threaded into a one voice harmony such as the opening track titled “So There I Was, Right?”  Music is provided by musicians including Impulse label artist José James (UK), Rene Ford (TX) and Malina D. Rauschenfels (MN), who do a brilliant job constructing a landscape that is highly adaptable while never losing shape. Visual artist Jennifer Davis’ cover painting accompanied by Del Bey’s design accented the album with minimalist yet sensual imagery.

“…we jumped inside a freedom train to ride its rhythmic sound, we got aboard a love supreme to lay our burdens down.” (Powell!)

The album is a combination of stories, thoughts, dreams, and visceral–sometimes–spiritual statements centered around love. The titles of each of the 7 tracks are perhaps as provocative as the pieces themselves: Cliché, Disbelieving Hearts, Dancing Dead, Consequences, The Woman At The Well, Flow Ago and Tell. When the album was first released over 10 years ago, Powell! moved it into the realm of performance art, producing staged performances of “THEOLOGY: Love & Revolution” at Studio 6A in Hennepin Center for the Arts and at the Knitting Factory in New York.

“In linking the exploration of divine spirituality to the dialogues of love, J. Otis Powell! is furthering a longstanding tradition, heretofore more visible in music than in poetry, which now finds its expression in the music of this poetry. Listen, the voices of everylove can be heard in the study of THEOLOGY.” – Lynette Rieni-Grandell

In addition to the prose poem Theology this recording includes two bonus tracts recorded in Tucson AZ with tHE eDGE eNSEMBLE featuring Steve Roach, Linda Kohanov and J. Otis Powell!

You can listen to the album here.