Line Breaks fest announces 10th anniversary lineup

The multidisciplinary hip-hop showcase is back March 11 through 13.

The multidisciplinary hip-hop showcase is back March 11 through 13.


Writer Dasha Kelly will be a featured guest artist at this year's Line Breaks. Photo by Catina Cole.

Writer Dasha Kelly will be a featured guest artist at this year’s Line Breaks. Photo by Catina Cole.

The lineup is out now for the 10th annual Line Breaks Festival, in which students and guests of UW-Madison’s First Wave Program perform works that explore varied configurations of hip hop, poetry, spoken word, dance, and theater. While this year’s schedule seems far more compact than in years past, running from just March 11 to March 13, it will still span a variety of music performances, theater pieces, readings, and workshops, all of which will take place at the Overture Center and the Madison Public Library’s central branch. (Compare this to 2010, which featured several cast members from Passing Strange and a then-about-to-blow-up Janelle Monae, and you have a stark indicator of how budget cuts have impacted campus arts programming.)

The best reason to check out Line Breaks events is usually to get a window into what First Wave students are doing, especially the folks who haven’t broken out locally as go-to openers for touring hip-hop shows and so forth. This year, First Wave’s 9th cohort (or class) will hold two performances of a new piece called “Unhe[a]rd: Radical Forms Of Protest,” and First Wave senior Eli Lynch will do two shows of a new solo piece called “Explosions,” which the program says uses music and poetry as its chief elements.

On the more straight-up music front, opening night on March 11 will include a First Wave music showcase whose lineup is still TBA, and the festival will feature shows from two bands who’ve grown out of the First Wave program: The Dowry, which approaches religious music from a feminist perspective, and Me eN You, a hip-hop/R&B band wonderfully overstuffed with First Wave talents like Lord Of The Fly and Hiwot Adilow.

Line Breaks also usually features guests artists, and this year will include a performance and writing workshop with Milwaukee’s Dasha Kelly, best known for her 2015 novel Almost Crimson.

Here’s Me eN You’s recent performance on Wisconsin Public Television’s 30 Minute Music Hour show.

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