You've been to a hip-hop theater before -- haven't you? Well, to be honest, neither have we. But this is our (and perhaps your) week. The D.C. Hip-Hop Theater Festival will be in town through Saturday.
The annual free festival showcases plays, poetry, dance and music. Take a different look into the world of music -- not the shoot-it-up, girls-shaking-their-booties commercial rap on TV. Instead, audience members get the chance to see rap mixed with Shakespeare (we all know Shakespeare had lyrics), a tribute to J. Dilla (he's real hip-hop -- just ask Jay-Z), breakdance battles, and even how hip-hop is doing positive things for kids in D.C.
The festival kicked off last night at the Library Saloon (3514 12th St. N.E.) with a live art show and performance. Artists and DJs collaborated to create 7'x5' paintings on stage, using the audience's vibe and an African aesthetic. Marvin's (2007 14th St. N.W.) hosted an opening night part with resident DJs Jahsonic and Stylus of The Soul Controllers and special guests from the U.K. collective Uprock Recordings.
Today, July 7, head to Ballou Senior High School (3401 4th St. S.E.) for an eye-opening lunch hour of Parallels Between Graffiti and Fine Art, a youth panel that will discuss how and why graffiti art has made its way into museums, and what that means for the future of what was once considered radical and rebellious.
At 6 p.m., Voices Remix: A People's History of the United States (a project by Howard Zinn, author of the pivotal book by the same name) hits the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. N.W.). Hip-hop artists and activists will honor progressives throughout history. Admission is free; guests will admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. HowardZinn.org reports that they expect a line to form very early. Doors will open at 5:30.
A post-show reception will be held at Eye Bar (1716 I St. N.W.) at 9 p.m.
Check out the complete list of festival events here.