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Baraka to be toasted in the Twin Cities on Saturday

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater, Minnesota authors, Minnesota musicians, People Updated: April 10, 2014 - 6:20 PM

The works, memory and achievements of Amiri Baraka, the influential poet, playwright, essayist and cultural theorist who died Jan. 9 at 79, will be celebrated Saturday in the Twin Cities, a place where he had tremendous influence.

"Dutchman," Baraka's landmark play that was turned into a film, was the first work produced at Mixed Blood when the theater was founded by Jack Reuler in 1976. It was directed by Lou Bellamy, who would go on to found Penumbra Theatre.

Baraka gave frequent readings in the Twin Cities, often travelling with family members.

"Spirit Reach," as the tribute is titled, will be hosted by novelist, professor and educational theorist Alexs Pate, and Arleta Little, arts program officer at the McKnight Foundation.

The slate of performers includes multi-instrumentalist and composer Douglas Ewart, rapper Toki Wright, actor Sha Cage and dancer Leah Nelson.

The free event also will feature performances by such pre-eminent spoken word artists as Bao Phi, Tish Jones,  J. Otis Powell, E.G. Bailey, Truthmaze, Andrea Jenkins and veteran poet Louis Alemayehu.

2-4 p.m. Sat., Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Mpls. 612-822-0015 or online. Admission is free.

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