It's the USSF, baby
Along with workshops, organizing and grass roots collaborating, the U.S. Social Forum offers near nonstop cultural haps from Wednesday to Friday. Music, art, film and performance feature on the Forum's schedule, plus a slew of events happening about town, both officially and unofficially USSF-affiliated. Here are just some of the highlights; for a complete schedule visit ussf2010.org/culture.
Another World is Possible Progressive Film Festival
A diverse array of indie films will screen Wednesday through Friday, exploring issues such as poverty, education, environmental justice, workers' rights and militarism. Films include local doc Our School, a chronicle of life in three Detroit public high schools; Promised Land, which explores land reform issues in South Africa; and black./woymn.:conversations; a documentary which focuses on the experiences and views of black lesbians. But no doubt the highlight of the fest is the preview of South of the Border, Oliver Stone's new doc, which rolls at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The film is a bullish examination of the current leftist turn in South American politics and includes interviews with Cuba's Raul Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. All films play at the AFSCME Building, 600 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit.
A fundraiser for the Student/Farmworker Alliance, Hip-Hop Fandango features hip hop with an international flavor from the Brooklyn-based Rebel Diaz Arts Collective and spit-fire lyricist Olmeca. The fandango is supplied by Son Solidario, a group that performs Son Jarocho, a traditional style of music from the Mexican state of Veracruz. The Student/Farmworker Alliance is a national coalition of students that have joined forces with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida-based organization of low-wage farm workers that has led successful campaigns that resulted in a number of fast food chains — most famously, Taco Bell — making changes to improve the wages and working conditions for the workers in the restaurants' food-supply chain. From 8 p.m. to midnight, Thursday, June 24, at Spirit of Hope Church, 1519 Martin Luther King Blvd., Detroit; see sfalliance.org.
The East Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Indigenous Environmental Network have teamed up for a fundraiser to support their Earth-friendly endeavors. EMEAC has been active in Michigan for nearly 50 years, educating the public about environmental issues and working for the passage of environmental laws. IEN is celebrating its 20th anniversary of working toward sustainability and environmental justice for indigenous peoples and communities. Performers include locals such as Blair, jessica Care moore, Cold Men Young and Joe Reilly, as well as renowned Native American performers such as poet, musician, actor, activist John Trudell and singer-songwriter Annie Humphrey. At 9 p.m., Thursday, June 24, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; all ages.
Hart Plaza's amphitheater and Pyramid stage will play host to a variety of performances throughout the three days of the forum — theater, spoken-word and musicians, both local and far-flung, performing everything from hip-hop to folk, but the grand finale is Friday night's Leftist Lounge. Three venues in Eastern Market will feature DJs spinning soul, hip hop, house, Afrobeat and more, along with live performances by local hip-hop activist Invincible, Brooklyn's Readnex Poetry Squad and global hip-hop trio Rebel Diaz. DJs include Chela, Rimarkable, Sake-1, Graffiti, Waajeed, Sicari and more. The party also raises funds for local organizations involved in planning for the Social Forum. From 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, June 25, in Eastern Market at Bert's Marketplace (2727 Russell St., Detroit), the Johanson Charles Gallery (1345 Division St., Detroit) and Shed 3 of the Market; leftistlounge.com for tickets.
Fire By Night
A bevy of Detroit's avant-jazz musicians pay tribute to the abolitionist movement, the spiritual forebears to the activists participating in the Social Forum. As today's rabble-rousers agitate for social justice, it's only fitting to remember the radicals of the past who fought for the liberty of enslaved African-Americans. James Cornish, Brad Duncan, Joel Peterson, Hassan Razzaq, Skeeter Shelton and more honor the likes of John Brown and Harriet Tubman with an evening of jazz and improvised music. From 8 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 26, at 2739 Edwin Gallery, 2738 Edwin St., Hamtramck; admission by donation.
A number of anarchist and anti-authoritarian collectives organized a track of workshops and activities for the USSF under the umbrella title "A New World From Below." They're also hosting a convergence center at the Spirit of Hope Church where like-minded individuals can convene to network, socialize and enjoy art and various performances. It all culminates in this celebratory show that gives attendees the chance to decompress after days of anarchic strategizing. Performers include Blair, Audra Kubat, the Last Internationale, Born in a Cent, David Rovics and Ryan Harvey of the Riot Folk Collective. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 26, at Spirit of Hope Church, 1519 Martin Luther King Blvd., Detroit.