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E-fest unites the culture

Friday, July 13, 2001

By Sarah Lolley

As part of a growing desire to join neighborhoods and unite the culture, a group of nine inner-city high school students met each week during the school year to plan this weekend's E-Fest, a festival in East Liberty that features local talent and artists. Lone Catalysts will perform tomorrow along with DJs Donnesville, Nat the Fat Barber and Selecta.

Hip-hop is a central part of the E-Fest events, which also include gospel, jazz, rock and poetry readings. All the elements that influenced hip-hop on a larger scale will be represented, one of which is graffiti. A wall has been sanctioned by the city for graffiti artists to paint a mural representing a major part of urban culture: free expression. Mike Walsh from Garfield's Horizon Gallery has invited graffiti writers from New York City, Toronto and Philadelphia to join younger local artists.

Muzz Meyers, former owner of the Balcony nightclub, who doesn't claim to be an authority in the hip-hop community, worked with these aspiring young people to give them skills they may not otherwise have acquired in school.

The exercise led by Meyers taught the teens to build a strategy to reach their goals and in the process do something positive for their community. E-Fest is a step toward unifying the kids with their city and not just within their neighborhoods.

"I feel like a lot of people leave [Pittsburgh] because there is nothing," says Jason Dawson, a 17-year-old from Westinghouse High School. "They start getting famous and they leave."

As part of their presentation asking for E-Fest support from city business owners, the teens said they want to change the negativity in their communities and create a peaceful atmosphere. In closing, they said, "Together we can make a positive impact."

Sarah Lolley is a traveling freelance writer who covers music and culture for international and national publications. She recently received her masters in journalism from NYU.


Noon:~Crescent Step Team, Peabody dance contest winner

1 p.m.: ~Kat (hip-hop from State College)

2 p.m.: ~Fashion Africana, a fashion show

created and produced by The Utopia Project

3 p.m.: ~E-Fest feature poets, Kelley E. Parker, Keen Intellect, Davu, B-Tree

4 p.m.: ~DJ battle Supa C vs. Drake Steels

5 p.m.: ~Sporadic (basement funk)

6 p.m.: ~Break Dancing by Influential Flavor

7 p.m.: ~True Worship and Praise Ensemble (gospel)

8 p.m.: ~Lone Catalysts (hip-hop)


Noon: ~Brad Yoder and Heather Kropf (acoustic)

1 p.m.: ~DJ Gangster Shack (reggae)

2 p.m.: ~Jonathon Walton ( gospel)

3 p.m.: ~Poets, Harmony, B-Tree, Daniel Grey-Kontar, Imani Jamit

4 p.m.: ~Anita Brown (gospel)

5 p.m.: ~Break dancing presented by Influential Flavor

5:45 p.m.: ~Mwambu (world beat)

7 p.m.: ~Real Silk Band (jazz)

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