Poetry & Blues Unite to Battle Child Hunger at Fat Fish Blue & Hines Farm

Listen Up Toledo  |  06/20/2011 7:00 am

Poets have long been agents of change. From the earliest days of the written word, the world's bards have called out for social and political transformation. The tradition continues in Toledo at a duel-locale poetry/art/music event held at Fat Fish Blue and the legendary Hines Farm Blues Club this Saturday, June 25.

Presented by the local group Vocal INKorporated, the events are titled Poets/Artists SPEAK and CROSSROADS, and are designed not just to promote NW Ohio's remarkable literary, arts, and music scenes, but their national connections as well. The over-arching goal of the events, though, is a little more altruistic than than just spreading the gospel of poetry and art. The events mean to draw attention and contributions to the issues of child hunger. Proceeds from the event will benefit the No Kid Hungry cause.

In fact, the two-part, day-long events feature a fund-raising pre-cursor to the evening's more celebratory festivities. First at Fat Fish Blue (6140 Levis Commons Blvd., in the Levis Commons Plaza, Perrysburg), Poets/Artists SPEAK will host more than 20 readers, writers, and speakers, along with an array of visual artists and a few local musicians to boot. Featured artists include event planner and host Mikki Williams, along with Michael Kochinski, Jonie McIntire, Huntor Prey, Melvin Johnson, Suspicious, Joe Kidd, Rachel Richardson, Max Parthas and Tribal Raine (pictured top right), John Burroughs, Tosha Easter, Hakim Crampton, Dianna Borsenik, Christina Brooks and many more. This portion of the event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Starting at 6 p.m., the event will re-convene at the legendary Hines Farm Blues Club (3950 Berkey-Southern Rd., Swanton). Dubbed CROSSROADS ~ Where the Art of Blues and Poetry Meet, this special event will premier for the first time ever live spoken word poetry at Toledo's historic blues juke joint. Since the 1940s, Hines Farm has served as a blues safe house in the north, hosting acts such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Count Basie, Honeyboy Edwards, and countless others. This night though, history will be made as the linguistic stylings of Max Parthas and Tribal Raine - the award-winning duo of Maximum Impact Poetry and the New Word Order - make their regional debut, doubly breaking in the stage at Hines as a platform for poetry.

The evening will move into more traditional Hines territory as Chicago's Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues (pictured right) take the stage. Mentored under the supreme tutelage of Chicago masters such as Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell, and Willie Dixon, Branch - a celebrated blues harp player - formed the Sons of Blues (S.O.B.'s) with a number of musicians who were sons of famous blues players, intent on carrying on the purity of the style's traditions. Hailed as a performer since cutting his teeth in the late '60s, Branch has also been celebrated for his Blues in the Schools program, a Chicago-based endeavor that teaches appreciation for America's greatest musical invention and contribution to youth in the classroom.

All in all, this night's intent is to raise awareness for hungry kids who need a helping hand for a heaping spoon, and it's designed to raise that awareness and those funds by providing an outlet of unrivaled creativity, both of body and mind, that should leave you inspired, and sweaty and satisfied as you exit the dance floor at the end of the night.

These artists are coming together to stand up, speak out, and make a change. All you have to do to contribute is show up. 

You can learn more, or make a direct contribution to the cause at www.nokidhungry.org.