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Kuumba Lynx Founders Hosting 5-Day Hip-Hop Theater Festival

 A performance of
A performance of "After Midnight," a vivid exploration of the artistic black mind, is set for 9 p.m. June 16 at the "Sound Da Alarm" hip-hop theater festival in Clarendon Park.
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Courtesy of Kuumba Lynx

UPTOWN — After 20 years of mentoring students, the founders of Kuumba Lynx are bringing their alumni and mentees together for a five-day festival at Clarendon Park.

From June 15-19, "Sound Da Alarm," a hip-hop theater festival, will bring together emerging and established artists "alongside both new and seasoned audiences" at the park at 4501 N. Clarendon Ave.

"We've always been doing [hip-hop theater] work ... and as we've grown we've gotten a lot of alumni performing in the genre. So right now, we felt like it was time for us to give them a stage," said Jacinda Bullie, co-founder of Kuumba Lynx, a hip-hop and cultural organization that directly engages 1,500 students between the ages of 8 and 25 in art programs.

"Hip-hop theater doesn't always get into a general theater [setting] so it was important for us to create a space to present it in our terms, but open it up to all audiences," she said.

The inaugural festival includes 15 performances from 40 performers including vocalists, poets, fashion designers and dancers.

"It's not just hip-hop out of context. All their works really contextualized their identities and experience. It's a critique of race, class and gender, and it's an unpacking of that," Bullie said.

There is a suggested donation of $10 to attend the festival.

The schedule:

• June 15: Kuumba Lynx alumni concert featuring eKletc at 7 p.m. Performers include: Sanda Muse, Che Guevara, John Allen, Solar 5, Jahleigh, Tee Spirit, FM Supreme, Brian and loMas.

[Jahleigh of eKletc. Photo courtesy of Kuumba Lynx]

Che Guevara of eKletc. [Photo courtesy of Jon Florez]

• June 16: At 10 a.m., the festival will explore excerpts from Kiana Itson's original work "Based on a True Story" and "CORE,: which was created by Lala Bolander and Chris MD Thomas. "CORE" is "a collaborative work that uses interdisciplinary expression to tell the magical creation stories of music and footwork," the release said.

At 9 p.m., D. Rashad, Tee Spirit, Sauda Muse and Darrel Brown will perform "After Midnight" a vivid exploration of the artistic black mind through their eyes.

• June 17: At 10:30 a.m., Zhalarina Sanders will present "Rose Gold," which recounts "the tragedy of black motherhood and the glory of its daughters" through monologue, poetry and rap.

At 7 p.m., the festival will host an encore performance of "After Midnight."

At 9 p.m., the festival will host an encore performance of "CORE."

Poster for Rose Gold created by Zhalarina Sanders. [Photo Courtesy of Kuumba Lynx]

• June 18: At 1 p.m., Natalie Cook will present "Manikin," an interdisciplinary production exploring gender relations between black men and women living in America.

At 5 p.m. the festival will host an encore performance of "Rose Gold."

At 9 p.m., it will host an encore performance of "Manikin."

• June 19: At 1 p.m., Emon Lauren will present "Commando," an exploration of terms regarding what it means to be bare or naked.

At 4 p.m., the festival will put on productions of "#THATGIRL" and "Based on a True Story." "#THATGIRL is a high energy, colorful and comical look into the humble beginnings of entertainer Blair Christian.

At 6 p.m., Jesse Mendez of Volcalo Radio will host a panel called "Critical Colloquium," featuring panelists from Victory Gardens Theater, Free Street Theatre, Northwestern University Department of Performance Studies, Columbia College and participants from the hip-hop theater festival.

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