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Female talent warms up a chilly Saturday at Ladies First
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Female talent warms up a chilly Saturday at Ladies First

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Ladies First
December 5
Hidmo's Eritrean
Restaurant


The temperatures might have been frightening indeed, but inside Hidmo's Eritrean Restaurant (located at 20th and S. Jackson), Ladies First kept the audience warm and toasty with some tasty spoken word and sizzling beats by featured performers Genevieve Arunga and Sister Hailstorm, as well as DJ Ms. Brandy on the turntables.

Before the featured artists set the groove going into orbit, a spicy open mic lit the fuse. Local spoken word artist and B Girl Rogue Pinay read a very moving poem about the recent massacre of women and children on the Phillipine island of Mindinao. And even though many in the audience seemed not to know of this tragic event, the conviction of Rogue Pinay's words still managed to keep everyone present riveted to the stage, where Pinay also explained that this island was her home before Seattle. After her stirring performance, two other local spoken word artists kept things humming along, with a short music break before the featured artists.

Then it was time to welcome a newcomer to this seasoned poet's eyes. Genevieve Arunga spat out her words like electric bullets, covering everything from a young Kenyan girl's deflowering to love lost and a tribute to Mother Earth.

Often standing on tiptoe, Arunga kept everyone's eyes on her as she wove her poem/stories with a freshness reminiscent of a young Nikki Giovanni or Ntozake Shange (from her Spell #7 days).

Dressed in a sleeveless red top and red shoes, this young afroed artist gifted all with her poignant remembrances and definitely made herself one to watch in the new year. Don't miss her if you have a chance to witness the magic that is Genevieve Arunga. And even more, don't miss Sister Hailstorm, who spat gritty urban hip-hop backed by some of the best beat artists on her iPod.

Sister Hailstorm - rocking, growling at times, and in all ways keeping the room in her spell - got some of the braver of us on our feet to dance to her infinitely catchy and pithy beats. It was like being in the thrall of a shaman who uses hip-hop as her mojo to cleanse, lift and liberate the souls of her audience.

Around the room were T-shirts from The Clothesline Project, a work from a local collective of activists trying to raise consciousness about a number of issues, including GLBT issues and the war in Afghanistan. Their closing ceremony for this project takes place at Garfield High School on December 12 in the late afternoon. Check out Sister Hailstorm on Myspace at PMDUBBZ@myspace.com. Also, join everyone for this year's Cupcake Party at Hidmo's on December 19 at 7 p.m., and keep in mind, if you're giving to charity this year, CARA could use your dollars to keep doing the good work they do - www.cara-seattle.org.

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