Free Speech for Me

The toughest task facing a local concert promoter is getting kids off their couches and into the club (well, that and getting bands to show up on time). And though it’s easy to blame audience apathy for poor attendance, why bother? Maybe the answer is to offer them more – say, a stake in the night’s festivities? Well, the promoters behind Freeform, Etc. seem to think so. They’ve sidestepped the whole audience/entertainer issue by allowing everyone a voice – or pen, if you will.

Targeted at a high school and college-aged audience, the event is like an open mic night but on a larger, less structured scale. Because free expression isn’t limited to a single art field, Freeform, Etc. is a pastiche of music, dance, theater, poetry -- anything the young performers need to express themselves. When audience members aren’t watching one of the many vocalists, poets, or what-have-you, they can be found hanging out in the “chill room,” where paper-covered tables await their written messages.

Performing are vocalist Phyllisia Ross, poet/visual artist Jolanda Blanchard, musical thespian Jesse Hoffman, poet Shaydrian Jackson, bellydancer Raquel Mitchell, poet/dancer/vocalist Taneisha Sweetenburg, the A.L.I.C.E. improv troupe, rapper Sir Jarvis Arnette (a.k.a., Sir J), and the Kim Basinger Band (yes, it's ska and no, the band’s namesake is not a member). Freeform, Etc. takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’ Cohen Pavilion (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach). Tickets cost $8. Call 561-32-7469, or visit www.kravis.org.
Fri., Feb. 24

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Jason Budjinski