Friday, November 28, 2008

TRU FRIDAY free downloads from artists on my label, including me

In appreciation for your support this year, we are giving thanks with 4 days of free download from Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records. Check out some of the best tracks from the label featuring Truthmaze, Sha Cage, El Guante, e.g. bailey, See More Perspective and Quilombolas. True music for the people. Spread the Word.
Go to:
If the download does not work, email

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest Post: 8 Things You Can Do to Support LGBTQ Rights

From the tremendous Jessica Rosenberg:

Angry About Prop 8?
Take Action: Eight Things You Can Do to Support LGBTQ Rights

1. Contact your mayor, governor, school bard, congressperson, senator, your post master general, and tell them you're mad about 8 and ask them what they're doing to support their LGBTQ constituents. Can you imagine, Monday morning, if we all called?

Got Money? Give it. To PFund, which gives scholarships to LGBTQ students, for instance, or to any of the excellent organizations working everyday for LGBTQ equality. Use it to support Queer business (not just the bars) and Queer artists (The LGBTQ reading series at Intermedia Arts, Outward Spiral Theater, One Voice Mixed Chorus, so many more).

Got time? Even better. Use some, one hour a month if you have it (and I know you do) to volunteer at District 202, Outfront Minnesota, the Rainbow Health Initiative, Pride Alive… so many to choose from!

Call your local high school, and see if they have a Gay Straight Alliance and what you could do to help. Think creatively. Queer Career Night, anyone?

Write a letter to the editor telling them why you went to the Prop 8 protest. Post a blog about it on Facebook, bulletin on MySpace, or start your own blog. Be the media! Age-old activist riddle: If a rally happens in a city, and no media covers it, did it really happen?

Call your family members, tell them where you were today and why, and engage them in serious discussion about this issue. Get people of every age on board.

Organize a discussion lunch at work, at church, at the bar with your friends. Yes, this can be a terrifying topic to talk about. No, nothing will ever change if we don't reach out to people who don't already agree with us, really listen to them, and talk to them with love (even if it is love that they do not return). Come out for equality.

Build an alliance. If you are part of any group (a well funded nonprofit or a knitting collective or a baby clothes store) that either works for or believes in full rights for LGBTQ people, find another group that also believes in that, see where your goals, strengths and strategies align, and where they differ. Figure out where you overlap, what you can do to help each other, and to, together, further LGBTQ rights. Yeah, this is a hard one. But damn, the imaginable rewards are endless, almost unimaginable.

{It is possible for straight people to do all of these things. It is even better when straight folks do these things! They're not expecting it from you!} --Jessica

Monday, November 17, 2008

what's the doings?

Been a busy month. A few updates:

1. Recap: in October, we played the Junkyard Empire CD Release show with Eyedea & Face Candy, members of the Abstract Pack (!) and of course Junkyard. The next week we played a wild a capella hip hop set in the basement of the Loft for 3 Minute Egg, and then I went out to Dubuque to win the first ever Dubuque Writers' Guild Poetry Slam (I beat Alvin Lau, which was definitely a surprise). Then played Reloaded Wednesdays w/ Toki Wright. Then played the Bedlam Theatre for an ACORN show (did you hear? they're the biggest threat to American democracy in the world! haha). Then played a Catholic prep school (reminded me of Hogwarts). Then had our big Halloween release party/radio interview-- had a packed house, sold lots of CDs, good times. I dressed as Tetsuo from Akira, and Seemore was Gomez Adams... and a zombie.

In November, I hosted the Soapboxing Poetry Slam, then went off to UW Stevens Point with Seemore. The headliner never showed up, so we ended up playing a two-hour set. Songs, spoken-word, a capella/beatboxing stuff; we even brought up a guitar and played an impromptu acoustic set. Then it was off to Madison for the Homegrown Hip Hop Fest where we opened up for Kid Sister. Again, half our set was played in the pit with the audience, and we had a lot of fun. The next day I led a writing workshop and hosted the UW-Madison collegiate poetry slam finals with Queen God-is from Brooklyn. That was one of the best slams I've seen in a long time-- Madison is really becoming a powerhouse on the national slam scene, at least at the college level. Very inspiring. Here's me, there:

2. Been writing more for Culture Bully. Reviewed Q-Tip, John Legend, the Mighty Underdogs, Jedi Mind Tricks (coming soon) and more stuff I'm forgetting. Lots of great content there.

3. The new album, RETURN TO EL GUANTE'S HAUNTED STUDIO APARTMENT, has gotten a fantastic response. I actually listen to it all the time. It's got remixes of songs from my last album, plus some new exclusive tracks. You can hear the "Bring Out Your Dead" Remix at my MySpace, and a new track at Seemore's. The artwork might be my favorite part:

4. Working on two primary projects right now-- a Blackstar-style duo album with Seemore, and a super-secret concept album with Big Cats. It's, if I may say so, on some other shit. More updates soon.

5. I'm also teaching the poetry class at the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, and have been at Perpich, Marcy, St. Jon's, and other schools doing workshops and stuff. Hopefully there'll still be funding for stuff like this in the next year. Otherwise I'll have to get a real job.

6. More great shows coming up in December, both here in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. See you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free Music Samples

If you'd like to hear what I do without actually paying for it, here are a few options:

Check out the songs posted at my MySpace page.

Here's the "Harry Potter" Remix for free. Guante & Big Cats! featuring Chantz. We also have a track called "Greed" on the free Midwest Broadcast mixtape.

Listen to and buy the Guante & Big Cats EP "Start a Fire" at the Guante & Big Cats bandcamp page.

Listen to and buy RETURN TO EL GUANTE'S HAUNTED STUDIO APARTMENT at the Guante & See More Perspective BandCamp page.

Download my mixtape, "Conscious Is Not Enough." Click here for a DIRECT download. It's got about twenty tracks of hip hop, spoken word, jacked beats, original music and more.

Check me out on YouTube. If you just search "Guante" or "El Guante," a bunch of random stuff-- poems, live performances, more-- will pop up.

If you would like to buy my old CD, go to my BandCamp page. Alternatively, you can search for me on ITunes or go to CD Baby.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Guest Post: On the Importance of Volunteering

Where Will You Be the Week After?
by Jessica Rosenberg, Hands On Twin Cities

This has been an historic election, no question. One part that gets me jazzed is how many people showed up, got organized, and worked for the public good. People volunteered.

As an AmeriCorps member at Hands On Twin Cities, a volunteer resource center, we’re in the business of getting people to volunteer. The most common reason people offer for not volunteering is that they are, say it with me now, Too Busy. I have my suspicions about what everyone is Too Busy with, and this election has proved my point. If people truly care about a cause, and see a clear path towards making a difference, they will make time to volunteer. Despite the passion that both Obama and McCain inspired, I don’t think either man by himself was the cause people rallied around. We can all easily identify what we were volunteering for: I care about education, I care about the economy, I care about the environment, I care about the war.

Now there is a lot of discussion on how to not lose that energy. Some talk as if the world is a blank slate of activism, and there are now all of these energized people wandering around with nowhere to go. This is not the case! The world, and the Twin Cities in particular, is brimming with incredible organizations working tirelessly for causes of justice, that engage volunteers in meaningful work. Whatever cause speaks to you, and however much time you have, there is something meaningful you can be doing.

As a young progressive person in this city of young progressive people, I also see a lot of energy around activism and organizing. Let’s be honest, you can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a vegan biker activist poet (I wouldn’t recommend it, either, they don’t enjoy that. Trust me.). I think our energy and creativity will always make young people integral parts of this work. But sometimes our desire for new and exciting activism keeps us from seeing the simpler, older, less-sexy-than-being-arrested-at-an-RNC-protest way of making change: good old fashioned volunteering, just like your momma does.

In addition to marching, blogging and lobbying, volunteering should be an integral part of the activist playbook, and I’ll tell you why:

Volunteering works. You care about an issue? There are organizations out there working on that issue, and they know how to use volunteers. Concerned about literacy? Minnesota Literacy Council could use you to teach kids how to read. Worried about homelessness? Bridging, Inc. has been helping low-income families transition into their own housing for over twenty years. These people know what they’re doing, and they could use your help doing it. Want to solve problems? Volunteer.

Volunteering connects you to community. All sorts of people care about the same issues you do, and volunteering will connect you to old folks, young folks, people who live far from you, work in different fields, maybe even vote differently, but still care about the same issue. Meanwhile, you get to connect with the community you’re serving. Volunteering breaks down the barriers of space, race, class, age, profession and all the other things that divide us. Which brings me to:

Volunteering teaches you tons. Think you have an innovative idea to fix a problem? Nothing will battle test your idea and strengthen your credibility better than volunteering. And as much as you know about a cause or issue, you will know more and understand it better if you volunteer. Already work in service? Volunteer for a different cause, see the connections and learn other innovative ways to get things done.

In addition to these fine activist reasons for volunteering, don’t forget that volunteering is good for your health, great for your resume, and a stellar way to meet people. Seriously, studies have shown that volunteers have lower stress levels, stronger immune systems, and actually live longer.

I don’t believe that people don’t care, I don’t believe that most of us are truly Too Busy, and I know many of us are currently filled with energy. What I see keeping people from volunteering is that we don’t always know how to make volunteering a sustainable part of our lives, and not just on MLK Day. Volunteering should be something woven into our lives: I went to work, I went to the gym, I volunteered, I went grocery shopping. The good news is, many people in the Twin Cities already do this. Minneapolis-St. Paul is ranked 1st among large U.S. cities in volunteer rates. The sad news here is that we only need a volunteer rate of 39.3%1 to achieve our first place standing. We can do better.

If another impediment to volunteering is not knowing how, it’s time to consult an expert. I can’t make the day longer, but I can tell you how and where to engage meaningfully in volunteer work. Hands On Twin Cities is all about connecting people to the organizations and positions that utilize their skills and labor to create the world they want to see, with whatever time they have to give. To this end, we’re hosting a Volunteer CafĂ© this Tuesday, November 11th, at Common Roots. With the election (almost) over, a lot of us suddenly have a lot of free time on our hands. So tell us the amount of time you spent volunteering for or worrying about the election, and the issue you care most about, and we’ll find you the perfect volunteer position.

November 4th was an historic day for, among other things, civic engagement and the power of people. Let’s not let it end with the election.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tim Wise on what an Obama victory does and doesn't mean

Here's the link, courtesy of Racialicious.

No need to repeat what's better-said there. I'll be writing my face off in the couple of weeks, but this says a lot of what I wanted to say right now.