Inspired by poet Marianne Moore’s liner notes for Muhammad Ali’s 1963 I Am The Greatest album, “The Dirty Dozens” walks the line between sports and the spoken word, embodying Ali’s braggadocious verse that foreshadowed the dawn of rap battles and slam poetry. Featuring poets Wes Matthews, Patrick Rosal, and Yolanda Wisher with The Afroeaters: Lance Gamble on drums, V. Shayne Frederick on keys and vocals, Paul Giess on trumpet, and Mark Palacio on double bass.
About Yolanda Wisher’s Rent Party at the Rosenbach
Yolanda Wisher’s Rent Party at the Rosenbach invokes the tradition of the rent party dating back to the Harlem Renaissance, when communal gatherings of artists fed an outpouring of blues, jazz, and poetry. Rent parties were some of the original house parties. Guests would pay a small fee for homespun food, prohibited drink and live entertainment. Sometimes a piano was hauled up a few flights of stairs for the occasion. While they were designed to help the host pay their rent with the help of a few friends spreading the word, the ancestral rent parties were also incubators of cultural innovation.
Curated and hosted by Philadelphia Poet Laureate Emerita Yolanda Wisher, each rent party features readings by two contemporary poets from different schools of thought and craft in addition to a performance Wisher and her band The Afroeaters, reviving a vintage work of jazz poetry or premiering a new work inspired by the Rosenbach’s collection. The series is an ongoing love letter to the literary past, often focusing on a writer whose work has been lost, forgotten, or misunderstood. Previous rent parties have highlighted the poetry of The Black Opals collective, a group of young African Americans writing in Philadelphia during the 1920s; the legacy of Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet; and Ask Your Mama, a jazz poem composed by Langston Hughes.
Rent party guests are invited to sip a signature cocktail as they witness literary and musical performances. They can purchase books or CDs by the featured artists and get them signed in person. Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended.
About Performances at the Rosenbach
From adaptations of beloved classics from page to stage to interactive performances inspired by great literature, experience theatrical arts in an intimate setting.
- Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended
- This event is 21+
- A specialty cocktail is included with admission