OMAI Line Breaks Festival returns to Overture Center

April 17, 2014

by Kelly Kwiatkowski

The Line Breaks Festival, presented by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI), runs through April 25 at Madison's Overture Center for the Arts.

The largest hip-hop festival in the Midwest, now in its eighth year, features headliners including guest artists Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto performing "Flash," on Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25.

Scenes from "Jungle Kings"

A collage of images from Rain Wilson’s "Jungle Kings," which will be presented as part of the Line Breaks Festival.

This dance theater duet is a "public conversation" between the artists' respective aesthetics — butoh and hip-hop — cultural backgrounds-Japanese-American and African-American-and personalities. The two artists perform together on stage, combining their dual approaches to address the intersection of urban and environmental crisis, social resistance, and corporeal identity.

Chris Walker, the festival's curator and OMAI's artistic director, says the guest artists' and student works focus "strongly on the body as sites for exploration, discovery and healing."

"Unique collaborations produce diverse narratives that intersect at questions of presence, ownership, value, cultural fusions, inclusions and contradictions," he adds.



The festival also features two performances of Rain Wilson's "Jungle Kings," on Tuesday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 23.

"Jungle Kings" follows the growth and descent of Baby Cockroach, an African-American youth taken under the wings of an OG (original gangster) named Cockroach. Wilson, a visual artist and playwright, also serves as OMAI's creative and academic advisor.



Now through Thursday, April 24, First Wave student artists will perform solo and ensemble works. More information about the festival's schedule can be found here.

Line Breaks is presented and made possible OMAI, a unit in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Overture Center Community Arts Access Program.