Talking about radical art, guerilla street theater, beat style poetry and hip-hop.
This week Eli and Dave Weissman (Down Home’s producer) talk with actor/poet Steven Ben Israel and his son Baba Israel, a beatboxer, hip-hop poet and educator. We get their relative perspectives on coming up as artists in New York City, Steven in the 50’s and 60’s and Baba in the 90’s and how they brought together Beat generation styles and hip-hop. Steven is a part of The Living Theater, an avant garde theater company and Baba has his own production company, Open Thought Productions.
Interview with Baba Israel and Steven Ben Israel
“Guerilla theater is when a group of people do a piece, the cops come and the cops beat up the audience.”
“What can you do in the street that the people aren’t gonna go, “ah get a way from me”? -that’s the first thing. You have a guy walking down the street singing and people say get away from me. Cause it’s a very fragile reality out there.”
“…You may just join the army because you have a fear going way back … to go out there and break out of this working class box, either the army or the factory. And the main thing with the Living Theater and its history was to address that fear. The main thing in this society is fear, to address that fear by understanding that the fear of life is heavier than the fear of death…” -Steven Ben Israel
On this show we hear Lord Buckley’s “The Nazz” as well as several live performances from Steven and Baba. (The Nazz is a hip Louis Armstrong as Jesus character that heals people).
During the course of the show Steven and Baba give a lot of recommendations on counter-cultural stuff. See below: