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Collective Language offering youth-driven self-expression

June 21, 2012

Kris Hohag of Iron Subject (which also includes Billy Barlow and Wyatt Gaunt) shares his thought-provoking poetic rap style at a previous Collective Language event in Bishop. Photo courtesy Iron Subject

Youth from all over the Owens Valley are being called on to support and even participate in a growing effort to showcase the area’s rich local talent pool – and enjoy free entertainment.
Organized by the very artists who will be performing, Collective Language is an eclectic, monthly offering featuring live music of varying styles, live art demonstrations and a safe and healthy environment for anyone of any age looking to have a good time.
The next Collective Language concert happens tomorrow, June 22, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Wünüt Novi on the Bishop Paiute Reservation
“It’s really important to get the word out that this is a drug- and alcohol-free event,” said co-organizer Kris Hohag, who is a community intervention and outreach worker with Toiyabe Indian Health Project and a local artist. Hohag added that while residents of all ages are invited to attend the event, the purpose is to get the youth of the community together in a safe, controlled and positive environment to share their artwork while promoting creativity and self expression.
“It’s very important for the youth, and the community at large,” Hohag said. “It shows the community that young people can organize a safe, fun, drug- and alcohol-free event to promote entertainment that can educate. The community can always benefit from something like this. For me, what the event is about is being safe, positive and fun.”
Friday’s lineup includes local hip hop artists Smear Tactics, Kodyak Mauls and Iron Subject; local metal outfit Erabyss; a live, off-the-cuff rap battle; and an open mic for anyone who wishes to share their art, whether it be an acoustic song, a spoken word poem or an original rap.
The full line-up includes more than 10 performers.
Many of the artists on the bill for Friday’s performance can be heard at, or on their respective Facebook pages.
For performers like Smear Tactics and Kodyak Mauls, who have been working on their sound for years, a computer, microphone, a beat and a quiet room is all it takes to create a new song.
“If you like good music and staying out of the heat, then there is no better place to be than at the Wünüt Novi on Friday at 6 p.m. for a free show,” said Mauls, who is helping to organize Collective Language. “It’s a great place for kids. It’s drug- and alcohol-free, there’s live art and more, so come support your local artists.”
For the live art portion of the evening, Hohag said he and other organizers have pitched in to purchase materials to have some of the area’s young painters create their vision in front of spectators at the show.
“We’re basically going to be showcasing three artists and let them collaborate, or do something on their own,” Hohag said.
With three events already in the books this year (the first was dubbed the Spring Showcase over spring break), Collective Language has turned into a regular monthly affair at the Wünüt Novi Youth Center, located at 2490 Diaz Ln., bringing local artists together and introducing them to a new fan base. Part of the appeal, Hohag said, is it provides a venue for the artists and fans alike.
“Right now, it’s a little more hip-hop oriented, but that’s based on the interest we’ve had,” Hohag said. “Every event, we have more people who come and say they’re interested, and it’s open to anyone. We just want to promote any artist with a positive message.”
“The Wünüt Novi provides the opportunity for a positive atmosphere for local youth to explore and even showcase talent that might otherwise go unnoticed,” “Scruples,” a member of Smear Tactics, said. “Established local artists are volunteering their time, equipment and resources and the community has enthusiastically responded. We hope to give local youth the tools to create something they are proud of, and can show their friends and family.”

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