It’s been more than a decade since Saul Williams last visited the UW-Madison campus, and both nothing and everything has changed. At the time of his 2002 slam workshop and performance here at Madison, Williams had established himself as one of the leading figures in slam poetry, gaining recognition for winning national competitions and both starring and writing in the 1998 Sundance Grand Jury Award-winning Slam. In the years since his visit, Williams has shown the depth of his talents, now recognized as much for his music as his poetry and acting. His unique industrial hip-hop has gained a wide audience, propelled by the success of “List of Demands (Reparations)” from his 2004 self-titled album and collaborations with other top-tier talent like Trent Reznor, Zach de la Rocha, Serj Tankian, the Fugees, and Janelle Monae.
Ten years later, Williams returns to campus to once again perform spoken word, the facet of his life that not only spurred his recognition, but has influenced everything he’s done in his career. This summer sees the release of his new book of poetry, CHORUS. The Terrace will play host to a performance of this new material and other spoken word pieces from his extensive career on Thursday, September 13th. While the Terrace has seen many performances over the years, spoken word has been a genre relatively unexplored on its stage. The setting lends itself beautifully to such a raw and intimate art, which will truly make the show something you won’t want to miss.
Kicking off the show will be a special monologue performance from a talent that the Midwest is lucky to call their own. Dessa hardly needs an introduction around these parts, known for her skillful blend of singing and rapping, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Minneapolis collective Doomtree. In the last year, Dessa released her highly successful Castor, The Twin while still finding time to release No Kings with Doomtree and tour behind it. That tour included a March date in the Sett that saw the venue packed to a previously unseen volume. No matter how many times you’ve seen the homegrown artist, you probably haven’t seen her perform the way she will on this date; with her own roots in spoken word, Dessa will perform a monologue.
We couldn’t be more excited to host this show on the Terrace, scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Like all Terrace shows, in the event of bad weather the show will be moved inside Memorial Union to Der Rathskeller. Don’t miss this unique show with a master of his craft and one of the Midwest’s shining talents. Check out Williams performing “Children of the Night” below.