Thursday October 21 6:30pm, donation appreciated.
John Sinclair – poetry
Return to Nibiru
Dave Ross – guitar
Alex Obert – double bass
Bob Hubbard – drums
This event co-sponsored by Lowell Poetry Network & 119 Gallery.
John Sinclair author, poet and activist John Sinclair (born October 2, 1941, in Flint, Michigan) mutated from small-town rock’n’roll fanatic and teenage disc jockey to cultural revolutionary, pioneer of marijuana activism, radical leader and political prisoner by the end of the 1960s.
In 1966-67 the jazz poet, downbeat correspondent, founder of the Detroit Artists Workshop and underground journalist joined the front ranks of the hippie revolution, managing the “avant-rock” MC5 and organizing countless free concerts in the parks, White Panther rallies and radical benefits. Working closely with lead singer and songwriter Rob Tyner and the members of the band, Sinclair brought the MC5 to local fame, national attention and a contract with Elektra Records.
The first MC5 album, recorded “live” at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in the fall of 1968, exploded onto the scene like a bomb through a courtroom window, accompanied by a declaration that Sinclair, the band members and selected compatriots had formed the White Panther Party to oppose the U.S. government and support the Black Panther Party.
In 1970 the FBI referred to the White Panthers as “potentially the largest and most dangerous of revolutionary organizations in the United States.” By this time Sinclair had been railroaded off to prison on a 9½ to ten year sentence for giving away two joints to an undercover policewoman.
Sinclair was released from Jackson Prison when the twenty nine month campaign to gain his freedom climaxed in the mammoth “John Sinclair Freedom Rally” at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan on December 10, 1971, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, Bobby Seale and others performed and spoke at the eight-hour long event in front of 15,000 people. Lennon wrote and performed his song, “John Sinclair,” later released on his Some Time in New York City album. Three days after the concert, the Michigan Supreme Court released Sinclair, and later overturned his conviction.
In 1975, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew and Richard M. Nixon and the termination of the War in Vietnam, the mass movement dried up and America went back to business as usual. Sinclair disbanded the RPP and moved back to Detroit to return to life as a poet, journalist and urban cultural activist. For the next fifteen years he raised his family in Detroit and worked as editor of the Detroit Sun newspaper, founder and director of the Detroit Jazz Center, adjunct professor of popular music history at Wayne State University, artists manager and concert producer, WDET-FM program host, director of the City Arts Gallery for the Detroit Council of the Arts and editor of City Arts Quarterly.
Sinclair moved to New Orleans in 1991 and joined the volunteer staff of WWOZ radio, winning Offbeat magazine’s reader’s poll as the city’s most popular DJ five years in a row (1999-2003). In 1992 he formed his band, the Blues Scholars (founded in Detroit ten years earlier), recorded his first CD in 1994 and began to tour the United States as a performance artist backed by jazz, blues and rock ensembles. He has collaborated with musicians from Little Milton and Jimbo Mathus to the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Ras Moshe, the Kudzu Kings, Afrissippi, the Pinkeye Orchestra and the Dutch rappers Lange Frans & Baas B.
Sinclair has published several collections of his poetry along with his major work in verse, Fattening Frogs For Snakes: Delta Sound Suite, an investigation in verse of the Delta blues and the world that produced it. He has released more than fifteen CDs of his work with music & verse, including Volumes 1 and 2 of Fattening Frogs For Snakes: Delta Sound Suite, Full Circle and White Buffalo Prayer with Wayne Kramer.
Sinclair is now performing throughout Europe solo and in duet with guitarist Mark Ritsema, in Detroit with the Motor City Blues Scholars, and around the United States with a wide variety of collaborators. The poet was recently honored as the International recipient of the prestigious Targa Matteo Salvatore in Foggia, Italy. He’s appeared at the Festival Internazionale della Letteratura Resistente in Tuscany and been featured at major events and festivals in Rome, Milano, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Paris, Seville and Santiago, Chile.