Last week Madison native Kyle Myhre, known as El Guante to hip-hop and spoken-word fans, was awarded a VERVE grant from the Jerome Foundation and Intermedia Arts, two Minnesota arts organizations.
The grant is different from most arts and music grants in that it's specifically geared toward artists who bring together the traditions of literary and musical showmanship via spoken word. Myhre, who moved to Minneapolis a year and a half ago, says he plans to use the money to put the finishing touches on a one-man spoken-word show.
"It deals with jobs I've had, jobs I've only imagined having and a lot more," he says. "Work is such an integral part of how we define ourselves in the U.S., and I'm trying to deconstruct that a little. It's dark, it's heavily political, and it's serious, but it's also got a lot of off-the-wall stuff going on."
Many of Myhre's ideas for the theatrical production took shape during his time with UW-Madison's First Wave program, which he says taught him to think beyond the constraints of three-minute-long poems and experiment with theater-style performances.
He's also looking forward to bringing some of his new work to Madison in the summer and, if all goes well, the full-fledged opus in the fall.