Monday, February 8, 2010

Proper Noun of the Week #30: R.A. Washington

R.A. 'Rafeeq' Washington. Now where have I heard that name before ...

Man, if you are anything like me, you have heard that name everywhere, because that's where Mr. Washington seems to be. From visual art to spoken word to hip hop to dance clubs, Rafeeq's deft cultural touch is all over this city and residents of the CLE are all the better for it.

Most recently, folks at the PD took notice of one of Washington's biggest ventures, his experimental hip hop label Cleveland Tapes.

By the time you read this, though, you'll likely be hearing his name for yet another reason, this time as the event architect behind Wednesday's upcoming Art for Haiti benefit auction at Arts Collinwood. The event is being held to help raise funds for the Haiti Emergency Village Project, and event planners will use combined revenues from an art live auction - presided over by Washington's fellow CB Proper Noun Lawrence Daniel Caswell and featuring the work of artists including Keith Marlowe, Dan Tranberg, Dana Depew, Bridget Caswell, Sunia Boneham, and Jacob Wesley Lang (among many more) - and a silent auction for goods donated by local businesses like Mac's Backs, the Beachland, Visible Voice, House of Blues, and many others.

A few days ago, Washington found a few moments in his unimaginable schedule to participate in my Proper Noun question time exercise. Check out what he has to say below.


1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

I've been in Cleveland for about 20 years, but I'm originally from El Paso, TX.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

My favorite Cleveland memory, too many to pick just one - but if i had to it would be the first time I saw Lives of the Saints.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

It does not really influence the actual work per se, but it tempers how I distribute it.

4) If it was your birthday and you decided to have a Cleveland-centric blow-out bash, how would you celebrate? That is, what would you do, where would you do it, etc.?

Thats funny, cuz tomorrow is my actual birthday! And Saturday at Touch Supper Club This Moment In Black History is djing my birthday party. The Cleveland Bachelor should come, maybe meet someone.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

Go to a show at Now That's Class, go record hunting.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?

Hope

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

Hey guys, we are a port city! Let's act like it, and while you are at it - annex these stupid suburb cities!


To meet Rafeeq, stop by Arts Collinwood on WEDNESDAY for the Art for Haiti Benefit Auction. For more information on the event, click here. Arts Collinwood is located at 15601 Waterloo Road in Cleveland.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, Shannon Okey, John G, Sean Bilovecky, Dana Depew, Fred Wright, Amanda Montague, Ryan Weitzel, Garrett Komyati, Vince Slusarz, Jonah Jacobs, Jacob Wesley Lang, and Kevin Neudecker & Melanie Hershberger.

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