On Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8pm the Firebird Presents:
Jason And The Beast
Get tickets: http://ticketf.ly/KRgmCv
From the Riverfont Times:
Homespun: Jason & the Beast
Made This for You: The Mix Tape as Literature
By Christian Schaeffer
published: March 15, 2012
The title of Jason Braun’s latest release, Made This for You: The Mix Tape as Literature smacks of a term paper’s heading, but that’s very much the point. Braun, who performs as Jason & the Beast and teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has long been set on mixing hip-hop and higher ed, quoting from the canon while staying rooted in non-sampled, live-instrument beats. This mix was assembled at Will Jones’ Yellow Hat Studios with help from members of Humdrum as well as DJ Uptown (a.k.a. Jerry Hill). But the musicians take a back seat to the less musically inclined guests; Braun gives various writers and his SIUE comrades chances to wax both eloquent and ridiculous.
In keeping with standard mixtape etiquette, Jason & the Beast pairs songs with interludes and spoken-word bits. But instead of hokey skits, this one is long on literary ephemera of varying sonic fidelity — there are snippets from Braun’s on-air interview’s from KDHX’s (88.1 FM) Literature for the Halibut, snatches of late-night bar talk and pieces of professors’ lectures. Early on in Made This for You, we hear name-checks to Odysseus, Dr. Faust and Macbeth’s Weird Sisters. But Braun is a pop-culture junkie as well, so riffs on Bob Dylan’s selling out, Crocodile Dundee’s hero’s journey and Ryan Adams’ girlfriend-stealing get airing in the interludes. Some offer passing profundities, though a few too many have the had-to-be-there feel of an inside joke.
The more straight-ahead songs on the mix are various versions of indie-friendly hip-hop, and most are less than two minutes in length. “The Thermodynamics of Laundromats” rides on a clicky beat and some circular acoustic guitar picking by Humdrum’s Dan Meehan. The bohemian bongo jam “Giant Man, After Matt Kindt” shows Braun’s Beat aspirations while Adam Sirgany’s baritone sax offers breathy counterpoint. One of the best is the moody, thumping “Basquiat,” which recalls Stevie Wonder’s “They Won’t Go When I Go” while praising the late graffiti artist. Taken all in one piece, Made condenses the high points (and some of the fluff) of an Intro to Literary Studies course into 30 entertaining minutes. But like any good teacher, Braun leaves you a little hungry for more knowledge.
Download Poet Jason Braun’s Free, Digital, Literary Mixtape – Look-Listen – February 2012 – St. Louis MO
From St. Louis Magazine by STEFENE RUSSELL
DOWNLOAD POET JASON BRAUN’S FREE, DIGITAL, LITERARY MIXTAPE
Ask any poet, novelist or playwright about the Association of Writing Programs Conference—AWP for short—and you’ll get one of two responses. Either their eyes’ll shine like fairy boot buttons or they’ll stick a finger down their throat in the universal gesture for “it makes me gag.” Then they’ll either tell you that it’s the only place they see certain writer friends, or that it’s a self-indulgent cluster#$&@.
As this writer has never been to AWP, I can’t say who is right from the point of view of an individual writer. I do know that AWP (which kicks off today in Chicago) has become crucial in helping little magazines and university presses connect with the reading public. St. Louis poet Jason Braun will be holding down table G5 at AWP’s Book Fair as the editor of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville’s Sou’wester.
If you were not one of the 9,500 writers who scored tickets to AWP before it sold out, Braun is offering a free digital mixtape so that you can soak up the AWP experience through osmosis. Made This For You: The Mix Tape as Literature features songs like Is The Book Dead, Al Katkowsky? and is downloadable at jasonandthebeast.bandcamp.com. It’s a name-your-own-price download, which means you can listen to it for free, though if you do have the extra scratch, we hope you’ll pay, or even overpay, for it, in the spirit of supporting local literature. If you find yourself in Chicago this weekend, Braun will be hanging out afterhours at the Hilton Chicago or The Green Mill bar. You can always stop off and offer to buy him a couple of rounds. After a day in a book booth trafficked by nearly 10,000 people, we reckon he might need it.
On March 27, Braun appears on the creative writing panel, “Thinking About Space,” as part of SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences Colloquium. On March 29 at 7pm, he’ll read his work at the SIUE bookstore as part of the school’s Graduate Writers Read series. And on March 31 at 7pm, the St. Louis Writers’ Guild brings him to Kirkwood Train Station for a night of poetry and music.
“Jason and the Beast have one goal, to prove that hip-hop is poetry. With an impressive collective of musicians behind him, the titular Jason employs a man vs. self approach that evokes not only Shakespeare but Sage Francis and Saul Williams.” Bryan J. Sutter, Playback STL
“Braun boasts a rap resume that includes a run with the popular jazz/hip-hop group Jupiter Jazz, a gig that landed him opening spots for B.B. King, The Black Crowes, and others. Though that group disbanded a few years back, Braun says Jason and the Beast is the creative outlet he’s been craving and he’s more committed than ever to showing young audiences that poets like Shakespeare can still entertain with the best of them.” Chris Files, ESPN.com