The Big Event: Blood, Sweat and Tears competition moves into final round

If it's the hard thing to do, it's probably the right thing. That's the philosophy driving one of Kalamazoo's newest entertainment offerings.

Blood, Sweat and Tears is a competition primarily for hip hop entertainers. After rounds of auditions, eight performers competed in preliminary rounds that started in March. There were Shneal and Rusta, two rappers; Combat Corduroy and Fly Paper, two bands; Mic Mich & MizJes, a hip hop duo; Wundamike, a hip hop singer; Bill Clements, the bassist; and Kzoo Street KonQuerors, an urban dance crew.

Now it's time for the finals. The final four will go head-to-head at 7 p.m. July 7. (That's 7-7-7 so it's easy to remember. And tickets are $7, too.) An underground rapper faces off with a hip-hop duo, a pop-rock band and an urban dance crew -- RUSTA vs. MizJes & Mich vs. Combat Corduroy vs. Kzoo Street KonQuerors.

Blood, Sweat and Tears is about performing artists coming together, collaborating in new ways and disciplining themselves to do more than just get by, says Kirk Latimer, a producer of the show better known locally for his role along with Gabriel Giron in the spoken word duo Kinetic Affect.

In between the competitive rounds the show will feature artists from many walks of life and a variety of musical forms: DJ FLiP, primarily a dubstep DJ; Funk 211, a live funk band that can perform just about any style; DC and Yolonda of Truth Tone Records, R&B and Hip Hop performers, and Mark Stephan, who uses humor in his music. He had a viral hit with "On Facebook."

Latimer calls the show a multimedia experiment in passion and performing arts. It merges modern media with age-old values and contemporary art. From an economic development standpoint it brings together a diverse number of artists and collaborators to create something that not only entertains, but helps drive people to excel in their craft, he says.

"A true passion is one that eats you alive," Latimer says. "It's a calling. The show is about moving people out of apathy and into action -- positive, reaffirming, motivating performing arts action."

The preliminary rounds for Blood, Sweat and Tears took place at Studio 246, the home base for Kinetic Affect. But the finals will be at District Square, where a bigger crowd can be accommodated.

Traver McLaughlin, of the Entertainment District, says the venue is a perfect fit for the Blood, Sweat and Tears concept. "Their studio cannot hold the amount of people expected for the Blood, Sweat, and Tears and we want to afford them the opportunity to continue their growth as an intricate part of Kalamazoo's development.
"It will be high energy, fun, and gives an outlet for artists to showcase their talents on a bigger stage," McLaughlin says. "This may not be the traditional form of performance art, like ballet or symphony. This is the new generation of art that needs to be celebrated."

Writer: Kathy Jennings
Source: Kirk Latimer, Blood, Sweat and Tears