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This weekend: Tucson Hip Hop Festival explores music, art and culture

This weekend: Tucson Hip Hop Festival explores music, art and culture

East Toole Avenue downtown will host a big block party on Saturday, Feb. 24, when the annual Tucson Hip Hop Festival takes up that corner of downtown.

The main stage will be at 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Ave., but there will be secondary stages, a DJ tent and street artists, muralists and graffiti artists spread out along Toole.

“Every aspect of the hip hop culture is going to be touched on and everywhere you turn something is going on,” said caricature artist Alaina Pierce.

Pierce, 31, won’t be drawing caricatures on Saturday, but she will be part of the Neoglyphix arts collective, whose members on Saturday will be creating aerosol paintings.

Neoglyphix is comprised of indigenous graffiti artists mostly from Tucson, but Pierce said they also have members from Los Angeles, New Mexico and one from Minneapolis. Pierce, a Tucson native and University of Arizona graduate, is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

“We all go to different events and we do live aerosol art,” she said, from giant murals on the sides of buildings to paintings on wood planks, like they will do on Saturday. “I’ve slowly been learning how to do it and they finally asked me to be a part of it as an actual painter.”

The lineup on Saturday will include more than 100 DJs, artists, hip hop performers, break-dancers, filmmakers and educators. Organizers said they expect as many as 3,000 people to attend.

The daylong festival also features pop-up shops, panel discussions and workshops on hip hop culture, film screenings, a food court and studio time.

Among the various vendors at the festival will be a booth by the UA School of Humanities, which offers the country’s only hip hop minor.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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* Complexes in which at least one theater has equipment for the hearing-impaired.

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