This spring's Spitfire Tour, a spoken-word event featuring performances and speeches by musicians, actors and activists, will visit 20 cities with an ever-changing lineup that includes former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Spearhead rapper Michael Franti and others.
The tour will begin March 9, at Reed College in Portland, Ore., with Franti, Novoselic, Moon Zappa and former MTV VJ Kennedy among those scheduled to speak. Six more dates have been confirmed at universities in the Midwest, and more will be added, according to a press release from Colleges.com, the tour's sponsor.
Co-founded in 1998 by Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha, the tour features celebrities and activists speaking out on a range of social and political issues. Previous speakers have aired opinions on censorship, human-rights abuses and racism.
Franti has appeared frequently at Spitfire Tour events, giving speeches and reading poetry about racism. The rapper is known for his political lyrics on songs such as "Food for tha Masses" (RealAudio excerpt), from Spearhead's Chocolate Supa Highway (1997).
The Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers will make her first Spitfire Tour appearance May 12, at the University of Cincinnati, where she'll join bandmember Amy Ray, who has previously spoken about human rights on the tour. The folk-rockers released Come On Now Social in September. Their song "Go" (RealAudio excerpt) is a rallying cry for feminism, with the singers calling out, "Raise your hands high/ Don't take a seat/ Don't stand aside/ This time."
Also scheduled for the tour are actress Rosie Perez and actor/comedian Andy Dick. New dates will be posted at Colleges.com, where transcripts and MP3s of previous speeches also are available.
Spitfire Tour dates:
March 9; Portland, Ore.; Reed College (Moon Zappa, Kennedy, Michael Franti, Krist Novoselic)
April 3; Morgantown, W.Va.; West Virginia University (Rosie Perez, Kennedy, Michael Franti, Jonah Goldberg)
April 4; Edwardsville, Ill.; Southern Illinois University (Rosie Perez, Kennedy, Michael Franti, Jonah Goldberg)
April 5; Bloomington, Ill.; Illinois Wesleyan University (Rosie Perez, Kennedy, Michael Franti, Jonah Goldberg)
April 6; Dekalb, Ill.; Northern Illinois University (Rosie Perez, Kennedy, Michael Franti, Jonah Goldberg)
April 25; Columbia, Mo.; University of Missouri (Julia Butterfly, Andy Dick, Moon Zappa)
May 12; Cincinnati, Ohio; University of Cincinnati (Indigo Girls, Michael Franti)