Dissident Arts Festival celebrates the radical Left

John Pietaro, a member of Radio Noir. Photo by Laurie Towers

BY LILY BOUVIER  |  “The arts are a weapon for social change!” — urges Lower Manhattan’s “Dissident Arts Festival.” In the name of social justice, dissidents and cultural workers will gather for this evening of progressive poetry, music and film — in celebration of radical Left culture (and in solidarity with the struggles of workers and the globally oppressed).

This year’s sixth annual festival will begin with a screening of long-blacklisted labor film “Salt of the Earth” (followed by discussion by film artist Kevin Keating). Then, musical performances from radical poetry/jazz ensemble Upsurge!, post-modern jazz band Secret Architecture, 1930s-meets-contemporary-improv band Radio Noir, jazz violinist and vocalist Gwen Laster, singer/songwriter Judy Gorman and labor/peace choir The NYC Metro Ragin’ Grannies. Political satirist Dave Lippman and poets Steve Bloom, Jackie Sheeler, Angelo Verga, Rashidah Ismaili, Robert Gibbons and Sara Goudarzi will also take the stage. Folk-protest songs, improvisation and contemporary composition will tear down boundaries and bend rules — calling dissidents to take action.

At the Brecht Forum, center of Left education and culture (451 West St., btw. Bank & Bethune Sts.). Aug. 13, 4-11pm. Sliding scale admission: $6/$10/$15 (free for Brecht Forum subscribers). For info and a schedule of events, call 212-242-4201 or visit brechtforum.org.