A Play

By Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin
Foreword by Lisa Yun Lee
Haymarket Books (August 2016)
Paper • ISBN-13: 9781608465972 • US $14.95 • 67 pages


Graffiti crews are willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, Chicago graffiti artists set out to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when one crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong?


“Chicago’s most controversial play of the year.”

Chicago Magazine


“A romantic ode to the art of graffiti and the act of tagging, a piece that demystifies authorial signatures and charts the storied history of graffiti art in Chicago, shouting out its great artists and their canvases, from Kennedy underpasses to CTA train yards.”

Chicago Tribune


“A raw, visceral narrative that gives graffiti artists the humanity and genius the headlines rob them of.”

Newcity Stage


“This is a piece about the overwhelming urge not just to create art, but to get it seen—if only by a scant few before the sandblasters come along.”

TimeOut Chicago


“A provocative play… that raises philosophical and political questions that are already generating heated discussions among theatergoers of all ages.”

Gapers Block


“A wildly wrong-headed and potentially damaging work — No amount of classroom discussion will scrub clean the irresponsible ideas promulgated in this play.”

Chicago Sun-Times


“It was at once an act of artistic expression, social protest, and criminal vandalism—guaranteed to rattle the art world and media establishment, set the Twittersphere abuzz, and send the young rebels underground, if not to jail. This world premiere, written by Idris Goodwin and Young Chicago Authors artistic director Kevin Coval, is simultaneously celebratory and cautionary—clearly sympathetic to the artists’ point of view, but not blind to the impact their reckless act would have on their own lives.”

Chicago Reader


“This production is sharp, exciting and stimulating, both visually and emotionally. It will entertain, educate and is guaranteed to prompt heated discussions about the nature of art and the place for graffiti in our world.”

Chicago Theatre Review


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L-vis Lives: racemusic poems


The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop


Kevin Coval is the author of SchtickL-vis LivesEveryday People the American Library Association “Book of the Year” Finalist Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica, and an editor of The BreakBeat Poets. He is the founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, Artistic Director at Young Chicago Authors, and teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Idris Goodwin is a playwright, spoken word performer and essayist recognized across mediums by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford and Mellon Foundation. His play How We Got On, developed at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, premiered at The 2012 Festival of New Play.


Please contact subagents for the following languages and territories:

Language/Territory Subagent
China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and VietnamBig Apple Agency
DutchSebes & Bisseling Literary Agency
English outside North AmericaDavid Grossman Literary Agency
FrenchDeborah Druba Agency
GermanPaul & Peter Fritz AG Literatur Agentur
GreekRead n' Right Agency
HebrewThe Deborah Harris Agency
ItalianBerla & Griffini Rights Agency
JapaneseThe English Agency (Japan) Ltd
KoreanBC Agency, or Korea Copyright Center
PortugueseRIFF Agency
Russia/Baltics/Eastern EuropePrava I Prevodi
Scandinavia Sebes & Bisseling Literary Agency
Spanish in Latin AmericaInternational Editors' Co., S.A.
Spanish in SpainInternational Editors' Co., S.A.
TurkishAnatolialit Agency

For all other languages/territories, please contact Roam Agency.