The History of RETRO

This is the history of RETRO as told by founder, Anthony Rose.

The R.E.T.R.O. Revolutionary Po'ets (RETRO) Open Mic Poetry nights was was first held January 18th, 2002 at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre (ECT) at the University of Washington (UW). An idea of UW alumni Anthony Rose that was taken to the people along side his brother form another mother UW alumni Tony Rivisto.
Anthony was a member of the EMPOWER program that was started by UW students Tyson Marsh, Tyrone Porter, Chris Knaus & Mikey Tuncap. It was during his senior year of high school when the EMPOWER students put together a poetry show as a service project that he fully realized the impact of spoken word.

It is his belief that in order to be revolutionary you have to be retrospective. RETRO stands for Respect, Educate, Teach, Reflect & Observe. It is these 5 fundamental principles that drive the energy and passion that have kept RETRO going for 8 solid years.

The show was a way for the Black community and other underrepresented students of color and voices as a whole to have a forum to express themselves while building bonds and a support structure that is life lasting.
Through this an idea of political consciousness mixed in with artistic forms of expression and community activism and awareness on a local, national and global scale have continued to resonate through the stage and seats of the ECT.
The lack of funding for the expansion of the ECT and ECC to fulfill the needs of the students led Anthony and Tony to constantly continue providing a quality show to pack it out and show that there is a need for this type of event.

The show consisted originally of two MC's: Anthony & Tony and the original RETRO Band:

  • Nate Gong: keys
  • Tracey Sanlin: Bass
  • Josh Fulfs: Drums
  • Tymon Haskins: Trumpet
  • Aron Shelton: Saxaphone
  • CJ Dancer: DJ
of whom these duties have transitioned to new artists throughout the years. Following them have been
  • Danny Greene: keys, sax, vocals
  • David "DJ PRYME" Monroe: DJ
and the current RETRO Band.

The initial funding was given by the Black Student Comission and Black Student Union whose leadership at the time was Ayako and Anthony Walters.
Anthony Rose worked with Phil Hunt and Rene Singleton to get the idea going and also the former ECC director, Emile Pitre & Dr. Rusty Barcelo (Former OMA VP) as well.

The first show was mainly well attended simply off of peopled curiosity of what this "Freshmen" was up to. The first year was sporadic in scheduling and at times attendance.
In 2003 a contract was reached that cemented the full support of the ECC to the point where they now include RETRO in their fiscal budgeting. That also marked the 1st Monday model that Anthony And Tony decided on.

This is the essential history in a nutshell and the rest lies in the people and voices that have blessed us with their presence in the space.
* Po'ets is spelled as such bc of influence from Chris Rocks joke in ROCK THIS about being so poor you cant afford the 'or.

- Anthony Rose (January 13th 2010)

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RETRO Overview

In order to be revolutionary you have to be retrospective. -Anthony Rose
RETRO stands for:
Respect, Educate, Teach, Reflect & Observe.

Contact Us

Would you like to perform at one of our Open Mics? Collaborate with RETRO? Give us Feedback on an event? The best way to contact us is to send an email. You can also contact us via Facebook or Twitter.