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Eric Woodard, aka Dizzy Order, has been rapping locally for 15 years. He used to freestyle at underground shows based in Encanto in the mid ’90s and frequented a short-lived rap collective in 2000 in a downtown venue called the Loft. He’s outlasted now-defunct open-mike scenes at Honey Bee Hive, Hot Monkey Love Café, and Club Montage.

Woodard, 33, says he is still devoted to hip-hop in spite of the poor payoff. “This [San Diego] scene is tough on cats. You have to be in overdrive all the time just to make things happen.… It seems like Mitchy Slick is the only one from here making any money at it.”

Woodard’s new home is at the Marquee, 835 25th Street in Golden Hill. The building was built as a church in 1926. Most of it is now used to house and treat schizophrenic patients. Since January, 20 percent of the building has been shared by Ethos, a nondenominational church that welcomes pagans and Muslims.

“Eric is a Buddhist,” says Ethos founder Jason Page about Woodard. Ethos uses the Marquee for Sunday-night church services. Other nights are used for music shows, which are all-ages and open to the public. Rock and acoustic bands are showcased on Friday and Saturday. At Tuesday’s “Train of Thought,” guests are asked for a $5 donation to see spiritually motivated musicians, freestyle poets, and rappers perform open-mike. Woodard helps produce Train of Thought, which pulled in an audience of 43 last week.

Train of Thought is not your average church-sponsored event. Two women in attendance were kissing, and performers threw out “fuck” and “nigger” to an audience that included children and conservatively dressed people.

“You can’t control what people say or feel and tell them it’s free expression at the same time,” says Woodard.

Hip-hop is just part of the Tuesday-night show. He says he also tried an all-hip-hop night called Boom Box Session on Thursdays. “I tried it three times, but no one would come. On the last night, I got this lady from L.A. called Medusa to come down and headline for $1000. I thought she was worth it. I got, like, 20 people who paid ten dollars each. I sent her another $450 later. She was cool with that.… I think [a hip-hop night] will work eventually. I want to figure out what I did wrong and do it better next time.”

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