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The Wordsmith 8.27.02
2002 National Poetry Slam

The Wordsmith posting: Captains's log stardate. 10th August. Set off to San Jose from LA to link up with David Huang, the official photographer of the NPS 2002 national slam in Minneapolis. We drove to Oakland to get a third person. I paid for a one way ticket to San Jose and had $30 after that. I donated $15 of it to petrol and spent the rest on food on the way there. I brought no money for food or accomodation because I was confident that I could make money there selling chapbooks and doing my street performing which involves singing cover songs and raps and original songs, raps and poetry. The latter worked out, but not the former. I only sold 3 single dollar chapbooks, but my street act did make me about $200 in 6 days. One night I crashed with the Vancouver team. Quite a few people were crowded into that room and they got kicked out just before the week was done. The first night I was pissed because I missed the open mic at one of the clubs. I heard Vlako from the Florida Del Rey team and a poet that dissed another rapper with a wordplay. He finished by saying "I used to battle but now I slam." One poet did a really raunchy poem. He simulated being close to orgasm then coming then snoring. I was disappointed that everybody went to bed at 1am like there was a curfew. The second night was better. I took part in the Erotica slam. 'The Hobbit and Lorena Bobbitt' got a good reception. I.Q. complemented it and so did C.R. Avery. I had headed to the 21 hour a day open mic at Rubies Cafe and it was a bust. Luckily Karen from the San Diego team recognized me and I took a taxi with her and some of the Vegas team to the erotica showcase. Another Karen hosted it. She wore a tight red skirt, so tight it seemed painted on. She had a partner in a micro-skirt. She got the crowd singing a beer song every few poets. Katie did a short piece on the feel of somebody's skin. One older gentleman who sat next to me didn't get to read but the piece he dropped the previous night at Southbeach would have fitted right in. The 'Thong Song' but poetry instead. Shane read a piece and got a standing ovation. I read in the poem that he had won the WB Yeats award for best poem and he'd also won an award for best poetic voice. He's from the Vancouver team. The first team outside of America to have a slam team at the Nationals. One girl dropped a lesbian piece walking from table to table without ever reaching the stage. That was the highlight of the night. One black man read his piece from his table. Frustrated I guess because he didn't get the mike. Rives and Sekou got the highest scores from the LA teams and held it down in the individuals. Sekou took first place. A few of us poets took part in an improvised reading in the lobby of the Crown Plaza hotel. When a poet was finished they would tag somebody else to read. That was my favorite part of the trip. I got to do 2 pieces. I took part in the Hiphop showcase on Thursday. David took pictures of me and others which are on his website 'Poeticdreams.com'. I did a battle rap and so did Sekou. Gaknew flowed as well. In her poem, Dessa Darling lectured those of us that did battle raps. Her flow was tight. She said we were emasculating each other. C.R. Avery rocked everybody's world Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He peaked on Thursday. For those that have never seen him, he employs a harmonica and guitar shaped keyboard and beatboxes and recites poetry. I saw his CD which David bought. It's called 'Disclosure'. For the Individuals on Friday 10 poets were supposed to be whittled down to 6 but two tied so they went with eight. They all did 2 rounds each on Friday and Saturday. Sekou did 'Dumb shit' and his 'Let there be light' piece. Rives did his mockingbird piece. A cop called Corbett had me hanging on every word with both of his pieces. He first recounted his life as a training officer. The second was about a girl who was buttfucked by her man against her will. He responded to her cries. He ended up having to shoot the man dead. His relatives were pissed at the cop. She phoned him and said 'I still hate cops but thanks for responding to my screams'. He said only one half of one percent of the Phoenix police force that he was a part of were bad apples. One black guy from New York did a hilarious piece called 'Coochie Man'. Zero did one that was very much like my piece on schizophrenia. He babbled nonsense like he had multiple personalities. There was a second level in this disco surrounding the stage. Maybe 1,000 capacity. The final night was hosted at the Orpheum Theatre. The host of the finals said she was supposed to be laid up in hospital. She held something up and said it was the band she'd snapped off her wrist to be there. That showed her level of commitment. Corbett gripped me again with a tale about a black girl he'd got to like who was locked in a closet by her mother for soiling herself. Her mother beat her to death after. His second piece spoke of a mother that killed her baby. He found it under a drain and pulled it out. He tenderly planted a kiss on the cheek of the corpse as he held the baby in his arms. One poet had us in the Twilight Zone with his Magic Cactus poem. The magic cactus that supposedly dispensed wisdom to the seeker but ended up talking babble. One black guy did a piece about not wanting reparations because he knew that our present day suffering is nothing compared to that of a Bosnian child etc. Shane did a piece about his dying mother that tugged at the heartstrings.'Gotta go now'. Rives did an excellent piece that linked with the 2 women that were taking turns signing for the deaf people in the audience. At the end of his piece he said how thankful he was that he had a voice. I feel he dropped the best poem that night. He had to have memorized some or all of it the night before because he was talking about the other competitors. He talked about the voodoo of Sekou. At the beginning he said 'If I got this far' he'd rock the mike. Then he rocked it physicaly which cracked us up. At the end of his piece he said something like 'Instead of rocking the mike I decided just to tip the bitch over'. He walked off after tipping it right on the floor. I never give standing ovations but me and plenty of others did then. Rives is my favorite poet. You never know what he'll do next and he came with a piece he had to have been up all night rehearsing. Poetri and Gaknew and Conell and a few others rushed the stage to hug Sekou when he won. Taylor Mali did 'How to write a political poem' as a group piece. The previous night in his hotel room I had asked him about that poem as he did it once at the Lounge. In the hotel room he had his CD's and chapbook displayed on an ironing board. He got busted by security on the first night when he tried to have a party in his room. The poets got a bit too loud. He got busted just as a few of us got to the room. New York and Seattle tied. The host asked if they wanted a tie off but Taylor Mali said they'd decided to share it instead. It was a 'Sword in the stone' trophy. It used to be boxing gloves but they got ripped apart the last time there was a tie by the two winners in 1999. The trophy maker made it more durable as a a result. So that about wraps it up. I'm writing this in the San Jose Greyhound Station on my way back to L.A. because I had a 4 hour layover. Props to one member of the Las Vegas team who took a Greyhound from there to Minneapolis. I would have done the same if I hadn't got a ride. Glad I was spared that fate. The Wordsmith signing off.

2002 Poetry Slam Nationals Results

First Place (Tied): NYC/Urbana 116.6
First Place (Tied): Detroit 116.6
Third Place: NYC/Nuyorican 115.7
Fourth: Seattle 114.9 (Way to go!)

Individual Competition (LA Poets):
First Place: Sekou Tha Misfit 59.3
Fifth Place: Gina Loring 56.2
Sixth Place: Rives 56.7

A big congratulations also goes to LA/Green, Hollywood, and Long Beach for making it into the Semi-finals.

Way to go everyone!

The Official PSN Website: http://www.poetryslam.com/nps/

Wayman Barnes 8.13.02

I really had a good time at the Java Zone last night. There reading keeps getting better and better.

The Poets:
Frankie Drayus - Featured reader
James - "... hello."
Lynn Allgood - Relationships
Neal Aitken - Cover Letter; The Glass Worker; Thinks of Eden
Richard Beban - A Possum; Lives of Poets Chp. 1; Summer Rain Sonnet for the Average House Fly
Paul Keitling - "Drum and Violin ..."; Etiquette
Regina - Willie; Illusions
Cal Oakey - Performance Piece
Ivan - stratego; Founding Fathers
Joe Gonzalez - "Superior Court Justice ..."; "Clears the tear ..."; "The liberty of freedom ..."
Jelena Andjelkovic - Liberation; The Well
Rick Weinberger - "Wile E. Coyote finally figured it out ..."; Lida and the Schwinn Wayman Barnes - Left to My Own Devices; Where Does the Duck Go?
Dan Black - Relationships; Outlaw
Tish - Memorandum; Men
Marietta Melton - "You look so deep inside ..."
Tom M. Hall - "Moth Explodes"; "I am she before she sleeps ..."; Gift
Don "Kingfisher" Campbell - Poem from the newspaper; Optimus
Jack Bowman - In the Courtyard; Implants

Monday Night Poetry
Mondays(duh!) at 8
Java Zone
490 N. Lake Ave.

Nicole D. Sconiers 8.12.02
Lyrics on Lockdown Opens Minds on the Prison Industry

"Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings. And the practice of disappearing vast numbers of people from poor, immigrant, and racially marginalized communities has literally become big business." -Angela Davis

Business behind bars keeps booming, but there is an emerging group of poets, artists and entertainers who are out to shut the industry down. The Blackout Arts Collective (BAC), comprised of activists, artists and inmates around the country, is on a mission to abolish the mass incarceration of communities of color in the U.S. BAC blazed it up at the World Stage last night with their "Lyrics on Lockdown," a national tour running through August 19, 2002, which raises awareness about the prison industrial complex. Michael Molina, Piper Anderson, Ella Turenne, Jennifer Cendana Armas, Bryonn Bain, and Laurent Alfred, a dynamic group of young, conscious street soldiers, are in their second year of empowering communities of color through arts, education and activism. In a piece that she dedicated to freedom fighters everywhere, diminuitive diva Piper sang about being "more than a revolutionary/more than freedom's child...humanity has been waiting to learn the language of unconditional love." Interspersed with her earthy vocals, Piper dropped knowledge about the plight of the U.S. prison population, which is the fastest growing business in America, and which incarcerates more people today than ever before in American history. Michael stressed the importance of every revolution having its artists, poets and writers at the forefront as activists, then launched into an energetic piece to remind us that "existence should not be shackled by anyone's words or definitions." The entire crew took the stage to end the set with the Black Panther Party-inspired "Freedom Gotta Shotgun." In the call-and-response tradition, which had everyone in the room chanting along, BAC sang "the cotton still stands tall/behind prison walls/Freedom marched in the rain to oppose Jim Crow/Freedom fought back with her clenched fists." Since BAC's first showcase in October 1997 at the Violet Cafe in NYC, the non-profit organization has produced over 50 shows in New York, Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia, promoting the work of over 300 artists of color. Their "Lyrics on Lockdown" also conducts interactive arts workshops with prison inmates and local artists, working to establish a three-to-five year campaign to eradicate the prison industrial complex across the country.

For more information about "Lyrics on Lockdown" or BAC, contact the Blackout Arts Collective at bacdatabase@hotmail.com, or visit their website www.blackoutboston.com

Wayman Barnes 8.11.02
Ventura Road Trip VIII

At first, it was just going to be Frankie Drayus. Then, somehow, I got added to the mix. And Charlotte O'Brien. And Jelena Andjelkovic. And Mani Suri. And just like that, we were having an all-out LitRave feature at Zoey's.

And, folks, we rock n' roll'd!!!

Thanks to Gwendolyn Alley for inviting us.

And it goes without saying, those Ventura Open mic'rs kicked butt, too. Drive up the coast and see for yourself.

Poets: Charlotte O'Brien, Jelena Andjelkovic, Wayman Barnes, Frankie Drayus, Gwendolyn Alley, Phil Taggart, Friday, David Reisner, Ray, John Gentry, Cindy, Roni, Mani Suri

Zoey's Cafe
451 E. Main Street (in the 'El Jardin' courtyard) - Ventura
(805) 652-1137
for more information call: (805) 672-1756

The Exorcist 7.31.02

Exorcist posting: Tuesday at the Lounge Steve Connell did a new poem that was dope. Shihan hosted and then was pushed away from the mike by..could it be..yes. Poetri! In the houuuse! He took over the hosting duties and did his trademark getting everybody to introduce themselves to three new people. He performed Krispy Kremes. We had another surprise slam. I sold a chapbook to Mark Gonzales to fund some of my entry fee. I took part in the slam. Jaha calibrated and got a 28.5. So did Mike Cirelli and he got 25.5. 8 of us competed. I didn't know it was only one round until we had all finished. 8 of us competed. Mark Gonzales won with a 29.2. Damon took the piss by giving him a 30% discount Foot Locker coupon. Slim also calibrated and got 29.4. Slick piece. Ghetto Spear calibrated speaking on black women that are abused by their men. He said they're queens and should move on. He got a 28.5. Unsaen did his 'bleed, bitch bleed' piece.'I'd kill Alicia Keys to make Aaliyah breathe..' Exorcist signing off'

The Exorcist 7.30.02

Exorcist posting: Last Saturday I took the Greyhound to Big Sur to report on the poetry regionals. Poets from Vancouver to San Diego were there on the first day which I missed. I was there for the finals. The buses got me within 26 miles of Big Sur and I hitchhiked the rest of the way. Never did that before but I got a lift within 5 minutes. Los Angeles was out on Saturday. On Sunday I watched Berkeley, San Diego, San Francisco and Hollywood go at it. Hollywood got deja vu losing by a tenth of a point again. The Henry Miller library is awesome and worth the trip alone. Kama Sutra positions on the restroom tiles. Erotic photoography also in there. His books, Bukowski's and others were in the library. I rode back to LA with Jerry Quickley. At the Lounge on Tuesday Inq and Seiku promoted their CD's. Seiku had the lounge completely blackened before we heard the 'Ramblings of a Madman'. Inq insisted we 'Get those fucking hands up!'. Ghetto Spear did a great condom piece. Told us to put a condom on our Johnson unless we had a deathwish like Bronson. I took part in the Lounge slam. 2 weeks in a row surprised by slams I didn't know were taking place. Rachel and Steve calibrated. Rachel did her A-cups piece and Steve once again wanted to be like a ninja. Unsaen did his romantic piece and the judges didn't show him any love. Slim flowed about the DJ and let us know that 'Woman' is a powerful word. Fairfax Steve got his highest score ever baring his soul about coming here from Russia and what it was like there. He got a 26.1. A girl called Tamra forgot her piece and carried on with a short one and amazingly enough got a 29.7. July 27th at the Hot Spot Broken Glass read Carl Sandberg and his own work. His friend Timothy read 'So far, So good' by Gil-Scott Heron and his own work. Sam read his own work and Charles Bukowski and let us know how much he was influenced by Bukowski. Jasmine let us know how she deals with writers block. She was the last reader as she turned up toward the end. She made Alaska, the feature feel better as up until then she was the only female reader and one of two women in the audience. She said she was the only estrogen there. Christoph got deep into symbols and their meanings. A new reader Jomel was very assured when he read. Powerful voice. Derrick Blakjey opened with a presentation of his t-shirts with the truth slogans on. I didn't impose a time limit so I took it to the razor's edge leaving Alaska until last. I feel she got the best audience that way because anyone who stays until the end is a trooper. The staff were clearing up as she started reading. She did a half-hour and Jasmine turned up during it. 30 minutes seemed like 15. Her version of Neil Diamond's 'America' had us entranced and spellbound. Quotable quotes from my hastily scribbled notes.'When Bush crept into the White House I left the country.. [She did what Alec Baldwin didn't]..The Weekly World News told me that Bush was endorsed by aliens...America, you are more shades than red, white and blue. Are you waving the flag or is it waving you. America, hike up your skirt and show a little thigh... Uncle Sam is a registered offender in 50 states..' She did an Elvis haiku ' Elvis is alive/He lives up the street from me/and works at Walmart'. One last thing. Is anybody going to Minneapolis for the Nationals. If so, could I hitch a ride? Willing to pitch in for petrol. Otherwise I'm stuck with the Greyhound again. Exorcist signing off.

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 7.29.02

Jewels In A Box

Hard-core poetry trivia fans know that now famous Da Poetry Lounge started as a real lounge reading at the Jewel Box Theatre complex in Hollywood. However, very few people know that, with the move of Da Lounge to Greenway Court Theatre, life didn't stop at the Jewel Box. True, the focus shifted from poetry to music, but last night, poetry was brought back in style by yours truly.

Jewel Box Theatre Complex is the home of the monthly "music for the music's sake" showcase named Jiggy Mama's Jammin' Jam-O-Rama. I first discovered this venue thanks to my friends, The Tremors (a full write-up about The Tremors will be posted sometime in August), who performed there on the Father's Day weekend. Needless to say, I liked the intimate vibe of the place, and found myself talking to Jiggy Mama herself, inquiring about the possibility of showcasing some poetry along with music. She was very open to the idea, so on Sunday, July 28th, I found myself performing at her venue.

The whole evening was of top-notch quality. There were four musical acts and one poet on the program for the day. I got in somewhat late and missed half of the performance by Thomas Kugler. I did get to hear snippets from his vampire rock opera "Evensong," which was staged at the Jewel Box Theatre last summer. Tom is currently working on a new rock opera, and I am curious to know what it will be about. Frankenstein maybe? Guess, I'll just have to wait and see...

Musical acts followed each other in a smooth flow, with some poetry sandwiched in-between for a tasty artistic supper. The second musical act up on stage were two amazing ladies from the band named "It's Me Margaret." Of course, neither of them is actually named Margaret. But these ladies sure do rock! I have never thought a woman could play the guitar the way Leslie does. And Paula can Sing (with a capital "S")! You can check them out yourself by going to their website, www.itsmemargaret.com . Ilan Friedman was next with his mixture of folk, blues, and balad. Sometimes serious, sometimes comical, sometimes cowboy-style naive, and sometimes with heart-felt pain, Ilan's songs speak to every member of the audience. I seriously doubt there was anyone in the audience who didn't connect with at least one of his songs. And as his bio says, Ilan sings; he plays guitar; he writes a lot of songs; he'll make you think. I must add that Ilan plays harmonica, too... And mandolin... And banjo... And who knows how many other instruments. Check him out!

The last (but definitely not least) musical act for the evening was Peter Fuhry (pronounced like "fury"), who was not furious at all, but left the audience positively mesmerized. This former resident of San Francisco performed his set with the help of ethereal vocals and some guitar playing from a faerie-like redhead named K.J. It would be absolutely impossible to describe Peter's music in one word. He sounds like Pink Floyd meets Simon and Garfunkel meets Jean Michelle Jarre meets... Or if you prefer a little more poetic description, I'd say that, if angels could accompany themselves on electric guitars, they'd sound exactly like Peter and K.J. These two are still newcomers to this town, but they are bound to make waves and make them pretty soon. I'll be sure to keep you, LitRavers, posted. I have become an instant fan.

All taken into account -- free beer, donated home-baked cookies, awesome music sprinkled with poetry, and a friendly vibe -- Jiggy Mama's Jammin' Jam-O-Rama seems like a prefect place to hang out on a Sunday afternoon and early evening. So, stop by in August and tell Ashley (a.k.a. Jiggy Mama) Jelena sent you. You'll be warmly welcomed, I promise.

Jiggy MaMa's Jammin' Jam-O-Rama
$5 admission
Sundays, 5:00-9:00 p.m. (monthly)
The Cabaret Cafe
The Jewel Box Theatre Center
1951-1959 Cahuenga Blvd.
(between Franklin and the 101)
for information and reservations call 323-469-4434

Jelena's Website: http://jelena.iuma.com

Wayman Barnes 7.26.02
Poets on the Half Shell

Allrighty, you Silverlakers! There is a new poetry venue in your neighborhood and it is in one of the least likely spots you can imagine: the Council Offices of Eric Garcetti. Yep, you read that right. And it is hosted by Carlye Archibeque. And if that is not enough to get you off your butt and heading up Sunset, I don't know what will. Go, go, go! Read poetry and have fun.

Elijah - Widget Poem
Naomi Buckley - Lust in Room 657; My Great Grandmother Holds my Mother in Black and White; Ode to My Monkey Necklace
Nancy Garcia - The Horse of Love
Diane - Shadow Dissapears in an Alcoholic Incident; Feeding Nature's Creatures; The Waiting
Susan Ahdoot - Excuses; The Way Women Think; You're 25, I'm 37; Insomnia; Found Poem from an Old How to Understand Women Manuel; Idylwild Amphitheater; Ants
Wayman Barnes - Corporate Coffee; Filth Like This; The Saltiest Meat; Are You Real, Scooby-Doo?; How to Not Break-Up with Margaret
Frankie Drayus - Fucking Phillip Marlowe
Deborah Edler Brown - "He holds his gin ..."; Fault Lines; "Jerusalem"; Legacy; Shadows; A few haikus
William McKlein - The Urge Never Dies
Larry Jaffe - "T-t-trojans."
Monica Copeland - "This is the part of the dream I remember most ..."
Carlye Archibeque - Controlled Burn; Passing (Healey)

Poets on the Half Shell
Last Friday of the month
Open Reading: 7:00 sign up, 7:30 show
Open has a 2 poem or 3 minute time limit
Council Offices of Eric Garcetti
3525 Sunset Boulevard @ Maltman

The Exorcist 7.23.02
Exorcist posting: July 13th I found myself alone at the Hot Spot waiting for poets to turn up. Bronwyn was the first there. She wanted to wait for the other poets to turn up. I asked a couple of women on the sofa if they liked poetry and they said yes. Another couple with coffees in hand were looking for a spot to sit. I asked them if they liked poetry and they replied in the affirmative so I pulled up a sofa and plonked it down for them to sit in. I told Bronwyn we had a ready made audience and she reluctantly relented. Me and her alternated. The two women left after about 20 or so minutes but I was grateful for the time they spent with us. The couple weren't going anywhere. The husband had a lot of paperwork to work through. Eventually Christoph turned up and then Derek and then Kwame. As we didn't have a lot of readers but a growing audience I decided to let them all feature. I don't do things normally. I said if they can get past fifteen minutes each they've officially featured at the Hot Spot. One guy in the audience really soaked it up. His eyes closed and listening intently. He advised the poet to slow down. 4 poets all did fifteen minutes each and we had a great night and the couple stayed until the end and shook my hand afterwards. So an evening of poetry went down because people who came there for coffee were receptive to poetry.

The Hot Spot
Saturdays at 8
Tanner's Coffee - Culver City
4342 Sepulveda Blvd.
(two blocks south of Washington Blvd.)

Yosh 7.22.02

and what happens when it all comes tumbling down
when all the things learned to feed into are false.
and these not be the concepts of morality
yet the American TV spirituality,

these things that filled the down time, now become the up time,
and the famous-actor-rockstar-curtsey is not enough.
and what happens when the money doesnt seem so tough?

I turned off the TV the other day,
leaving its stars in the satellite,
not accepting its bounce off the clouds,
to my dish, and into the box

I felt kinda funny at first.
looking around the room
filled with distractions
meant to do just that.

I turned off my computer even.
and blanked staringly into the silence
looking around for something,
anything, to fill the void.

I hid my music, my cigarettes, my book, my bong...
and found there was a sound there all along...
still, I didnt know what to do.

I took off all my clothes, and showering
put on new ones in their place.
Opened a new pack of underwear
as well new socks taboot
I cleanly dressed and combed my hair
and thought about life at its root.

I thought about a white blank sheet of paper
and the power it held in the world's eye
its nakedness as it dances within my desk,
until chosen to be written within a specific purpose.

Right then and there,
I decided to quit everything...
no more smoke, no more toke,
no more drink, much more think.

a beautiful day had turned outside,
as the morning mist had subsided
into nature's subconscious splendor
relating the possibility of simplicity
and the desire to awaken the stars.

when evening fell, I wandered miles
seeing the fleeting smiles,
of yesterdays sunshine.

I rose with the sun the morning after,
and within my laughter prayed,
that I was simply still, alive.

©2002 by Yosh
Yosh's Website: http://www.yosh.net/

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 7.19.02
Battle to the Last Mic Standing

Yeah, I'm talkin' 'bout Battle 4 L.A. Slamming poetics at its best... A must see event. And you only have one more chance left -- the end of this month at the Ugly Mug in Orange. But before that, let me tell you about the one that took place at Green in Mar Vista last night.

Of course, the L.A. Team was hosting, Damon was MC-ing, DJ Jedi was spinning, judges were judging, poets were slamming, audience was enjoying... you get the picture! And it was hot, both literally and poetically. And no, Talaam was not singing. He was just telling us about "la-la-la-lies." (Hats off to Mr. Acy!) Steve was spinning "straw to gold," Sekou was confessing he did some "dumb shit," Reeves not only "rocked the mic but tipped it" (literally), Omari did everything "backwards," George met us only "in passing," Gimel mesmerized us with his music, while Shihan "saw truth" while writing in the dark, and the ladies (Bridget, Gina, Thea, Rachel, R-A-C, Jaha, Dufflyn, and Mindy) knocked us off our feet. After all was said and done, Long Beach team (2 original members short and helped by George and Mindy) finished in fourth place, Los Feliz team (despite Reeves getting the highest scores of all poets that night) was third, Los Angeles was 0.2 points short of the first place, and the big winners of the Battle (and as it looks the winners of the war) were the Hollywood's hottest four.

If I had any money to bet on the National Slam winner this year, I'd put it on Hollywood team. They are so hot, it's stupid! And they all have awesome product to sell. Apart from the official team CD featuring Talaam Acey, Steve Connell, Bridget Gray, Sekou tha Misfit, GaKnew, and Shihan most of them have their hotter than hot individual CDs. I'd recommend purchasing one from Talaam, Steve, Sekou and Bridget each when you see them. I also highly recommend Jaha (Los Feliz team) and Gina Loring (L.A. team). Both of these sisters are hotter than hot, each in her own way, and they have CDs to prove it. So, buy, buy, buy... support the teams, and help the Los Angeles area take the 4 winning spots in this year's nationals!

Nicole D. Sconiers 7.19.02

Drama at The World Stage

The World Stage is set for drama. Somber red lights penetrate the darkened room like someone's basement party, casting crimson shadows on the jazz greats lining the walls. The stage is right in your face as poets give it to you raw, uncensored and uncut. For most, the revolution has not only been televised, it has pre-empted their regular scheduled programming.

On this night, AK Tony ponders poetically if black people will ever be able to find the god in one other, instead of always looking at the external packaging. Another brother speaks bitterly about seeing his estranged wife driving by with her new man in a car he was still paying for. An older dread locked woman in a wheelchair remembers attending a Miriam Makeba concert for unity in Nigeria, while simultaneously being shunned and taunted by other Africans because of her disability.

"Bleeding edge" lyricist Taalam Acey, who featured, took us through the range of human emotions from love to joy to hate. The international slam champ brought the house down with "When the Smoke Clearz," his ode to sellouts in hip hop. Taalam had us wondering along with him if "some of these emcees sit down and consciously try to figure out how to get more young black men shot /how to deliver more young black souls into the hands of the cops. . ."

Pain is palpable in this room, and some poets wrap it around their fists like props to bludgeon the audience into consciousness. There are threads of comedy interwoven between the pathos, like the head-wrapped sister trying to differentiate between love and lust, and comparing her boy toys to trees: "your smile swept across my reality, tantalizing, as a brisk spring breeze/can we be trees in our forest of love?"

The World Stage is more than a work out room for the next Saul Williams or Sonia Sanchez. It's a haven for poetic performers trying their best not to be upstaged by life.

The World Stage features a 7:30 p.m. poetry workshop, followed by a 9 p.m. open mic Wednesdays at 4344 Degnan Blvd., in Leimert Park Village. Phone: (323) 293-2451.

Nicole's Website: www.california-schemin.com

The Exorcist 7.19.02

Exorcist posting: I had my first opening night of my poetry spot 'The Hot Spot' this Saturday (Editor's note: This review was actually written two weeks ago, but took a while to travel thru cyberspace to get to us.) and it was a great success. 14 people were there and ten of them read. I met a guitarist called Jennifer Vazquez on 3rd street promenade and invited her down and she came. Her music was very relaxing. Her, Michael Seltzer and Kwame opened with music and ended with same. It was an idea I had to bookend the poets with music and everybody dug it. Lee Sloka did a funny poem about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Asian version. Julie Beemis, Liz Abu Baka, Steve Baratta and one of the girls behind the counter read as well. She asked near the end if she could. Derrick Blakey, who came later on also read. So the Hot Spot is cooking, folks. Come on by and give it a try. No need to ask why. Just come on by. There's a huge table that your poetry gets displayed on for sale. Tuesday at the Lounge was all about Steve Conell. He blew us all away with a really trippy poem about wanting to be a ninja, but there was more to it than that. Unsaen did a Mr. Roger's piece that alluded to pedophilia. It wasn't well received but not everybody gets Unsaen. He partnered with Slim again. Calm and Crazy. Opposed Thumb rocked it. Mark Schaeffer did an excellent wordplay. Thea railed against an ex-boyfriend. Exorcist signing off.

Wayman Barnes 7.18.02
Jewish Voices in the West

The Autry Museum of Western Heritage has a wonderful monthly poetry brouhaha you should check out. It is a themed reading, based on the current exhibit in the museum, i.e., Jewish Voices in the West. The featured poets (No open mic, sorry guys!) are given a tour of the museum earlier in the month by one of the curators. And, being thus inspired, they read poetry that comments on and hopefully illuminates the theme. Cool, hunh?

The greatest part about this is that the Autry is free on Thursdays, so if you go early, you can go look at the exhibit yourself and be mulling over your own thoughts of what you've just seen while listening to the poets. Depending on the subject matter and the poets, this can become a very moving and intellectually stimulating experience. And one you probably won't forget for a long time.

Last nights reading was, as stated earlier, Jewish Voices in the West. Larry Jaffe, the host, got the evening kicked off in the right direction by putting on his yarmulke in front of a large mural of old west cowboys. Jim Natal was very impressive. Especially, because he had to keep the audience's attention while scores of noisy kids were running by. Maggie Jaffe was, for lack of a better word, ballsy. She did a poem that was inappropriate for the room. It was a long piece about the comedian Lenny Bruce, with many of his jokes, profanity and all, being repeated verbatim. I watched four people walk out shaking their heads. I, as you can imagine, was having a great time. The final poet of the evening, Julia Stein, did pieces where she had reinterpreted stories from the Bible, sang the praises of forgotten "Yiddish" women, and hiking around the Santa Monica mountains.

And for you Big Band aficionados, during the summer months, the Autry is having outdoor dances. This was well attended (as was the poetry reading, by the way) and looked like a lot of fun.

Come for the poetry, stay for the dancing! And learn a thing or two about history!! The Autry Museum of Western Heritage!!! Yeah!!!!

Featured Poets:
Jim Natal - His Gift; Taken on Faith; Moses; Stereoscope; Heirloom; Filter(?); Rest Area
Larry Jaffe - I'm a Poet, Dammit!
Maggie Jaffe - Heinman(?); Oppy; Brecht; Lenny Bruce; War of theWords
Julia Stein - Eve Forgives; Hagar in the Desert; Harlot on the Roadside; Ruth Confesses to Moab; The Maid of Ludamere; Saw a Maronnas in Mexico; (?); Beginning of the Good Times; Mountain Lion; March in the Santa Monica Mountains; Hole in the Wall; After the Firestorm

Another West: Poets From Our Community
Third Thursday of every month
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., FREE
Autry Museum of Western Heritage
Located in Los Angeles's Griffith Park where the Golden State (5) and Ventura (134) freeways meet, the Autry Museum is across from the Los Angeles Zoo.
323.667.2000, ext. 397

Wayman Barnes 7.17.02

My notes from Green

Nice space. Like the GREEN graffiti on the wall.
Damon Rutledge - The night has just started and he is already threatening us with bad jokes. Groan!
Wow, what a beautiful voice. Didn't catch the singer's name.
D-Lite - Piece starts off very joyous with him dancing like a madman, then gets very sad. Daring stuff.
Ratpack Slim - Excellent, "Give us the recipe for THE SPARK"
Raymond Witter - I can't remember any of it! (Inside joke. He did his Men in Black piece and at one point erased our memory).
Orje - Powerful poem about high school and living in projects.
Bronwin(?) - A love poem for someone who doesn't love her back.
Tyronn & Joey - Impressive political rap
Marcus - Great poem
Me - Jesus and the Two Older Women
Dante - Intense.
Unsaen - I'll never be able to listen to the song "Ol' Man River" in the same way.
Mr. Young - Supreme the Bachelor
Sekou Tha Misfit - Insomnia from his new double CD. Buy it!
Benjamin - The piece really moved, dig!
Krispy - "Jesus smoked a blunt."
Jovan - A great poem about his grandmother.
Cindy J. - "One Effected Bitch."
Dufflyn - Is that the infamous negligee/PoHo Dufflyn? Wow. An internet poetry celebrity.
John Hensley - Cool poem about myths and the future.
Omari- Reads a poem by Christmas Rini. Wow. One of the most powerful pieces I have heard in a long, long time.
Damon - "Gentle Man"
Freestyle Jam - Impressive and intimidating.

Thursdays at 8:30
Billiards Inn
12255 Venice Blvd