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Charlotte O'Brien 4.13.02
Rachel Kann DOES the TEMPLE BAR

For those of you who don't already know, poetry has a new face and it's the face of Rachel Kann. A friend of mine once described this Woman as "the hardest working woman in poetry" and she absolutely is. Not only does Rachel run two different nights at the Knitting factory but she is involved in groups like "Hip Hop Opera" and rumor has it she was recently published in a book with a spine as opposed to staples! But I gotta tell you nothing comes closer to having completely flipped the poetry world on it's royal penniless butt than what I saw her do at The Temple Bar a couple of Friday nights ago.

For some time now poetry has been something couched in coffee shops. Poets pouring their hearts & souls out to groups of other poets. It's still kinda like that now except that there are things called "slams" and generally none of us are quaking behind an iddy biddy bit of paper. Yeah we know that poetry was raging in the hands of the beatnik poets in the fifties, but since they republished "Howl" it seems to me that the general public lost interest. Nope, poetry just ain't shocking any more …except this. This is gonna get their undivided attention. So if you've ever seen one of Rachel's shows before at the Knitting Factory then firstly, you know how good her poetry is. Secondly, you know that Rachel likes to mix it up a little. Her regular DJ at Co-lab:ORATIION and Cromosone X is DJ LYNK. And if you don't know this too then I'm telling you that this guy is hot and together they are one unstoppable team. I saw them do "Haunted by want/Guided by don't need" a performance poetry show by Rachel and he just knows her rhythms and her rhymes and he's there with her underlining every word, intonation, every pause. Add LEGGO on keyboards and BessKepp as a guest feature and you have yourself some fucking phenomenally shit hot something that goes beyond – no, wait- waaaaaay beyond poetry.

What is it exactly? Well, Rachel calls these guys her "band", but it's not really a band but also not really poetry. I don't know how to define it exactly, but I know what I saw and I know what it does and I think I can see where it's going. So let me try and explain what I saw. I showed up a little late and instantly wished that I hadn't. It wasn't that Rachel is hotter than a young version of Liza Minelli in Cabaret. Or that her "band" was creating the most amazing atmosphere …it was the crowd that got me. I mean, let me qualify for a second …when you walk into a room and sit around and wait for things to happen, well you're just kind of there when things do happen, you're already in the thick of it when things get going. Walking in marginally late meant that I got to walk into a predetermined atmosphere. Let me tell you, these guys were rocking out. The first thing that struck me was that the crowd was huge. Especially, particularly for poetry. Secondly these guys were really getting into it. Heads were swaying hips were swaying ... hell, whole bodies even. People were really listening. Not only that. interacting. I was instantly taken by the performance. I had to push through some reluctant bodies and stood at the front listening to pieces I'd heard before in a whole new light. Listening to poetry itself in a whole new light. When I turned around again I realized that the whole of the back room of the Temple Bar had filled up. Not only were people who I knew from the poetry scene listening, but people who I could tell knew nothing about poetry were starting to filter in from the other room. Yes, you guessed it: people who weren't interested in poetry were suddenly listening to (yes you guessed it) poetry.

So not only do you have to go check her out, but give it UP for the hardest working woman in poetry. She brought poetry to the masses and the masses came to watch. I'm here to tell you; this shit ain't going back to no coffeehouse. This shit is here to stay and getting bigger. Hooray! For someone who's found a classy way of making poetry accessible to dummies and also found a way to make money doing something we're all so passionate about. In short, my friends & I have been predicting this shift in poetry from coffeehouses to nightclubs for some time now. I am so pleased to have been able to experience the catalyst in this brilliant transformation and pleased to announce that it's got Rachel Kann's face, name and bitchin' poetry ALL OVER IT!

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 4.10.02
Off-Court Slam-Dunk

A few years back, if I remember correctly, there was a song that took the nation by storm: Macarena. These days, a new craze is taking Los Angeles by storm: Slamarena.

Oh man, oh man, oh man!!! Da Poetry Lounge was the scene of the hottest show last night: part 1 of the Hollywood/Miracle Mile Slam Semi-Final series. The house was packed to the point of bursting, the judges were merciless, and the poets were sizzling hot. From the calibration poets (Unsean an Jelena, who both qualified for the Los Angeles Slam semis, and In-Q, a Miracle Mile Slam semis qualifier), over the feature (Inimitable Michael Cirelli, a.k.a. C-note, the 2000 Oakland Slam champion) to all 8 competing poets, the fire kept burning white hot.

Competition started with Sekou tha Misfit, who admitted to doing some "stupid sh**" for love and scored 29.7 in the first round. Besskepp went second to score 28.3, followed by R-A-C and her bitter "baby daddy" poem which got her 28.9 points. She was followed by Steve Connell and the very first perfect score (30) of the night. Javon (the Golden Child) opened with "This is a f**k poem" only to admit that all he really wanted was love. Obviously, judges were quite moved by this and awarded him 29.8 points. Azikiwe followed by scoring 28.1, and Gaknew (cheered on from the sidelines by his Mom and a bunch of relatives) went on to score 29.8. Thea was the last poet in the first round. She took everyone off guard with her bad-sex poem, which was quite appreciated by the judges (29.7 points), but she went way over time. After the time penalty of 2.5 she ended up with only 27.2 points.

In the second round, the order in which the poets read was reversed. Pretty soon, it became obvious that a hot battle for the 3 finalist spots would be raging between Steve Connell (who scored another perfect 30), Gaknew (with 29.9), Javon (29.7) and Sekou (who scored a 30 but was hit with a 0.5 time penalty to bring him down to 29.5). Steve Connell got a standing ovation as he finished his second round poem claiming, " I am an American, and I have the right NOT to remain silent. And you should use this sh** against me!"

It seemed as though the drama of all previous rounds multiplied in the third. Besskepp was musing on things he would do if he "could rewind time," but since time could not be rewound, his 29.7 points were not enough to put him in contention for the top 3 spots in the competition. Steve Connell scored another 30 with another crowd favorite, "Straw to Gold." This secured him a winning spot with the perfect total of 90 points. Gaknew's scores added up to 89.5, which pretty much meant he would be one of the top three poets. Still, the suspense started building when Javon scored 29.7 and his "nemesis," Sekou, finally nailed a perfect 30. That put them both at a total of 89.2 and called for a "slam-off." Each of them had to perform one more poem, and after the judges had their final say, Sekou won by 0.3 over Javon. Now, I have to remind you that all poets slamming last night had to perform 3 new poems, different from the ones they used in qualifying slams (Sekou and Javon used 4 new ones each), which is no small feat. In addition, Steve Connell, Gaknew and Sekou will have to perform 2 more brand new poems in the finals on the 21st of May. So, who ever said being a slam poet was easy?!?

The Hollywood/Miracle Mile semis are continuing next Tuesday, April 16th, with a few more of the hottest L.A. poets: Rachel Kann, In-Q, Gina Loring, Shihan, Nafeesa Monroe, Slim, Omari, Bridget Gray, and Talaam Acey. If you want to feel the vibe, make sure to get there early. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the competition starts at 9:00 p.m. The admission is $3 which also buys you a raffle ticket. This week the prize was a DVD Player, and yes, it WAS a real one.

For more information about the show and directions to Da Poetry Lounge visit www.slamarena.8k.com

Wayman Barnes 4.8.02
Way to go Beyond Baroque! The Big Picture was a blast! It was great to see so many poets in one place. How many were there? 300? 400? And to whomever brought that white cake ... delicious. And the pepper wrap ... yummy. And that strange chocolately thing ... thank you, thank you, thank you!

Frankie Drayus 4.6.02
Kay Ryan and Honor Moore travelled from upstate and across the country to grace us with their amazing presence on Friday, March 21st at Beyond Baroque. The two women are radically different in every possible way - Ryan writes tight, blow-you-away-smart, slant-edged rhyme, and Moore is rather wordy with poems that are more like rambling spoken paintings...in fact she's a bit of a painting herself, standing in the spotlight in her flowing silks and Chinese beads. It's a testament to Grove Press that they would publish both of these women. Rather a wild pendulum swing for me as an audience member, but it was worth the ride Many of Moore's pieces were socially relevant - AIDS, rape, illegal abortion. Ryan on the other hand repeatedly made me laugh out loud, as much with her asides as with her actual material. I have never seen an artist strip and pare like she can; in her work, only the perfect words remain. And she does all this in form, with rhyme. It was one of those evenings when I left wondering whether I should even bother to write anymore. Note to Wayman: Kay Ryan did a poem on the Donner Party (after visiting Donner Pass) and *you* missed it. How can you ever forgive yourself?

The Exorcist 4.5.02
Exorcist posting: Tuesday at the Lounge Steve Connell rocked it. He wrote his flow specifically for Ashcroft who said it was unAmerican to question the government.'I am an american!' he shouted constantly throughout the poem. Basically let him know that he would always question. Half the audience gave him a standing ovation. Talaam did his 'I'll make your nipples harder than your life is' poem. That line always gets the audience going. He didn't finish the poem. Verbal foreplay then left the ladies hanging. He said you'd need to buy the cd to hear the rest. One guy played guitar and sang. Slim did a great piece that he described as a comfort poem. One of his best I feel. Nafeesa did a new piece. Verbal Toxicity was his usual crazy self. He was described as Unsaen's brother. Unsaen hugged him when he was finished and shouted out 'Separated at birth!'.'I'm gonna kill someone' was Unsaen's catch line when he flowed. C-Bone flowed with a female partner. Thursday at Green Unsaen dropped a cool wordplay when he said he gave a girl cunnilingus because he's a cunning linguist. Another guitarist did a great piece to promote his upcoming show. He started the night and Damon chose to have him end it. He had Kwame team up with him. They sang his song 'Microcosm'. A few false starts made it all the more exciting when they finally found their groove. Talaam was there to promote his 'Code Blues' cd party April 5th. 'I haven't done my job until at least one judge cringes... the floorboard singes... till I've cracked your contact lens so it resembles the symbol Mercedes Benz'. The essence of the piece was that he writes for himself not just for slams. Exorcist signing off

Wayman Barnes 4.5.02
Hey! Way to go Rachel Kann and co-lab:ORATION!!! Happy one year anniversary from your friends at LitRave.

7021 Hollywood Blvd
(corner of sycamore, 1 blk e of la brea)
5 bux

The Exorcist 4.4.02
Exorcist posting: Strange night at Midnight Special last Friday. I have attended regularly for just over a year and it was the first time I'd seen less than 20 poets read. Only 10! Christmas hosted because Reverend Dave had to be somewhere else. Intense poem more of a story really. One poet said he was taking a crap and heard a guy outside his cubicle. He worked out he was in a wheelchair and was asking a guy if he could pull down his trousers for him in the cubicle as he was unable to. The boy said nervously that he had an appointment somewhere. He thought to himself that he should volunteer as the guy was being less than a man but then he felt that this moment was the man's to do the right thing. The wheel chair bound apologized for not being able to do it himself. He added to it saying he'd need help putting them back on again. The potential volunteer was almost crying but finally relented. The story affected me and the others who heard it. Saturday Thea featured at Mia's. She got quite an ovation at the end. One girl did a really good song Tuesday at the Lounge which was her own material. I think on this night the poetry was more political than I'd ever heard it. One guy did a poem about his insanity and being in a straitjacket and asking Alice why she was chasing after the Rabbit. He said he searched for his mind and when he found it it asked him why he head to go and look for it. One girl did a great poem about the various nationalities that take their black men and how she intended to do the same with their men. She worked through Asian, white and Latino. To the Asian she said she wanted to feel his Hidden Dragon.'Once you go yellow, you'll always be mellow'. Imagined having a picket fence and cottage with the white guy.'once you go white, you're rich' was greeted with thunderous applause from the women. The reference to the Latino was the tightest. Thursday at Green was the final slam before the semi's. One judge was really raw. Talaam scored the only perfect set of 5 tens. Seiku took it overall though. Slim did 'Master Pop Money'. Gevon did his 'This is a fuck poem'' the metaphors dripping from your lips....and find out if there really is no wrong way to eat a Reese's Pieces'. Seiku did a really hot Uncle Fourlips piece. He said after he finds your g-spot he then searches for H,I and J. On Friday I went to Words, Gaknew's spot on Robertson. Midnight Records. It was his first week hosting. You go up National from Venice and hang a right. C-Bone was one of the poets with a female partner. There were a few new faces. Saturday me and Unsaen did spoken word at Club 56 on Santa Monica Blvd. It was a disco night but they wanted some spoken word flavor. Exorcist signing off.

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 4.4.02

Architecture and Un-Urbanism

Now, think about it... Who would you expect to see reading poetry at a place called Un-Urban Cafe? Cowboy poets maybe? Wrong! Still, I must say the place felt quite un-urban to me on Wednesday night.

Let me clarify... I don't mean "un-urban" in a derogatory sense of the term. It was just very different from urban style hip-hop poetry joints I am used to: very subdued, unpretentious, and very, very accepting of absolute beginners. Un-Urban is one of those places where you can go and read a poem you think completely sucks to make sure that other people think the same. Still, you won't be booed off the stage or ridiculed for it. Or you can go and read some academic style poetry and still be accepted the same way as a typical slam poet would be. Heck, you can even try out your new comedy routine, and nobody would complain either.

So, if you have a need to feel unconditionally accepted, go over to Un-Urban on any given Wednesday night. While you are there, say 'hello' to Tony, the host, mention you heard about the reading from Litrave, and make sure to order one of those Ginger Elixirs from the juice bar. Mmmmmmmm... Spicy and Sweet! Just like your humble reporter.

Wayman Barnes 4.3.02
Disturbin' the Un-urban (One Year Anniversary Raid)

It was a year ago today (Okay, tomorrow) when we had our very first LitRave open mic raid. That's a good reason to celebrate, right? Of course, we haven't aged a bit. And the Un-Urban looks exactly the same. And Tony is still hosting. And reading the poem about France.

Or is he?

Maybe you need to go there and find out for yourself.

Poets: Tony, Tony, Steve, Adam Lowis, Alex, Frankie Drayus, Rev. Dave, Jelena Andjelkovic, Thaine H. Allison Jr., Greg, Wayman Barnes, Peggy DeBreer, Dana Snow, Joel, Jordan, & Patrick.

The Un-Urban Coffeehouse
Wednesdays at 8 pm
3301 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica

Wayman Barnes 3.31.02
Pete Justus did a wonderful feature at Mia last night. It was nice to here poetry about very complex subjects like Vietnam and the Middle East. Lots to think about.

Anon 3.25.02
I posted this anonymously at underground.net (very interesting site) as a reply to a brief article by "Im the Moron" in which the question of the mainstream news media's role (read: "culpability") in the present-day current of events was raised.

The Main Stream

In the early years of the twentieth century, as radio came on line to whiten the water in the river of information pouring out of the print publications that had already been overflowing the streams of consciousness of the people living in this "land of the free," the public was faced with a new kind of threat to its well-being. For the first time in recent western history, the mass of the populace knew too much. They had, quite literally, more information than they knew what to do with. Can you imagine the anxiety that a Mississippi shopkeeper (or his dear wife) develops reading about the escalating crime rate in New York as a result of the influx of overseas immigrants. His country, he's told, is being overrun, and there's not a God-blessed thing he can do about it from his home in the backwoods of BFE.

Thankfully, some marketing genius came up with a brilliant solution, a way to put all that intellectual runoff to work: crossword puzzles! It worked kinda like a hydroelectric dam for the collective conscious (and unconscious, though noone really considered that at the time). All those stories about all those un-met people, all those un-visited places, could be deconstructed into their component facts and conglomerated into a huge, brimming resevoir of minutiae from which the people could dispassionately select the appropriate match to the random clue provided to give vent to the pressures of a generally overdeveloped sentience. The trick is--and this is the best part--crosswords aren't random at all! (Do you think all those words line up like that on their own? Nosireebob!) We, the people, were now at liberty to dump all that otherwise useless educational effluvium right into the grid and turn it into (you guessed it!) PROFITS! Think of it, the news media could finally do their part to relieve the burden of information overload that it had unwittingly(?) placed upon a naive populace, all the while increasing marketing appeal with a new feature for the "entertainment" section.

Of course it wasn't long before someone started compiling collections of crossed words to appease the pangs of addiction developing in the minds of the masses as their tolerance increased for this new prescription for their psychosis (not to mention that everyone's little zen teacup was still being poured into from the oceans of international politics and economic forecasting and editorial opinions and advertising, f'sheezy). So the burgeoning crossword industry kept supplying the market with what amounted to an empire of gridwork into which every thought anyone is thinking about anything at all can fit right into place with a new set of thoughts prefabricated to organize all this anxiety-ridden mess into an image of order and balance.

Why then, in the twenty-first century, do we still feel two oars short on a whitewater rafting expedition?

Frankie Drayus 3.25.02
Women in Focus: Leslie Monsour & Marilyn Chin
15 March 2002

Never assume anything about a poet until you see/hear her in person. I went to another reading in the LACMA Writers in Focus series curated by Laurel Ann Bogen and Alicia Vogl Saenz, which is always a special event partly because how often do you get to hear poetry on the third floor of the modern art gallery? There you are surrounded by visual art, some of it literally jumping from the walls, and then the reading proceeds to envelop you in spoken art. The effect is almost overwhelming but mostly it's just wonderful. Leslie Monsour turns out to be an accomplished form poet with an extremely sweet voice and a subtle sense of humor. What a wonderful surprise, as I'd gone knowing next to nothing about her. And Marilyn Chin isn't nearly as angry in person as she seems to be on paper or in printed interviews (although I'm still sure she could kick my butt). :) She did a piece based on 12-bar blues that had almost everyone nodding along, so forget anything you were thinking about museum readings needing to be stodgy. Both women were quite entertaining, and I'm really happy I gambled on going out in the rain on Friday night. The series is once a month, and your museum ticket will get you in for free. (Extra secret: street parking is free after 7 pm on Wilshire.) www.lacma.org

Yosh 3.24.02
seditious libel

I'm getting armed.
education to drop silence
on my sweet surrender
to the law

either way, things must be done
and done there's always more.

violently overthrow your self
and stop telling your self today's lies

you will definitely create a new mess
yet you still have to clean up the house

I learned the other day
that I was so worried about copyrighting everything
that I forgot all about the First Amendment
and what it means to me

I forgot about Schenck Gitlow and Brandenberg
I forgot about Whitney Tinker and Hazelwood
and the Pentagon Papers and Ginsberg

sometimes I spew radical bitterness an obvious detraction
for religions that I perceived have done wrong,
for politicians that I perceived have done wrong.
one could even say I have philosophical turrets
never holding back and just releasing what is on the tip
of my lip...

and once again I try
to violently overthrow myself
and remind the re to mind.

I started doing research.
checking in and checking up.
i found that thru a prophetic use of capitalism
we've created such an imbalance
that rascism isn't even the big -ism anymore...

we are poorists, age-ists, uneducatists, and economicsists.

we are constantly caught
between making as much money as we can
and giving away anything we can afford

we are republicans and democrats
(only a few votes apart)

american media slavery told me what to think last week,
and I listened to it intently wondering if there would be no end,
no beginning to the madness of the hook I am assembled with.

I want that quarter pounder with cheese for 99 cents,
and I want it now. Why do they advertise if they dont deliver?

I would never go into mcdonalds,
but right now, right here on this couch,
I testify to the amount of desire that last commercial made me feel.
I want to consume til my doom, and never run out of money.

violently overthrow yourself.
and stop telling your self today's lies.

think capitalism sucks?
well too bad, cause it ain't going anywhere,
you gotta deal with it
cause it's America to stay.
and you wonder why I want more and more.

I grew up believing in the 1st
thought I could say how I felt
and no one could stop me.
I gave poetry to police officers
and there was nothing they could do.
(unless I advocated the violent overthrow
of the government.)

Violently overthrow your self
and stop believing your own lies.

I tried to stop believing my own lies
and started listening to the sounds

Birds Chirping, People Singing,
spiritual libel being preached.

I heard oral sex was illegal in 46 states.

I heard that the reason we were told
to eat from the 5 basic food groups,
had something to do with economics of depression,
and how U.S. farmers were going out of business.

I heard Phish and Dave Matthews, DMX and Tupac Shakur,
Jerry Garcia and Roger Waters, Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

I heard Shaq and Kobe, Jordan and Pippen
and something about how the “Big O” was the best player ever.

I heard, “I am the greatest fighter who ever lived” from Ali.
I heard, “I am totally crazy-like” from Tyson.

And then Art and Paul,
described the sound of silence.

so I sat.
and listened.

©2002 by Yosh

The Exorcist 3.22.02
Exorcist posting: Tuesday night at the Lounge was a slam night. Shiloh the Iron Scepter competed for the first time ever and gave a good account of himself with a 27.6. This slam was tough. Only 27.8 and above got through to the second round. So Azekwe just scraed it with that score and yet he ended up in a tie off with Omari which Omari won by a tenth of a point only which remninded some of L.A.'s loss to Dallas by a tenth of a point. Slim did his 'new vibes' piece. One new face, a girl froze for about 30 seconds. Poetri blanked out too on his road rage piece. Still one judge gave him a 9.6 for it. He didn't manage to get to the second round though. Azekwe aka 'Raw Daddy' was smoking. Very theatrical lying on the stage at one point 'nosebleed, I wipe my nosebleed'. Gevon said at one point in his poem that he didn't give a f### if the judges gave him a 10 or a 0 because he writes for himself. I loved Seiku's piece in which he railed at the Creator because he couldn't comprehend It's plan for him. An 'East Germany' judge gave him an 8.6. Poetri pretended he was going to rush the judge and had to be held back. I'd never seen anybody give Seiku less than a 9 before that day. It was also the first time I'd seen his brother Azekwe do better than him. Big Al killed it. He lay on the stage and kept trying to convince us that he wasn't a pimp or a player. He said his family in Atlanta kept trying to convince him to come back there. They told him that blood was thicker than water, referring to the girls that he didn't want to leave. He told his sister about the time she was staying with him and she kicked him out and he said a line that made us laugh loudly 'shit is thicker than blood'. Unsaen performed 'I'm nuts enough to do a u-turn on a one way street' and 'listen to the rhythm that I'm spitting'. The final round was unlike any other I'd seen. Seiku, Gevon and Gaknew had already qualified so it was only between Omari and Azekwe. Azekwe won the coin toss that would decide who would get the choice of going first or second. Omari won just about. Thursdy night at Green Mike Cirelli did his 'my tarnished heart blings' poem. The last piece in his chapbook. He said that the first and second pieces are the only serious ones. Unsaen did a piece that he should have done at the slam. He referred to Ezekiel 25:17 and then said '17? Is she legal'. Then he quoted it at the end and for a second I felt like I was listening to Samuel Jackson in 'Pulp Fiction' again. Krystal in her poem said Eve offered Adam the apple but he was the one that gave into curiousity. A virgin to Green, Aleesia, did a quick two liner before her poem.'Oh shit, I'm sprung. It wasn't your cock but your tongue.' She did a poem about being a groupie and draining the stars she worships. 'you give us more and you disappear'. Jorge did a love poem and then he did a pain poem. A response to a teacher questioning his patriotism. Exorcist signing off.

Mike the Poet 3.21.02
Larry Jaffe has been hosting shows in LA for years.. He's the halfway point between Beyond Baroque & Da' Poetry Lounge.. Larry & Ram host the UN Dialogue of Poetry.. This crowd is a great mix of LitRavers, Totem Maples, Poets of the Round Table, the OnyX CrowD, Raindog.... Lummox & ScotT Wannberg..

His cohost Brandon Backhaus is one to watch.. Read Brandon's interview with Mack Dennis.

Brandon's interviews are insightful & charged..

Check their website for more details..

9015 Sunset

Hosted by Larry Jaffe & Brandon Backhaus

also Brandon' poem below

"Talkin' bout......

I'm talkin bout…
mud squishing between my toes or running ‘cause oyster shells hurt my feet the wavering trail squiggling behind nutria navigating a ditch and mosquito-hawks splatted on the windshield.

I'm talkin bout…
green flat boats and hurricane fencing, St. Augustine grass so thick it kills lawnmowers, especially ones you put together yourself from parts, sidewalks cracked, pond across the street, ferry rides across the river and DAMN! Chalmette stinks - petroleum apocalypse towers blink into the night so hot you break a sweat taking the trash out!

I'm talkin bout…
king cake and plastic baby Jesus, Catholic elementary schools, canals for back yards, tailgates and dangling legs while shucking oysters on the carport!

I'm talkin bout…
alligators as road kill, scoop nets and minnows, snapper turtles and fingernails

I'm talkin bout…
eight ball Harvey tunnel and ballparks, water towers, and woods

I'm talkin bout…
volunteering to help Mr. Clarence the janitor to get out of goin to church, Baptism, my first Communion, Confession, Confirmation and condemnation, altar boys and stain-glass windows the "Our Father" immediately following the "Pledge of Allegiance"

I'm talkin bout…
dance schools and living room costume designers, scrabble with the old folks and roulette with the young

I'm talkin bout too many babies, contractors, cemeteries

I'm talkin bout gar fish, cat fish, fish fries, suck the heads, gumbo and chicken feet, b. b. guns and rubber soles, big ass weddings and roots

I'm talkin bout…
family-owned grocery stores and snowball stands laundromats

I'm talkin bout…
Maw Maws and Paw Paws, Nannies and god-mothers

I'm talkin bout porches and car ports, pirogues and Jean Laffite

I'm talkin bout jazz and zydeco, good old rock and roll

I'm talkin bout an oasis in a desert of bibles

I'm talking about…

Brandon Backhaus

The Exorcist 3.20.02
Exorcist posting. Shame on all those who didn't come to support Wayne's feature reading. It was hip in parts when he did 'Cool is more than a walk'. He was inspired when he said it to a black guy strutting and thought to himself that that would be a great title for a poem. It was very touching when he cried during his recital of a poem set to music for Della Reese's daughter that died. Monday night I went to DefJam poetry at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Shihan, Poetri, Thea, Steve Cornell and three others I didn't know recited about three times each. One of them was an Asian guy called Bohseeuh. Spelling it like it sounded. I really dug his flow. He was as manic as Jim Carrey on speed. In his first poem he said he would take any kind of acting job that came his way, even voice overs would be appreciated. In his second poem he said his scheme with poetry was to get the hook up with the women listening. I was stuck outside the main room watching it on one of their many TV's because I got there late. 1600 tickets were given out for a 500 capacity room probably to ensure a good showing. Exorcist signing off.

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 3.20.02
Aaaaaaahhhhh! Ooooooohhhhhh! The Big O!

No, not THAT Big O, you little dirty minds! The Big O stands for Omari, the winner of the last qualifying slam for the Hollywood/Miracle Mile 2002 Slam Team.

Last night at Da Poety Lounge, most of the LA's finest poets took stage to compete in the last qualifying slam of the season. After some extremely strict judging, it came down to the battle between Omari and Azikiwe. Now, these two are as different as day and night: Azikiwe's raw, hip-hop heavy, right-to-the-point rhymes against Omari's philosophical, spiritual and sensual old-school hip-hop ones. And let me tell you, they had the judges' heads spinning too! In the end, Omari came out on top by one tenth of a point (or 0.1 for those more numerically inclined).

If the book can be judged by its cover and a semi-final slam by its qualifiers, the next slam at Da Lounge will be hotter than hot. So, keep your eyes on www.slamarena.8k.com for details on the upcoming semi-finals... And this humble reporter will see you there.

Wayman Barnes 3.19.02
Charlotte O'Brien's feature at the Coffee Cartel was incredible. 'Nuff said.

Wayman Barnes 3.19.02

Redondo Beyondo & Beyond

The universe is expanding, they say. Started with a Boom! and has been bop-bopping along ever since. Same can be said for the Redondo Poets (did you just "ugh?"). It's true. When we did the Redondo Beyondo LitRave many months ago, we reported on what a great reading it was. And now, we can report, after doing the Redondo Beyondo & Beyond LitRave, that it is even better. The place is still packed, but this time everyone is focusing on the poets from the get-go. The mochas are still yummy, but this time the barrista doesn't seem put out to make it for you. Wanda Van Hoy Smith is still kicking out great poems, but this time … hell, Wanda was tops to begin with!

Go, go, go! It's not as far as you think. Thirty minutes on the PCH. Tell them we sent you.

Poets: Jim Doane, Heather, John Casey, Bruce Arnold, Dana Campbell, Frankie Drayus, Larry Colker, Charlotte O'Brien, Adam, Mike Powers, Zack Wolk, Wayman Barnes, Wanda Van Hoy Smith, Taurin, Travis Chamberlain

Tuesdays at 8pm
Coffee Cartel
1820 South Catalina Avenue
Redondo Beach

Wayman Barnes 3.17.02
Everyone should have been at Mia's last night. Wayne Slappy did an excellent feature. Very motivational. It left me feeling like the troubled teens he works with must feel after listening to him: ready to get my act together and conquer the world.

Thanks Wayne.

Saturday, 7:30
Tanner's Coffee
On Colorado Blvd. between 2nd & 4th Street, across from Sears
Santa Monica