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Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 2.9.02
In the beginning, there was the word and the word was... spoken.

Last night, some mighty words were spoken at the Pan-African Film Festival Spoken Word Fest. Thanks to Shari Randolph, organizer of the event and a (very) fine poetess herself, a stellar lineup of spoken word artists proved that the word is very much alive in Los Angeles.

The evening started with some poetry in motion from Da Tell, Denise Cooke and Toni Thomas, who danced to the jazzy sounds of the "Cream of the Crop" band. They were followed by a sister named Queen, and then beautiful (inside and out) Jaha Zainabu took the stage. After that, the female portion of the audience positively swooned over Talaam Acy, who was followed by Bridget Gray appropriately performing a piece about being a Black actress in Hollywood.

We didn't know what hit us when the wunderkind rapper trio, 3K, stepped up to tell us that all of this was "a family thang," and before long the whole audience was chanting, "It's a family thang!" When the dust settled, the white sheep of the family (or if you prefer it, my humble self) added some words to the mix, and Agyei offered some "speech for (y)our soul." He was followed by Issac, his harmonica and a poem about blues, and then it was time for the first featured poet of the night: Mr. Art.us Mansoir himself. First, he said (as he looked through the village), "people are in trouble," and then he went on to claim that "life is an amusement park." Through spoken word and song, he caused a "Slow Burn," so we all had to take a short break before the night could continue.

Second half of the show started with Roshawna Taylor who mused about the Black Man and told us it was time to "get our backs off the wall" and fight. Then, another treat was served -- the second featured poet who came down all the way from Oakland -- brother Marvin X. He had some words for everyone, starting with a poem for the women, and continuing with one about the Million Men March. Then, he asked us to "get back to the normal," and claimed that "Black history is the world history" and "The Negro knows everything." As though brother Marvin was not hot enough, Christian rap band, The Fishamen, set the place on (holy) fire. They were followed by Barbara Lee, Karen and Praya.

When Mr. Foster stepped up to the mic, everybody knew something unexpected was going to happen and yes, they were right. He started his featured reading with "Blue corduroy gangster house shoes," and followed by "Africa," "We struggle" and "In the thick of the night, hearing the sounds of the ghetto..." Then someone shouted out a request: "Have you seen her dance?" And Mr. Foster flowed smoothly about a woman he met on the dance floor... that is until Denise danced her way to him and had him forgetting his lines. Man! Was that a nice little kinky touch or what?!? So, to redeem himself, he closed with "They called me Nigga" and a poem to his wife (whom he has not met yet) asking, "May your stars belong to me?" A young brother, whose name I didn't catch due to the ovations Mr. Foster was receiving, ended the evening with a powerful poem telling "Young Black brothas, stop killing one another." What an opening night for the Spoken Word Fest!!!

And if you want to catch other hot spoken artists, stop by the PAFF Gallery on Thursday, February 14th and Friday, February 15th for the seconds and thirds. The stars like Rev. Sister Raedorah, Gina Loring, Babu, Gaknew, Angela Blount, Gimel, Elzie Alexander, DiAngela, and many, many others will make sure you walk away with your heart and soul nourished. For more information visit the Pan-African Film Festival website at www.paff.org

PAFF Spoken Word Fest
PAFF Gallery
3775 Santa Rosalia
(at the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills mall)

Thursday, February 14 at 10:00 p.m.
Valentine's Day Special - erotic and love poetry (adults only)
Admission $8

Friday, February 15 at 8:00 p.m.
Special guest: Medusa
Featuring: Wassett da Storytella
Admission $5

The Exorcist 2.7.02
Exorcist posting. Tuesday night at the Lounge wasn't off the hook. It was OFF THE HOOK!! There was a poet selling CD's who said he knew Poetri before there was a lounge. He got everybody repeating 'It gets you higher than herb. It's the spoken word.' Bowerbird got everybody repeating it later before his piece. I'd love to quote his piece but he doesn't want his flow written, only verbalized which is his prerogative. All I can say is that it was a great wordplay. Thea did the caterpillar to butterfly poem again. Seiku did a battle rap. Snowplough did a great poem about the plight of the Native Americans. One poet did a 'frat boy poem'. The frat boy said he wanted to 'plough the fields of love with a scrotum tractor'. One girl said a line in her erotic poem that had the whole crowd tripping for a minute or more before she could carry on. The line that freaked us out was 'if your size isn't a prize I'm sure my lips could hide you.' Unsaen's catch line chorus was 'Unsaen for mayor'. Someone in the crowd shouted out 'I'd vote for you'. He said 'I talk to myself like a mime that's depressed. I walk through walls so I can disappear. Disappointed that I'm still here'. Steve Conell killed it with what may be the best poem I've ever heard. His piece may have been about 7 minutes and he wasn't the feature but no way was he gonna get scratched. Every time he takes the mike it's an event. His catch phrase was 'I felt that shit'. Omari asked him to define poetry in a poem and he broke-it-down. I didn't know a single poet he named but people in the crowd sure did by the way they bobbed their heads. He seemed to cover the history of poetry. At one point he quoted a line from a Tupac rap and then said 'I felt that shit'. He said that every time he quoted a poet. He mentioned an 11 year old boy name Mattie Stepanek. Wheelchair bound with muscular dystrophy this child poet said 'we are all searching for our heart songs'. As someone said outside Unsaen and Steve were the best poets that night. They made it an event and I felt honored to have flowed on the night Steve did. I feel our lives are movies and that night at the Lounge I consider to be a 3 hour epic slice of our lifetime movie thanks to Steve. Exorcist signing off.

Wayman Barnes 2.5.02
Hey everyone down Pasadena way, the guys over at Hutch's BBQ are doing a lot to promote poetry. They are putting on two seperate shows every week. So if you get a chance go there and eat some BBQ or Jamacain food and thank them.

Hutch's on Friday
Hosted by Damon Rutledge and Poetri
$5 cover
There is an open mic
After the show there is dancing with two for one beers

Journey with Jaha Zainabu
Wednesdays at 8:30pm
No cover, no open mic


The Exorcist 2.4.02
Shout out from The Exorcist. First I have to let you know, Mike that I've never read TS Eliot. Called it as I saw it. Phil was around 7 minutes and the dj's fingertips were hovering above the record. Know what I saw because I was anxious for him I'd been scoping the DJ. That's lounge policy. Unless you're a feature more often than not they'll get you. I know I saw this because his flow praised DJ's so I watched anxiously hoping he wouldn't get scratched. Anyway on to the slam at Green. There were two poets competing that I had never heard before. Aquia and Strychnine. He said that was a nickname given to him. Me and 13 others competed in this. Aquia, Gina, Gaknew, Pojo Joe, Gevon, Danny, Strychnine, Nafeesa, El Rivera, Michelle, Unsaen, Jim Bolt, Bridget and Slim. Master Pop money took Slim a fair way. He scored a 29.5. The judges were harsh with Danny Boy giving him the lowest score. A 22.8. Not cool. Love his stuff. He always pushes the envelope. His piece dissed religion and I think that may have affected him adversely. El Rivera did a great piece about being ass to cheek with people on a downtown bus.'Get your purse out of my face/You're in my personal space. Ass to cheek, ass to cheek'. Unsaen had more of a political flow that night. He got through to the next round with a 29.4. Gina held back one of her best poems for the second or third round. I can't recall now. 'Somewhere there's a poem'. That's my favorite one of hers. I couldn't believe that the judges scored Nafeesa a 27 total. I'd never seen her get scored that low before. Never saw judges give her below 9 before but 3 of the judges took it there. Same with the judge that gave Gaknew a 6.5?! He was the harshest of them. One good thing he did was to provide Green with a better sound system. Green got upgraded that night. Strychnine had an ill flow. He made it to the second round. My favorite poem was Jim Bolt and his kid in a candy store mentality when he shopped in a 99 cent store. He said he hoped that one day everything could be bought for 99 cents. Tested the limits of his trunk with what he bought. Had so much money left over he gave a homeless person $20 so he too could sample the 99 cent store. I was feeling the poem because I bought a camera for 99 cents there. He didn't get to the second round though. He was scored 26.4. So we're down to Bridget, Unsaen, Slim, Gina, Gaknew, Gevon, El Rivera and Strychnine. El Rivera and Strychnine were the ones that didn't get to the third round. Five finalists because two tied. Never saw that before. Gimel and Poetri calibrated. Poetri went beyond '10/10/10' with a new piece. He told the judges that he understands how hard a job they have and he always defends their scores to the poets that feel they were scored unfairly. He asked for 9.9's and nothing below 9.8. Said if they thought he was sucking up to them they were right. Talked about his cousin Nick paralyzed from the neck up. Quoting an Unsaen riddle he said his aunt Edna died last night but before she died she told him he should get through to the second round. He was on his knees at this point saying that they should do this for his aunt Edna. Then he looked heavenward and screamed out her name and his cousin Nick's. Hilarious piece that brought the house down. So at the end Bridget and Unsaen tied for 2nd place with 58.6. Gina won with a 59.7. Gaknew would have come in 2nd but he lost half a point for going overtime. Midnight Special is so popular now that Dave had the list increased to accomodate 30 poets. Heard one of the tightest rhymes ever. A poet related in rhyme a true story about going home with a drunk woman in her car hoping to get some. Shades of 'Vanilla Sky' as it proved to be a harrowing ordeal. She drove on the wrong lane causing a Greyhound to swerve into a ditch. He told God he'd go celibate if he lived through it or stick to masturbation. Tried to convince her that he was gay. Nearing her home they drove into a tree and his head hit the windshield. He stumbled out the car and ran as fast as he could without looking back. One poet did a bizarre but humorous poem about his hand and another about his penis. One female poet got real erotic describing her tight wet darkness. Another poet spoke about a party he was at where people asked him what it felt like to be the son of poets. He said it was like dry humping a horse while trying to force feed it cocaine. Tom Green had nothing on this guy. The feature at Mia on Saturday was Greg Fontaine. Hope I got that name right. First feature I heard that did a bunch of short pieces. Came in at just over 15 minutes. Mia is getting more popular. People had to sit on the floor. Unsaen did the sequel to "Listen'. Danny Boy flowed. Michelle opened with an operatic piece and read later. This has been a report from the Exorcist

Wayman Barnes 2.4.02
The World Famous Comedy Store!!!

Wowie! Roni'z Backstreeet Poetri is happening, happening, happening: world famous venue, a funk band, def jam poets, great singers, big time comedians, and, of course, Roni Walters. She has to be, with the possible exception of Rachel Kann, the "hardest working woman in poetry." To pull off a show like this every month is no small fete and to have it be approaching its FIFTH year. Wow!

Happening! Happening! Happening!!!

Poets, musicians, and comedians: Poetic Funk, Ross, Roni, Maras, Hush, King Jaffe, Spoken, Goddess Mama, Miss Tammy, Eddie Griffin, Gina Loring, Leslie Neal, Wayman Barnes, McTate, Dan & Vicki Harris, Gimel, Poetri, Judas, and Tommy Davidson.

Roni'z Backstreet Cometri
First Monday of each month
Must be over 21
$5 cover plus two drink minimum
The World Famous Comedy Store
8433 Sunset Blvd.

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 2.1.02
Color-Blind of The World, Unite!

Y'all know those people who couldn't get a driver's license because they can't distinguish green from red? Well, last night, I discovered exactly how that feels 'cause Green threw me for a loop by being (sizzling) RED hot.

Yes, it was another monthly slam at Green, and yes, the house was packed again, and yes, the poets were bringing the house down, and yes, the judges were giving out 9.8s and 9.9s and even some 10s here and there. And then, we had the Magnificent Seven: Bridget Gray, Gina Loring, Gaknew, Ratpack Slim, Unsean, Jovan and Stric9. The battle in the second round was tighter than tight -- we even had a tie, and five (instead of four) poets were advanced to the final round: Gina, Gaknew, Bridget, Jovan and Unsean. Gina raised the roof with the poem about a poem she wanted to write. Bridget dared us to catch her in 5-4-3-2-1... Jovan talked about role models. Gaknew awed us with his personal experience of being a Black Man, and Unsean commanded that we should all Listen! After some time penalties (Gaknew) and another tie (Bridget and Unsean), the three qualifiers for the semi-finals were Bridget Gray and Unsean sharing the 2nd place and Gina Loring as the undisputed winner.

If the qualifying slams are as hot as this, you should definitely come see the semi-finals! And don't worry about turning color-blind: Damon will make sure to remind you that the venue is fresh and Green.

Mike the Poet 2.1.02
Yo Exorcist..
Let me quote you..
"It seemed ironic to me that Phil Harmonic did a poem praising DJ's making the poetry so long that he nearly got scratched by the DJ. His catch phrase was 'The revolution will be synthesized'".

Come on Exorcist!
How slammin' was the piece!
Gimel wasn't nowhere near
scratchin', Gimel was feelin' the piece...
Omari was feelin' the piece,
Slim was feelin' the piece..
Exorcist please...
you read a little too much
TS Eliot,
beat anthology,..
there was no irony!
da' lounge crowd was feelin'
the piece..
PhilHarmoniC rocked it..


The technology age arrives in music from DJs who sound provide

the points are not the points.
The point is poetry...


Leslie Moore 2.1.02
Hi LitRavers! I just saw "Pinero." Great movie. It probably won't be at the theaters too long so go see it as soon as you can. It's about the poet/playwright/actor Miguel Pinero (played by Benjamin Bratt) who co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in NY. Very sad life, but at the same time, very inspirational to anyone who is a poet or loves poetry, like me.

The Exorcist 1.31.02

Exorcist reporting on the happenings at the Lounge. One poet got half the crowd giving him a standing ovation. Basically he just released and got stuff off his chest. Very moving. He was in tears. Blasted prejudices that people hold. He quoted someone saying that 'The art burns away the impurities of the vessel that carries it.' I love that. He said poetry is his therapy and that we are his teachers. Macho announced just before Jamie did her flow that he had proposed to her on January 17th. I wonder if that means that we'll never again hear the 'Back to back' anti-love poem. I hope you get some flows from your feelings for each other Jamie that will rival the best love songs. Maybe you should write a love poem for each other on your wedding day like Smokey Robinson's wedding song. Jamie did the positive mental attitude poem that she said was the first one she'd ever recited at the Lounge. One poet brought a stool on to the stage. Bill Cosby vibe. His flow was like a conversation. He said he spells 'sex' as s.e.x. Broke it down as S piritual E nergy X change. Fresh. He said 'sex starts long before the actual act/ I fucked your mind long before I made contact'. My new thing. Scribbling this stuff in my notebook because the poetry is so tight now. He also said 'I guess that shit is right about how pressure bust pipes because your shit's been leaking all night'. Bowerbird and Mark Schaeffer teamed up again. Bowerbird stressed again and got us chanting that 'the points are not the points. The point is poetry'. Leads in to this slam on Thursday. I'll keep that in mind so I don't get bent out of shape about how I place. Mark said a mistake for him is 'M y I nadvertent S ystem T o A cquire K nowledge E ffectively'. Just as cool as the S-E-X breakdown. 2 in one night. One poet said 'I would reach up and cup the sun to provide shade for you, to cool the sands for your walk along the beach'. Poetri did his $100 million to give up poetry poem. SAm did his flow that starts off "Woman!". Macho and the Tunnel Rats closed the first half. Their album in stores as of yesterday. They said you can ask for it in any Warehouse. One guy in their group switched from rap to singing and it was tight. Shihan's wife is in the crew and there was another female emcee. Steve Conell blasted sell out rappers. Demanded new notes, new progressions, new chords. Unsaen said in his poem that he likes to masturbate to the classic greats. He sang as a chorus 'Can I borrow a cup of sorrow for tomorrow'. It seemed ironic to me that Phil Harmonic did a poem praising DJ's making the poetry so long that he nearly got scratched by the DJ. His catch phrase was 'The revolution will be synthesized'. One big girl did a poem that had the crowd in stitches. She said she was at a disco and bumped a skinny bitch dancing with a silk chocolate man that she wanted for herself until he smiled revealing gold teeth. Thea did a love poem and Bridget did a new piece. Nafeesa did her September 18th poem. Tatiana came correct again with another piece I hadn't heard before. Others that also took the mike were C-Bone, Gevon, Don and Gimel. Don did his poem about his superhero mum. I liked the line about her grilling his cheese with her iron and whisking him off to the hospital after he damaged himself jumping out of a tree trying to emulate a superhero. One poet who called himself Socrates did a great piece. Another one had us laughing talking about how in his love poem he made love to mother nature. This is the Exorcist signing out. Peace

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 1.30.02
Somewhere Over The Rainbow...

The Rainbow Room, that is. Yes, THAT Rainbow Room! The one where Mr. DiMaggio proposed to Miss Monroe, where Alice Cooper was inducted into the Vampire Society, where Axl lived his vie en Rose... the one where we hung out last night with King Jaffe and God Bacchus, I mean Backhous. And yes, the Rainbow Room was rockin' again, this time with Poetix.

Poetix is a new monthly spoken word happening in the good old Hollywood, organized and hosted by Larry Jaffe and Brandon Backhaus of Poetic License fame. On its opening night, it drew a large and colorful crowd consisting of almost everybody who claimed some fame on the Los Angeles poetry scene, and featured Ellyn Maybe and Matthew Niblock. Now, I must admit to never hearing the features before last night, which means that my report might suffer from the notorious first impression syndrome. Still, I have to say those first impressions were not as strong as the first, and second, and third impressions some of the open mic readers left on me.

The night started in the Hollywood rock 'n' roll style with Mike Sonksen and Ratpack Slim delivering a highly customized rendition of the "I'm Alive in Los Angeles" anthem, and the musical theme continued throughout the night with Jimmy Smith's blues, Wayman Barnes' rocking rendition of "Corporate Coffee," Brandon's hip-hop sonet, Matthew Niblock's alternative music and spoken word, Mark Gonzales/Manchild duo's "inner child" rap, and of course the Totem Maples smooth jazz, all of that interspersed with poetry of different styles from other open mic readers and... more (unprotected) poetry of course. As Larry Handy (Totem Maples "resident" poet) put it, there is no greater jazz than the jazz in your heart. The jazz at the Rainbow Room last night was greater than great, since there was something to everybody's hearts content there. As for myself, I'll definitely return on February 27th to look for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow again. The pot of poetic gold that is. Hope to see you there.

Wayman Barnes 1.30.02
Rockin' Out on the Sunset Strip

Yeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhh, baby! We rocked the Rainbow Room on the Sunset Strip!! We were on the stage where the lizard king once dwelled, the zeppelin once soared, and a beatle was photographed with a sanitary napkin on his head. This was a teenage dream come true. All those afternoons practicing air guitar alone in our bedroom finally paid off. Can you …. Hunh? What's that? You thought it was a poetry reading? Yeah, right! Everyone knows that poets are really closet rockstars. Just ask King Jaffe.

The Rockstars: Mike the Poet & Ratpack Slim, 7, Frankie Drayus, Jimmy Smith & the Poetix Band, King Jaffe, Jelena Andjelkovic, Julian, Leslie Neal, Jim Bolt, Brandon Backhaus, Mary Cahill, Katie O'Laughlin, Adonis, Joyce, Terry McCarty, Ellyn Maybe, Totem Maples, Mark Gonzales & Manchild, Honey Nonik, Eric Sanchez, and Matthew Niblock.

Last Wednesday each month at 8pm
The Rainbow Bar & Grill
9015 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood
Cost:$5 & $3 parking (lowest on Strip)

The Exorcist 1.28.02
Report from the Exorcist. Thursday at the Green Gevon did his poem about the girl that smoked his Robinson. Nafeesa did a good job of hosting taking over from Damon. Gevon hosted at the very end. Poetri did the ant police poem and Seiku closed the night with something he had only ever read once because he thought it was a pretty dark piece. I think he read it to show that he has other stuff besides love poems. Friday night I missed getting to read at my usual spot 'Midnight Special' because I came late so I headed over to the Rapp Saloon. The feature was great. Some time back he had asked an audience to give him a word each and he made a poem from it. There were two words in there that I would have put in myself. The first that I may be spelling wrong 'sysquepedalian'. It means somebody who uses long words when short words will suffice. The second is the longest word I'd ever come across - 'antidisestablishmentarialism'. They really stuck it to him but he still managed to make a good poem from all the words given to him. He closed with a cover song. One poet told some great minimalist jokes . Knock,knock, who's there? /Bob/Come in. Maitreyana was the feature Saturday at Mia's on 3rd Street just outside the mall in Tanner's Coffee Shop. One poet really tickled my funnybone. Said he took some uppers and downers and let them fight it out. He said he mailed a letter to himself and when he read it it said 'Please tell me what's going on?' so he wrote 'Nothing. Just a little joke' and mailed it back to himself. Charlotte did a great new piece that she was nervous about reading. She needn't have been. It was great. She repeated the word 'Breathe' after each verse. Wayman did his G.I.Joe piece and his teletubbies poem and 'The Lion and the Moonbounce'. This has been a message from the Exorcist

Wayman Barnes 2.24.02
I got to do a really cool thing this last weekend. I was involved, along with some other poets (Rachel Kann, Mindy Netifee, Pojo Joe, Ratpack Slim), in the 7th Annual Hollywood Performance Marathon 2002 at the Theater of NOTE. It was a fundraiser for the theater and lasted over eighteen hours. One crazy night. The people running the place seemed very cool (The Battle of the Copulo-Bots: Bilingual Mini Pornographic Robots, says it all), so check out some of their plays. Pretty please.

The Exorcist 1.23.02

This is the Exorcist writing about the happenings Tuesday night at the Lounge. About 20+ people including me put our names in. Only 14 were picked. I didn't get in. I wrote down the scores like I always do. Some black guy from New York was the feature. He did a poem where he kept saying 'This is gonna hurt like...'. I didn't get it in one poem when he said 'I want you like a nuclear war' Huh? He did three poems and sold cds and books after. I give him props for travelling around the world doing poetry for 4 months funded only by what he sells. He has just done his 1st month. I remember Buddy Wakefield did the same. Living out of his car. X-man and C-Bone were off the hook. C-Bone's flow 'Like 1964 Chevys pancaked side by side. We rise up and get down.' That's the line that gets the crowd. His partner rapped and sang while playing bass and they also had a cd of theirs playing. Bread and Butter productions representing. The calibration poets were Snowplough, Gevon, Fairfax High Steve, Gevon, Gnu and Nafeesa. Fairfax Steve talked about wanting to be various poets at the Lounge. Gevon did a 9/11 poem. The repeat line was '...won't go home'. He mentioned various atrocities around the world. At Denny's one time he told me that the cluster bombs were the same color as the food packets dropped and were eventually changed to blue. He put that in his poem. The first round poets were Tatiana, Azekwe, Steve Conell, Trevor, Omari, Pojo Joe, Rachel, Jamie, Bridget, Slim, David, Poetri, Seiku and Antonio. Before you read on, play with it and see if you can guess what seven got through. Who got to be the magnificent seven?

Finished guessing? Answer is -Seiku, Poetri, Bridget, Slim, Omari, Pojo Joe and Jamie. How'd you do? I got 6 out of 7. I thought Azekwe would get through. This slam was the toughest ever. Azekwe got 28.8 but only 29 and above got through. Can anybody tell me they've seen a tougher slam than that? I've been to ten and this was the hardest. If you ever spit a 29+ poem start with that people. Believe me. My highest is 28.7 but I haven't tested them all so I'm not losing hope. The same poem you've done before can get an even higher score {didn't mean that to rhyme. I'm on automatic} if you come with the intensity of a Seiku, Steve Connell or Talaam Acey. Azekwe's poem was funny. He said while we're getting freaked out about 9/11 he'd be at home rocking it with a girl 'I just rock it, baby, rock it, rock it baby, rock it'. That was the chorus. Tatiana did a great poem exposing platinum plus rappers. Steve Connell did a great poem where he said he'll say the word most won't dare to. Doo-doo. Then he told us all to say it and people kept saying it long after the poem was finished. Judge's stiffed him with a 28.4. He lost a point for going over time. David Garcia wigged us out talking about how he finished off the scrawls on restroom doors.'My words are little turds of shit and when you read them you eat those turds'. Come again? Seiku may have got all 10's. I wasn't sure because Shihan said 30 without reading all the scores. 30 is just the middle three scores.

Anyone want to guess who the final four were? You're choosing from Seiku, Poetri, Bridget, Slim, Omari, Pojo Joe and Jamie. For those who have never been to a slam before you should know that they add the last two round scores. Seiku did a new poem for his second round about a crush he had in the 7th grade. Poetri spoke on Krispy Kreme doughnuts. At this stage Seiku had the highest score then Bridget 29.9, Omari would have been third but he lost a half point for going over time. 29.7 down to 29.2 so Jamie was next 29.5 and Slim and Pojo Joe at 29.4 then Poetri at 29.3 then Omari by default. Looked again at my pad and it was Pojo Joe at 28.9. He got a half off. These slams are brutal and a half point off even will finish you. I'm still waiting for a DJ to spin 'Slam' by Onyx at a poetry slam. Anyway, from the Magnificent 7 to the Fantastic Four. Slim, Jaimie, Bridget and Seiku. Last guess. The final two. Like Shihan said, thee was a surprise. Seiku got 5 tens but lost 3.5 points for going more than a minute over. The poem was fun though so I guess he got caught up in it. Sounds made and songs sung in the heat of climax. The whole crowd joined in while he jumped up and down. Talked about becoming a scat cat at the peak of climax. This was a new piece too. So Bridget won 29.9 twice =59.8. then Slim with 29.7 +29.4 took him to 59.1 then Jaimie with a 59 then Seiku. This math class courtesy of the Exorcist

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 1.23.02
Highway Robbery!

That's what people were screaming at the end of the slam at Da Poetry Lounge last night. You see, Sekou and his "7th grade" trilogy got a perfect score of 60, but he was still not the big winner. And how is that possible, you might ask. Well, Tha Misfit had already qualified for the semi-finals in one of the previous slams this season, so the Slammaster bumped him a few notches down this time in order to give a chance to the "newcomers." As a matter of fact, they were not newcomers at all... But let me give you a blow-by-blow of the last two rounds before I sound the fanfare.

The magnificent seven who qualified for the second round were: Sekou Tha Misfit, Bridget Gray, Poetri, Ratpack Slim, Pocho Joe, Jamie and Omari. The audience (and the judges) loved Joe and his poem about things cool and uncool. They swooned over Omari's love poem. Still, both Joe and Omari went over the alloted 3 minutes (and 10 seconds), and the time penalty bit them you-know-where. Poetri blanked out in the middle of his poem (again), and not even the very sympathetic judges could save him. So, as you can guess, the final four were Sekou, Jamie, Slim and Bridget. After all was said and done, gorgeous Miss Gray came out on top. Ratpack Slim ("nobody writes more poems than him") took second place, and Jamie finished third. Now, after this star-studded slam, the Hollywood semi-final lineup looks like this: Nafeesa Monroe, Emily, Gina Loring, Gaknew, Jovan, In-Q, Sekou Tha Misfit, Talaam Acey, Shihan, R-A-C, Thea, Besskepp, Bridget Gray, and Ratpack Slim. For those who still want to try and fill the two remaining semi-final spots, stop by Da Lounge on the third Tuesday in February and March, or check www.slamarena.8k.com for more info.

The Exorcist 1.22.02

This is a post from the Exorcist. On Thursday at Green C-Bone did a rap flow that I heard before. The catch phrase was 'you like that?'. There was a new face reciting. Her name is Alfie and she did a rap flow. The coolest line that everybody said back was 'Let it loop for a minute' repeated three times. Unsaen did a poem that spoke on the dealings with Enron. The first poet did a great astrological poem on Geminis. Ahmad was back to host after a long layoff and did what he used to do which was to bust a haiku before each poet. One poet did continuous haikus making a whole poem from them. On Friday I was at the Midnight Special. I liked a poem that one poet did about people wanting to shoot him in different circumstances. The chorus was 'sticks and stones may break my bones but bullets go right through me. Dana was the highlight and got to finish the night. He did a piece where he paused between each word 'if-you-pause-between-each-word-you-may-not-get-your-whole-poem-in-in-five-minutes'. Loosely quoted. Going by memory. On Saturday at Mia's James Gautier ripped it. Something about wanting to get under the surface. Handled a heckler in the crowd. At one point she blurted out 'what's the connection?' and he said 'which connection?'. Told me afterwards that he had recited in bars so he was used to hecklers. You never know what James is going to do. One poet did a great poem on elves at the Midnight. He talked about how they clean up your house. Said he wanted to be an elf. On Saturday at Mia's he was introduced by Charlotte as Dana's evil twin. He liked that. John Schofield did a piece that when listened to would wise you up as to the dealings in Mexico with the Mexican police. Said they're susceptible to bribes and would set you up with false charges to make money off you. He said he was falsely accused of running a red light and rather than go to jail he greased their palms which they hinted for him to do. The funniest part of the poem was at the start. He was with a guy and a girl I think and shades of Midnight Express she was caught with weed which meant jail and nudge nudge wink wink John said could they just pay the "fine" there and then rather than at jail. He gave him $40 and later on felt he could have gotten him down to $20. Reverend Dave was the feature. The poem I liked the most loosely quoted dealt with opposites switching places. Retreat being attack and so on. He ended it with us/still in love. After his third poem I think he asked how much time he had left. That tickled me because in the poem just before he said 'I have stayed too long'. That wasn't the case with his feature which clocked in at just under 20 minutes. The applause was the longest and loudest I'd ever heard for a feature anywhere and was deserved. He ended on the only poem that he'd written about 9/11. Started his feature on the hypocrisy of evangelists. Unsaen performed 'Listen to the rhythm that I'm spi-i-i-iting' always a crowd pleaser. I think it's the first poem that he wrote as Unsaen. One poet at Midnight and Mia's did a poem about how she wanted to buy red 4" stilletto heels. Said she'd only be able to lay down in them. One poet seemed to be trying to usurp Dana Snow. Quite funny. One question he posed "If you melt dry ice, can you swim in it?" Midnight Special is on 3rd Street promenade and Mia's is just outside the mall at the other end of third street promenade and Green is Sepulveda and Culver. This has been a message from the Exorcist.

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 1.22.02

X marks the spot...

The spot where you should be on Sunday nights that is. And that spot is "Chromosome X," a multi-media happening with an extra shot of estrogen that takes place once a month at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. And I don't have a better word to describe what's happening there than the fave word of our gracious hostess, Rachel Kann: amazing! Yes, the X was amazing last night and nothing, absolutely nothing could have stopped it from being that way. Not even the fact that Rachel was hosting it after a whole night of hosting another spoken word/theater event and an afternoon of hanging out at a book signing party. Not even the fact that, at the very beginning of the show, there were only about 10 people in the audience. Rachel's energy was shining bright and pretty soon everybody else was on fire, and fire was spreading as the room got filled up with people trickling in from all over town: Adam and Felix, the amazing performance painters and poets, the open mic readers, Paul the sound man, Saul Williams who showed up unannounced... The evening that spilled into early Hollywood morning was worth much, much more than the $5 we had to pay to get in. We had Joy in the house (Joy squared so to speak, and both of them were amazing); we had a number of wonderful female open mic readers; we had a slew of gorgeous bald men (as Rachel put it)... We had Unsean improvising like insane; we had Adam painting like mad and singing like one of the best pre-war Berlin cabaret singers; we had men reading women's poetry and being glad they did... We had Saul Williams spill some of his wisdom on our heads and baptize us with metaphysical love that overflowed from his poetic cup... We had Paul pluck the strings of his bass in mellow harmony with poetic voices on stage... We had Felix paint anarchy... We had Slim spit his rhymes like there is no tomorrow... We had a great time! And if you want to have a great estrogen-filled time too, visit Rachel's website at inspirachel.com, sign your name on her mailing list, and she will let you know what stitches in time will be knitted and purled at the Knitting Factory next month. See you there in February!

Wayman Barnes 1.22.02
I wanted let everyone know that the reading at the Autry Museum was awesome! All Hail, King Jaffe!