Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thanks for an excellent 2014, Boston Poetry Slammers. We were super-pleased to welcome beloved MC Emeritus, many-time slam team member, all-star open-mic poet, and one-time near-weekly judge Brian S. Ellis back to the stage for a year-end feature this past Wednesday. Brian read a few from his latest, American Dust Revisited, but also brought us a selection of new and newer work for the feature slot. What a joy to have Brian return for the night; thanks to everyone who brought great work to the open mic to close the year.

Our last slam of the year was packed with some folks who were either showing off for the feature or really looking for those last Yankee Swap points for our Team Selection Slams… Either way, Ellyn Touchette and Meaghan Ford burned all the way through the three rounds, with Meaghan taking the top spot for the finish. Just two slams left to qualify for the team!

Next Wednesday: we are OFF for some kind of holiday or something. In fact, we won’t be back at the Cantab until January 7 for Rachel McKibbens, and even Moonlighting has been pushed out to January 8 for Bobby Crawford’s feature! However, folks who are in town for New Year’s Eve can still catch us across the river at Boston’s First Night; this year, we’re teaming up with the Haley House Slam for some all-star family friendly slam fun. Hope to see you there!

Tips from the Bar: The Brian S. Ellis Prompt

From the news: someone has destroyed a famous work of art by punching it. You are in charge of restoring the piece. What do you do?

Or, from Brian: what piece of art would YOU punch?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 17, 2014: Brian S. Ellis

The long-lost Brian S. Ellis. Photo by Robert Duncan Gray.

The long-lost Brian S. Ellis. Photo by Robert Duncan Gray.

Brian S. Ellis is a writer born in New Hampshire and raised on Cape Cod who became a poet while attending a weekly open mic at the Cantab Lounge. He is the author of three collections of poetry: Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom, Yesterday Won’t Goodbye, and American Dust Revisited. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sometimes, Cantabbers, a poet comes through at just the right time with just the thing you need. Our very special thanks to the champion of our faces, Mike McGee, who rolled us gently through a love-poem set last Wednesday, taking us backwards in time from breakup to first blush. Beautiful! Our six-poet slam took a few romantic cues from Mike’s set, but progressed markedly forwards from six poets down to two, where Colin Killick and Mckendy Fils-Aimé fought for the penultimate ten-dollar prize of 2014. Mckendy took the big win, securing his spot in the upcoming Boston Poetry Slam Team Preliminaries this coming January. Awesome!

Next week, December 17 will be our LAST CANTAB SHOW OF THE YEAR, people: we’ll be taking a break on December 24 and slamming as part of Boston’s First Night on December 31. That means we have to finish our December bar shows with a bang: and, as you know, you can’t spell Brian! S! Ellis! without a whole lotta fireworks. Show up early for our last 2014 Cantab show and first real feature with Brian since his move to Portland, Oregon years ago. Those of you looking for extra year-end spending money can try for the ten bucks riding on that night’s open slam, too.

Tips from the Bar: The Bobby Crawford Prompt

Tell us about the celebrity(/ies?!) you did not quite run over with your car.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 10, 2014: Mike McGee

Mike McGee, champion of pretty much everything.

Mike McGee, champion of pretty much everything.

Mike McGee is the first poet to win both the National Poetry Slam Individual Championship (2003) and the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship (2006). He has toured over 600,000 miles and once lived in Worcester, Mass. for a year, where he initiated the now-nationwide movement known as Kitchen Sessions. Born in Fort Campbell, Kentucky with a mild form of Spina Bifida, Mike considers this neural tube defect to be one of the foundations and origins of his love of humor, art and language. He is the eldest of eight children.

In 2003, McGee co-founded the Vancouver, B.C.-based “talk-rock” trio Tons of Fun University with Shane Koyczan and C. R. Avery. Their debut was before a crowd of 15,000 at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 2004. The trio has since toured extensively throughout Canada, performing primarily in music festivals. In 2005, McGee performed a revised version of his popular poem “Like” on a fifth season episode of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. He currently lives in San Diego.


Peter Storey, drifter and poet.

Peter Storey, drifter and poet.

Tonight’s show will also feature a spotlight from Peter Storey. Peter is a drifter. He fights wildfire to pay for time to write. This winter he lives in Chicago. By the summer he’ll be gone.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series Featuring Bobby Crawford on December 4, 2014

This reading is part of our monthly LGBTQ series, Moonlighting. Click here for more information about this recurring show.

The featured reader for December 4 is Bobby Crawford.

The elusive Bobby Crawford. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The elusive Bobby Crawford. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Bobby Crawford is the “one-man-boy-band” of Emerson College. Bobby competed on three consecutive College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational teams representing Emerson (2011-2013). He also served as a curator of the Emerson Poetry Project from 2012-2013, where he was instrumental in helping the EPP win Emerson’s Student Organization of the Year. Bobby competed at the 2013 National Poetry Slam with the Mill City Slam team from Lowell, Mass. and represented the Boston Poetry Slam at the 2013 Individual World Poetry Slam in Spokane, Wash., ranking 15th out of 70. A competitor and showman by instinct, Bobby is a retired nationally-ranked figure skater and a former chess-club kid. He plays harmonica and wears a leather jacket.

This show in our monthly Thursday LGBTQ series takes place at Fazenda Coffee Roasters, 3710 Washington St. in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. An open mic begins at approximately 7:00 p.m. and the headliner follows the open mic. The show is all-ages and a $3 donation is requested.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last night, as expected, we were almost unutterably thankful to have Providence SlamMaster and poet Franny Choi in the house. Franny rocked the mic with the poise, brilliance, and remarkable craft that has earned her spots on all three Poetry Slam, Inc. finals stages, as well as publication in Poetry magazine. Franny will have a new book available in March: if you want to give yourself something to look forward to after the winter, you can pre-order Floating, Brilliant, Gone from Write Bloody Publishing.

The slam was full of good words from some all-time regulars and more than a few just-about-on-break college students! The finals came down to Kevin Roberts, a Lizard Lounge slammer who just so happened to get a Wednesday night off, and Zeke Russell, who holds down the sober side of the Cantab bar like it’s his job. Zeke took the slam by a breathlessly slim 0.1 margin, earning himself $10 and securing (again!) his spot in the 2015 Team Selection Slams.

Next week: need a good, freeing belly laugh? Champion of So Many Things Mike McGee will be in the house to help you out next week, so come cut loose with us as the nights get longer. We’ll also have one of our very last open poetry slams of the season.

Plus, TONIGHT: it’s the first Thursday of the month, which means it’s time for our LGBTQ+ reading, Moonlighting! Come down to Fazenda Coffee Roasters tonight at 7:30 for the open mic and stay for the last Moonlighting feature of the year, the soon-to-be-less-elusive Bobby Crawford.

Tips from the Bar: Bet You Can’t

See if you can think of a safe conversation topic that won’t inspire argument.

(And, of course, remember: when it comes to poetry, sometimes failure means more than success.)

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 3, 2014: Franny Choi

The illimitable Franny Choi. Photo by Norlan Olivo.

The illimitable Franny Choi. Photo by Norlan Olivo.

Franny Choi is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014). She has been a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and all three major national poetry slams. She is a recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Frederick Bock Prize, and her work has appeared in Poetry magazine, PANK, The Rumpus, and the Huffington Post. She is a VONA Fellow, a Project VOICE teaching artist, and a member of the Dark Noise Collective. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

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