Radio Recap for Monday, July 30

I’ll bet you didn’t even know there was a downstairs venue at the Radio bar, did you? Well, there is: in deference to a previously-booked night of bands upstairs, we meandered down the back stairs to the wood-like-paneling extravaganza that is the basement of our Monday night bar. With just a hint of sound bleed rumbling in from above, the whole event started to feel a little bit like a Wednesday night at the Cantab… And the open mic reflected it, as a host of new readers and the cast of Radio regulars teamed up to create a magically high-quality hour of poetry, storytelling, and (get this) a musical debut from we-know-him-as-poet Andy Locke.

Our features for the night were poet Ed Wilkinson and storyteller Daniel Gewertz— although perhaps we shouldn’t bother applying labels, since folks like Ed and Dan will just bust right out of ’em. Reprising his early-bird workshop about work poems, Ed brought us a poignant, smart, and often achingly funny story arc featuring poems from everyday life illustrated by extraordinary language. Then Dan followed up with a set of poetically written monologues written with a hint of McCarthy-like funny-along-the-way; we also were fortunate enough to hear the out-loud debut of excerpts from his forthcoming novel. All in all, it was a fabulous night for art and community, and one we look forward to building on.

Next week: we are back upstairs with Comedy Meets Poetry, curated by Wes Hazard: four poets (Andy Locke, Nora Meiners, Meaghan Ford, and Adam Stone) will pair off with four comics (Matt Kona, John Paul Rivera, Gary Petersen, and the Wes-man himself) in a battle for belly laughs! As always, it’s 21+ and $5 downstairs at 379 Somerville Ave. in Union Square.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 25

Once again, a fabulous time was had by all at the Cantab this Wednesday: a host of new readers and listeners turned out to enjoy featured poet Tyler Smith, who packed dozens of short poems into a smart, witty, and inspiring feature drawn from his cohesive body of work. Tyler’s leaving for Australia in a few weeks, but you can catch him (and his amazing vinyl-inspired product) at the nearby Stone Soup reading in one more upcoming feature.

Following Tyler’s feature, the Champion of Champions Slam was, as expected, a barnburner of a show. Seven champions turned out for the event, all of them packing at least one new poem in their back pockets –and all of them knowing only one poet would have the chance to use it in the final round. In the first round, we saw opener Sophia Holtz kick in the door with her shirtwaist factory fire poem, only to be defeated by earnest first-time-champ-slammer Nathan Comstock. The second pairing turned out to be an impromptu Battle of the Bartenders, where server Melissa took a close second to once-longtime-champion Adam Stone. Since our eighth poet was missing, the last poets of the first round battled in a mighty threesome, where Marshall Gillson came out swinging to earn the highest score of the round, but with Portland poet Zanne Langlois hot on his heels, both defeating Nora Meiners.

That brought Nate up to battle Adam in the first pairing of the second round; Nate opted for sweet where Adam decided to break open the room with a little funny, which worked like a charm. In the tightest pairing of the night, an on-fire Marshall was defeated by surprise favorite Zanne! Bartender Adam Stone then brought a huge performance in the final round, but found himself on the receiving end of a new and powerful piece from Zanne that capped her fairy-tale trilogy for the evening. After being crowned the season champ, Zanne oh-so-humbly challenged champion Simone Beaubien to a one-round new-to-the-Cantab slam-off, then defeated the champ in a 3-2 judging decision! Congrats to our new Champion of Champions, Zanne Langlois, who will be invited to return to defend her title this October.

Next week: the 2012 National Poetry Slam is almost upon us, which means it’s time to wish good luck and farewell to the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Kemi Alabi, Antonia Lassar, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Omoizele Okoawo, and Melissa Newman-Evans will feature in a special one-hour show with a $5 cover, presenting some of their well-tested, brand-new, and one-time group work for the home crowd. Think about packing a few extra dollars (you don’t need clean laundry this week, do you?) to get the team’s chapbook, which will be released on this night as well!

Tips from the Bar: Once Upon a Time

Your mirror has confessed all of your darkest secrets to a one-night stand, who is now infatuated with you. What happens next?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 25, 2012: Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith, recent MFA grad.

Tyler Smith, recent MFA grad.

Tyler Smith was born and raised in Rochester, NY. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Interrupture, Jellyfish Magazine, and Yes, Poetry. Currently he lives in Somerville, MA, where he plays bass for the oft-defunct band Pistol Buckets.

Tyler has just completed his MFA in Boston and has enchanted the open mic crowd at the Cantab with his quirky imagery and surreal, deadpan sense of humor. He will feature during his last weeks in Boston before returning to New York.

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. The Champion of Champions poetry slam in the current 8×8 series will follow. (There is no open poetry slam tonight.) The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Radio Recap for Monday, July 23

Great big doings at New & Improved last night, folks: after a slightly late start we kicked off a packed open mic with at least a few heartbreak themes that led right into Caroline Harvey’s feature. Fans of the poet got all the fierceness and fire we’ve come to expect from Caroline, in a wild set that spanned some of her oldest work to some freshly-composed pieces laid on the stage just for us. Our night was capped off by the sweet sounds of Gracious Calamity, a.k.a. Kit Wallach and Kate Lee of the famed Whitehaus scene. These two ladies harmonized the brash energy of the room down to a slow burn, making a host of new friends and fans. What a great evening!

We’ve back next week, of course, with Manchester poet Ed Wilkinson and storyteller Daniel Gewertz, who’ll be putting together some heartfelt straight-talk to get you thinking about where you’ve come from and where you are going. Special note: this show will take place DOWNSTAIRS at Radio to accommodate a band on the upstairs stage, so you can head straight down the front stairs when you come in (and sneak back up the rear staircase to grab a drink from the upper bar).

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 18

We at the Boston Poetry Slam fervently hope you did not spend this past Wednesday night bailing your basement out after the rainstorm. Surprisingly, the Cantab was totally, dry… And we only wish we could take credit for having planned the tornado shelter of Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie‘s voice on hand to feature. In the tradition of our favorite Cantab features, Laura packed her set with poetry, even kicking it off with two long poems and cheerfully defying slam time constraints and subject conventions. The slam was a wild one, featuring a few first-timers and some daringly untranslated work; the finals came down to Meaghan Ford and Zanne, with Zanne taking the top spot by a few tenths. Yowza!

We’re back next week with Emerson poetry feature Tyler Smith. Our slam should be a doozy: it’s the 8×8 Champion of Champions slam, where you can see the last eight slam winners return to fight for a chance to challenge the current champ, Simone Beaubien, in a new-poems-only round. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: The Stephen Hawkings Buddha Prompt

What is the nature of time?
Based on your previous answer, does time exist?
Based on your previous answers, is it possible to step in the same river twice?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 18, 2012: Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie

2011 NPS Finalist Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie from Providence.

2011 NPS Finalist Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie from Providence.

Laura Brown-Lavoie is a spoken word poet from Providence, Rhode Island. A newcomer to the national slam scene, she was the 2011 Providence Grand Slam Champion and had the opportunity to perform on Finals stage at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, where she and her Providence teammates took third place.

When she isn’t writing, Laura works as an urban farmer, growing food on two vacant lots in Providence. While much of her poetry is inspired by her interactions with the urban natural environment, she also writes to interrogate the use of language in politics and the mainstream media, and, of course, to figure out where the she is in all of this.

She is committed to spoken word performance as a means of fostering creative community in a culture where too often people are isolated from one another in favor of glowing screens. Her mom is a high school English teacher, and her dad is a storyteller, and she takes any opportunity she can to be in rooms full of people where beautiful things are being said out loud. Oh, and Laura effin’ loves public libraries.

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.

Radio Recap for Monday, July 16

So maybe we’ve said “all-star line-up” before in some context here, but it’s just possible that all those previous iterations pale in comparison to last night’s Radio pairing. Regie Gibson and Fey Rey & Freedom Sound lit up the stage last night with two incredibly solid, incredibly different sets. Regie wowed the crowd with his soaring delivery, tight use of exciting language and rhyme, and some highly irreverent reverence; from his dedication to John Donne to his “Slick Willie Williams” character, the audience was dazzled and entertained. Our musical guests followed up with (revelation!) their first stage showing together– this Points North/Woodrow Wilsons project combo brought us sweet and earthy harmonies overlaid with some low-key string work, making for a great end to the evening.

Next week, we’re back with… Oh-oh, another all-star line-up! It’ll be Caroline Harvey and Gracious Calamity in a show full of talented and powerful women. Come at 7:00 to catch the workshop with Caroline, or jump into the 8:00 open mic before the 9:00 double-feature! As always: Radio at 379 Somerville Ave. in Union Square, 21+, $5. See you there!

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 11

Hey, thanks to everyone who turned out for the NorthBEAST Regional Slam this past Wednesday! We had scheduled teams from Slam Free or Die (Manchester, New Hampshire), the Mill City Slam (Lowell, Massachusetts) and the Lizard Lounge (just down the street) to slam against our very own home team! What an exciting night.

The bout started off strong with two great sacrifices from Nora Meiners and Marshall Gillson. Hey, in case you didn’t know: Marshall’s working up in our neck of the woods this summer, but he’ll be repping for Atlanta’s Art Amok slam when we all head down to Charlotte. That’s one more team for you to root for at the National Poetry Slam this year! Hot on the heels of the sacrifices came Rudy Cabrera from the Lizard, who kicked in the door with a head-space love poem that shook the first high nines out of the judges. Febo from Mill City and Mckendy from the Cantab brought strong opening work, but the only one with a chance at catching up in the first round was Beau Williams from SFoD, who settled into the room with a heart-wrenching, beautifully performed open letter.

That meant the teams started pulling out all the stops in the second round. Oz started us off with his poem about mermaids riding bicycles underwater (remember?), but the Lizard sealed the second round with a second strong performance, this one from Neiel Israel in a form of a letter to her mother. The next three (!) poets actually followed the letter theme, the first being a short-yet-sweet-punk-piece from SFoD newcomer Derek Avila, and the second a humorous rant from Lowell’s Matthew Richards that stole the audience’s hearts but just didn’t pique the judges’ interest.

The fourth round opened up with SFoD’s Heidi Therrien’s affecting Letter to My 6-Year-Old Self. Cantab favorites Kemi Alabi and Michael Monroe knocked their own performances out of the park, but the Lizard’s Janae Johnson sealed the deal with a love/drinking poem that essentially mathed every other team out of the win.

That meant the fourth round was going to be a free-for-all! First-time-slammer at the Cantab Princess Chan, from Lowell, broke hearts all over the room with a poem about war and ancestry. SFoD’s Christopher Clauss roused the audience to his cause next, and was just capped by the Lizard’s ultra-positive and in-the-present group piece. Melissa Newman-Evans closed out strong with The Shame Machine, and that was all she wrote. At the end of the night, the Lizard took a solid first place, with SFoD coming in second, Cantab trailing at third, and Lowell taking the four-spot. Good times!

If you missed this slam, no worries: you’ve got one chance left to see the Boston Poetry Slam team in all their glory at the Cantab, and that’ll be their team feature on August 1. For just $5, you can see them perform for an hour and even pick up a copy of their chapbook, to be released that night.

In the meantime, we’ve still got a few shows between now and then! We’re back next week with Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie, as well as the last slam in our 8×8 series. See you there!