The Encyclopedia Show: Somerville — S1V3: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM OF COLORS

Encyclopedia Show: Somerville -- S1V3: The Visible Spectrum of COLORS!

Monday, November 19
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm St. in Somerville
7pm doors, 8pm-10pm show
all ages, $10/$7 sliding scale

click for Facebook event

The Boston Poetry Slam and Simone Beaubien present the next installment in a new monthly series!

The Encyclopedia Show Somerville is an event franchised from the original series founded in Chicago in 2008, wherein invited artists from a variety of performance disciplines present all-new, original works on sub-topics of a single theme. A recurring cast of hosts and characters welcomes the artists with open arms and minds, while the resident Fact Checker is charged with maintaining the integrity of the Encyclopedic Truth of the show.

Our theme for the October show will be THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM OF COLORS! Presenting all-original guest performances from local artists TBD, plus work from our recurring cast members:

  • Aimee Rose Ranger and Kevin Spak provide deft and earnest CO-HOSTING
  • The Michael J. Epstein Library offers MUSICAL SUPPORT
  • Food writer and American hero Chef Bro encourages you to EAT WITH YOUR EYES
  • And Intern Steve Subrizi may or may not have returned from his October trip to the moon.

Live Fact Checking is reluctantly provided by Jack van Sly from the Institute of Human Knowledge and Hygiene.


This show in our monthly Encylopedia Show: Somerville series takes place at the Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm St. in Somerville. Doors and the theatre bar open for a pre-show welcome party at 7:00. The show begins promptly at 8:00 and finishes at 10:00, including a short intermission. This is an all ages show! Admission is $10, or $7 for students, teachers, or guests in Prohibition-era dress.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 14, 2012: Chris August

2011 IWPS champ Chris August.

2011 IWPS champ Chris August.

In 2011, Chris August was named the number one ranked performance poet in the United States at the Individual World Poetry Slam held n Cleveland, Ohio. This was the culmination of ten years of involvement in national slam scene, representing Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam. In 2012, he left his job as a special educator to pursue poetry full time. Later that year, he represented the United States at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, France where he was ranked second in the world. His latest book, A Life Called Special, is a compilation of his poetry about special needs education.

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, November 7

All right, Cantabbers: who loves the first snow of the year? A hardy bunch of souls unimpressed by the weather came to hang in our dry little basement this week for a feature from Durham native G(eorge) Yamazawa. G brought us a warm selection of southern sound and promised to be back again! Our slam was a hot one, with some surprise eliminations in the early rounds and a final round with two slammers each gunning for their first win: when the smoke cleared, Dave McKenna had fallen to the talents of Jade Sylvan, who took home the ten dollars and a rousing round of applause.

Next week: Chris August, world slam champion, comes up from DC to knock your face off with poetry. We’ll also have another open slam in the 8×8 series. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: No, Adam Did Not Make This Word Up

The Japanese form katuata consists of three lines of 5, 7, and 7 syllables. Two Japanese poetry forms use this form: the mondo and the sedoka. Each present two katuatas: the mondo starts with a katuata that asks a question, then one that answers it, while the sedoka does the same in reverse.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 7, 2012: G Yamazawa

G Yamazawa, southern youth-grad performance poet.

G Yamazawa, southern youth-grad performance poet.

At only 21 years old, G(eorge) Yamazawa is widely considered one of the top young poets in the country. Born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in a Buddhist household, G is a two-time Southern Fried Champion, National Poetry Slam finalist, and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and has taken his art to venues across the nation including the Sundance Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Chicago’s Green Mill. His favorite food is fried chicken, and he hates sushi.

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, October 31

Happy Halloween, everyone! Big thanks to all who came out to celebrate with us this year at the Dead Poets’ Slam. Our open mic was full of a great mix of live poets doing their own work, live poets doing dead poets’ work, and live poets covering each other. Neat! We enjoyed a few costumes and a bunch of great covers, but everyone was waiting excitedly for the night’s feature: four teams of poets performing in character for a Halloween slamstravaganza!

The show kicked off with two bonus sacrificial poets: Meaghan Ford read from Elizabeth Bishop, then Zeke Russell channeled Warren Zevon to give the crowd a sense of the range they’d be seeing for the slam. An exceptionally harsh team of judges –many of whom volunteered to put the smackdown on some dead poets– started the night by leaving a lot of room at the top for the next readers! The opening poets wasted no time putting together big performances for the judges, though: Team Choler’s Adrienne Rich (played by Melissa Newman-Evans) started off by Diving into the Wreck with just a little help from the page, followed by Team Melancholy’s Deborah Digges (Richard Cambridge) going fully off-page and Team Phglematic’s Walt Whitman (Douglas Bishop, natch) working the room like any modern slammer! Team Sanguine’s Pablo Neruda (Nate Leland) closed out with a gratifyingly long piece, and slam was off to a tight start with the Phlegmatics in the lead.

Round two saw a snarky rejoinder to True Love from Wislawska Szymborska (Nora Meiners), a powerfully deconstructed melange of poems from a leather-clad Kathy Acker (April Penn), and rambling and well-read missive from Jack Kerouac (Jack Skiranos). Oscar Wilde (Jade Sylvan), dressed to the nines, closed out the round with the high score, but Acker’s strong effort combined with Rich’s score from the first round served to put Team Choler on top at the halfway point of the slam.

Round three started strong– and weird– with Shel Silverstein (Nate Comstock) taking the high score of the round with the tale of The Bagpipe Who Didn’t Say No. Lynda Hull (Sophia Holtz) introduced herself with Hollywood Jazz, and Charles Bukowski (Sue Savoy) rocked the house with a rambunctious and rude story of… writers’ block, we guess. Sylvia Plath (Brenna Kleiman) finished up the round by eating men like air, which was enough to keep Team Choler in the lead with the Melancholics just behind.

Some of our team’s strategists had obviously been working overtime for round four: Team Melancholy kicked in the door of the final round with a bang when an all-white-clad Emily Dickinson (Tom Daley) took the stage to wild applause: Dickinson would garner the top score of the night, despite a strong effort from Allen Ginsberg (Alexander Nemser), perhaps the most in-character poet of the night! Federico Garcia Lorca (Cassandra de Alba) closed out for Team Choler with a sleep of apples, and Samuel Beckett (Charlie R) presented the only bilingual piece of the night to close out the slam.

When all was said and done, Team Melancholy had come from behind to take the win! Team Choler took second, with Teams Sanguine and Phlegmatic falling in third and fourth. It was an exceptional night at the slam and good fun for all: if you missed it, well, you’ll just have to wait until next Halloween.

Next week: we’re back to our usual open mic, feature, and open 8×8 slam format. This week’s feature will be Southern poet G Yamazawa. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Don’t Write Anything

This prompt isn’t about writing anything: it’s for sharing! Earmark a poem you love to bring to the open mic sometime this year. Perform it if you can.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 31: Dead Poets’ Slam

Some people already can’t think of anything scarier than a night at a poetry show. Why not celebrate Halloween with the world-famous Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge? On Wednesday, October 31, the Cantab will host a real fright fest: more than sixteen dead poets will present their work in a team poetry slam in honor of Halloween night. The deceased will haunt a team-based poetry slam where members of the audience judge who is really the best of all time— at least for this year’s All Hallow’s Eve.

The slam is full, and our competitors have been assigned to teams based (loosely) on The Four Humors of Hippocratic medicine. All poets will be performing in character, and you can expect to see old favorites like Ginsberg, Plath, Dickinson, and Whitman, but also some surprise deep cuts from Kathy Acker, Deborah Digges, Wislawska Szymborska, and Shel Silverstein. Audience members are encouraged to dress as their favorite departed poet, and the night will kick off with an open mic: bring your own dead poet if you dare!

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 poetry slam performs at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 24

If you were at home last Wednesday night, but suddenly were awash in a feeling that you were missing something wonderful… Let’s just say you should have been at the Cantab. Gypsee Yo gave a wonderful feature, showing off why she’s reached the top level of slam competition as well as recognition in the overall community. We were also privileged to hear the sound of some of her work in Albanian– while surrounded by a group of Cantab visitors who knew exactly what she was talking about. We thank Gypsee for the opportunity to hear some rarely-read work in a remarkable environment.

After a powerful female feature, we somehow ended up with… An all-man slam? Eight guys put on a pretty great show, with Zeke Russell taking the final round over some newer short work from Oz. Zeke takes home the ten bucks and qualifies to try out for the 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Team Selection Slams for 2013, by the way, will begin in January this year: check out the series rules for evolving dates and news.

Next week: it’s time to celebrate Halloween at the Cantab! This year, we’ll be doing it with a Dead Poets’ Slam, featuring more than sixteen locals in character as their favorite poet-gone-by. The slam is full, but everyone else is encouraged to perform in the voice of a dead poet on the open mic– or dress in costume– or both! Get ready for the scariest Halloween yet: all poetry, all night.

Tips from the Bar: What, You Wanted a Prompt?

Write a poem that is also a writing prompt.