Tips from the Bar: Santa Has Not Been Nice

Ripped from the headlines: this week in Michigan, a woman was arrested for saying inappropriate things to a mall Easter bunny.

Is there something you wish you had said to the mall bunny, Santa, or other character? Is there something you would say now? If you were working in this capacity, what do you most fear someone would say to you?

The Boston Poetry Slam and the House Slam Present: THE GRUDGE MATCH, March 29, 2018

THE GRUDGE MATCH: House Slam vs. Boston Poetry Slam
Thursday, March 29, 2018
OBERON, 2 Arrow St. in Harvard Square, Cambridge
6:30pm doors, 7pm openers, 7:30pm poetry slam, DJ until close
18+, $10/$12/$15 (click for tickets)
click for Facebook event

Thursday, March 29, 2018: the Fourth Annual Grudge Match! Graphic by Meaghan Ford.

You heard it here first: National Poetry Month 2018 is SO BIG IT CANNOT BE CONTAINED! Kick off the year’s poemingest month with The House Slam @ the Haley House Bakery Cafe vs the Boston Poetry Slam @ the Cantab Lounge on March 29 with the FOURTH ANNUAL GRUDGE MATCH between the two venues.

Here’s the skinny: on the last Thursday in March, greater Boston’s oldest and freshest slam venues will face off against each other in a head-to-head poetry battle for big-city bragging rights. Poets from each team will use all the tricks of their trade— lyricism, comedy, political fury, and straight-up heartfelt personal narrative— to impress rowdy audience and all-star judges in the heart of Harvard Square!

As usual, the slam will feature fabulous openers, including comedian Wes Hazard and musical artist Anjimile, and an awesome fivesome (okay, sixsome) of no-holds-barred American-Idol-style judges: Justice Gaines, Crystal Valentine, Princess Moon, Olivia Gatwood, and Adobo Fish Sauce (that’s Ricky Orng and Anthony Febo to you).

PAIRINGS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED!
SACRIFICE: Capt. Simone Beaubien (BPS) vs Capt. Porsha O. (House)
Brandon Anthony Melendez vs Angelica Maria Aguilera
Bobby Crawford vs Jalem Towler
Rebecca Lynn vs JR Mahung
Mckendy Fils-Aimé vs Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah
Myles Em Taylor vs Claudia Wilson
April Penn vs Kaleigh O’Keefe
Neiel Israel vs Sam Rush

Tickets are $10/$12/$15 (click here for tickets), and THIS SHOW WILL SELL OUT, so we recommend advance purchase! All proceeds will support the two slams’ trips to the 2018 National Poetry Slam in Chicago, Illinois.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 28, 2018: Bobby Crawford

Boston poet and Denver bartender Bobby Crawford. Photo by Holly Kirkman.

Boston poet and Denver bartender Bobby Crawford. Photo by Holly Kirkman.

You may have heard of Bobby Crawford. He is a retired elite figure skater; a quite above-average Ms.PacMan player; led the Emerson Poetry Project to 2012 Organization of the Year; had a book published; is a two-time member of the Boston Poetry Slam national team; appeared on semi-finals stage at both CUPSI and NPS; has been featured numerous times in mildly successful Youtube videos; his poems have been read across the United States; he is still the highest ranked Cantab IWPS representative ever. He pours stuff into cups for a living, and really, really loves to hear poems read aloud by people who care about them. He lives in Denver, Colorado; he has no dog, and no family.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam is a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2018 World Qualifier.

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 speed slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It’s official, Cantabbers! After three rounds of poems, at least two heart-stopping comebacks, more twists and turns than you can count plus a whopping 0.001 millimeters of snow, the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge has a 2018 slam team. Cumulative scores on the night gave us the top five poets (in bold) who will represent us at the 2018 National Poetry Slam in Chicago, Ill. Final standings:

1. Neiel Israel 85.6
2. John Pinkham 85.1
3. Meaghan Ford 84.8
4. Allison Truj 84.7
5. Sara Mae 84.2

6. Myles Taylor
7. George Abraham
8. RebeccaLynn
9. Brandon Melendez

Extra thanks go to the ONLY five people in the room willing to judge: Duffy, Lawrence, Patrick, Rupak, and Chelsea, plus bonus third-round substitute Suzanne O’Toole! (You all have a Get Out of Cantab Judging Free card good until 2019.) This awesome night was also made awesomer by scorekeeping handled by Cassandra de Alba, plus sacrifice poems from Evan Cutts and Kieran Collier.

Just a few highlights you missed if you weren’t one of the four-score hardy souls in the room: Myles’ crowdwalk to kick off the first round; George shaking out yet another planned story arc over the course of the slam; Brandon coming in just under four minutes with a wicked tiara of sonnets; the blistering one-two second round punch of Meaghan’s shoulders/Sara Mae’s “this is my song;” John’s slow burn set starting with the low score in the first round to a near-perfect 29.7 at the halfway point in the last; RebeccaLynn’s wind-from-your-sales Winn-Dixie grapple with absence; Neiel “Snake Eyes” Israel drawing two 1s and making the #1 spot in the rankings; Truj’s not-actually-that-surprising-but-pretty-damn-shocking last round, last spot comeback to make the team.

Next week: we’ll have a regular-sized open mic (phew!) and an open speed slam, plus we get to welcome Bobby Crawford back to the stage. But wait! There’s more next Thursday, 3/29: if you’re looking for a slam you Don’t Have to Judge (seriously, we picked amazeballs all-star judges for you already), check out The Grudge Match at OBERON, our annual NPS fundraiser with the House Slam.

Tips from the Bar: OZ, ANSWER UR TEXTS PLZ, WE MISS U

Adam Stone rehashes a prompt given by Omoizele Okoawo in 2002:
“All I need is a room.”

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 21, 2018: Team Selection FINALS

The Cantab’s Team Selection Slams are the venue’s biggest, wildest poetry slams of the year. The venue’s late-winter selection is one of the earliest in the country, which gives them extra time to prepare for this year’s National Poetry Slam in Chicago this August.

The roster for this year’s three-round slam has been finalized, and the first round will proceed in this order:
1. Myles Taylor
2. Sara Mae
3. Meaghan Ford
4. George Abraham
5. John Pinkham
6. RebeccaLynn
7. Allison Truj
8. Neiel Israel
9. Brandon Melendez
sacrifice poems: Evan Cutts, Kieran Collier

After three previous slams in the last two months, already requiring four pieces in competition plus a brand new poem, you can expect competitive performance, tense strategic moves, and the most finely-polished work work of the slam season. The top five poets at the end of the evening will comprise the 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team.

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. A SHORTENED open mic begins at 8:00 and the first round of the slam begins around 9:30. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the team’s trip to the National Poetry Slam this August.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Snow? WHAT SNOW. Yes, we did hear that it is only scheduled to snow on Wednesdays from now until the end of the season, but weather, like metaphor, is fleeting, and our jones for poetry is eternal. So: our expectations were met perfectly last week when an ideal crowd of writers arrived early for C. Bain’s generative myth-and-truth workshop, and then the room filled in with a pleasant hum of wintertime excitement for the open mic and C’s feature. Our speed slam to close the night was a solidly awesome six-poet affair: let us offer congratulations to AJ Howell, taking second place in a first showing at the Cantab, and also to Lip McDonald, who took the top spot and the big $10.

Love the chance to workshop at the Cantab? We’ll be making a goal to offer these about once per month, on a slightly irregular basis, so please keep an eye on our schedule to see more pop up. Love C’s feature? You can check out more of his work on his personal website. Love to see some poetry slam? Well…

Next week: IT’S THE REAL DEAL, FOLKS! This is not a drill! On Wednesday, March 21, we’ll be out here selecting the team who will represent us at the 2018 National Poetry Slam in August! (Yes, that is a real month, with sunlight and bare knees and everything!) The hardiest nine Cantabbers you know will be slamming off in three rounds for just five spots; and if you like that kind of math, pack up $5 for the cover charge and bring your best judging brains, because we’re gonna need you to throw some numbers at these poets. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: The Way to Your Heart

Consider the thing you would most like to eat right now: something that would fortify you emotionally, digestively, or gustatorily. Now compare it to the thing you most recently ate.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 14, 2018: C. Bain

C. Bain, gender-liminal performer and Publishing Triangle finalist. Photo by Kyle Hislip.

C. Bain, gender-liminal performer and Publishing Triangle finalist. Photo by Kyle Hislip.

C. Bain is a gender-liminal writer, performer, teaching artist and theatre-maker. His poems are at once fiercely contemporary and mythological in scope. In his work, Bain turns to his own queer body to find and illuminate the cell of resistance within the self, the self-knowledge that makes transformation possible. He offers audiences this gift of Tiresian sight, prophesies from a second life.

C.’s book of poetry, Debridement, was a finalist for the 2016 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature. His work has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Muzzle Magazine, PANK, A Face to Meet the Faces, and the Everyman’s Library book Villanelles. He has thrice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has an extensive background in poetry slam as a competitor and coach of several national-level teams. He has been selected for the showcases on Finals Stage at the National Poetry Slam multiple times. He has performed throughout the United States, and shared stages with diverse luminaries including Patricia Smith, Jim Carroll, Saul Williams, and Dorothy Allison.

As an out nonbinary trans person, C.’s more recent work has focused on the embodiment in performance, and the inseperability of body and text. He has studied acting and clown at the Barrow Group, and also has movement training in Butoh and martial arts. He is an Artistic Associate with the movement-based theatre company Sacred Circle. Most recently, C. collaborated with Sacred Circle to become Jokana’an in their production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomè at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory in lower Manhattan. His delivery is known for its slow depth, searing emotion, and surgical clarity.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam is a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2018 World Qualifier.

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 speed slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Announcing the Fourth Annual Grudge Match Poetry Slam!

Thursday, March 29, 2018: come to OBERON at 2 Arrow Street in Cambridge to spring into National Poetry Month! Let our all-star lineup of seven matches (plus one bonus sacrifice round) from House Slam and the Boston Poetry Slam spring you into National Poetry Month just a few days early.

This is an 18+ show with custom cocktails available when doors open at 6:30. Music and comedy will open the show at 7:00 with the slam beginning at 7:30. Tickets are $10/$12/$15 and will sell out before the night of the show, so click here to guarantee yourself a seat!

For more detailed info on our performing artists, click here.