Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series on January 5, 2020

This reading is part of our LGBTQIA+ series, Moonlighting. This month’s event is scheduled for Sunday, January 5, 2020, and the featured readers are Levi Cain and Red Maienza.

Moonlighting Features for January 5, 2020: Levi Cain and Red Maienza.

Moonlighting Features for January 5, 2020: Levi Cain and Red Maienza.

Levi Cain is a gay Black poet that was born in California, raised in Connecticut and currently lives in the Greater Boston Area. Levi is a shortlist finalist for Brain Mill Press’s National Poetry Month contest, a Sagittarius sun with an Aquarius rising, and a dessert enthusiast.

Red Maienza (they/them/theirs) is a Boston-based poet, organizer, and dunky donut who would like to formally apologize for their Gemini moon. Their work has appeared in the literary publication The Other Side of Violet (great weather for MEDIA), NHPR, Slamfind, & thriving (glowworm press), and in their friends’ backpacks. They are the staff coordinator and secretary of Slam Free Or Die in Manchester, NH. They have competed in countless slams on both regional and national levels. Their full name is Redemption because they believe in the power of healing, growth, and skin-of-your-teeth survival. Most importantly, they believe in you. twitter: @red_whines // instagram: @depressoshot

Click here for more information about this recurring show, or here for our Facebook event.

This show in our monthly Sunday queer series takes place The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge. Doors open at 7:00 for a 7:30 open mic with the feature to follow. The show is all-ages and a $5 donation is requested; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Click here for detailed accessibility information, or read on:

Physical Accessibility- The Democracy Center has a wheelchair accessibly entrance and the room we are in is wheelchair accessible. The Democracy Center does not have a wheelchair accessible bathroom, but one is available for use at the neighboring restaurant “The Daedalus”. Moonlighting strives to be as accessible as possible, we apologize for this inaccessibility and are working to secure a more accessible venue.

Stimulus Accessibility- Moonlighting does not play loud music at any point in the show. We ask that all participants on the open mic and all performers use the microphone provided for all aspects of their performance. There are a few options to adjust the lighting in the room we are in– if you need the lighting adjusted to better your experience at our show, please talk to Ilyus or Myles and we will do everything in our power to do so. We ask that you do not wear strong fragrances in our space. We love you and want you here and want to acknowledge and act upon everything in our power to ensure that as many folks have full access to the space as possible.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy new calendar year, Cantabbers! We kicked off 2020 this past Wednesday with a cozy and enthusiastic group cheering their hearts out for Suzanne O’Toole, our steadfast and super-smart perennial open mic opener. Suzanne squeezed a record amount of poems into her set, but also a record amount of tenderness and welcome: a happy beginning, indeed.

After the feature, you know we’re qualifying poets for the 2020 slam team all this month (and again in March). A mighty crew of three took the stage for a head-to-head speed slam this week, and emerging with a first-ever victory was David Donna, who just edged out Emily Duggan in the final round. Both poets qualify to come try out for the team in the spring.

This weekend: it’s the first new year of Moonlighting, our monthly queer open mic and reading series! January kicks off with featured readers Levi Cain and Red Maienza, plus YOU on the open mic, on Sunday, January 5 at the Democracy Center.

Next week: need more energy and inspiration for 2020? Cantab’s got you– 2018 BPS team member Meaghan Ford will be our feature, plus an open slam to end the night (and rumors of a guest star bartender). See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Not Even the Mayor of Flavortown

Write a gourmet description of something that is definitely not gourmet.

Cantab Feature for January 1, 2020: Suzanne O’Toole

Published poet and podcast star Suzanne O'Toole. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Published poet and podcast star Suzanne O’Toole. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Suzanne O’Toole is a Boston-based spoken word poet who enjoys lending her voice to several characters on various podcasts. She can be found playing the voice of Janet’s mother, Theresa Clarke, on the space-themed time-traveling show Solutions to Problems. Most recently, she can be heard voicing the Honorable Margaret Fly on the newly released surrealistic podcast Wait Wait Don’t Teleport Me!! Her poetry has been published in The Canton Citizen, Canton Writes, and Oddball Magazine.

An open poetry slam is scheduled for the late-night portion of this show, following the feature. The slam will be speed slam format: eight open sign-ups will be available starting at door time, and poets will slam head-to-head in up to three rounds with time limits of 3, 2, and 1 minute. Winner and runner-up qualify for the 2020 Team Selection series. To volunteer to judge in exchange for free admission to the show, or to ask questions about the slam, email the slam curator at

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, with the poetry slam to follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Show for Wednesday, December 25, 2019: NO SHOW TONIGHT

No poetry show tonight! Enjoy an evening outside the bar and come see us with your new work at our next show on January 1, 2020.

Need inspiration in the meantime? You can always dial up a random Tip from the Bar: click here to get a writing prompt from Adam Stone‘s weekly series.

And you can see our upcoming shows page for the 2020 schedule as we post ’em:

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Happy old year, Cantabbers! We’ve closed our calendars a little bit early with a celebratory double-feature: huge thanks to Cam Awkward-Rich and Franny Choi, who’d be sold-out solo features on any night of the year, for packing the house this week with a grand workshop and shared show. Our open mic was filled with celebrants airing out their 2019 and welcoming fellow poets to the room; our gratitude to everyone who came to fill our hearts double-big to hold us over through next Wednesday.

Remember, this is a great season to pay a poet and put something in your own hands that you truly want, so just know that you’ve definitely got room on your shelves for Cam’s brand-new wintertime full-length release, Dispatch, and Franny’s publication from this spring, Soft Science.

Next week: there is no show on December 25… But that doesn’t have to stop you from writing: check out our archived prompts by bartender Adam Stone at Tips from the Bar and come see us on January 1 with your new work. We’ll be opening up 2020 with a feature from Suzanne O’Toole and an open slam to qualify prospective 2020 slam team members!

Tips from the Bar: Let’s Not Go There

Describe a physical place or location that seems custom-designed to ruin your relationship with someone.

Cantab Workshop for Wednesday, December 18, 2019: Cam Awkward-Rich and Franny Choi

Arrive in advance of tonight’s event for an early-bird workshop at the Cantab Lounge before the show. The one-hour workshop has limited space and begins at 5:30, with latecomers admitted no later than 6:00. This is a generative workshop that is open to anyone all levels of writers and performers who wish to contribute to the night’s feeling of community.

Cameron Awkward-Rich is a black, trans writer and educator, editor for Muzzle Magazine, currently living in Northampton, MA and Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American poet, playwright, teacher, organizer, pottymouth, and Kundiman Fellow. Learn more about Cam and Franny, who will also be the featured poets for the night, at this link.

Cover charge is $10-$20 sliding scale, which includes admission to the evening show. We ask financially stable poets to consider contributing the higher end of this scale (or more) in order to defer costs for others and support this teaching artist’s generous donation of time to our space.

Due to the constraints of the venue, our workshop have limited space; room can be guaranteed to poets who identify as POC or queer. The best way to secure a spot in the workshop is to send an email.

The venue is 18+ and a photo ID is required. For more information on the night’s open mic, featured poet, and open poetry slam, click here.

Cantab Feature for December 18, 2019: Cam Awkward-Rich & Franny Choi

The Boston Poetry Slam is pleased to present a double feature to close the 2019 calendar year, including an early-bird workshop before doors open for the open mic. Click here for more information on the night’s generative workshop, or read on for more info on the night’s features.

Northampton poet and educator Cam Awkward-Rich. Photo by Samuel Ace.

Northampton poet and educator Cam Awkward-Rich. Photo by Samuel Ace.

Cameron Awkward-Rich is a black, trans writer and educator, currently living in Northampton, MA.

His first collection of poetry, Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His second collection, Dispatch, was the winner of the 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice award and is forthcoming from Persea Books in December, 2019.

Cam is a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Watering Hole, and Duke University’s Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies program. His poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series,The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Cameron earned a PhD from Stanford University’s program in Modern Thought & Literature, and he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Kundiman Fellow Franny Choi. Photo by Graham Cotten.

Kundiman Fellow Franny Choi. Photo by Graham Cotten.

Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American poet, playwright, teacher, organizer, pottymouth, GryffinClaw, & general overachiever. She is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) & Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She has received awards from the Poetry Foundation & the Helen Zell Writers Program, as well as fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center & the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, & New England Review, & her work has been featured by The Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, PBSNewsHour, & Angry Asian Man. A Kundiman Fellow & graduate of the VONA Workshop, in 2016 she founded the Brew & Forge Book Fair, a fundraising project that brings together poetry readers & writers to build capacity in social justice community organizations.

Aside from writing and teaching, Franny is a Senior News Editor for Hyphen Magazine & hosts the Poetry Foundation podcast VS along with fellow poet Danez Smith. A member of the Dark Noise Collective, Franny is currently a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan & a Citywide Poets Site Leader at Detroit School of Arts. She lives in Hamtramck, MI with some very resilient plants.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Last night, Evan J. Cutts breezed into town from his far-flung MFA program, bearing new work, new forms, and new florals (of course!). Evan read for us from his new Charlie Parker series, plus checked in with some erasures from his last visit to the Cantab feature slot: swing by to see one of our next few shows to see if you can catch this locally rooted poet in the house and grab a chapbook from him.

Our slam was a six-poet battle amongst late arrivals, open mic regulars, newcomers, and former team members: after a seemingly endless two-minute semi-final round (holy time penalties, batfriends), Myles Taylor took top honors with Sara H. just behind in the one-minute poem-off. Both slammers qualify for our 2020 slam team tryouts, which will take place in spring. Folks looking to qualify should check the schedule for our open slams, which are scheduled to run again in January!

Next week: if you were missing our workshop due to this week’s cancellation, you’ll be as thrilled as we are to hear that next week’s double feature, Cam Awkward-Rich and Franny Choi, will be offering an early-bird workshop as well. Come before 6:00 to get in on the generative writing fun, and we do recommend signing up in advance by email from the event page to guarantee yourself a spot in what will definitely be a popular event.