So many new folks turned out for the NorthBEAST 4×4 last night at the Cantab! …Well, actually, we think they turned out to get a spot on what was a super-fun and thoughtful open mic, but the room was still packed with excited listeners when slamtime rolled around. The Boston Poetry Slam team was prepped and ready to take on the Providence Poetry Slam from Rhode Island, the Rhythmic Cypher team from Portland, and the far-flung travelers from louderARTS NYC!
The show started strong with a thoughtful and funny three-woman group piece about crying in public from Mikayla Mitchell, Jordan Peterson, and Melissa Lozada-Oliva, followed by a more serious (and chilly!) sacrifice from Zeke Russell. First round highlights included a new cut of some older work from Oz and a carpetbagging Jamie Martin hitting the stage for NYC on a short jaunt down from his Portland feature, putting Boston and NYC neck and neck going into round two.
The second round was a cavalcade of confession, starting with RC’s Generalissimio setting his own house on fire. Muggs Fogarty got the on-page response award for the night from the two-spot in this round with her poem about anxiety and queerdom– her raw score would have been enough to put Providence up over New York, but a big time penalty gave the audience another reason besides great writing to shout and stomp. Brendan Wolff followed up from NYC to remind us that “sanity is a relative concept,” which led into a blistering performance of Melissa Newman-Evans’ Hurricane poem that pulled the home team well into the lead.
The NorthBEAST is rocking several lady-heavy teams for NPS this year, and that was most evident in the third round: three more solo ladies hit the stage for NYC, Portland, and Boston, including Bengal tiger Sophia Garcia from Portland: the judges even started giving up some of their precious 9s by the time Janae Johnson hit the stage with The Art of Being Feminine. The round closed with brand-new group piece from Sabine Quetant and Marshall Gillson from Providence; the audience was excited to see group work, but the judges preferred to wait until everyone was off page to give up the high scores.
Boston opened the fourth round with a new edit of a new off-page poem (new new new!) from Meaghan Ford, sealing the deal on the home team’s victory. LouderARTS was just behind with a portrait of high school from Gabriel Ramirez. Providence continued to shun performance in favor of shiny new ideas with a smoldering astronomy poem from Astrid Drew to garner Rhode Island the third place spot, and then the unmatchable Princess Jones got to close the night for Rhythmic Cypher with a very funny and self-empowering body love poem that was a perfect finish for the audience after a heavy night.
Thanks so much to all the teams who traveled to hang with us, and to our judges: Laurel, Sue, Elaine, Amanda, and Edward & Sarah. Hope to see everyone back at next month’s regional on July 16: that one’s got teams from the Lizard Lounge, Port Veritas, Slam Free or Die, and Urbana NYC!
Meanwhile, of course, we’ve got three other shows between now and then… As always, show up early and stay late for next week’s open mic, open slam, and, in the middle, weird and wonderful headliner Brendan Constantine in town from the left coast.