Spoken Word events in Toronto, March 2013
March signals the slow start of spring, the arrival of early spring sniffles, and the inevitable slush that accompanies the thaw. But there's nothing mushy about the poetry events coming forward as winter gives up its icy grip, and the only thing that'll be sick at these shows (hopefully) is the artistry on the stage. There's a lot coming, so take a look and see what might strike your fancy.
WORDSPELL SPOKEN WORD FT. ANDREA THOMPSON AND AFRAKAREN / MARCH 6 / 8:30PM / FREE TIMES CAFÉ / $6 & UP
This month, WordSpell Collective has brought together two women with powerful voices that will shake you to your very roots. Afrakaren, just about to embark on a residency in Banff, brings a ferocity that will singe your cerebral cortex, while spoken word legend Andrea Thompson is one of the most accomplished spoken word artists of the era. Here's a taste of Thompson in her slam days, in a clip from the award-winning SlamNation documentary.
EDDY DA ORIGINAL ONE & AL ST. LOUIS BORN DAY CELEBRATION & SHOW / MARCH 9 / 8PM / 227 LOUNGE / $15-$25 ADV
Two longtime spoken word producers and performers join forces to bring you a show that serves not only as a birthday party, but also as a showcase for artists sharing word and song. Hosted by Kerry Lee Crawford from G98.7's "Steps After Dark" and backed by The SoulMates Band, this night of poetry, music and comedy will create a sonic explosion between your ears. You can get dinner and a show at 8pm, or come later for the show only.
TORONTO POETRY SLAM - SEMI-FINAL #1 FT. MAGPIE ULYSSES/ MARCH 10 / 8PM / THE DRAKE HOTEL / $5
The Toronto Poetry Project presents the first of three slams that will determine who will form the 2013 Toronto Poetry Slam Team. In this first encounter, eight poets (David Delisca, Serafina, Patrick de Belen, Optimus Rhyme, Sabrina, IF, Anto Chan, and Iyah) face off for one of four coveted slots in the TPS Finals next month. BC poetry veteran Magpie Ulysses makes her first appearance in the region on her eastern Canadian tour. Though the fireworks start at 8pm, the venue will be slammed. Don't arrive at showtime if you want to get in the door.
SLAMMED: A NIGHT OF SPOKEN WORD POETRY / MARCH 13 / 7:30PM / THE ARBOUR ROOM AT HART HOUSE / FREE
Speaking of Slammed, three of Toronto's hottest female poetry slammers -- Lishai, Serafina and Britta B -- combine forces for a night to remember on the University of Toronto campus. The sign-up sheet opens up at 7:30pm, so if you want to share you can do so too. But this combination of featured poets is simply too good to pass up and too hot to ever try and hold back.
ONTARIO SPOKEN WORD CIRCUIT PRESENTS MAGPIE ULYSSES / MARCH 16, 17, 23 & 24
The OSWC is a consortium of five spoken word groups that stage monthly spoken word events in London, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto and York Region. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts, they will bring a high-profile artist each month to perform at the venues on the circuit. This month, two-time national slam champion Magpie Ulysses makes the trip east from Nelson, BC. She appears at Bill Brown's 1-2-3 Slam (March 20), Burlington Slam Project (March 21), YorkSlam (March 27) and We Flip Tables! @SaugaSlam (March 28).
SOULSTICE MUSIC & POETRY FT. LILLIAN ALLEN, JAHBUDAH & RITALLIN / MARCH 23 / 9PM / WATERFALLS INDIAN TAPAS / $10
Toronto's seasonal music and poetry showcase series returns to Kensington Market with the Juno Award winning dub poetry pioneer Lillian Allen and the sounds of reggae produced by Jahbudah. Lillian is promoting her recently released album Anxiety, but there's no need to be nervous about seeing one of Canada's most influential poetic voices. She will be joined by 2012 national slam champions Ritallin on the mic and Patrick de Belen as host.
SPOKEN WORDS 4: A NIGHT OF STAND UP COMEDY & SPOKEN WORD / MARCH 26 / 7PM / LULA LOUNGE / $20 ADV
Up From the Roots Entertainment presents a line-up of the real and the really funny, when the 2012 national slam champion team of Dwayne Morgan, Patrick de Belen, Lishai and Ritallin get together with comedians Dave Merheje, Arthur Simeon, Jean Paul and Cedric Newman for a full evening of playing with language just for kicks, laughs, and lessons. A must-see for people who enjoy the power of voice to move souls.
TORONTO POETRY SLAM - SEMI-FINAL #2 FT. ROBBIE Q / MARCH 30 / 8PM / THE DRAKE HOTEL / $5
The second of two slam-offs to determine the final eight from this season of slam poetry at the Drake, slammers Kliggy, White Noise Machine, Emilee Nimetz, Millado, Philosofly, Ida Sophia, Britta B and Valentino Assenza will be gunning for one of the four tickets to April Finals. The event's feature is none other than Louder Than A Bomb lead organizer and legendary performer Robbie Q. Telfer, coming all the way from Chicago.
OTHER SHOWS AND EVENTS
Sunday Poetry / March 3, 10, 17, 24 / 11:30am / Ellington's Music & Café / free
Love Jones Sunday hosted by Aria Zenua/ March 3 / 8pm / No One Writes to the Colonel / $10
Roots Lounge Open Mic & Poetry Slam / March 3 (Scarborough Edition at Yvonne's Coffee Haus, 7pm) and March 17 (Downtown Edition at Harlem Restaurant, 8pm) / $5
R.I.S.E. Poetry Movement / March 4, 11, 18, 25 / 6pm / Tropicana Community Services / $3
UTSEC presents Bedslam / March 5 / 7pm / The Arbour Room at Hart House / free
The Art Bar Poetry Series / March 5 , 12, 19, 26 / 8pm / Q Space / PWYC
Livewords / March 7 / 7:30pm / Black Swan Tavern / free
Wonder Women IV in Concert / March 8 / 8pm / The Gladstone Hotel / $10
Lizzie Violet's Cabaret Noir / March 10 / 7pm / Q Space / PWYC ($5 suggested)
Emilee Nimetz Goes to Canadian Indies Slam Fundraiser / March 12 / 9:30pm / Grapefruit Moon / $10
BAM! The Toronto Youth Slam ft. David Delisca / March 13 / 6pm / The Central / $5
Toronto Wordstage / March 13 / 7:30pm / Q Space / free
The Beautiful and the Damned hosted by DM Moore/ March 14 / 7pm / Glad Day Bookshop / PWYC
SPEAKout Poetry Open Mic Night ft. Hyfidelik the Gypsy Sun / March 16 / 6:30pm / I Deal Coffee / $5
Nik Beat, Salt Circle, Brandon Pitts & Jacqueline Valencia / March 16 / 7pm / Video Fag / free
Poetry & Prose at The Literary Café ft. Vanessa McGowan & Saskia van Tetering / March 17 / noon / The Moonshine Café (Oakville) / free
Hot-Sauced Words ft. Al Moritz, Sandy Pool & Catherine Owen / March 21 / 8pm / Black Swan Tavern / PWYC
P.O.I.T. (Poetically Organized Invitational Tournament - Canadian Indies Slam Fundraiser) / March 22 / 8pm / Black Bull Tavern (Burlington) / $10
Plasticine Poetry hosted by Cathy Petch / March 23 / 6pm / Pauper's Pub / free
Howl at Q Space ft. Patrick Connors, Joani Paige, Gabrielle Bowen & Mindi Sainte / March 24 / 7pm / Q Space / free
Loose Leaf Poets & Writers / March 25 / 7pm / The Maple Leaf House Grill & Lounge / free
Sufi Poets Series II: I Know Not Who I Am / March 29 / 7pm / Beit Zatoun / $10
Have a spoken word event coming up that you'd like us to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO events calendar.
Photo courtesy of Lillian Allen