Spoken word events in Toronto, March 2014
Spoken word events worth knowing about in Toronto, March 2014.
Can someone turn up the heat, please? This winter, the coldest in the last two decades, will mercifully come to an end this month. Great timing too, because the poetry on offer in the GTA spoken word community will raise your temperature all on its own. There's a lot going on this time of year - a new open mic series is getting off the ground, collaborations abound, shows with word and sound, an event with multiple sparring rounds - so be sure to check out at least a few of these incredible spectacles.
THE FRENCH-AKPATA CONNEXION / MARCH 8 / 7:30PM / ELLINGTON'S MUSIC AND CAFE / $5-$15
Toronto poetry up-and-comer Whitney French joins forces with 2010 national slam champion and Ottawa provocateur John Akpata for a meeting of minds over poetry, storytelling and music. Both artists bring their unique perspectives and the work they've produced to share with the masses in an evening that will be unforgettable to those who attend. Below is a sampling of Akpata's work, courtesy of the CBC/
TORONTO POETRY SLAM SEMIFINALS / MARCH 9 FT. KAIT ROKOWSKI AND MARCH 21 FT. AARON SIMM / 8PM / DRAKE HOTEL UNDERGROUND / $5
The top 16 poets from the regular season have been determined and the draw held for the semifinals at TPS. The team selected at April's finals will defend the national slam championship at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Victoria this fall. Both shows spotlight powerful poets coming to town as feature performers - the second semi puts Winnipeg wordslinger Aaron Simm in front of a Toronto audience that may not quite be ready for him, while the first features Minnesota's own Kait Rokowski.
POET PSYCHOLOGY CD LAUNCH / MARCH 14 / 9PM / AMSTERDAM BICYCLE CLUB / PAY WHAT YOU WANT
CBC Here and Now resident poet and 2012 national slam champion Ritallin releases the third and final volume of his Poet Psychology project - a CD with a dozen poems all set to music. Newly signed R&B artist Pluto, Peterborough based reggae group Dub Trinity and East Coast Music Award winning hip-hop MC Spesh K will join Ritallin onstage for an amazing evening of music and poetry. For a taste of PPV3, check out one of the tracks performed live in Vancouver in January.
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO SPOKEN WORD CIRCUIT PRESENTS JEREMY LOVEDAY / MARCH 19, 20 & 26
The SOSWC is a consortium of spoken word groups that stage monthly spoken word events in London, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto and York Region. Thanks to the support of Canada Council for the Arts, they bring a high-profile artist each month to perform at the venues on the circuit. This month, the first for the new Toronto spoken word open mic showcase ARTiculated Noise (March 19), the Circuit is hosting the two-time Victoria slam champion and #MenLetsTalk advocate Jeremy Loveday. He also performs at Burlington Slam Project (March 20) and YorkSlam (March 26).
THE LAST POET STANDING / MARCH 30 / 7PM / THE GREAT HALL / $20 ADV; $25 DOOR
The third annual edition of The Last Poet Standing may turn out to be the best yet, with an impressive array of artists set to go head-to-head in a single elimination spoken word tournament (think March Madness, poetry style). Hosted and produced by Dwayne Morgan of Up From The Roots, the one-on-one battles in the centre of a boxing ring will culminate with one winner walking away with a $500 cash prize. One of the sixteen contenders is 2013 Toronto Slam Champion of Champions Dagmar Morgan.
OTHER SHOWS AND EVENTS
Sunday Poetry / March 2, 9, 16, 23 / 11:30am / Ellington's Music & Café / free
Amsterdam Bicycle Club Presents Lizzie Violet's Poetry Open Mic ft. Bänoo Zan / March 3 / 8pm / Amsterdam Bicycle Club / PWYC
R.I.S.E. Poetry Movement / March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 / 6:30pm / Burrows Hall Community Centre / free
The Art Bar Poetry Series / March 4, 11, 18, 25 / 8pm / Black Swan Tavern / PWYC
Acoustic Soul Tuesdays / March 4, 11, 18, 25 / 8pm / Pero Restaurant and Lounge / $5
WordSpell Spoken Word Showcase ft. Britta B. and Bänoo Zan / March 5 / 8pm / Free Times Café / $6 and up
The Best Originals / March 5 / 8pm / Hirut Restaurant / PWYC
Livewords 6th Anniversary Show Pt. II / March 6 / 7:30pm / Black Swan Tavern / free
SPEAKout Poetry Open Mic Night / March 7 / 7:30pm / Magic Oven (Keele) / PWYC ($5 suggested)
Lizzie Violet's Cabaret Noir One Year Anniversary Show / March 9 / 7pm / The Central / PWYC ($5 suggested)
Cometry Poedy - We Lost Our Marbles / March 11 / 7:30pm / The Central / PWYC
BAM! Toronto Youth Slam / March 12 / 6:30pm / The Central / $5
Plasticine Poetry hosted by Cathy Petch / March 16 / 6pm / Pauper's Pub / free
Roots Lounge Open Mic & Poetry Slam / March 16 / 8pm / Harlem Restaurant / $5
Hot-Sauced Words / March 20 / 8pm / Black Swan Tavern / PWYC
wind in the leaves collective with allies and friends / March 22 / 8pm / Daniels Spectrum / $10-$15
Loose Leaf Poets & Writers / March 24 / 7pm / Maple Leaf House Grill & Lounge / free
A Poetry Extravaganza ft. Spencer Butt, Andre Prefontaine, Elizabeth Burns, Nicole Brewer, William Kemp & more / March 25 / 9pm / The Central / PWYC
Shab-e She'r (Poetry Night) / March 25 / 7pm / The Central / PWYC
For more listings, head on over to the events calendar for local info updated regularly during the month.
Have a spoken word event coming up that you'd like us to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO events calendar.