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2/25: Novoscene Weekend

Posted by novoscene on April 25, 2008

2/26: The Rebirth Cool-Poetry


Oh, silver tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

In a Harlem cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.
A dancing girl whose eyes are bold
Lifts high a dress of silken gold.

Oh, singing tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

Were Eve’s eyes
In the first garden
Just a bit too bold?
Was Cleopatra gorgeous
In a gown of gold?

Oh, shining tree!
Oh, silver rivers of the soul!

In a whirling cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.

Langston Hughes-1926

Jazz and poetry have been making beautiful music together since the early 1920, when writers like Hughes, James Baldwin and Sterling Brown fused the rhythms and innate imagery found in both arts into a new form of rolling verse.

Jessica Jones

In the years since, camps of poets from the Beats to the Black Arts Movement have dedicated works to the holy wail of Coltrane’s sax, Monk’s nimble fingering and Lois Armstrong’s big mouthed horn playing, usually with their own backing rhythm section, dark shades and a their own particularly cool swaggers.

This Saturday night you’ll get the chance to close out National Poetry Month in style and be a part of the cool as the 2nd Annual Bay Area JazzPoetry Festival touches down in Berkeley with some of the areas top jazz poets and musicians.


Headlining the party is modern day sax giant Jessica Jones, joined by her husband Tony on tenor, poet Arisa White , Erich Hunt on bass and Dezon Claiborne on the skins. Jones has worked with players as diverse as Bo Diddley, Don Cherry, Cab Calloway and Cecil Taylor and her playing style moves from straight ahead jazz to African and Haitian melodies.

The Bay Area has been a major player in the national jazz poetry scene since forever and the performance by longtime scene staples Upsurge! should show you why. They’ll be backed by a full band including Muziki Roberson on piano and Oakland Public Conservatory’s Angela Wellman on trombone. Also on the bill, expect magic from vibraphone master Yancie Taylor performing with poet Julian Carroll and Lisa B.’s jazz trio.

Dark shades and goatees aren’t required, but after this show, expect to have just a little more strut in your stride, just a little more bop in your soul.

2nd Annual Bay Area JazzPoetry Festival
Saturday, April 26, 2008
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Berkeley Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street,
(510) 848-3227

Friday, April 25

Emancipated Hearts: what is family to me?

More than a show of photographs, Emancipated Hearts celebrates family as experienced by the foster youth of the East Bay. Though these teen-aged artists within this show have not yet experienced a traditional family life, they possess an ability to create family one person at a time.

Emancipated Hearts: what is family to me?
5:30 p.m.
Esteban Sabar Gallery
480 23rd St, Oakland, CA

Skankin w/the Uptones

Since they formed back in the ’80s, but the Uptones have gained a reputation for their enegetic horns and live stage shows. Tonight they celebrate the release of their new CD, “Skankin’ Foolz Unite,” with a skankin’ dance contest. According to the Uptones’ dictionary, skanking is “a form of dancing practiced in the ska, reggae and punk music scenes. Derived from the verb ‘to skank.'” More live ska to keep the dancers moving is provided by “East Bay Streetsteady” crew Justi*fi, as well as San Francisco instrumental ska and Jamaican jazz purveyors Coup de Ska, with DJ Wally 2Tone rounding out the festivities.

The Uptones
1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

The Coup & the Kev Choice Ensemble

For the last 15 years, the Coup have been making no holds barred, grassroots hip hop for the people-definitely music to start the revolution to. Since 1993’s Kill My Landlord up through 2006’s Pick A Bigger Weapon, they’ve been responsible for some of the most inventive and powerful political music in recent memory. Tonight they’re joined by jazz hip hop star in the making Kev Choice and the Kev Choice Ensemble for some funky testifing and melodius thunk.

The Coup & the Kev Choice Ensemble
Shattuck Down Low
2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley

Saturday, April 26

photo © 2007 Charles Bernstein/PennSound

Artifact Reading Series

Since 1994, the Artifact reading series has been providing a home for experimental poetry and prose in the Bay Area. Today’s reading features poets Rae Armantrout, C.S. Giscombe and Alli Warren.

Rae Armantrout’s most recent book of poetry, Next Life (Wesleyan, 2007), was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2007 by The New York Times. Her poems have been included in anthologies such as Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1993), American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Language Meets the Lyric Tradition, (Wesleyan, 2002), The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford, 2006) and The Best American Poetry of 1988, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2007. C.S Giscombe currently teaches at Berkeley and has taught previously at Penn State, Illinois State, Cornell, among others. He’s also worked as editor of Epoch magazine throughout the 80’s and is the author of the poetry collections Postcards, Here, Giscome Road, Into and Out of Dislocation (FSG/ North Point) and his newest book, Prairie Style. Small Press Distribution’s Alli Warren is the author of the recently published NO CAN DO and the chapbooks COUSINS, HOUNDS , Yoke and Schema. She’s also the co-curator of The New Reading Series at 21 Grand.

Artifact Reading Series
Oakland Art Gallery
199 Kahn’s Alley, Oakland, CA

ALCHEMY: An Interactive Arts Event

Last year’s ALCHEMY fashion show turned out the California Modern Art Gallery. This year they’re taking over CellSpace for “Styles of Magic”, an night of interactive art installations include digital painting, screen printing, legos, fire art, photography, welding, origami, stained glass, collage, plus music, dance, fashion, and magic performances. Each participating designer’s collection depicts a different magic era, from Harry Houdini’s 1920s, to Voodoo, to the mysteries of Faeries and Pixies. Participating Missing Piece designers include: Miranda Caroligne, Shira Loa, MonTree, Jeremy Parr, Charlie B., Antoniya Ivanova, Chrystie Cappelli, Galerah, and Leila Bazzani.

2025 Bryant Street , SF


Sunday, April 27

People’s Park 39th Anniversary Experimental Acoustic Jam and Potluck Extravaganza

The idea behind this annual jam is to have multiple experiences going on at the same time that encourage more participation and less spectating. Visualize an old-time music jam, a poetry stage, puppet making and shows, square dancing, sing-a-longs, acoustic performances, art projects, group games, video showings, circuses, marching bands, political discourse, jump-rope, visioning ideas for People\’s Park, gardening projects, green living demonstrations, knitting workshops, miniature golf etc..

People’s Park Anniversary
People’s Park
2556 Haste St, Berkeley


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