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6/12 Oakland Poetry Slam Finals

Posted by novoscene on June 12, 2008

What with the world ending and all, there seems to be a real need for some honest dialugue and open communication. And we’re in luck as all across the country poets are honing their deliveries, brushing up on their stage banter and sharpening their verses, preparing to bleed emotional honesty and insight all over stages and barroom floors. Yes good people, it’s qualifying time for the National Poetry Slam.

-N’er City

Following last weekend’s San Francisco finals, the Broakland Poetry Slam hosts it’s final knock down drag out, last poet standing event tonight, with the final 4 making their way to the big dance in Wisconsin in early August. The Bay has been putting it’s poetic thing down on the world stage since the first National slam started as a grudge match between Chicago and San Francisco back in 1990 (damn-NPS is almost legal drinking age-that’s a scary thought on so many levels…) and tonight’s contest brings together some of the top wordslingers currently blessed with the gift of committing 3 minutes of searing emotional honesty to memory.


The final 10 is made up of national slam vets including N’er City, Mark States and Dahled as well as a couple of newbies, all looking to for a spot on the bus to Madison. Come show some love for Oakland Poetry. Who knows-it just might save you from the fire and brimstone.-kwan

Oakland Poetry Slam Finals
KTOP Studios
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza


One Response to “6/12 Oakland Poetry Slam Finals”

  1. Dahled said

    Good lookin out fam. For your readers that may be interested in what’s next, there’s a series of competitions called the B.o.B.’s (Battles of The Bay). Berkeley’s is tomorrow (6/18) at The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck @ Prince). We’re finalizing the venue for our event so stay tuned. For the folks who want the full rundown on Friday’s event here’s the details (it’s loooong if you need to cut it cool – the info can also be found at our myspace):

    Finals Recap
    If you throw shows then you know the worst part of the night is right before you’re scheduled to begin. Stress-city! Especially in Oakland it seems there’s a history of lateness (do you remember ten o’clock starts at Mambo-Mambo?). We’ve been working to change this since we took over the show a few years ago but we not quite there yet. If we were the hard asses in reality that we play on TV a few finalists would have been cut before we ever did the draw (you know who you are). When it looked like this was going to happen we opted to include a poet who’d just barely missed the cut but was there on time in the line-up (Jen G.). As soon as we made this decision (of course) the late arrivals showed up. After some confusion, we included everyone, altered the elimination format (11 to 9 to 7) to accommodate this change, did the draw and the show was on. (Don’t ask me why but we try to make folks happy, if we didn’t it’d make life so much easier for us – you’re welcome.)

    Up first was Paradox (no, not that Paradox) who brought heat but suffered from the cold judges even after Nazelah and Jason Bayani sacrificed to open the show. Dahled went next delivering a piece about the complexities of being biracial which bumped the score up by more than 3 points and ensured a spot in the 2nd round. Baraka followed with a discussion of “black cock” but missed the cut. Dusty Rose brought gay marriage to the mic and it brought her through to round two. She was followed by Jen G. and her thoughts on date-rape and horror flicks which ensured her advancment. By this time the judges were fully warm – and the round had gotten to the heavy hitters. Mesej 1 sprinkled some “Magic Dust” on the judges, Jaylee followed with “Chemo” for a monster 29.2 – the high score so far and Jason (who we met and who qualified at the last-chance slam @ Dorsey’s) dropped some conscious rhymes for a more than respectable 3rd in the round. Up next was nerCity, last year’s Grand Slam Champ (for a reason) who bumped the high score to 29.6 with “Bloodlines”. Aaron (also from last years squad) gave a teachers perspective of “No Child Left Behind” and managed to survive a big time penalty. Finishing off the round was D.dra with a poetic plea to “Baby Daddies” everywhere. She also managed to survive her first of two costly time penalties.

    In the 2nd round the order changes and the poets go from high score to low. That sent nerCity up first and he took a chance by combining two poems into one, effectively supercharging “Batteries” – it worked, earning him his second highest score of the night so far – second only to himself. Jaylee followed with a love poem inspiring coos and awws for the audience and a 29 from the judges. Jason brought some more dope rhymes to the mic and earned a score to match. Mesej 1 came “Out of Nowhere” and made more than a few eyes tear up with his personal story about dealing with a scary diagnosis. Dahled went next bringing up the politics behind “The Pound Heard Round The World” followed by Aaron with a hilarious and thoughtful poem abut his students and “Balls”. D.dra wowed the crowd and judges again with her ernest work but suffered from her second (costly!) time penalty. Jen G. and Dusty Rose rounded out the field in the round but neither could make up ground on the folks ahead of them.

    The last round mirrors the second in order – we go high to low. This kept nerCity first. He read a new love poem off the page (risky) but by this time the judges knew what they wanted and he was it. Jaylee followed suit but added war to the love mix and got judge love for it. Jason went next and rhymed his way to a solid 3rd round score. Dahled brought more politics to the mic with “Checks & Balances” tying the high score for the evening and locking up a spot on the team. Mesej 1 suggested we “Raise Our Glasses” and the judges seemed to agree. Aaron followed and told us how “Dangerous” love is. Rounding out the slam was D.dra, who also tied the high score of the evening with a reminder that “Barak Obama is Half White”.

    All that to say; Oakland, your 2008 Slam Team is- nerCity, Jason, Jaylee Alde, Dahled & Mesej 1. Yup, that’s five. Yup, that’s a DOPE five. (Yup, if not for time penalties the results would have been different.)

    Extra special thanks to tall of the poets that performed and especially to Mark States for keeping time/score!

    if you’re into the actual #’s here they are:

    nerCity —— (29.6 + 29.5 + 29.1 = 88.2)
    Jason ——–(28.3 + 29.4 + 29 = 86.7)
    Jaylee ——- (29.2 + 29 + 28.2 = 86.4)
    Dahled——- (27.7 + 28.9 + 29.6 = 86.2)
    Mesej 1—— (27.8 + 28.8 + 28.1 = 84.7)
    D.dra——–(26.7 + 28.3 + 29.6 = 84.6 -1 total time penalty)
    Aaron——–(27.7 + 28.1 + 28.5 = 84.3 -1 total time penalty)
    Jen G.——–(25.5, 28.9)
    Dusty Rose—-(25.4, 27)
    Paradox—— (24.2)
    Baraka——- (24.2)

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