Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our feature for the night will be Sonya Renee! 

Sonya Renee is easily the most distinguished, accomplished and recognizable female in the world of Slam Poetry, and rightly so. After a meteoric rise to poetry superstardom in 2004, Sonya has redefined the role and impact of women in slam since her whirlwind arrival on the scene, consistently ranking at the top of every major national and international poetry slam every year since then. Sonya’s success can be attributed to her commitment to writing poetry that stays true to her roots as a social activist and women’s rights advocate. The socially conscious wordsmith became the National Poetry Slam Champion only 4 months into her slam career in ’04, and followed this amazing achievement with back to back top 8 finishes at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, a 2nd place finish at the International Poetry Slam Championship in 2005, and a 1st place finish at the Four Continents European International Slam Championship in 2006. Sonya put her socially conscious words into action by performing in front of over 1 million spectators in Washington D.C. alongside presidential candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at a historic 2004 March for Women’s Lives Rally. Her work has appeared in several publications, translated into Dutch and German and has most recently appeared in the book Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces and Spoken Word Revolution: Redux.

Her poetry has been used as curriculum at the University of Santa Barbara, as an HIV education resource with HIV Campus Education and as Artist for Choice with Choice USA, the reproductive rights organization started by Gloria Steinem and numerous undergraduate papers, forensic and debate teams. The First Lady of Slam has also seen commercial success with appearances on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and the hit reality series “Monique’s F.A.T Chance” on the Oxygen Network. With all her success, Sonya has still found time to devote herself to the causes she has fought for since her teenage years, even earning her Master’s in Non-profit Management. She has held every position from peer educator to trainer, to director for numerous organizations around the country confronting issues including; at-risk youth, HIV/AIDS, prostitution, incarceration, and inequality. She currently serves as the Capacity Building and Training Director for the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, CA and serves on the National Board of Directors for the arts and activism organization, Blackout Arts Collective. All the while, Sonya has toured the globe, performed at numerous colleges, universities, public venues, and clubs as a champion of Human Rights and an International Award Winning Poet.

Sonya’s poetry is blunt, raw, and poignant. She speaks the truth with no mixed words and challenges society to face its deepest and most long-lived ills with strength, courage and sometimes a lot of laughter. In the same light, her work also reflects a checkered childhood overcoming a family riddled with drug addiction and mental illness, and dealing with the reality of living completely on her own from the age of 17. Her past has made her the beacon of strength and beauty that shines so brightly today every time she blesses a mic. Sonya Renee is not only the voice of every woman, but of humanity. From the neglected to the powerful, from the downtrodden to the triumphed, they all speak through her... and her voice will not soon fade. Sometimes all that is left is to get Real!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We voted now we watch!

This up to date map shows each state as they cast their electoral votes. Click on the map for the option to view how different counties voted in each of the different states.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


3rd Anniversary Show!

The premiere open-mic in San Diego is giving you the best poets, singers, and musicians.

Come out and get your fix!

 Thursday, 11/06/08

at 9 PM 

Elevated was started by a group of individuals with a vision of providing a space were artistic expression could be used as vehicle to educate, enlighten, uplift, entertain and create discourse. Over the past three years ELEVATED has become one of the biggest spoken word venues on the west coast and one of the most coveted poetry readings in the nation.

The night will consist of a selection of artists who've featured throughout the year and the performers who come and support on a regular basis. The show's featured presentation will consist of 2 of the nation's most prolific poets. Sekou tha Misfit and Steve Connell are former members of the Hollywood Poetry Slam team, they have both featured on the HBO special Def Poetry and toured the country with their 2 man show.

Eveoke Dance Theatre

2811 University Ave

San Diego, CA 92104

$7 at the door

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



featuring Rudy Francisco

Thursday, October 22, 2008

9pm ($5 at the door)

"Listen" will feature some up and coming local artists with special appearances by members of the 2008 San Diego Slam Team. The headliner will be San Diego's representative for the 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam, Rudy Francisco. I just discovered he'll be debuting the University Ave mixtape exclusively for this special engagement. 

As an artist, Rudy Francisco combines activism and poetry to enlighten the minds of all those who witness his performance. Rudy eloquently absorbs the experiences of those around him, synthesizes them and converts stories into poetry in an attempt to captivate and inform those around him. Rudy Francisco has featured at numerous universities, colleges and poetry readings across the region and currently holds the record for the most San Diego poetry slams won consecutively. He was crowned the Grand Slam Champion of San Diego in 2007, competed with the Hollywood Slam team in the National Poetry Slam in 2008.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday,  10/16/08  @ 9 PM 

San Diego Poetry Slam Night! 

come see the best poets in San Diego compete to represent at the

2009 National Poetry Slam in Florida

Monday, September 29, 2008

This week's feature


“…He might someday take over Mos Def’s mantle as Hip-Hop’s activist poet laureate

–Seattle Weekly

“Four Stars!”, “If revolution had a movie, Ise Lyfe just might be theme music”


Rising from the streets of Oakland, California, Ise is no stranger to challenging the status quo. In the midst of an ever-growing culture of "Going Dumb" and Hyphy-ness, Ise chooses to spin off of that energy, using that same force to empower and uplift via his vocal and lyrical artillery. "Our communities are full of beautiful people that can’t see their own beauty. People look outside of themselves for anything to make them feel good about themselves, or just good period. Before all of this is over, I'd like to play a roll in influencing people to see the answer within." 

Ise first got national recognition in 2000 competing in the annual Youth Speaks Poetry Slam Finals and represented the San Francisco Bay Area at the Youth Speaks National Poetry Slam in 2001, which caused his popularity to sky-rocket. He has been featured on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO. He has also shared the stage with Dave Chappelle, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, E-40,Harry Belafonte, KRS-One, Martin Luther, Saul Williams, Ben Harper and Erykah Badu, Zion Eye, and The Coup to name a few.

In the summer of 2008, Ise Lyfe will drop his second LP, “Prince Cometh” (7even89ine Music). The album picks up where the first left off as Ise continues to make thought provoking music, but also gives listeners a more personal perspective.

“I chose the title Prince Cometh for this album for a couple of reasons. This record is a lot more personal than my last album, (“spreadtheWORD”- 2006 Hardknock Records) and I feel like at this particular time in my life I’m really coming into myself, hence, Prince Cometh. At the same time the title reflects what I’ve been seeing as I travel and witness the current state of the world. People everywhere are coming into themselves and choosing to demand what they feel is right and good for them. That’s the theme of this project…”-Ise Lyfe

Despite losing friends and family members to drug abuse, incarceration and violence, Ise says that it wasn’t until he witnessed a murder at a concert that his outlook on life changed for the better. "I realized that I had become numb to the violence and had somehow accepted the idea of dying young. I never wanted to be that way." As a teenager, Ise had stopped writing seriously. However, at the age of 17, it was this life altering experience that would return him to his rhyme books and journals.

Regardless of where his career stands now, Ise is rooted and speaks from the childhood handed to him by Oakland, CA, relating to people and places that exist within this common experience. 

In addition to Hip-Hop and Spoken Word, Ise Lyfe is an innovative businessman-The Owner, Founder, and Executive Director of Lyfe Productives. Through this company, he creates a popular culture of consciousness and finds ways to make both standard and alternative education provocative for young people growing up in the inner-city. Ise facilitates teaching residencies in 8 Bay Area schools and continues spreading his word at Universities, High Schools, Middle Schools, and various agencies not only throughout the United States, but his work has also crossed domestic boarders Having worked in both the United Kingdom and in Ghana, West Africa, he charges forward towards a global platform. 

In 2007, Lyfe Productives helped design a marketing outreach plan for an agency in the Bay Area that provides free mobile HIV/AIDS testing named CAL-PEP. This plan helped lead to over 100 young people being tested at a Labor Day weekend event; more than any number in their 15 year history!

In 2003, Ise began teaching social history and Spoken Word at one of nation's most innovative charter high schools, The School for Social Justice and Community Development in Oakland, CA. He led the youth component at Leadership Excellence in Oakland, CA – A NON-PROFIT organization committed to educating black youth in the areas of social justice and cultural awareness. From 2004 to 2006 he served as Senior Arts-in-Education Associate at Youth Speaks (San Francisco, CA), the leading literary arts agency in the US. There, Lyfe continued his successful approach to blending literacy and performance arts.

In 2004 Ise co-wrote and performed in "CAUSE", a Hip Hop theater piece that fused spoken word with modern dance to address the legacy of hate in the world. Internationally renowned choreographer Robert Moses directed the dance sequences.

He continues to push boundaries and take his message to the next level. “Who’s Krazy?,” a one-man theater piece he penned himself was curetted by Cultural Odyssey of San Francisco and debuted at the 2007 National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina to a sold-out crowd and received rave reviews.  In 2008, the play will gain even more recognition as it will be feature at the 2008 NAACP Theatre Awards.

The accolades keep pouring in for this young man:

  • City Flight Magazine’s Top 25 under 35
  • Honored at the 12th Annual African American Excellence in Business
  • One of the top “101 Black men in California making a Difference”, stood proud as the youngest honoree

Next up, as Ise Lyfe steams ahead, is the release of his first book Pistols and Prayers. This book is sure to please his current fan base, and bring some more folks on board. Nothing but great things are expected from him in the future.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thursday, 9/18/08 @ 9 PM 

First ELEVATED Poetry Slam for 2009 Team

This year the San Diego Slam Team represented for us. They went to Madison Wisconsin for the national competition and competed against not only the best poets from around the nation…but the best poets from around the world. The 2008 team put our city on the map by finishing in the top 20 and now it's time to start the selection process for 2009. Come out to the first Elevated Slam of the new season where the best poets from around the city will be competing for a slot in the semi finals. The winner will be one step closer to being on the team that represents San Diego in the 2009 National Poetry Slam and will represent San Diego In the Individual World Poetry Slam!!!!!!!!


Our feature for the night will be Nikki Skies! 

While in college, Nikki Skies often veered away from sharing her career goals in fear of being laughed at for not pursuing a "real job". Today, Nikki is an award winning actress, and a nationally known performance poet, lecturer, author and activist. Best known for her performances on PBS and BET’s Lyric Café, Nikki has performed at over 300 colleges/universities, conferences and festivals across the country and appeared in the documentaries “LA Underground: Tha Zone” and “Mic Gods”. Upon moving from her mid west state of Missouri to Los Angeles, Nikki quickly became a highly sought after feature performer and noted as one of the trailblazing female poets on the underground poetry and hip hop scene in LA. She has shared panels and opened for such artists and activists as Amiri Baraka, Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver, Jill Scott, Saul Williams, Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Steinem to name a few. Nikki is a recently selected Dana Arts Foundation Fellow for 2008.

Nikki’s community activism has partnered her work with the LA AIDS Project, workshop facilitation in LA and Orange county schools on speech and debate, cultural sensitivity and multicultural diversity as well as coalition building with community health clinics in Watts, CA addressing health disparities. She has had speaking engagements for national and international organizations such as, Doctors Without Borders, American Cancer Society, Poets & Writers, LA Arts Commission and Campus Progress in which she is a regularly scheduled speaker with their bureau as well as the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) as a national member. Over the years, Nikki's poetry has been used as curriculum in the Oakland women's prison system and published in various poetry anthologies. She has been a featured performer at a number of the noted major poetry venues across the country such as the Nuyorican, Green Mill, Apache, Poetry Lounge, Seven and a list of others.

Her novel of short stories, “Mississippi Window Cracks”, has sold over 4,200 copies independently and accompanies the success of her poetry cd, "Moody". Nikki has also penned three chapbooks of poetry and is an accomplished playwright and director. She studied for her B.A. and M.F.A. at Grambling State University and Howard University respectively. For more information on performances, lecture topics and booking information, go to www.nikkiskies.com or contact at moodymoonart@aol.com.


Come experience the resurrection of spoken word! Elevated! is a creative arts experience that is guaranteed to uplift, inspire and move you through spoken word, music, and visual art. Elevated! features nationally, internationally, and locally renowned poets. The open mic encourages up-and- coming artists to showcase their skills and talent. Come to listen, express, and get ELEVATED!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ant Black Performance @ ELEVATED!

Collective Purpose presents…

Ant Black's new CD Pre-Release Show
Thursday, August 21 , 2008
@ 9 Pm

If Hip Hop and Jazz had a baby, it would be Piece de Resistance (Peace of Resistance), Ant Black's new CD. A superb mixture of hip hop, smoothed out Jazz and R&B, the new CD has been a 2 year labor of love for Ant Black. It combines the gritty realness of a society obsessed with pop culture with a faithful hope for a future of love and harmony. Ant Black gives his fans something to hear, bob their head to, cry, and think about all at the same time. Set to be released on 8/26, you can get a preview and purchase a copy at the show. This is definitely an event you will not want to miss!!!!!

Come out and support your local poets!
Eveoke Dance Theatre
2811 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
$5 at the door

Read on for a review and sample track from the CD!
Ant Black Set to Release New CD!

Following the success of the Un-Masterpiece, Spoken Word artist and Poet Laureate of the 15 Freeway, Ant Black will release his latest body of work. Already hailed as a fresh breath in musically dead society, Piece de Resistance (Peace of Resistance) is full of the creativity, artistry, and social commentary that has made Ant Black a Southern California favorite.

Here is what one reviewer had to say about the latest project from Ant Black:
Ant Black’s Piece de Resistance (Peace of Resistance) is truly a force to be reckoned. Generously gifting his fans with a gumbo of poetry infused with funk, hip hop, jazz, r&b, rock, and soul music, this 22 track album is the best poetic album to come out of San Diego to date. Ant Black shines his light brightly on subjects such as eating disorders, drug abuse, the demise of love, and social injustice.

Artistically ushering the listener through an educational and entertaining tour of America’s past and present, Ant Black exposes the dirty little secrets that are ignored in America. The heart felt sincerity of Tallulah balances melodic instrumentation with the story of the continuous struggle for equality in America through the lens of Jena, Louisiana. And yet through the eagerness of a 4th grade girl who aspires to be a professional athlete in Tetherball or a man’s love for a woman in Dreamed of You, Piece de Resistance (Peace of Resistance) encourages listeners never to give up on a better future.

The journey through Piece de Resistance (Peace of Resistance) is an emotional car-jacking of joy, reflection, motivation, and inspiration. Ant Black is an artist who knows how to paint pictures using sound, words, and emotion…a must have for anyone who enjoys spoken word and poetry.

To hear the first single from the CD click here!

Monday, August 11, 2008


After a week long stay in Madison (Wisconsin), the San Diego Slam Team triumphantly returned home to San Diego on Sunday night. While they did not win the National Championship of Poetry & Spoken Word, they were very successful in putting San Diego's poetry & spoken word scene on the map. While at the tournament, people constantly wondered how an virtual unknown in the game could make it past perennial power teams like New York-Urbana.

Making it to the semi-finals was more than they ever thought was possible in the first year of national competition. The team (Ant Black, Gill SOTU, Deacon Blair, Brian Debenedictus, and Slam-master/coach Christopher Wilson) credits their success to hardwork, focus, and determination. "We went to Madison to make sure people knew San Diego was on the rise," said Ant Black. In the teams intial response to making it to the semi-finals coach Chris Wilson summed up the teams thoughts in one statement, "What we ended up doing was putting a target on our back as the team to watch out for and that felt good."

In making it out of the preliminary rounds, the team racked up two consecutive bout wins. In their second bout, they went up against the powerhouse team of New York-Urbana, who eventually won the group piece championship. "We knew going into the second bout that it would be tough, but we were confident that we had enough to win," reported Gill SOTU. The team pulled out a surprising victory in the bout which put them at the top of the rankings going into the semi-final round.

In the semi-finals the San Diego Slam Team faced off against teams from Denver-Mercury, Boston-Cantab, Springfield, and San Francisco. It was a very heated bout, with a wide range of poetry performed for the judges. At the end of the competition, Boston-Cantab stood victorious over the other teams. "The team performed at the top of their game...it was just a case of not having the poetry that the judges wanted to hear," said Chris Wilson (Slam-master/coach).

Although they lost in the semi-final round, the team is holding its head high. "No matter the outcome of the semi-final bout, no one can take away the fact that we made it into the elite ranks of the national poetry scene today," said Ant Black. A sentiment echoed by all the members of the team. Chris Wilson made the point, "We came to Madison expecting to learn the ins and outs and return next year to be competitive. Instead we did all that we intended and made it into the semifinals to compete against the top 20 teams in the nation."

The group piece finals were bananas...teams really used creativity and performance to put their message out there. New York-Urbana won the competition, scoring a perfect score of 60 (30 in each round). Their first piece brought the house down. It was a musical poem reprimanding Rev. Al Sharpton about his actions during the Dunbar Village rape case (story can be found here
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19698132/page/2/). Hopefully it will be posted on youtube or available by video soon.

The team is proud of the way they represented San Diego and the mark they have made on the national poetry scene. In the midst of all the competition there were new friendships made, old friendships strengthened, and lots of pizza eaten. There were over 1,000 poets, coaches, writers, and fans in attendance of the National Poetry Slam 2008. The team met people from France and Vancouver and all points in between. The poetry was really good and gave the team lots of new inpiration.

The San Diego Slam Team would like to thank all of you for your support (poetic and financial). It has been a great experience from start to finish and the team is looking forward to representing San Diego until next spring when the new team is crowned at the San Diego Grand Slam.

Friday, August 8, 2008

San Diego Slam Team Rises to the Call Again!

Earlier tonight, Team San Diego made history. The team (Ant Black, Deacon Blair, Gill SOTU, Brian Debenedictis, and Slam Master/Coach Chris Wilson) went head up against heavyweight and favorite New York-Urbana, first-time powerhouse Boston-Lizard Lounge, and soft-spoken Springfield in their second bout. The team not only held their own, they won the bout.

For the first time in the history of San Diego Slam team history, the team is undefeated in its first 2 bouts and advance to the semi-final round tomorrow (Friday). It was a hard hill to climb and the other teams made it very competitive. Once again, Ant Black, this time with Brian Debenedictis, set the bout off with the first poem of the night. It was the only team piece (Mr. President) of the bout and scored a little low (26.0), but set the team up to raise the bar in later rounds. In the second round Gill SOTU performed a flawless rendition of "Moments of Sincerity" and received the high score (28.4) of the round. Deacon Blair performed "Job Security" in the third round and had the audience on their feet by the end of his performance. He also received the highest score in his round (28.6) and was eventually the highest scorer in the bout! In the last round of the bout, Ant Black performed a very emotional poem, "Alone" and was rewarded with the second highest score (27.3)in the final round (only .10 away from the highest score of 27.4).

Over the course of the preliminary bouts, the San Diego team has only lost two of the eight rounds of competition. The hard work and preparation in San Diego and many tune-ups at Elevated! helped the team in adjusting to shifting dynamics and judging standards that all teams deal with. However, the San Diego team has discovered a brand new secret weapon. We are throwing "seven different kinds of smoke" when we take the stage. Hopefully we will continue on to the finals. Right now we are just taking it one step at a time and we are focused on the semi-final bout tomorrow.

Please stay tuned for more updates and please leave a comment. Your energy and enthusiam is greatly appreciated and is very helpful in keeping the team motivated.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

NPS 2008 Update:

The San Diego Slam Team spent another day in the poetic paradise of Madison, Wisconsin. After winning its first bout on Tuesday night, the team spent most of Wednesday getting ready for its 2nd round bout on Thursday night. We did take some time out to appreciate and support other teams competing on Wednesday night.

The bout of the night, which was the most talked about contest of the the first round, was Denver, NY-Nuyorican, Alberquerque, and Delray Beach. It was heavily attended and the teams did not disappoint the standing room only audience. The poetry was at one of the highest levels we have ever seen. Each of the teams put on strong performances in each round and the judges were hardpressed to determine the best poems of the night. At the end of the night, Denver Nuba came out on top, with Nuyoricans placing a close second.

Overall the San Diego Slam team is having a great time in Madison. It has been a thrill to meet and talk with poets from all over the world. There have been several funny moments during the team interactions. While the Hollywood and San Diego teams enjoy a close friendship, Javon Johnson is obsessed with 'clapping' on us. Rudy Francisco, from Team Hollywood (by way of San Diego), had a button made that reads, 'I am Diego'. Fortunately, the San Diego team is holding its own and wishes Team Hollywood and Rudy nothing but success because if they lose, they will have to hitch-hike home to Los Angeles. As you can see, we are having a good time in between bouts. It all makes for more fierce competition and closer ties in SoCal poetry.

Look for more updates from Madison as the team enters its 2nd round bout tonight against poetic powerhouse NY-Urbana, Boston, and Springfield.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

San Diego Slam Team Rises to Victory!

Last night in a small midwest town a small whisper turned into a loud roar. The San Diego Slam team let the world know that San Diego has something to say. In its first trip to the National Poetry Slam since 2001, the San Diego Slam Team enjoyed the sweet taste of victory in its first bout. Going up against very talented teams from Fayetteville, Montevallo, and Maui, the San Diego team performed four individual pieces.

With Ant Black kicking off the bout, he set the bar high, winning his round with a flawless delivery of "The Cuts." The team followed his lead, winning every round. In the second round Deacon Blair overcame the nervous jitters of a first-timer's performance in the national spotlight and performed "Mario Brothers", a brand new poem. Wowing the judges and the audience with a stellar performance of "Stars," Gill SOTU took the stage in the third round. Closing out the bout, Brian Debenedictis received the highest scores of the night for "Jack Your Mind Up."

The night was worthy of celebration and the team hooked up with the Hollywood Slam team, who placed second in their bout against NY-Urbana. It's been a good trip so far and last night made it even better. It was good for both teams to taste success in their first round bouts. Things are looking good for Southern California Poetry in Madison. Both teams are scheduled for their next bout on Thursday at 10 pm (central) and 8 pm on the left coast. Stay tuned for more updates.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Battle for Southern California-San Diego

~Team San Diego defeated in 1st Annual Battle for Southern Cali~
The mic was definitely hot as Ant Black, Deacon Blair, Brian Debenedictis, and Gill SOTU (Team San Diego) defended their home turf against Team Hollywood and the SoCal A Team. It was highly competitive with Team Hollywood, represented by Paul Mabon, Aja-Monet, Javon Johnson, and Rudy Francisco, edging out the win over Team San Diego. The SoCal A Team (Jason O'neal, Jazmine, Eric Morago, and Succinct) came in a respectable third.

There were HBO Def Poets, Grand Slam Champs everywhere the eye could see, even a Nuyorican Slam Champion. This was a $20 show for the low, low price of $5 and the poets did not disappoint. The only standing ovation of the night went to Rudy Francisco and Javon Johnson from Team Hollywood for a team piece called Terrorist.

Surprise guest poet, B Young, blew the crowd away with his role reversal piece entitledQueen. The Team Hollywood coach, Slam Master, and HBO Def Poet, Shihan, even took the stage in a surprise performance. If you didn't make it out to this star-studded poetry event, ask somebody who did how it was...I promise you will be kicking yourself in the ass for the rest of the year!

You don't want to miss the 3-year anniversary show in November...it promises to be bigger than the show last night.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

San Diego Slam takes holds our own at Battle for LA. Rematch is set for Thursday.

Last night was the Battle for LA poetry slam at Da Poetry Lounge in Hollywood, and I'm really upset I didn't take any pictures. I don't even have any camera phone pictures. The San Diego Slam team went head to head with some of the best poets ever! That's no exaggeration. Not only did we face a Hollywood team (made up of poets who have all featured at Elevated before), but other teams included Beau Sia, Ratpack Slim, Steve Connell, Sekou tha Misfit, Azikwe, B. Yung, and so many more. San Diego held our own taking the 3rd spot out of four teams, only 2 points behind the Steve Connell and Sekou tha Misfit's team who won competition.

San Diego will have our chance at a re-match against team Hollywood, who took full advantage of their home crowd's favorable judging. Tomorrow night, Collective Purpose will host a special Elevated: The Battle for So Cal, at Eveoke Dance Theater, 9pm. Along with Hollywood and the San Diego Slam team, a special mystery team will compete. Will they be comprised of National Poetry Slam winners like the teams from last night, will they be local poets, will they be another slam team competing at nationals next week? You'll have to come out tomorrow to find out.

All of this of course is a prelude to the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin next week. The San Diego Slam team, is in need of your support. In addition to your encouragement, we'd love to see you at the slam tomorrow night. Just by coming, you make a huge difference in helping off-set the cost of having your city represented at Nationals. We are still accepting donations to cover basic costs such as the hotel, and we can only make it with the support of the community. Even if you feel like you don't have much to donate...just coming out to Elevated tomorrow will make a huge difference! (Although I don't want to sound like I'm begging...I am)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Bonfire

Collective Purpose presents...
the 2nd annual
summer bonfire!

July 24, 2008

at Crown Point Park
in Mission Bay
(Look for the tiki torches)

Admission is free... bring a friend!

for more information call (619) 209-8241 or
email info@collectivepurpose.org

place your mouse HERE for directions

This all got started last year when the Arts & Entertainment Center closed and we could not find an appropriate venue to have a poetry reading. We thought about canceling Elevated until we could find a venue, but some of us can't go that long without hearing some good spoken word. So we figured...why not just go to the beach? We gathered around a firepit, brought SMORES and just started sharing poetry. Before long, people started coming out with lawn chairs and blankets and really made a night out of it. People from the LA and the Inland Empire (not just Ant Black) traveled all the way down just to experience it. 

Even though admission is free, this is a fundraiser for the San Diego Slam team. We'd love if you can bring some food, snacks, even barbeque if you'd like. But while you're thinking about what to bring to the beach, save a little bit to help the members of the team represent San Diego to the way our city deserves to be represented.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Political Poem Night

Tonight is a truly powerful night. In honor of the 4th of July, we share our political poems exercising our right to speak in support and our concerns for the gov't, political policies, local and world issues, etc. All of the poets spoke truth tonight and the open mic was hot (as usual). Although we did not have a feature we had some incredible guest come and grace the stage.

Todd Gloria who is running for city council came in and encouraged the crowd to get involved. I enjoyed hearing him tell the crowd how much he enjoyed their poetry and would keep these words with him as he runs for office.

One of our previous featured poets, Sekou tha Misfit, dropped by with Steve Connell and Lenz. They're perforing tomorrow night at a 4th of July event on the Midway. Last year Sekou and Steve were big voices for the spoken word community in a nation wide campaign to help register voters. Sekou just released a new album and the Elevated family will be some of the first to hear it (maybe I should blog an album review of it).

Big ups to everyone who came out tonight. The energy was incredible. If you missed it...we'll see you next time. 3rd thursday- we'll be featuring the SAN DIEGO SLAM TEAM!

-Msg sent from LG Voyager

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Kevin Sandbloom at Elevated tonight!

Last night, Rudy and I went to LionLike MindState. We ran into Kevin Sandbloom and to make a long story short, he'll be coming through to Elevated tonight. This will be his 3rd visit and so far, every appearance has been memorable. Last time, his smooth melodies made some of the ladies holler! Listening to Sandbloom is a journey through real music and soul.

Kevin Sandbloom is a man who has one thing on his mind. Playing music. He has been doing it ever since he picked up a guitar at 16 and simultaneously fell in love with the music of Bob Marley. "All my songs sounded a little like a Marley rip-off" he says of his early pieces. They also happened to be crowd rockers, as the first band he fronted in high school, BUMP, became a local staple in his hometown Pasadena, CA. He cut his musical teeth on influences like B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Steely Dan, Prince and Sade. Of the creative culture he came up in he says, "The whole thing was to do like Bill Withers mixed with The Beatles or Parlamient meets Elvis Costello or Pink Floyd meets Steel Pulse so we were trying to mash it up from early on". It was this eclectic atmosphere that shaped his musical path as well as a local songwriter, Peter Galvin who was in a legendary band, The Bedshredders. "He showed me first hand what was possible with songs. His stuff was so advanced though he was only a few years older, my songs sounded juvenile next to his".

    Fast forward to the present and Kevin's music can hardly be called childish. He is regarded in songwriter circles as an artist who operates at them top of his game. He has performed on stages from the Nuyorican Poets cafe in New York, to B.B. King's Blues Club in Los Angeles and is a fixture at music and poetry venues across the U.S. For the last five years he has been producing music at a furious pace. 4 full-length albums and an Ep under his belt, he is currently touring and promoting his latest effort, the acoustically driven "Mad Love Activate". The record documents some of the songs he has been working on over the last year and also features percussion and backing vocals by Melany Bell. Though no longer performing together, the two were touring partners for the past few years. "People were always asking for a recording that was just the two of us, and I think it turned out pretty good. The arrangements were something we developed together and I'm happy we were able to document that sound."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

San Diego Slam Team and New Grand Slam Champion

Last night, San Diego witnessed the crowning of a new Grand Slam Champion and the announcement of the San Diego Slam team members. The dark horse, Deacon Blair received consistently high scores from the judges and took the top honors as the San Diego Grand Slam Champion for 2008. Congratulations Deacon Blair!

Along with the Grand Slam Champion, the four top poets from last nights competition earned the right to represent SD at the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin. Ant Black and Brian DeBenedictus who were on team San Diego last year, will make their first trip to the national competition along with Taili Lamumba Mugambi. Nikki Blak, who competed at nationals last year will make her second consecutive trip to the National Poetry Slam, this year as a member of San Diego. Rudy Francisco, who unsuccessfully defended his title as last year's Grand Slam Champion, qualified for the team, but has already committed to slam for team Hollywood. 

However, the real winner of last night's competition was the San Diego poetry community. Eveoke Dance Theater was beyond capacity with people who came out to witness and support spoken word and slam poetry in San Diego. We appreciate it! Here's to representing Diego!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SLAM! San Diego

The last qualifying slam for the 2008 slam season was held at Elevated on Thursday night. The mic was hot as poets from all over San Diego and a surprise poet from Los Angeles competed for the last 3 positions on roster. The judges had a difficult job pleasing the crowd and the 14 poets competing for scores and they did a great job of maintaining the balance. In the end Ms. Nikki Blak, who slammed nationally for the Hollywood Slam Team last year, took the Slam Champion title. A newcomer to the poetry scene, Succinct, took second place. Collective Purpose's own, Taili, finished third.

All three finishers qualified for the San Diego Poetry Grand Slam, which will be held on May 29, 2008 at 9 pm in the Eveoke Dance Theatre. The roster for the Grand Slam is full, with 13 poets competing for a spot on the San Diego National team. Here is the list of poets qualified for the Grand Slam:
1. Gill SOTU
2. Jason O'neal
3. Rudy Francisco
4. Viet Mai
5. Ant Black
6. Deacon Blair
7. Jro
8. Michael
9. Latasha
10. Brian DeBenedictus
11. Nikki Blak
12. Succinct
13. Taili Lamumba Mugambi

From the look of the roster, the Grand Slam is going to be a battle of the best. The top five poets will be offered a position on the San Diego Slam team and the opportunity to go to the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin. Get there early, this show is definitely going to be standing room only.

San Diego Poetry

Grand Slam@ELEVATED!

May 29, 2008 @ 9 pm

Eveoke Dance Theatre

2811 University Ave (in North Park)

$5 @ the Door

Moving the Movement!

Last night members of Collective Purpose blew the roof off of the Marina Village Conference Center. Ant Black, Kendrick Dial, and Rudy Francisco performed at the Center for Social Adovcacy Annual Dinner before a crowd of about 200 social activists, politicians, public officials, and community members. The performance included You Shoulda Been There, The Movement, and My Poem is Pissed. All three pieces challenge the state of society, the lack of consciousness, and the need for more activism. By the end of their performance the crowd was on their feet cheering and asking for more.

The highlight of the night was Ant Black's dedication of a tribute poem to Ms. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union. Ms. Huerta, who provided a rousing and challenging keynote address at the dinner, was moved to tears. The poem, which told the story her life through sacrifice, struggle, and hope, came on the heels of her appearance at the Encanto Street Fair in 2007 when Collective Purpose was asked to do an introductory performance on the spur of the moment. Ant Black reported to the audience that he felt like the introduction was not appropriate for the contributions Ms. Huerta made to the movement and American society. He said that this time he wanted to give her an introduction that lived up to her place in history and her contributions to the world. He wrote the poem just before the dinner started. After the performance she embraced Ant Black with a heartfelt hug of appreciation.

The Center for Social Advocacy (formerly the Heartland Human Relations) is the oldest social justice agency in San Diego County. Their focus is on Fair Housing, Immigrant Issues, and Civil Rights.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If you missed Elevated tonight

Tonight was a real hot night. IN-Q made the night with a hot feature. The energy was live from the moment he stepped on the stage until the movement he got off. If you were not there, you missed yoga aerobics, pirates, and his lost virginity...but the ladies wanted to know why he didn't do the hair flip- whats up with that?

This was also the final slam before the SAN DIEGO GRAND SLAM. Nikki Blak came through and destroyed the slam! She killed it with two monster pieces and will be competing for a spot on the San Diego Slam Team.

I also wanted to shout out Judy Holiday who came down from LA. And it was good to see some folks who ran venues and helped lay the foundation for San Diego spoken word. Elena from Brujas y Bellas and Scotch one of the founders of Reverb. Oh yeah, and I've gotta give it up to my cousin Devaughn who's back from DC. He closed the night with a dope piece.

Look to the right and there's 30 seconds of Elevated. It's a piece done by..well take a guess. Hint: He's in the collective.


-Msg sent from LG Voyager

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mobile & Interactive Updates

Blogging our website allows us to have some exciting new features. One of the most exciting is mobile updates and instant media. Now we can update the site with information and media as soon as it happens!

For example, I just got an e-mail from our feature last week, Sekou tha Misfit. He said the energy was incredible last week! Elevated is one of his favorite spots on the west coast. 

Did you notice the video next to Sekou's name? Hover your mouse over the video or the name and see what happens. There's media like this all over the page. We'll be updating the site after (and during) every show with pictures, video, even news articles. 

See you Thursday!

Happy Birthday Jackie & Jessica

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 15, IN-Q & San Diego Slam

This week is the last chance to qualify for the San Diego Slam team. If you'd like to get in on the action, make sure you're there at 9pm to sign up. Also we've got an incredible feature

 has been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry JamABC’s Eye on LA, and NBC’s Living Large. He wrote and performed 5 poetry commercials for Nickelodeon and a hip hop song for Wendy’s Skill Drill Giveaway. He is a 5 time Hollywood Slam Team member and 2007’s “Grand Slam Champion”. He was also part of the team that won the National Poetry Championships in Saint Louis in 2004. This same year  IN-Q opened up for Hilary ClintonBarack Obama, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at LA’s Campaign Fundraiser to support the Senate. IN-Q won the Urban Graffiti Contest (a pilot filmed for Warner Brothers) and The Sunkiss competition, sponsored by Power 106. He has been a regular at DA Poetry LoungeFly Poets Showcase, and done numerous spot dates around the country. For the last four years he has been teaching poetry to Upward Bound students in Long Beachand Art Share students in Downtown L.A.