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 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 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 promises to be bigger than the show last night.