Beast Crawl of Fame All Stars Jam
Beast Crawl of fame all stars - success
Last Saturday night at Intersection for the Arts, Beast Crawl Lit Fest reached the halfway point of their pre-festival fundraising drive with an absolute gem of a reading!
An all-star lineup of some of the brightest authors and poets to participate in the Beast took their turns at the mic inside 1446 Market Street to lay down their words to the atmospheric grooves of the lay/lie band featuring John Givens on guitar, Carl Nash on the keys and Sarah Iyer on vocals.
Beast Crawl stalwarts and long time supporters Joel Landmine with his trademark deadpan style, and SF Poet Laureate Emerita Kim Shuck kicked off the event in grand style. Shuck in particular has been a champion of the East Bay scene from across the Bay as she is fond of letting her audiences know that when she was starting out, it was Oakland and the East Bay that provided her initial platforms when the Beats were still treating the city like a good ole’ boys club.
Natasha Dennerstein and MK Chavez closed out the first half by essentially setting the room on fire, finding their cadence in lockstep and letting their poems be entwined with the surreal music that filled the room.
The second half of the show upped the ante as East Bay slam shot caller Reggie Edmonds, Alameda Laureate Kimi Sugioka, and Nazelah Jamison let the audience enter into their darkest and most heartfelt visions of a society on the brink. Edmonds in particular noted that the Oakland Poet Laureate was completely moved to tears during his set, as were many others in the crowd.
Finally, the inaugural Poet Laureate of Oakland, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga topped off the evening with one of the most “maestra-ful” sets of poetry the Beast has ever scene, a clear overture, prelude, main program and closing reprise that reflects Dr. Nzinga’s longtime dramatic sensibilities as she put American society underneath the interrogation lights and found it as compromised, flawed and full of promise as ever.
Audience members came away from the event profoundly moved, reaffirming the power of collaborative art that Beast Crawl ultimately wishes to embody in its festival and in its vision of community. Even with a cozy and intimate audience, the reading was a stunning success for the Beast Crawl in a showcase moment with their new fiscal sponsor, Intersection for the Arts, and the creative artists who are going to define the paradigms in the East Bay for years to come.
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