Updated August 30, 2013 We’ve made a partial list here for Bay Area poetry.
Many local open mics and poetry slams now use Facebook as their primary Web presence. Facebook has a lot of advantages, but there are two drawbacks. First, not everyone is on Facebook (!) and second, Facebook pages don’t normally show up in search engines. Twitter is a little more accessible to the outside world, but, come on, Twitter is not cut out to be a stable repository of information. Here then, is a listing of Bay-Area open mics and poetry shows. I will do my best to update this list every two months. Please post in comments or E-mail us if you would like me to add, modify, or remove your listing.
There is no possible way one Webpage could accurately list every event in a big area. We just think it’s important to try. Please check with multiple sources to confirm shows, dates, and times before you plan your evening.
As of August 29, 2013:
Tourettes Without Regrets (Burlesque show, open poetry slam, dirty haiku contest, DJ or house band). First Thursday of every month, 8PM signups/ 8:30PM show. All ages, but guaranteed to have some risqué content. $10. The Oakland Metro, 630 3rd Street, Oakland, CA (near Jack London Square). Hosted by Jamie DeWolf and Sissy DeWolf; Jamie is also SlamMaster. Easily the wildest and one of the longest-running poetry slams in Northern California, Tourettes Without Regrets is an anything-goes variety show, although the monthly poetry slam runs (mostly) according to Hoyle. Active Twitter. Active as of August 2013.
Oakland Poetry Slam (The Slam Trinity: open mic for poets, poetry slam, poetry features). Second Thursday of every month, 8PM doors/signups. $7. Awaken Cafe, 1429 Broadway, Oakland, CA. Hosted by Nazelah and Dahled Jeffries; Nazelah is also SlamMaster. The Oakland Poetry Slam is an official PSi venue that has sent teams to the National Poetry Slam every year since the late 1990s. Active Twitter and Facebook presence. They have moved locations a few times in 2013, so please check social media before you go. Active in August 2013.
Berkeley Slam (Open slam, poetry features). Every Wednesday, 7:30PM signups, 8:30PM(ish) show. All ages before 10PM. $7. The Starry Plough Irish pub, 3101 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Hosted by a rotating staff, SlamMaster is Betsy Gomez. In business since 1999 in the same location, the Berkeley Slam happens every Wednesday night, no matter what. Berkeley Slam participates 100% in all PSi events each year, keeping a yearlong tally of points to determine team and individual representatives. A house band plays between sets. Web page is run by the venue, with occasional updates by the slam staff. Active Facebook and some Twitter presence. Active as of August 2013.
Free Thought Thursdays (Open slam, features). One Thursday each month (which?) 7PM signups. All ages. Free. New Union building, CalState East Bay. We’d love more information on this one. It had shows in February and March 2013, and is surely still running. Facebook events are expired. No Twitter. Hit us up with some details, please! Active as of March 2013.
CalSLAM at UC Berkeley (Open mic for poets, open poetry slam). Third Thursday of the month, 7:30 signup, 8PM show. All ages. $5. University of California Berkeley campus, Valley Life Sciences Building. Hosted by rotating student staff. Activity comes and goes with the school year. Active Facebook. Outdated Tumblr. Active as of August 2013.
SF City Slam (Slam Trinity: open mic for poets, open slam, poetry features). Second Sunday of each month, 7PM doors & signup. All ages. $7-$10 sliding scale; no one turned away for lack of funds. The Luggage Store (art gallery) 1007 Market Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by SlamMaster Mona Webb. Show happens every month and the slam participates in the Bay-Area combined slam team process to send a team to the National Poetry Slam each year. We would love to know more up-to-date information. Minimal Twitter, outdated blog, and outdated Facebook presence. Active as of June, 2013.
San Francisco Queer Open Mic (Open mic for all writers, poetry features). Fourth Friday of every month, 7PM signups/ 7:30PM show. All ages, some mature content. $3 optional donation. Modern Times bookstore, 24th & Mission Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. They had shows in February and March 2013. Some Facebook activity. No Twitter so far as we know. Active as of August 2013.
Bazaar Café Open Mic (Open mic for music and writers). Every Thursday, 7PM. All ages. Donations accepted. Bazaar Café, 5927 California Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Josh Beemish. Active as of August 2013.
The New Sh!t Show (Open mic for poets, poetry features). Second and fourth Thursdays of every month, 7PM writing workshop, 8PM signups, 8:30PM show. Ages 18+. $5. 998 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Cam Awkward-Rich and Nic Alea. Over a year in the same spot, the New Sh!t Show is unique in requiring that all work performed on stage be new, never-before-heard writing. No Website or Twitter. Active Facebook presence. Active as of August 2013.
The Word Party (Open mic for poets and jazz musicians). Third Tuesday of every month, 8PM signup and show. Ages 18+. $5. 998 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Jennifer Barone and Ingrid Keir. Backing all poets with jazz music, the Word Party is in its third year in the same venue. Active as of March 2013.
Open Mic at Keane’s (Open mic for poets). Last Tuesday of every month. 6:30PM signup, 7PM show. 18+. Price unknown. Keane’s 3300 Club, 3300 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA. Rarely-used Twitter feed. Active as of March 2013.
Sacred Grounds Open Mic (Open mic for poets and musicians, poetry features). Each Wednesday night, 6:30PM sign-up. Unknown age restrictions. Unknown cover. (Help?) Sacred Grounds Café, 2095 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Dan Brady. The longest running open mic in California! Primarily music, but poets welcome. Active Facebook presence. Active as of August 2013.
The Lit Slam (Open slam for poets, poetry features). Third Monday of every month. 8PM signups, 8:30 show. Ages 18+. $10. 998 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. Hosted by Tatyana Brown, Zoelle Enger, and Kat Sanford. Music by DJ Victor. This monthly slam is unique in that the slam serves to create an annual poetry anthology of local and national work. Over a year in the same spot. The February show was cancelled (with notice) and replaced by a “digital edition” via YouTube, but the March show was back on stage as scheduled. Note: The Lit Slam is a partner of Bicycle Comics, so we are partial to it. Active Facebook presence, moderately active Twitter. In the process of switching Websites. Active as of September 2013.
The San Jose Poetry Slam (Slam Trinity: open mic for poets, poetry slam, featured performer). Fourth Tuesday of every month. 7:30PM signups, 8PM show. All ages. $5. Fahrenheit Restaurant & Lounge, 99 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA. Hosted by Zeke Staples. SlamMaster Scorpiana Xlynn. Back after a long hiatus, this show is the successor to the Mofo Revue and trades off with Poetic Justice (see below). Active Facebook presence. Active as of August 2013.
Poetic Justice (Open mic for all performers). First, second, and third Tuesdays of every month. 8PM show. All ages. Free. Fahrenheit Restaurant & Lounge, 99 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA. Hosted by Zeke Staples. No word on Web, Twitter, or Facebook presence. Active as of August 2013.
Cito.FAME.Us (Open mic for all performers). Every Thursday, 9PM. All ages. Free. Iguana, 330 South Third St., San Jose, CA. Hosted by Lindsey Leong. This show is profanity-free. Active Facebook page. Active as of August 2013.
The Oversocial Mofo Revue (Open slam for poets, poetry feature, musical performance, uncommon performance). First Friday of every other month, 7:30PM signup, 8PM show. All Ages, some mature content. $4-9 depending on random 1d6 die roll. Anno Domini art gallery, 301 S. 1st Street, San Jose downtown. Hosted by Tatyana Brown, David Perez, and Mike McGee. Musical host John Staedler. This event is currently in hiatus as of March 2013. It had been serving as the San Jose Poetry Slam for PSi purposes. Stay tuned.
Santa Cruz’s Weekly Poetry Open Mic (Open mic for poets, poetry feature). Most Mondays (specify?) Rebecca’s at the Tannery, 1060 River Street, Santa Cruz, CA. All ages. Free (?). 5:45PM signup, 6PM show. Hosted by Kevin Devaney. Brand-new series in Santa Cruz, which is a bit of a stretch for “South Bay,” but still totally doable. Some Facebook presence, some Web presence, no Twitter yet. Active as of July 2013.
There is something called the “Rubber Chicken” slam in Monterrey Bay, right? Please be in touch!