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Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam

Hear the Next Generation Speak for Itself

You've seen the rest ... now see the best! The first, the foremost, the original teen poetry event is back -- the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry slam, the largest event of its kind, celebrates its sixth straight year.

The first half of March held the preliminary rounds of the slam; semi-finalists will compete over four days at the end of March and the finalists will face off at the Grand-Slam Finals on March 30. Altogether, over 150 young people will participate in this years event, with the top four participants going on to represent the Bay Area at Brave New Voices 2002, this year in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The top prize for the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam is a new iMac computer; all teen participants receive t-shirts and other prizes.

The Teen Poetry Slam enables youths from throughout the Bay Area to gather together and offer support for one another's opinions and poetic artistry. But it's not just for kids: adults are invited to attend, giving them the rare opportunity to hear multi-cultural and multi-talented youths speak for themselves about issues of concern to them.

This year's Slam takes place at a critical juncture for Youth Speaks. Due to a decline in foundation and individual contributions -- no rarity during recent economic times -- Youth Speaks is in serious danger of closing its doors shortly after the teen slam, disrupting educational programming that serves tens of thousands of teens every year.

Over the last six years, Youth Speaks has brought live poetry performances and workshops to over 100 schools, getting young people excited by language and empowered by positive images of their selves and their peers. Youth Speaks' vast range of teenage literary programming their free after-school workshops program, the Teen Slam and Bringing the Noise reading series, the Living Word Youth Stage at the Bay Area Book Fest, the Living Word Festival for Literary Arts, an in-school peer poets and assembly program, and the publication of an annual chapbook and CD.

These young poets deserve large audiences, receptive communities and free spaces in which they can thrive. The slam is a fantastic way to galvanize support not only for these young people, and but also for the organization that has served them so well for the past six years. For more information on supporting the Youth Speaks curriculum, call 415.225.9035, extension 15.

Special guest emcees for this year's event include Tyger Walshe, Jason Mateo, Ishle Park, Beau Sia, Aya De León and Paul S. Flores. Special guest DJs Josh Klor (Funklor) and Reign Dere return for the annual event. Living Word Project founder Marc Bamuthi Joseph emcees the finals and Youth Speaks founder and executive director James Kass co-hosts. Last year, the finals sold out a week prior to the event -- this year, get your tickets well in advance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts box office.

The Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam is made possible through the support of Torani/R. Torre, The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, The East Bay Community Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants Programs and the generous contributions of individuals. For more information, visit the website or call 415.255.9035.

Tickets: $2 under 20 & over 65 / $6 general admission for advance d tickets
Emcees and hosts include Tyger Walshe, Jason Mateo, Paul S. Flores, Tim Arevelo, Aya de León, Beau Sia and Ishle Yi Park

>>>Wednesday, March 20 @ 7 pm
ODC Performance Theater, 3153 17th St. @ Shotwell, SF

>>>Thursday, March 21 @ 7 pm
ODC Performance Theater, 3153 17th St. @ Shotwell, SF

>>>Friday, March 22 @ 7 pm
Black Box Theater, 1928 Telegraph @ 19th St., Oakland

>>>Saturday, March 23 @ 7 pm
Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley

Grand-Slam Finals
Slam champ Marc Bamuthi Joseph emcees w/ co-host James Kass
Saturday, March 30 @ 6:30 PM
Tickets: $5 under 20 & over 65 / $12 general admission
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 701 Mission Street, SF, 415.978.ARTS