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Poets return from beyond to challenge Chicago poets
From a news release

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CHICAGO - Chicago Slam Works (CSW) proudly presents "Dead or Alive Battle Royale of Slam Poetry Supremacy for All Eternity" ("Dead or Alive") on December 5, 12 and 19, 2012 at the Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Directed by Artistic Director J.W. Basilo, "Dead or Alive" presents some of the greatest poets of history to compete with Chicago's finest modern poets in a mock slam. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 and free parking is available. For tickets or information visit or call


"Dead or Alive" features actors portraying deceased poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks (Paulette McDaniels), Langston Hughes (Shannon Matesky), Etheridge Knight (Jared Grant), Jonathan Swift (Robbie Q. Telfer), and Anne Sexton (Rebecca Levine). The actors will perform the poems in a mock slam against Chicago poets Sage Morgan Hubbard, Raych Jackson, Kevin Kern, Sharrieff Muhammad, Emily Rose and Fatimah Asghar.

"After years of hearing that 'modern poets can't measure up to the greats' and 'those old poets aren't exciting like the modern slammers,' we decided to settle the debate once and for all," said Artistic Director J.W. Basilo. "Join us as some of Chicago's best actors take on some of the city's hottest performance poets. We don't who will win, but we can guarantee a night of terrific poetry and amazing performances."

The Dec. 12 performance of "Dead or Alive" is preceded by the first annual "Slammin' in the Footlights" benefit to celebrate CSW's new home at the Raven Theatre and to raise awareness of CSW programs. Proceeds raised will help support CSW's "Poets with Class" program, dedicated to having professional poets teach slam techniques in Chicago Public Schools. "Slammin' in the Footlights" begins at 7 p.m. and includes wine, appetizers, meeting some poets and the performance. Benefit tickets are $50.

CSW's season continues March 13, 20 and 27, 2013 with "In Motion". Poets ranging from Marty McConnell to Basilo will pen poems inspired by a piece of choreographed dance by Chicago Danztheatre, Chicago Tap Theater and Dance Crash. The season concludes with "In Any Tongue", a unique collaborative performance by the Chicago's own Speak'Easy Ensemble and Germany's top poets, Friday August 2 and Saturday, August 3, 2013.

For over 25 years, Marc Smith has hosted the "Uptown Poetry Slam", where the international slam poetry movement began. This exciting and boisterous evening celebrates poetry and poets - both up-and-coming and established. The "Uptown Poetry Slam" runs every Sundays at 7 p.m. at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway.

The "Encyclopedia Show" is a live variety extravaganza hosted by performance artists Robbie Q. Telfer and Shanny Jean Maney. The show brings artists and experts from many disciplines to use their individual talents to present a different verbal encyclopedia entry each month. The show cultivates accidental knowledge and irreverent loving kindness. The show strives to chafe against logic and proof, find meaning in obfuscation, and wrest truth from fact once and for all. The Encyclopedia Show is performed the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble.

Patrons to Chicago Slam Works 2012-13 season may purchase a "Slam Pass", which includes discounted tickets to performances as well as tickets to the weekly "Uptown Poetry Slam" and the high-energy monthly "Encyclopedia Show".

Chicago Slam Works presents "Dead or Alive" December 5, 12 and 19, 2012. at 8 p.m. at the Raven Theater, 6157 N. Clark Street. Tickets for the "Slammin in the Footlights" benefit are $50.

CSW's upcoming performances include "In Motion", March 13, 20 and 27, 2013 and the season concludes with "In Any Tongue", August 2 and 3, 2013. Tickets are $14 with student and senior discounts available. Free parking is also available.For all tickets or information visit or call 847-556-8679.

About Chicago Slam Works

Chicago Slam Works (CSW) is rooted in the Poetry Slam movement, which began in Chicago as a highly entertaining, interactive, innovative poetic experience and spread around the world to become a major force in stirring the minds of students, scholars, and everyday people. The founding members of CSW are pillars of the international movement and the organizational force behind dozens of major poetic events in and around Chicago-as well as the world including three National Poetry Slam Championships.

Mission: Building on Chicago's unique heritage as the birthplace of modern-day performance poetry, Chicago Slam Works brings together audiences, poets, and arts organizations to promote well-crafted performance poetry through event production.

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