Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jade Shames and The World Stage in Leimert Park


When I was 16 I went to Los Angeles for the first time. I went with Youth Speaks to be a sacrificial poet at the National Youth Poetry Slam. I had no idea what part of Los Angeles I was in, or even that clear of an idea that there were different parts.

I performed in a hot crowded little venue that was filled with energy and history. When I say hot, it wasn't unhip, but there was one tiny fan and a lot people. To put it another way, we were sweating our butts off. I had a great time performing there, and then left. I hadn't been back in seven years, even though I just graduated from UCLA a year ago. I've learned that LA does have parts, and you have to mean it to get our your bubble. And it's worth it.
My writing mentor Noel Alumit invited me to go to a poetry reading by his friend Jade Shames at some venue called the World Stage. I had heard the name before, but didn't know much else about it. I showed up last wednesday. My jaw dropped. It was the same place I had been in high school.
The night was ridiculous. First of all, Jade is an amazing poet. He gave a great performance and I had to buy one of his chapbooks. His storytelling style and patience with developing images and narrative were so fresh. I was stoked to hear him read and meet him after the show. Check him out at http://www.myspace.com/jadeshamespoetry.
And then there's the venue. Jawanza runs the World Stage poetry night every Wednesday. It opens with a workshop at 7:30, followed by a feature performer, and then an open mic. It was hot that night. Jawanza said he'd "put on the air conditioning" and he opened the curtain to the back room. It was just how I remembered it. Hot, crowded, and filled with amazing energy. If you're looking for great poetry, or just a great time, go. Trust me. 5$ at the door. Worth 25$. Go.

4344 Degnan Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 293-2451


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Bobby. Once you wanna do the open mic, lemme know. I'm there!

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it. I would join you at the open mic anytime you want.