The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicago Slam Works Pits Deceased Poets Against The Living In "Dead Or Alive"

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on May 11, 2012 4:00PM

Chicago is credited with the initial emergence of Slam Poetry, and while the roots run very deep in our city, it has spun its outspoken web into many areas. Marc Smith, the man who began it all, has yet to let up on his brilliant work. It's been proven throughout Chicago that slam poetry is a substantial outlet and touchstone for creativity. Programs such as Louder Than A Bomb and The Encyclopedia Show have not only showcased many talents, but have reached out to our youth, offering to help define their own voice if they so choose.

Currently, amongst his many projects, Smith is the president of Chicago Slam Works, an organization that promises to save "literary audiences from monotony." The 2012 Season includes three shows, and the second one on May 25, "Dead or Alive," looks to be anything other than a snore.

This is a theatrical performance: a collaboration between actors and poets, and a competition nonetheless. The actors will be portraying dead poets, trying to maintain their street credit despite their disposition. The round-up includes artists such as: Lucille Clifton, Frank O' Hara, and our late Adrienne Rich. The characters will be competing against the living, of course. The headliners include: Robert Brown, Mary K. Fons, and Marty McConnell. The director J.W. Basilo, who has accumulated quite the spoken word reputation himself, will be hosting the show. The stage will be transformed into a funeral parlor, with Basilo as our funeral director, setting the tone for a humorous and dark performance. We suggest getting a jump on the tickets, before the opportunity has become deceased.

"Dead or Alive" will be held on May 25 at Vittum Theatre, 1012 N. Noble St, 8 p.m., adult tickets are $14 /student tickets are $10