CHICAGO (January 25, 2011) – Chicago Public Media (Vocalo 89.5/WBEZ 91.5), Columbia College Chicago, and Young Chicago Authors are thrilled to present the 11th Annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB): The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival. The largest of its kind in the world, LTAB is Chicago’s rapidly-growing teen poetry festival, this year taking place at various venues around Chicago beginning February 19 with finals on March 12, 2011.
Aiming to bring teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines, LTAB is a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community through poetry, oral story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word. Traditionally operating outside of regular school programming, LTAB teams are often founded by students and coached pro-bono by teachers. Based on alumni surveys, LTAB boasts an 85% high school graduation rate and since inception has had zero incidents of violence. This year’s festival will feature 70 teams and 650 students, the largest number of participants to date. The festival is an Olympic-style poetry competition with slam preliminaries and semi-final bouts running all day February 19 – March 7, followed by finals at The Vic Theater, 3145 North Sheffield Avenue, on Saturday, March 12 at 6pm. In addition to the competition will be workshops, showcases, and panel discussions.
“LTAB is a safe and judgment free outlet where kids from all over the city can share stories and break stereotypes, challenging themselves and their audience,” explains author and LTAB co-founder and artistic director Kevin Coval. “For three minutes at a time the students speak about their lives, but for the other eighty-seven minutes, they are listening to the lives and stories and dreams of others. It is an extraordinary event and we encourage the public to come out and witness the incredible youth of Chicago.”
In anticipation of the festival, Emmy award-winning filmmakers Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs will present their critically-acclaimed documentary, Louder Than A Bomb, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street, February 4-10. The film followed festival participants in the year leading up to the 2008 finals and was awarded the Audience Choice Award and Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Chicago International Film Festival.
Competition and slam highlights this year include:
• Haiku Slam at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Sunday, February 27 at 2pm
• Duo Slam and College Slam Finals at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Saturday, March 5 at 2pm and 7pm
• Coach’s Slam at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Sunday, March 6 at 2pm
• Semi-Finals at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted Street, Monday, March 7 beginning at 10am
• Individual Finals at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 North Lincoln Avenue, Wednesday, March 9 at 7pm
• Finals at The Vic Theater, 3145 North Sheffield Avenue, Saturday, March 12 at 6pm
Non-slam highlights include:
• Roger Bonair-Agard and Idris Goodwin book release at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Friday, February 25 at 7pm
• Half-Pint Poetics Open Mic at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash, Saturday, February 26 at 2pm
• Reading by Amalia Ortiz and Paul Martinez at Columbia College Chicago, 1014 S. Michigan, Saturday, February 26 at 7pm
• The Encyclopedia Show at 1012 N. Noble on Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30pm
• Reading with Rachel McKibbens and Shannon Matesky at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash, Thursday, March 3 at 6pm
• Workshop with Rachel McKibbens followed by the Emcee Olympics at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Friday, March 4 at 2pm and 6pm
• A panel on how to use spoken word in the classroom at Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan, Sunday, March 6 at 12pm
For more information and the full festival schedule please visit www.youngchicagoauthors.org. For all ticketed events, prices range from $3-$5 for students and $5-$20 for adults and are available at www.wbez.org/events.