8 p.m. Wednesdays: Best Place to Experience Erotic Haiku 

Berkeley Poetry Slam, Hosted by Charles Ellik

There's no shortage of culture and entertainment if you're kicking around South Berkeley on a Wednesday night; and the later it gets, the less cultural and more entertaining it gets! That is, if you've stopped into the poetry slam at the Starry Plough, where host Charles Ellik sets a mood of friendly yet enthusiastic competition among a diverse and talented group of rotating regulars and newcomers. In between acts, whenever the urge strikes, Ellik treats the audience to some of his original work, with those in the know shouting out requests for particularly naughty haiku. The official Berkeley slam team has achieved national recognition, traveling to competitions around the country, and it all started here at the Plough. A good slam is something to experience: On some Wednesday nights, traveling poets from out of town are featured as guest performers; and on any Wednesday night, audience members are chosen by lottery to judge spoken-word performers (show up by 7:30 if you want to perform). Live musicians bang away during pauses, the brew flows freely (well, not exactly freely), and the scent of pizza beckons from the ovens. But a few words to the wise:

No one can predict

What happens when combining

Poetry and beer

Readers' Pick for Best Poet or Spoken-Word Performer: UpSurge


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