From a man whose family ended up in the Federal Witness Protection Program to a woman who once had a job caring for a fortune-telling chicken in Guinea Bissau to someone's unforgettable encounter with a bee on a golf course, the stories told at The Shout are the stuff of fiction, but drawn from real life. Much like The Moth StorySLAM events, The Shout is crowdsourced storytelling: Stories have few guidelines besides being true, less than ten minutes long, and worth the time it takes to tell the tale. Featured storytellers are selected beforehand, but audience members can put their names in a hat in hopes of sharing their own six-minute yarns. Join hosts Rami Margron and Cassidy Brown at Grand Lake Coffee House (440 Grand Ave., Oakland) on Monday, Jan. 14 -- and the second Monday of every month -- for some riveting tidbits of real life. 7:30-9:30 p.m., $5-20. TheShoutStorytelling.com$5-20 sliding scale
Twice a month you can earn points to qualify for the 2012 slam team at the Golden State Poetry Slam and Open Mic, hosted by three-time Grand Slam winner Sean "Ner City" Gullatt and Earring Diva D'Dra White. DJ Harvey Kent provides the tunes. Every first and third Sunday at Grand Lake Coffee House (440 Grand Ave., Oakland). 6:30-10 p.m. $5-$7. 662-589-8577 or GSSlam.com$5-$7
The artist cooperatives, innovative bookstores, poetry reading series, presses, and gritty, grassroots communities behind the East Bay's literary renaissance.