I was a little late to the start of Speak Your Soul tonight, but the cool part about spoken word is that that’s okay. Tacoma has a wealth of poets and spoken word artists, and there’s pretty much something on every Friday night of the month, somewhere. On first Fridays it’s at the Den, a cozy performance space down the back of hip consignment clothing store Urban Exchange on Pacific Avenue. With soaring warehouse ceilings, black bricks, wall-size photographs and comfy armchairs, the Den is a funky mixture of tiny theater and your cool college buddy’s living room. And the café serves a huge array of teas.
Spoken word can vary enormously, from highly embarrassing to staggeringly profound, and tonight was a mix also. I walked in on Jan Escobar, who had some good things to say about freedom, war and what it means to be an American from someone who isn’t. But his speed was frantic and the word choice prosaic. Up next was Speak Your Soul co-host Elijah Muied, a.k.a. Six Deep the Messenger, who delivered a poignant lament on a life of bad choices, followed by fellow co-host Lukas Smiraldo (a.k.a. Vanilla Soul), whose long running phrases and spinning metaphors are always a joy to listen to, whether he’s imagining poetry as the beginning of the universe or reveling in being vanilla. (White, that is.)
Spoken word and poetry events are always free. Speak Your Soul starts 8 p.m. first Fridays at the Den, Urban Exchange, 1932 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-376-4539, www.speakyoursoul.org
At 7 p.m. on second Fridays is Puget Sound Poetry Connection’s Distinguished Writer Series and open mic at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-8801, www.kingsbookstore.com
At 7 p.m. on third Fridays is Poetry in the 253: Mouths and Mikes open mike at Café Messina, 744 Market St., Tacoma. www.speakyoursoul.org
And at 7 p.m. on fourth Fridays is Free Ya Mind spoken word at Tully’s Coffee, 746 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-272-8114, www.freeyamindinc.com
Keep checking in on how my month of free art is going!