BlackBox Music and Arts reaches West side for development in the arts

Submitted by B Kay Richter on November 4, 2016 - 2:58pm

BlackBox Music and Arts is a studio on the far West side where young and old can receive instruction in fields ranging from vocal and instrumental music, acting, dance, the fine arts, to even yoga.

And spoken word. In other words, as some would call it, poetry.

It was during the 1980s that "poetry slams," first emerged across the United States. That is, competitions in spoken poetry. But the notion that the human voice is proper vehicle for poetry isn't so new. It goes back, at least, to the lyric poetry of ancient Greece.

And where is spoken word now? It's in poetry slams across the country, it's in hip hop and jazz, it's in traditional poetry readings, it's in stand-up comedy. It's everywhere.

So, we have spoken word, speech that's really art, and not for the first time. It's poetry that isn't necessarily written, and not for the first time. It's spoken word. And one can find it almost anywhere.

But where is spoken word done well? You can find out Saturday, Nov. 5 at BlackBox, where leading local and national spoken word artists will demonstrate their craft in connection with the studio's Level Up! spoken word performance lab.

UPDATE: Viewers can watch a video of the performance at BlackBox below:


"This whole series is an opportunity to focus on the need to bring spoken word to the far west side of San Antonio," says organizer Joy Jimenez. "BlackBox Music and Arts is a new studio whose owners understand the need for more arts education opportunities to this area." 

The performance will start at 5 p.m.and the studio is located at 10038 Potranco Road, Suite 105.

Among the performers will be Erika R. Land, who designates herself as a twenty-first century war poet," subsequent to her stint as a veteran in the U.S. Military. Land also is a civil rights activist, though the military experience seems to be the true source of her work. Her first two books, Residual Affects and Georgia's Dam, go to that theme with works meant to take the reader on an emotional and physical journey.

Christopher "Rooster" Martinez, the 2014 Grand Slam Champion of San Antonio, also co-founded Blah Poetry Spot in San Antonio. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Pilgrimage Press and Sagebrush Review, among other publications.

So will Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson, who pairs jazz with her work. She has published poetry this year in The Texas Observer and Pariah Anthology.

Amanda Flores is a local star in the genre, the  2011 and 2012 Grand Slam Poetry Champion of San Antonio, 2014 Grand Slam champion of San Francisco, and “La Voz” of San Antonio in the first citywide spoken word poetry contests in 2013 and 2014. Flores has represented San Antonio at national poetry slams for seven consecutive years.

Jiménez, now a teacher and BlackBox, is a multi-disciplinary artist, improv poet, and arts educator. She has exhibited art, performed improv and written poetry in many venues around the city.

All of those named are guest teaching poets and lab coaches at Level Up! Other performers will work the event, including Miguel AJM Alcorn and Shawn Wesley Sitton, both of whom incorporate music with their work.

Poetry with music? Isn't that what we ordinarily call “music” or “song”? Judge for yourself. Work it out. You may never be satisfied with your answer. And that will, in no way, diminish your satisfaction with the artwork. It will only enhance your potential encounter.