Speak! Fridays Moves, Grooves, and Soothes Your Cynical Soul

It seems that the 305 has been sprouting spoken word nights like crazy in recent years. We recently wrote about Words & Wine (New Time's Best Open-Mike Night) and we just keep hearing of more events to check out involving freedom of speech. Well, Speak! Fridays came to our attention about a year ago and has just been getting stronger with each passing week. Thrown by Robert Lee, Speak! happens every Friday at Inner Look in the Bird Road Arts District.

We just attended this past Friday and we're surprised at the mix of talent that goes up on stage. Lee considers Speak! a platform for spoken word artists, musicians, actors, and comedians, although on Friday it seemed that spoken word and music were the talents de rigueur.

What really stood out about Speak! is that there is a variety of styles within one art form. For example, the spoken word artists were not performing the tired, old, chest-thumping hippie nonsense spit out like frustrated gangsta rap. Instead the poets each had an original style; there were artists who interlaced their spoken rhymes with song, artists who screamed, laughed, and texted while on stage. We've grown cynical due to attending thousands (maybe hundreds, but it feels like thousands) of open-mikes over the years, where you couldn't tell one poet from another, so this was a nice deviation from the norm.

One poet particularly stuck out from the rest. P.O.W. (Power of Words) stood before the audience as an amalgamation of brute force and surgical sensitivity. The former soldier (he served in Afghanistan) read a couple of poems, but his last piece, "Let it Snow," about the war and American soldiers, hit the audience hard.

The featured performer was Nhan Du, pronounced None Do, and he was busting joke after ridiculous joke, much to the audience's appreciation. He was silly, irreverent, and nuts. "My father looks just like Chow Young Fat. It would be awesome if my father was Chow Young Fat though. Cuz I'd be rich. And my name would be Nhan-Fat."

Everybody kept making references to feeling high from Marley Mood, a beverage being sold at the event which is supposed to make you feel as if you got a weed high. We can't vouch for that; we abstained.

Check out Speak! Fridays at Inner Look (4925 SW 74 Court, Miami). General Admission costs $10, $5 for performers, and ladies get in free before 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 9 p.m. Food and non-alcoholic beverages sold at the venue. Call 786-252-1424 or email speakfridays@att.net.

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