Promising a more refined version of the Oh my hunger, my hunger spoken-word poetry that you often hear around Berkeley and Oakland, event promotion company Love Jones has fared well in the four years since it began bringing chichi, high-priced poetry showcases to Emeryville’s Linen Life Gallery (not for nothing is the name “UpperRoom Promotions”). Traditionally, the quality of these events has varied a little more than at other similarly themed poetry showcases, though every once in a while it’s really spot-on. Case in point: this Saturday’s fourth-anniversary Christmas edition, which features three artists of decidedly different pedigrees. What glues them together is a shared desire to stretch the limits of hip-hop and spoken word.
Christmas Love Jones kicks off with Brooklyn poet Tshaka, who knows how to convey poetic enjambment — i.e., “flow-of-thought” lines that often end in an inquiring or uncertain tone — without requiring listeners to read a lyric sheet. Take this gem from “Flesh.Soul.Intact”: “I need you to/Homeopathically Telegram/me into a migraine that fills my/saliva with vowels that enable/me to pronounce your orgasms/in the hard sounds of consonants/my consequence/Measures your secretions in grams of fat/Wait!”
When you hear it live, you’ll know which words are supposed to be capitalized on the page. Tshaka will perform alongside Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based artist Ainsley Burrows, who pairs aggressive spoken-word verse (the kind that verges on lightweight flowing) with heavily synthesized, voice modulator-driven dancehall/R&B. Local pianist and bandleader-turned-emcee Kev Choice will cap the evening off with his hip-hop ensemble. Having scored, arranged, and produced for Lauryn Hill, Goapele, and Amel Larrieux, plus every other Bay Area artist and their mom, Choice recently burdened himself with bringing musical depth back into hip-hop — check out his monthly Junction show at the Black New World Gallery. Love Jones: A Night of Poetry and Music goes down at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22, at Kimball’s Carnival. For tickets, call 415-368-6104.