The Suicide Kings Slay ‘Em


It’s awesome when a competitive poetry event elevates itself to what the art can be. If you’ve ever had the privilege of seeing Jamie DeWolf, Geoff Trenchard, or Rupert Estanislao rock the mic, then you know the transcendence that I’m talking about. Each of them writhe and roar words of such profound hilarity, obscenity, and gravitas that it’s hard not to walk away from the night moved. Collectively these performers become the Suicide Kings, an Oakland-based performance trio that unites the raw emotion of poetry with the abrasive clamor of punk rock. Their cred in the slam world is unrivaled, each boasting titles, teams, and televised performances on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Not only do they each have an impressive CV to prove their mettle, they also give back to the community that made them the scrappy motherfuckers they are, between mentoring young poets through Youth Speaks to emceeing slams for inmates at the San Quentin State Penitentiary. If that wasn’t enough, the triumvirate also wrote and starred in a play centered around the fallout following a school shooting. Called “In Spite Of Everything,” it was commissioned by the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the City of Oakland, the National Performance Network, and the Hip Hop Theater Festival. Never a group to allow convention to place its noose around their necks, the Kings countered their theatrical debut with theatrics by continuing to host their monthly Tourettes Without Regrets, a raucous variety show that boasts everything from freestyle battles, dirty haiku, and vaudeville acts (happening this Thursday).

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Ainsley Drew is a native New Yorker, freelance writer, and euphemism enthusiast. Her work has been featured in The New York Press, McSweeney’s, The Morning News, and Curve Magazine, among other totally sweet publications. An avid fan of all sports, but especially the NBA, when she's not stalking 6'10" centers she eats way too much Japanese food, plays word games, and hits on anything that moves. Aiming high, she hopes to one day be a notorious literary celebrity with her name in tabloids. She also has eleven fingers, so she can type faster than you. You can find her and ainsleydrew. Be her Internet friend. More from this author →