Spoken word is part of the “Human Experience”

Duwop Rose. Photo by Chad Martinez

“Human Experience” is a weekly charitable poetry and spoken word open-mic night at The Beat cafe.

For this group of locals, spoken word poetry is very much at the center of communication, hoping to revitalize a tradition that seems dead in today’s fast-paced culture.

“It is a vision for the community that doesn’t stop when the doors close at 12 a.m.,” said co-founder and curator of the Las Vegas Zine Library, Jeffrey B. Grindley. “It is a feeling we take home and an attitude we spread throughout the week.”

Each Monday, poets, comedians, emcees, singers and whoever can muster up the gonads to stand in front of a microphone and gather to bare their souls, telling emotional stories about their lives.

After the poets and emcees were done reciting, it was time for some good old-fashioned human interaction. The poets and crowd subsided quickly while those who remained mingled. DJ Duwop Rose blended a soulful mix inside the cafe and a handful of emcees took to the side walk outside to freestyle a bit longer.

“Philanthropy has always been a big part of ‘Human Experience,’” said co-founder DJ Miss Joy, dressed in an outfit made completely out of paper.
“It seemed to go hand-in-hand to bring people together… and put the energy to a positive proactive use.”

Aside from the charitable aspect Grindley and Joy work with other Las Vegas groups and artists.

Jorge Lara Santiago, from the Las Vegas Poets Organization, has spent the last five years supporting local poetry and has teamed up with “Human Experience” to further his cause.

“Spoken word serves as a key of expression between the individual and their environment,” Santiago said.

The event is important to Las Vegas citizens trying to navigate an uncertain and fleeting environment, Santiago said.

Several poets reciting on Monday night were new to Las Vegas and seemed relieved that there was a healthy spoken word community to which they could reach out.

“One problem we have in Las Vegas is a lack of clear vision. There are plenty of people who have a vision for themselves and want the community to back that vision,” Grindley said. “These types of people get easily frustrated and the projects they have mostly fall apart.”