Tucked under the surface of downtown St. Paul like a speakeasy, the Artists' Quarter is more than a great bar and jazz club. It's also home to some of the most skilled and energetic spoken-word artists in the metro. This season's national slam team was chosen last month in a tough-fought war of similes and alliteration, but the Soap Boxers aren't missing a beat. This time around, their monthly slam takes its satirical template from that most hated national institution, American Idol. Local celebrity judges promise immediate, biting feedback for the enjoyment of the audience, though as usual the actual point judging will be in the hands of five random (usually buzzed) audience members. The competition happens in three rounds: In round one, the poets perform their worst poem as badly as possible, accompanied by ludicrous costumes and melodrama. The second round, the hopefuls cover a poem by another poet, and in the third and final round, they'll perform their best poem as well as possible. Unlike the subdued poetry readings of the Beatnik stereotype, the Soap Boxing audiences are loud, opinionated, and enjoyably obnoxious, encouraged mischievously by host and organizer Matthew Rucker. So come prepared to holler and stamp your feet—we promise you'll enjoy these Idols more than the formulaic pap of Aiken or Underwood. 18+.
Mon., June 2, 7 p.m., 2008