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News Release

Champions of Slam Poetry at Moravian College on March 17

The Nuyorican National Championship Poetry Slam Team performs its dynamic delivery of slam poetry on Wednesday, March 17, 1999 at 8:00 p.m. in Moravian College's Prosser Auditorium. With rapid beat, incisive wit, well-placed anger and firey performance, the group strategies and utilizes a team system to give passionate voice to multi-layered, social and political issues.

This winning team captured the championship title for New York City and the Nuyorican Poets Café, in the five day 1998 National Poetry Slam competition held in Austin, Texas. The finals scene was standing room only inside the gorgeous 1300 seat Paramount Theatre, leaving disappointed crowds standing outside in the rain. Poets from 59 cities and teams from 45 cities around the USA and Canada slammed their stuff.

The slamming objective focuses on the performer's spoken word to establish a connection with the audience on a visceral level, instead of the restraint that many poetry readings have become. Wordsmiths go at it poem for poem - no props, no costumes, no musical accompaniment - it's the "sport of the spoken word". You will be entertained, you will be disturbed, you will laugh, you will cry, you will have a heck of a lot of fun experiencing this biting commentary - the only thing you will not be is indifferent!

Talented team member, Alix Olson, Bethlehem native, graduate of Liberty High School and Wesleyan University first appeared on the slam scene in 1997. Olson was the newest member of the Santa Cruz Team from New York's Nuyorican Café when she stepped forward to deliver the winning slam in Austin. She majored in political science, and minored in women's studies at Wesleyan, but stirrings of her strong social conscience combined with performing words flared in Bethlehem. Olson is a master manipulator of the spoken-word swiftly cutting to the most powerful meaning. Winner of the "In Her Own Write" Poetry Competition as well as other national awards, Olson says "when I wrote my first piece, I felt like I had written my own monologue, one where I could speak truthfully about my experiences." Her scathing wit is funny, serious, intelligent, entertaining and thought provoking. A senior student from NYU comments that "She is absolutely amazing. She has this way of drawing in everyone around her - you're hooked and you can't stop watching. And, every 15 minutes or so, you pick your jaw up off the floor."

The National Slam Champion team has produced the upcoming hip-hop CD, "Unbound", a compilation benefiting Mumia Abu-Jamal. Alix slams at colleges and universities, did a stint on the West coast, and has performed at the prestigious Harlem Apollo Theatre, the NYC Gay and Lesbian Community Center and speaks-out at many other New York City venues. CNN and numerous New York radio stations have interviewed Alix, and a recent release is her own spoken-word recording.

The performance is free and open to the public. Moravian College's Prosser Auditorium is located in the Haupert Union Building at Locust and Monocacy streets in Bethlehem, PA. For more information, call (610) 861-1461.