The longer I live here, the more convinced I become that Philadelphia is the best city in the country for underground writers and artists. It's like San Francisco was in the Fifties and Sixties: affordable, warm, and compact.
All arts oriented people seem to live within walking distance of downtown (called Center City). It's very easy to keep up on everything that's happening and meet people.
Tomorrow (3/16) I plan to read at Michael Grover's monthly open mic; the best open mic in the city, one of the best anywhere. Grover of course is a complete pro. He earned his rep as a spoken word performer in Los Angeles before moving here. (Unlike some more provincial cities, Philly is quite open to outsiders.) Michael Grover doesn't just read; he practices his routines, which makes him a formidable competitor. He also has an outstanding voice, something of a prerequisite once you get to a certain level.
Giving him some competition of late has been Frank Walsh, whose poetry at its best is like TS Eliot on acid, and can be wildly entertaining. With Grover and Walsh you have the disciplined Beat poet against a mad genius.
Anyway, I'm a spoken word performer also, though I've neglected that the last couple years to enable others to take the spotlight. I've been writing some real poetry lately though (not the doggerel I did at the Conclave) and am eager to try it out. I intend to be just a little "over the top." Walsh is pushing the envelope and I've studied what he's doing. There could be some verbal pyrotechnics all over the place at this reading-- big league stuff.