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Arts and Entertainment

Best Poetry Café Gone Bad

5 Seasons

830 N. Guilford Ave., (410) 625-9787,

Posted 9/21/2005

When did Warm Wednesdays at the 5 Seasons lose its individuality and appealing aura? Long before the nights of televisions mounted on the walls, a booming sound system, and bouncers feeling for concealed weapons only to find pens and No. 2 pencils, 5 Seasons had a very different atmosphere. At its former Charles Street location, a handful of people barely filled a dimly lit room listening to open-mic poetry and showing appreciation with a small wave of snapping fingers. As the months passed, more poets, MCs, and singers came to bless the stage with their verbal and ingenious talents. The crowd went from poetry-enthused patrons to standing-room-only partygoers who only came for the newly added afterparty that followed the open-mic session. From naturally kept hair and long locks to freshly cut hair covered by fitted throwback baseball caps and newly straightened hair, all heads were welcomed. It was beautiful because it was a microcosm of Baltimore nightlife, but it signified that 5 Seasons was now presented with the choice of keeping the loyal fan base or making sure the place was packed.

With its relocation to Guilford Avenue, 5 Seasons now looks like something you would see in a soda commercial: the place where Erykah Badu was piped in as the house theme music is now a room filled with the blaring lyrics of 50 Cent and G-G-G-G Unit. The only saving grace is the fact that the poets and MCs are still vicious, still bringing the zeal and stage presence that reminds the loyal of the early days. Sure, change is a necessity and primarily for the better. But in the case of Warm Wednesdays, change may be its downfall.

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All Awards for 5 Seasons:

Best Place to Hear Hip-Hop, 9/17/2008

Best Place to Hear Hip-Hop, 9/20/2006

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