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It's hard to imagine a better medium for high-school students than slam poetry. Slam poets write and deliver their own rants, and well-articulated emotion pays off. It doesn't cost any money. PlayhouseSquare is once again offering its Slam U workshops in preparation for competition that will select a team of four finalists and one alternate that will represent Cleveland at the National Youth Poetry Slam, Brave New Voices, in July. Team members' travel expenses will be paid by philanthropic support coordinated by PlayhouseSquare.

In the Slam U workshops, taking place Friday, January 16, and Friday, February 20, students will work with teachers and peers to refine their poems for three rounds of competition: March 27 and April 3 semi-finals and April 17 finals.

PlayhouseSquare's arts education department will also offer after-school drop-in sessions to help kids prepare from 4-6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays in February and March. At these sessions, students will have the opportunity to practice their poems, get feedback, learn to use a mic, and take turntablism and DJing lessons offered by the Progressive Arts Alliance. Slam U is open to Northeast Ohio students ages 14-19. All events are free, but reservations are suggested: Call 216.348.7909 or e-mail artseducation@playhousesquare.org. The Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls invites artists interested in selling their work at the juried Art by the Falls show June 13-14 to submit applications. Jurors are Bud Diehl, Mario Kujawski and Kathleen Barbero. The application must include a $20 fee, no more than four slides or digital images and a SASE. Deadline is February 14. For more details, pick up a brochure at Valley Art Center, 155 Bell St., Chagrin Falls, or go to valleyartscenter.org. You can support a slew of local artists and craftspeople by stopping at 78th Street Studios (1300 W. 78th St) from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday for the annual Bazaar Bizarre. Then, after that, check out the rest of the expansive building, which is home to several galleries. Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery has paintings, drawings and sculpture by Gregory Lowell Smith. Kokoon Arts Gallery has Universal Patterns, a show of works by Alfredo Arreguin. Tregoning and Company has digital prints by Andrew Reach. For more information, go to bazaarbizarre.org or 78streetstudios.com.

mgill@clevescene.com

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