I’m not really familiar with the slam poetry scene in the city. I’m sorry. But if you’re looking for live performances, I recommend checking out some of Chicago’s live lit and storytelling events. My favorites are Grown Folks Stories at The Silver Room, That’s All She Wrote at the Savoy, and Paper Machete at The Green Mill.
I do watch it and I’m very happy and excited by the representation and depiction of women of color and specifically black women on the show. In a word, it is refreshing. Most contemporary representations of diversity lack actual normal interactions between black women. It is so exciting to see their friendships over cat fights, their love over their anger, their sadness over their performative idea of joy. Basically, I love that they are complicated and not always right and complex and rich and human.
Smart Bar, obviously. It’s my favorite. Check their website to see what the genre specialty is for the night (disco, house, techno, etc.) though any night should be good.
Primary is good, especially for Them Flavors Thursdays.
Spy Bar always has good lineups and if you get there before midnight, it’s often free.
Berlin sometimes, but not always. It’s been hit or miss for me, but specialty nights are usually best.
Also, check Resident Advisor’s Illinois/Chicago section for other local events and specialty nights.