Jamie DeWolf is a writer, performer, film director, teaching artist, show producer and circus ringmaster from Oakland, California. Known for his fast-paced mix of stand up, theater, and hip hop with a style called “over-the-top, raw, and raucous” with “moving, intense verse,” DeWolf “brings that same inimitable, avant-garde style to everything he does.”
He first exploded into national prominence in the competitive lyrical battles of poetry slams, winning his first title on the Oakland Slam team in 1999. The team went on to win the Western Regional Championships and made the Finals Stage the same year. DeWolf went on to become the Oakland and Berkeley Grand Slam Champion, and the champion of the Lyrical Death Match, Ill List, Chi-Town Classic, the Battle of the Bay, Indie Slam Showdown, the $1000 Berkeley Grand Slam, and the War of Words Tag Team Bout. He won his way onto Bay Area slam teams every year he competed and is also an Individual finalist for the International World Championship and the New Word Series.
He’s been awarded “Performer of the Year” by NPR’s Snap Judgment and was a featured performer on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, 60 Minutes, UPN, BBC, Vice, NBC and CBS. DeWolf premiered two stories for Snap Judgment Live, The Girl in the Hallway (about the disappearance of his neighbor Xiana Fairchild) and Exit Interview (a story of surviving suicide), were regarded as two of the most powerful stories ever featured on the show and were both picked up by UpWorthy. Voted “Best Poet” of the Bay Area by the East Bay Express two years in a row, Jamie is also a mentor for Youth Speaks, the nation’s leading presenter of Spoken Word education. He coached their slam team of young poets to the Brave New Voices Finals on HBO in an event hosted by Common and Rosario Dawson. He’s performed and lead writing workshops at over 130 universities, high schools and juvenile detention centers across the U.S, and hosted the first-ever slam poetry competition for inmates at San Quentin Penitentiary.
As a founding member of the Suicide Kings performance trio (with fellow poets Geoff Trenchard and Rupert Estanislao), Jamie’s toured the country with acts ranging from hip hop legends Sage Francis and B. Dolan to punk bands such as The Dwarves. The Suicide Kings were the recipients of various grants from the National Performance Network Creation Commission, the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the City of Oakland to write In Spite of Everything, a play on youth violence that layered poetry-performance, storytelling and spoken word over a haunting live cello score. The show was described by the East Bay Express as “a poignant, chilling, knockout of a play…that beautifully incorporates their visceral verse into the brutal narrative of a school shooting”.
The three-man show premiered at the Living Word Festival in 2007 and toured worldwide, performing at the Public Theater in New York for the Under the Radar Festival, Washington D.C’s Living Word Festival, and the first hip hop theater festival in Moscow, Russia. It was listed as one of the “Top Ten Plays of the Year” by East Bay Express, and resulted in the Telly-Award winning short film Ricochet In Reverse, which reconstructs the Columbine shootings going backwards, directed by DeWolf.
In 1999, DeWolf created the live show Tourettes Without Regrets, “the longest running and most outlandish variety show in the Bay Area”, called “one of the best underground performance art shows in America” (Huffington Post) and “the most consistently spectacular event that Oakland’s ever seen.” The show features circus performances, freestyle rap battles, stand up comedy, burlesque, slam poetry, break-dancing, dirty haiku bouts, audience interactive contests, and “psychotic erotic vaudeville”. The show was awarded the “Best of the Bay” by the SF Guardian and the “Best Underground Cultural Event” by the East Bay Express. DeWolf continues to host and curate the show every First Thursday at the Oakland Metro Operahouse.
DeWolf created several spin off shows such as the What the F*ck Game Show and Game of Thrones Live: Hodor’s Revenge which brings the Tourettes vaudeville style to the violent fantasy universe, featuring circus and burlesque reinventions of fan favorite characters and the audience at war with each other to change the ending of the show. Voted one of top five “Storytellers of the Year” at Bawdy Storytelling, DeWolf and producing partner Wonder Dave also created Story Showdown, chosen as one of the “10 Best Storytelling Events” in the Bay Area.
As one of the most in demand hosts in the Bay Area, DeWolf has hosted and produced showcases at Lightning in a Bottle, Electric Daisy Carnival, Art N Soul Festival, Cabaret Perilous, Bohemian Carnival, Symbiosis Music Festival, the Edwardian Ball, North Bay Cabaret, PianoFight, Seducion Feroce, Fallen Cosmos, Story Showdown, the Folsom Street Fair, Laganitas Beer Circus, New Bohemia, Kiss Kill Consume, Sacramento Horror Film Festival, Beast Crawl, Camp Tipsy, Briefs Erotic Film Festival, Scream Horror Film Festival, Lit Crawl, and more.
A filmmaker since his teens, DeWolf wrote, directed and starred in his first feature film Smoked, a “fast paced, smart, witty dark comedy crime caper” about a botched Cannabis Club robbery in Oakland. The film is described as “Mean, bloody and demented. It’s also piss-your-pants hilarious, maddeningly nihilistic, oddly sentimental, weirdly moral, extremely silly and an insanely energetic romp.” In 2012 the film premiered at the Oakland Underground Film Festival, and played at the PollyGrind Film Festival in Las Vegas and Rio Grind Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada the same year. Smoked was picked up for international distribution by Indican Studios, who also released the cult film Boondock Saints.
DeWolf’s original written and directed short films, known for their provocative and boundary pushing subject matter, have won multiple awards from “Best Acting Performance” (A Girl and a Gun Briefs 2013), “Most Terrifying Storyline” (Scream 2013), “Best Cinematography” (Scream 2014), and “Best Writing” (Rio Grind 2014). His short films Hey Baby Hey and OK Monster both won the Grand Prize Audience Award the year of their premiere. Double Agent was a gender bending reimagining of a James Bond title sequence, and was featured at the CineKink Film Festival in NYC. His short U Turn was selected for a The Invoking 2, a feature length horror film anthology franchise by Ruthless Pictures. He was voted “Best Film-Maker” by the East Bay Express in 2016. He continues to host the annual Sacramento Horror Film Festival and teach high school students documentary and narrative film-making with Lunchbox International.
The great-grandson of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard, Jamie is an outspoken critic of the church, chosen as one of “Top 25 People Crippling Scientology”. His battles with the cult have garnered interviews with Inside Edition, the Young Turks, CBS, BBC and NBC. He was the host of the first ever anti-Scientology summit in Clearwater, Florida and a keynote speaker at the first international Scientology conference in Dublin, Ireland and the “Getting Clear” conference in Toronto. His live NPR performance about his lineage entitled “The God and the Man” was awarded Snap Judgment’s “Performance of the Year” and quickly became a viral hit, garnering national press from the the Washington Post, the Village Voice and the Huffington Post. In 2015 he premiered the Holy Sh*t Show, a performance game show lampooning Scientology. He continues to work with families that have been devastated by great grandfather’s creation.
Currently DeWolf is performing with the Fou Fou Ha clown collective, working on a feature length documentary, writing narrative film scripts and touring with the circus companies Vau De Vire Society and Circus Automatic.