JAMIE DEWOLF is a writer, performer, film director, teaching artist, show producer and circus ringmaster from Oakland, CA. 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 multiple stories on Snap Judgment Live, and The Girl in the Hallway (about the disappearance of his neighbor Xiana Fairchild) and Exit Interview (a story of surviving suicide), were both showcased by UpWorthy the year of their premieres. 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 his producing partner Wonder Dave created Story Showdown, chosen as one of the “10 Best Storytelling Events” by SF Weekly.
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 continues to curate showcases nation-wide.
A filmmaker since his teens, DeWolf wrote and directed 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.
In addition DeWolf has made a dedication to intertwining cinema and social activism, shooting and directing over 25 films for the Bigger Picture Project, an acclaimed, statewide series of films on the youth prevention of Diabetes. The series were featured on PBS NewsHour, Colorlines and KQED. He’s helmed national film campaigns for the Raise Up Project focusing on the high school drop-out crisis, the Write Home Project which was coupled with a writing program on youth homelessness, and the Off/Page Project in partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting. The Off/Page Project coupled hard hitting journalism, performance poetry and DeWolf’s cinematic take on subjects as far ranging as housing corruption in Richmond and the abuse of migrant farm workers. The Off/Page Project resulted in the trilogy Whispers from the Fields, This is Home and Locked (in), acclaimed for creating a new hybrid of “lyricism and facts”. His films have accumulated over 3 million shared views across the world, winning the Real Food Media Grand Prize two years in a row with the films Thin Line and Home Flavored, and received the Spirit of 1848 award from the American Public Health Association.
DeWolf’s original 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 teaches 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.
- Are you really related to L. Ron Hubbard?
- Yes. He was my great-grandfather on my mothers side. My grandfather was L. Ron Hubbard Jr. who later changed his name to Ron DeWolf. His first child was my mother. I have never been a Scientologist in any way shape or form. I'm the only one left in my family who will go on record about the cult. This is explored in great detail in the performance of “The God and the Man” and also discussed in great detail here: THE TOP 25 PEOPLE CRIPPLING SCIENTOLOGY
- Where can I see your feature film “Smoked”?
- On iTunes and Amazon, or you can pick up a DVD at any local Tourettes!
- Where can I see the Suicide Kings?
- After a wild half a decade run that took us all over the world from colleges, theaters and prisons, our proudest achievement was the full length play “In Spite of Everything”, which toured had its final performance in 2011. The film “Ricochet In Reverse” was adapted from the same play. Everyone is busy doing solo projects, Geoff's in law school and his new book “Murder Stay Murder” is excellent and is available now. Rupert continues to perform in bands and is writing short stories and novels, and I'm burning the world one word at a time. You can see all of us in the feature film “Smoked” playing more idiotic versions of ourselves.
- How do I perform at Tourettes?
- Sign ups for the Slam and the Freestyle Battle are taped to the wall outside at 8pm. Performers are chosen by lottery. If you're on tour, you'll get priority, but make sure to contact me first.
- What's up with the name change to DeWolf?
- My mother was Hubbard, then DeWolf, then married and changed her name to Kennedy. My first years in slam as a performer I was Jamie Kennedy, then the comedian of MTV's "Jamie Kennedy Experiment" came along and he and I were constantly getting mixed up. One pivotal moment came when the comedian and I were booked twice at the same comedy venue in San Jose within a month of each other. Friends of mine ended up going to see the wrong Jamie, and the confusion had reached such an absurd point where he was being asked on air if he was related to L. Ron Hubbard. I said enough of this nonsense. I took my mothers maiden name, which was DeWolf. It's not an MC stage name like I'm a werewolf, it's our Scottish family name.
- How do I get on Snap Judgment?
- I'd recommend to download episodes for free off of Itunes to get a feel for the kind of stories the show accepts. Each episode has a theme, and stories usually run 3-8 minutes and are told in first person. You can send me stories or even a short synopsis to my contact here and I'll audition your piece for the executive producers!
- Do you direct music videos/documentaries? Can you direct mine?
- Yes, the projects I've directed, shot and or edited are all up on the films part of the website. We're always looking for new projects, email me and we'll discuss concepts.
- What do your tattoos mean?
- Each one has a purpose and a story. Yes one is a Scientology tattoo. I'm a fan of irony.
- Can you perform at my school?
- I'd love to! I've done writing workshops and performances at over 100 schools nation-wide and continue to work with Youth Speaks and Lunchbox International in writing workshops/film-making and theatrical workshops. I have a mission to give young writers the experience I didn't get in high school.
- How can I get texts of your poems? Can I cover one of them for a class/speech/performance?
- For covers and speech classes, absolutely. Just make sure you give me credit so they can come here to this site and be offended. I'll blame you.