nuyo slam

few months back at cornelia for poetically incorrect, fish and i hear one fo the featured readers, al b back. at first, i was unimpressed. al was spitting rhymes to keep the crowd happy and, to tell the truth, it was working. then he closed his set with a poem addressing his search for knowledge. “you kown,” i mention to fish, “if he keeps with that and stops pandering, he’ll be good.”

which is exactly what i tell him afterwards and invite him down to bar13. since then, al has been a fixture on the scene and continues improving.

all this improvement had led him to win a wednesday open slam at the nuyorican poets cafe and an invite to the friday night slam. back to that ol’ two places at one time problem, michele k has a birthday that night as well and it broke my heart to trun down her birthday invite but al has been such a supporter of 13 & acentos and he has taken all the critique the community has shared with him to heart. i couldn’t miss out on his friday slam.

met up with jayme and found rob neill on the line as well. rob has been slammin since ’96 and it was great hearing stories of old nationals and legends of the green mill in chi-town.

in one of those weird movie twists, scheduled slammer, morris stegosaurus, decides not to slam and rob gets his slot in the slam.

so now, it’s al b, rob neill and harlym125 in the line-up. harlym is this ultra-cool cat that came real close to making the nuyo team last year and i was a bit surprised to see him slamming. i also knew that al had some stiff competition. harlym is a bombastic reade rthat flows the narrative, humor and political very well… meaning he is exactly what the nuyo crowd wants to hear.

one of the things i do at 13 is help pick the slam judges (when i am not competing, of course) i look for a diverse group that seemed to be attentive during the open mic & feature. mix of male & female voices and, of course, with no connection to the slammers. i am not sure if that happened last night, one of the judges was sitting right next to the support crew of one of the night’s slammers– 912 and looked quite chummy. that and then there was the ‘i already made up my mind’ judge that is looking for a specific message and look… scores are determined form how close the slammer can hit those pre-conceptions.

basically, al & rob got screwed. i’m saying that as a slam observer not as a friend. harlym did well, as expected. 912 did well even though his second poem lacked rehearsal, his voice cracked many times, he twitched all over the place and fumbled two lines… i’m not saying/i’m just saying. anacona, a new face, did well in scores and had a good poem that needed a good deal of editing and a stronger thread of political purpose followd up by a 50 second poem with a 30 second intro.. that got almost the same score!

funniest part of the night was harlym second poem and how one of the judges, we’ll call her alicia keys, looked like she was gonna jump him right then and there. i kept pointing it out to jayme and she was laughin up a storm. ms keys was pouting her lips and massaging her breast line for all of harlym’s words. my biggest shock of the night was when alicia only gave him a 9.8 but i guess she was playing hard to get.

by the last round, the crowd was dead and i mean dead. to the point that alicia and the ‘we made up our mind’ judges left. first time i see that at the nuyo. anywho, al does his last round poem and does something i’ve been dying to do at the nuyo:

al: who is opposing the war

nuyo crowd: YEAH! clap YEAH! more clap YEAH! whistle, clap…

al: who wants more education for our kids?

nuyo crowd: YEAH! clap YEAH! more clap YEAH! whistle, clap…

al: yeah, thats easy to get ya to do. now here is something different…

my new hero is al b back. he then dropped a very religous poem and left the stage with a 29.8, thunderous applause and a ton of respect from me. especially since he did bad, score wise, in the second round. i thought he was defeated and instead he was resurgent. it was a joy to see.

rob also came back and killed it. got a 29.9 and as a vet was just doing his thing. showed up to enjoy the night and left a conquering hero.

anacona got the only 30 of the night and we wrapped it up. harlym won which was no big surprise but my man al left strong in his words.

and where i will be in a few hours, cornelia for poetically incorrect. it’s all circles, i tell ya, it’s all circles…

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