“It’s a poor musician, who blames his instrument.”
I’ve always let the truth of this saying guide my endeavors but last night, we had some poor ass instruments. The Anniversary louderJAM went well in that all the musicians and all the poets brought the noise. As for our crowd, they were the poor instruments. “That’s fucked up O, they came out in the snow!” Truth be told, people gripe too fucking much and the snow was not that big a deal. Put it to you like this, if that same amount of snow dropped in December, no one would have said anything or really cared. It was an average day of snow, that did not merit any type of unaccustomed discomfort. The fact that it happened in April, where the showers bring… blah, blah, blah, is what made it into such a headline. I was out in the street and on the road yesterday, this snow was the equivalent of a child’s tantrum— loud, obtrusive, annoying but, most definitely, tolerable and manageable.
So here we are, 13 beautiful poets, 5 musicians and a mini-griot ready to whip it all out to an… average Monday night crowd?!? Disappointing when considering the talent to audience ratio but the show went on and, as stated, kicked ass. Sometime last week, Guy was contacted by a TV producer who expressed genuine interest in the Slam scene. This conversation prompted Guy to record last night’s event to provide her with good footage of the louderARTS doing their thing. Everybody knew this and was told to prepare accordingly and what did that mean… almost the whole crew busted out brand new work. For me personally, I could have busted out the Salsa poem or even ‘Ceviche’ but I love ‘Ultimo Canto’ so much now and the workshop gave me some great new ideas for it that I had to go with that piece, even though it is not my most showcasable (is this even a word?) performance. The fact that the rest of the crew was in the same mindset was fantastic. Even more so that all the new work rocked!
The musical acts were wonderful and diverse and it seemed so poetic to see them all go up there with their voices and guitars and see what happened. Think about it, as a writer I have only twenty-six letters to fuck with and look what happens… same with these artists… there are only 5(?) chords on a guitar but what they do with what they have is amazing and how it is so disticnct is what makes it art.
The one real let-down was the Semi-Finals Lottery. What should be a very dynamic and important part of the night became just a hum-drum ten minute break of which even I found it tough to clap for by the end. The bottom line on that, at least in regard to me, is that I an in the first match and have the third slot. This means I have five days to get my shit polished. Not good, in that I would have wanted more time to prepare for this field of combatants which includes: Omar, Roger, Dawn Saylor & Sabrina. The first thing that strikes me from this group is that they have all been to Nationals as a part of a team so they know what it takes. I am dead in the middle of that order which means I will be going up after Dawn and before Roger. A very interesting slot for sure and I am not sure of what, if any, strategy I will employ. (Note: I know of another Slammer who posted their strategy online and had someone else trump them on it… so, even if I had one… I wouldn’t post it)
This time next week, I will be either very happy or quite disillusioned… not! That was my mindset last night but in really letting it sink, there would be no dishonor in losing to any of these poets. I have enough in my one-year old arsenal to hang with these writers that have anywhere from three to seven years of experience in Slam. In itself, that is an accomplishment.
Time to psych up: I am that character in the movie where the underdog comes up to bat and has nothing to lose and everything to gain. At worst, I will have developed my repertoire to a fine edge and know that I can run with the best and keep up.
Enough of this shit, time to write and recite and memorize and get ready to make my mark.