Watching the next semifinal round unfold this past Monday, I was kinda glad that I was out of the mix. It was good to just enjoy the Slam for what it is and not worry so much about the results and who I might meet at the Finals and shit like that. Still glad that I competed at the first one since it gives me a completely different perspective as to what is going on up on the mic & what may or may not be going through the mind of the Slammers. Last year, I was still pretty much an unknown quantity and it was easy enough to watch the drama unfold and be in slight amazement as to what’s going on and also be a little disappointed at the choice some of my more favorite poets made and wondering why some people that I didn’t like made it into the Finals.
It’s all still in the hand of five random judges and they are always the x-factor and they hit hard when Lynne did ‘Rakim’ in the second round. It was the right poem to do as the judges were, again, swinging wildly toward the political and ‘Rakim’ has all the elements that should have scored well based on what the judges previous score. It didn’t and I have no idea why. I’ve seen Lynne do this poem about 12 times in every possible setting (Slam/Rehearsal/Jammin’/Collaborated) and this was a very good rendition of the poem. The judges scored it low anyway… why? That’s the x-factor and why we can never take this shit too seriously. The reast of the Slam progressed in normal fashion, the judges picked their favorites early and those folks, as seasoned competitors, never let go and kept giving the judges what they wanted. The battle was in the middle as Mara Jebsen & Lynne ended up tied for third going into the last round. Both brought their a-game and Lynne took out Mara by a real small margin.
The dark horse in this race, my friend Ray, couldn’t capitalize on his good draw and ended up in the last place. His first piece, which is usually pretty hard-hitting, came out a bit flat and he never recovered. He still left the night impressing his peers as opposed to the judges and that is pretty good. A victory is better but what the hey… live & learn.
Saturday was a crazy day as I checked out Jayme & Mahina Movement over at the Brecht Forum at a fund raiser that is going to send LBGT youth to a conference in the Philippines. A great night with Regie Cabico rockin’ out with his cock out (not literally, must clarify when talkin’ about Regie). Even got a chance to chat with Reg about the Slam right before the event got going and he shared his views on busting out the golden oldies and his thoughts on the whole angle of the Slam. A good talk and one of the great things about being in the scene—that chance to talk to people away from the mic and all that other jazz.
The actual reading was dope but it ran long and then they had the Open Mic at a real late hour and that shit is very unwise. The angry for anger’s sake poet hit the mic & then some dude ran a marathon “no…/no…./yes!…” poem. Exit stage left, now!
Sunday was a beautiful Easter day that ended in a workshop facilitated by your truly. It was a last minute thing and I was lucky enough to be prepared for the task and had a good lesson plan already worked out in my head. Afterwards, my workshop crew and I hit Westside Rhyme for a less than energetic outing. Oh well, shit happens and not every show can be a winner. More on that laster with the Acentos report.