…so take off all your clothes

What does it take to make the team at Bar13’s Finals? Endurance. The emotional output is bananas and you have to be ready to go at it 100% for all the rounds. Stumble, even a lil, and the judges will pick up on it and lower your score. Same holds true for the audience. You can feel them giving you their hopes and fears, waiting for you to validate their political convictions (or lack thereof) or to take them somewhere they can forget the world for a bit.

After all that, I am glad that some of the louderCREW was able to come out to Acentos. The night started slow which left me worried as to whether or not we could fill the Open Mic with enough voices. The Open Mic, as I’ve stated before, is the bread & butter of any reading series; the place where you best display what your audience wants and gets in regard to a poetic voice. My worries went unfounded as we were able to keep a nice mix of old and new voices in stage. Grisel, the night’s feature, rocked to the fullest, even as the mic stand was collapsing around her and the heat in the Blue Ox was getting worse and worse by the second.

The Ox is a pretty small spot and the heat of 40 or so audience members was enough to turn a pretty warm late spring night into a end of July swelter. Our only recourse was to open the door and let in some fresh air but then we were also letting in the sounds of the night into the bar and had our feature fighting off sirens and kids yelling outside. She was able to compensate and still came through like a pro but I was still worried about our, mostly, inexperienced Open Micers. I let the audience take a vote as to how we should proceed with the rest of the evening and they decided that they would deal with the heat in exchange for giving the poets a quieter environment to share… That’s my people!

Great feature and diverse Open Mic (still need more ladies, though) mixed with a lot of heat still equals a flat show and that’s a shame as I felt good throughout as host and was really trying to lay down a good show for a couple of first-time audience members. Still, I can’t control the lack of AC in the venue and was still satisfied with the show and the direction the series is taking. Next show should be a great one with Emanuel Xavier coming through after his HBO Def Poetry appearance.

Tonight is the last Semi-Final at 13 and this is going to be a tough one to call. When it’s all is said and done the results will be most interesting and I am going to end up processing all of the info to see what may or may not work for me next Slam season. The actual fact is that I may not be cut out for Slam. My work may be too internally focused and not give the audience that escape they may be looking for. The political question keeps coming up in my head. I just don’t want to write a political piece for Slam’s sake besides after reading Martín Espada’s “City of Coughing & Dead Radiators,” I see that there are some wonderful political pieces that focuses on the individual and their personal victories & defeats that can truly lay out the (he puts fingers in the air) political (fingers come down). All my ideas revolve around this simple concept but I am seeing how the Slam judges want to hear how the WHOLE world is fucked up, how the WHOLE system has to be brought down, how we are ALL responsible for it and only ALL of us can effect change—TOGETHER. I may be speaking from the bitter (probably) but that’s my take. Actually, what pisses me most off is this whole fixation on the past. I am so fucking sick of hearing about the stolen election, Andrew Jackson pulled off the same rip-off (check Gore Vidal’s “1876“) and the mighty patron saint of all Democrats, JFK, stole a couple of states himself on the road to martyrdom. Oh well, maybe I’ll just go off on a long rant about this forgotten history later and turn that into my Slam piece.

“love you like a fat kid love cake”

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