National Poetry Slam Report (Mon & Tues)

nationals week– we start with louderJAM and ray-dan once again putting

the magic to music and blowing the doors off of 13. going with my

philosophy of show (dont tell), ray sets it off with an amazing duet with abena. the rest of the open mic goes by smooth as silk. rebecca hart rips it like

always. onto the louderBID! last year’s poets auction was a bit of a

clusterfuck with some hits and misses but this year’s went off with nary a hitch.

sabrina ran the auction like a pro (jacking up some prices but thats aight)

keeping the energy up and never losing control of the crowd. my salsa

lesson went for over $20 to cheryl boyce (yeah!) and to tristen, the

daughter of a cuban who never learned to speak the lengua and

was looking forward to a lil latino culture.

personal funny moment–

this professional salsa instructor showed up with peter conti

and also auctioned off his services. after a demo of his skills (that mofo

busted a pirouette!) his services went up for bid and sold at: $5-.

ahhh, perception is everything baby. in retrospect, i should bid $7- and had

him teach me how to do all the moves i talk about.

louder made way more than they expected, so all in all, a good night.

tuesday– nationals! last year was my first one and i was happy to

just hang around and absorb all that i could which ended up to be quite a

bit. this year, im the slammaster for union square, a more polished

performer and a much more opinionated individual. i’ve been reading the opinions, rantings and delusions of a whole bunch of these mofos on both the

poetry_slam & slammaster listserves– now it’s time to match a face

with some of these diatribes.

to keep reflecting back to the year before, when i wasnt hanging with

seve and catching in all of mini-apple-us, i was with the team. it felt

comfortable to let peeps come to the team, absorb their name and

mannerisms, then see how the team REALLY felt about said individual. i was going with a different game plan this year and was not planning to be attached to

the team at the hip. besides the fact that rog runs some tight rehearsals,

i had some slam administrative shit to do. this worked pretty well since

i quickly got to meet amalia ortiz. she hooked up with the team at the

airport and hitched a ride with us to the holiday inn. on the ride in

we talked about the upcoming competition, then some louderBIZ which amalia

seemed a bit bored with but as we approached the hotel, t’ai starting

talking about chicago sausage with fresh chiles and pickles on a

bun, then lo and behold– a chicago hot dog stand!

after checking in, i call up amalia and invite her for a hot dog, her answer– ‘Hell Yeah!’ and then it started– the walk through the lobby took a few as we both started seeing peeps we knew and stopped for the salutations. the hot dogs were off da hook. a good convo and a minor invite to perform at acentos was shared as we then decided to enjoy the beautiful day and catch a walk around the hotel area.

when i got back, omar had joined up with the team and we then set ourselves

up in the room. omar is the coolest muthafucka you could meet provided you

get past his rough exterior. infamous as one of the harshest critics in all of poetry which is cool when you realize he is just as rough on himself as he is on anyone else. after getting settled, i join back up with the team.

the first night in chi-town was spent at marty’s parents house– which was

gorgeous. the mcconnell’s hooked us ap with some great b-b-q and good

down home hospitality. afterwards we headed to rite-aid to load up supplies and

the team discovers the dancing hamsters! honestly, i didnt find them THAT

funny but then again i wasnt in their same mind frame (that comment was

purposefully nebulous)

their was an un-official ‘welcome to nats’ party at eitan kadosh’s place but

when we called we found out that the keg was empty– in poet speak that

means the party is dead. the official party was at phyllis’ but we decided

to head back to the hotel and let the good times roll from there.

i was just planning wandering around the hotel on my own when i spot rog,

lynne & marty at the hotel bar… here is where nationals drama began as one

slammer accosted us, asked about rotations, group pieces and tried to share

some of their slam work with us… Check, please!

we wuz out. i’m not sayin that it was done on purpose but i am sayin that it

wasnt cool. the icing on the cake was the 45 minutes it took us to get to

the corner liquor store. 45 minutes saying hi to all kinds of peeps and i

knew i was right in running a bit more solo for this nats.

the party at the team room was aight but once the number of unknowns eclipsed the number of knowns (especially when most of them was blasted) i knew i was out. end tuesday.

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