More Nats (to be continued)

after the slammaster slam i took the train back to the hotel. man, theose

chicago trains are fuckin loud! i tried to have a talk with rusty, a fellow

slammaster who taught the beginning performance workshop. tried is the

optimum word as there was one stretch that i didnt even attempt to speak

over the drone of the cta.

miraculously, i got up in time for the next morning’s slammaster meeting at

10 am. i was starving and still had no voice but made it anyways. let’s

calrify the title slammaster, for the nps– it is the person that handles

the paperwork that is necessary to compete in nationals. thats it. no

extra mojo what so ever unless you try really hard to flex but in these here

parts, thats kinda hard to do.

the meeting went well with a few things nailed down. full minutes of the

meeting (which i havent checked yet) can be found on the poetry_slam

listserve. the biggest debaye was between going with a point system (where

a certified venue has to accrue points based upon a system not yet revised

by psi) verus going with a regional system (only X number of venues per

region allowed to compete) to determine which teams compete at nats. i

voted for the point system since 13 does a ton of pro-bono work which would

pull us up there point wise. i didnt take any notes so i cant really recall

everything else that went down. oh yeah, we also heard proposals from

cities vyeing for nps2006 and gave the iWPS (dont ask) to worcester in 2005.

greenville had it this year and they also gave us an update on whats going

on. most people kept their slam dribble to a minimum with the exception of

one but again every cherry has a pit!

we were supposed to be over by 1pm but ran over time which led me to getting

to the asian american showcase late. i hurried upstairs (thank god it was

just a flight up or i may have left the damn thing early) to find most of

the nyc entourage already seated and listening to the poetry already in

progress. not only was the poetry dope with the only pit being this girl

dissing what she called the (huh? who she talking

about? later i find out that some team did what they thought was a praise

to latinos but some, including danny solis, took as offensive. thats the

problem with satire– if its not written EXTREMELY well, people will flip on

ya) but otherwise the poetry was off the meat rack and the energy in the

room was bananas. the host was awesome as she only read the persons name

and city of origin while occasionaly amping the crowd with a quick call &

response. my main concern was that i missed omar… no worries as omar got

called pretty late. he dropped his ‘the only good war america has ever

fought is against eurpoeans… so lets kill some more whities!’ piece. i

love that poem. also getting the asian-am spotlight were roberto ascalon,

lisa ascalon and our new homey, jerome. who was the last name chosen out

the hat.

from there it was a quick stroll downstair and the latino open mic! i was

all set to do ‘oda para leticia’ until i found out that ray brought the 505.

he really wanted me to do ‘mercy on the battelfield’ but i had already

dropped it at the sm slam and had done it at last year’s latino mic. next X

factor, shaggy flores asks us to keep the piece down to 2 minutes. now i

dont know if that was his way of saying 3 minutes, cuz when you tell poets 3

minutes they do 5, but that was kinda crazy since mostly everyone was a slam

poet and thus were full of three minute poems. ok, i adjust (since shaggy

keeps making it a point to tell everyone 2 minutes over & over again) and

decide to do the all espanol version of ‘motb’ which times in at 1 minute.

add a cute intro, some space for rays music and a lil ad lib to total 2

minutes. cool. shaggy is worried that there are so many sign ups and so

lil time so he declares that the mic will continue acrosss the street at the

park should we get kicked out. huh? the rules are the same for every one

and we arnt getting kicked out as much as we have to let the next open mic

(poets against the war) get their share of time. the bottom line is that

shaggy wasted crazy time laying down the rules of the open mic (i have the

list! i have the list!), emphasising the time limit (2 minutes!) and

reminding us about the park.

the mic gets going and shaggy sets it off with a plug to an artist

displaying his wares on stage (nice stuff) and plugging the two conga

players he got and then did his intro poem which clocked in at… 3:45. not

sayin just sayin. co-host danny solis also hits the mic and we’re off!

fish & rich are among the early readers since they signed up online a few

days in advance. fish hits the condensed version of ‘soy del bronx’ (2

minutes!) and rich does ‘noche buena’ with ray on music. i’m still tired so

i’m not keeping up with notes but do recall ottawa’s own hatian sensation,

oni hitting a piece for celia cruz, anthony flores droppin his ode to poetic

weed, amalia ortiz giving voice to the woman of mexico, ray medina

absolutely nailing ‘strictly poetic’, ed garcia having the crowd in his hand

with his ‘green-go!’ poem, robert karimi becoming one of my new favorites

and ariana ramirez’ amazing ode to celia cruz. big note– this poem was

done entirely in spanish but ariana still made it a point to apologize that

its all esanol… in the latino open mic! damn, we are severly fuckin

programmed on only one channel. my response to her prolouge.. ‘fuck dat!

let em learn the language!’) and my last memory– ken rodriguez of burque

giving up his spot to this 17 year old poet who rocked it out with a chunky

latino identity piece.. “shit! you hungry!” becomes an instant classic.

omar and a load of asian-am peeps showed us back some love which turned both

event into one of the best memories of nps2003. oh yeah, the mic ran a bit

long and shaggy came through with his promise to take it across to the park.

note to self– if you ever host a showcase at nats, follow the asian-am


given the choice between the park reading and food… well, food wins! as

we hit this great mexican spot. team nuyo is chilling there as we arrive en

masse again, full of glow from the two open mics. omar also has a choice to

make, compete in the fifth wheel slam (another term for team alternates) or

eat. being that omar already did the fifth wheel in 2001 and he loves to

munch: the choice is clear. the food was great and the convo even better

as we are all looking forward to the semi-final bouts. 13 faces los feliz,

seattle (tough team) and la (again). the nuyo & urbana face off against

each other as well as new orleans and denver– meaning that only one of

those teams can make it to finals.

the night is planned, arrive early to the note for the group piece showcase

and to get good seats for 13s semi bout.

the group piece showcase was another highlight of nps.

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