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 wanna.be.latino.team (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
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.