“Now I’m cycling all my video tapes”
We have a new louderCHAMPION and I am SO fucking spent. Rachel Hyman asks me, “Did you have fun?” and all I could say was, “No.”
Even as it came out of my mouth I was in that weird space where it makes all the sense in the world but you still can’t believe you said it.
Sunday at the Pietri Tribute I was all over the place. People had no idea when they would be going up and some folks didn?t show up. I just juggled all the balls I had and tried to make it look like magic. It worked but it can get taxing to deal with that shit.
This last Monday was the same shit- squared. With the louder showcase being put together in just a few days. Concept, performers, length of time, affect on the show, all the details and the closed mic was also put together in the same way but with less detail on flow and more emphasis on personality.
On to the Slam? this has been my baby for a few weeks and I tried to nail all the details especially the time issue. Slams at 13 start monstrously late and the third round can be a chore. The normal Slam format doesn’t sit that well with me as I am not a fan of having people prepare work and take a chance on getting bumped in the first round.
The original version of the Slam had TEN mofos going at it but when I crunched the numbers and came up with a time table on how long it should take, the powers that be were not too thrilled. A compromise was reached and we narrowed it down to eight.
The next trick was making it different from the regular semis or finals at 13 and I came up with the 3-2-1-2-3 idea not even realizing that the iWPS was using a similar formula. (Trust me, if you saw the knuckle headed e-mails from the SM list serve you would stop reading most of the shit that comes across the board.)
I came up with a couple of other twists in regard to cumulative scores advancement and tiebreakers to spice up the pot a bit and the end result was (in hindsight) a bit too much for most. Oh well?
The simple breakdown was eight poets in the first round (3 min, 10 second grace period, regular slam rules), six poets in the second round (2 min, 10 second grace), five poets in the third round (1 min, 5 sec grace) and three poets in rounds four and five (2 mins in round three and no clock in the last round, cumulative scores of the last round determines the winner).
I was really high on deading the clock in the last round to allow the poets to go out in a blaze of poetic glory by focusing on the performance of the piece and taking their time to convey the truest sense of the word. Well, that was a good thought but in the end Fish, Mahogany and Cirelli all went Nuyo and took their time to promote their poems beforehand and then delivered them in the same style. Live and learn.
The scoring was the most stressful thing as I always triple check my figures to make sure that we are all on the same page and nobody gets jerked. If I had let somebody else take care of the math I may have enjoyed the Slam but it has all been lessons learned.
Quick thoughts- Rich did amazingly well as he was fighting the #1 draw the whole time, Elana gave a BEST ever performance but the audience (and the clock) wasn?t feeling her, I was surprised to see Morgan get cut so quick, Fish put together a great game plan and went all out to win with his choice of editing older work, Mahogany on the other hand took some chance with newer, shorter stuff and almost pulled it out, Abena got bit by the clock and would have easily made the final three but that?s the breaks,
and Michael Cirelli is kick ass! When Rog (our #8) found out that he wasn?t able to make it back in time, I placed my money on Cirelli. Tapes of him from 2000, the work he?s done at 13 and the amount of energy he puts into the actual WORK of poetry makes him an awesome champion for our venue. The fact that he is a genuinely nice dude (except for the fact that he is a Red Sox fan) only makes the cake that much sweeter.
Typing it up now, I can say that I had a fun time putting the show together and I was really happy that we accomplished everything we set out to do as the crowd was into the ?closed mic? (Rachel, Chavisa, Roberto Ascalon and Mara really came through for me on short notice), the louder showcase was a nice step in bringing the Wizard out from behind the curtain and the audience stayed for the WHOLE slam which clocked out at 10:50 (mind you this was a five round, eight person slam and it is Bar 13).
And did I mention the drunken fool that got all belligerent on me in the hallway after I asked her friend to keep her quiet? Ah, yes! Memories of the Spic incident reverberate in my mind but that?s a story for another day.