Urban Grind, Hillcrest
the February slams..

friday, feb 15, 2002

emil says he wants to sacrifice tonight.. wow! that would be everyone's favorite urban grind barista, emil!! shades of old java joe's, the only other place I know where the baristas would get on the mic and share their poetic psychoses with us.. so we are once again at room capacity by 7:30 pm, but unlike last slam, there's just a mere 15 signed up to slam.. a perfect number, we think.. ok, judging tonight were audience volunteers vincent & kerri, as well as veteran slammers heather bliss and carlos bastidas.. and rounding us out on the number five seat, fulfilling his community service for winning the last slam, michael klam.. michael's wife linda is at his side tonight- hope all the pressure on the judges doesn't cause poor linda to go into an early labor.. so the afore-mentioned emil got hisself some solid 7's and 8's on his sacrifice for us, ending up with a 23.63, and the slam was on, with six poets having to settle on the role of spectator for the second round. Now here's a stat for ye- the top 8 returning for second round all scored a cumulative 50.0 or above, and thus all earned at least 1 qp each; they included chris dison, chris mosher, lady j and micki adams; the slam tonight was absolutely amazing for its high scores, all perfectly justified; to prove my point, check this: in 4th place tonight, with a cumulative 54.33 (would have been a 54.83 but for that pesky time limit penalty)- kimberly dark in a pair of shiny aubergine shoes that had me going totally public with a previously-private little fetish.. ok, in third place tonight with a cumulative 55.76, first-time sd slammer belinda etezad rachman.. this woman blew me away tonight; the piece she did in 2nd round, "things that keep me awake at night", was a first draft (written during 1st round!!)and yet still pulled down a 27.07! her first-round piece which started "divorce lawyers are lying sacks of shit" kicked the room's collective ass, especially with the repeated riffs "I object" and "you're out of order".. I'd like to tell you more about this piece, especially the surprise ending, but we want her to come back and do this one again, and watch it take first place next time! now, in second place, winning hisself 27 not too shabby dollars, rob tavakoli doing a sublime autobiographical piece about growing up a persian jew in iran; yes, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop as he reached the final breaths of the poem.. it earned him an astounding 29.09 which brought his cumulative up to 56.39.. finally, in 1st place, with a 57.2 cumulative and winning $40- yes I said forty big phat hunky dollars.. the supremely talented vejea jennings.. thanks everyone for coming out tonight, and enabling us to put $67 into our slam fund.. thanks lizzie for score-keeping and emceeing the second half as always- dudes could you believe the adrenaline, the inspiration not to mention perspiration in that crowded room tonight?! check out the current team qualification standings!

sunday, feb 24, 2002

lots of tired poet-types walkin' around like zombies tonight, myself chief among 'em.. whoa, what a jam-packed week of spoken-word it's been, what with the big activist san diego fundraiser last night at Galoka; plus there was the "injustice of racism" reading at beckwourth library yesterday as well.. we knew february was going to be a tough month, what with the mid-month slam falling only one weekend prior to the last sunday slam.. back-to-back slams, as it were.. however, there was lots of restful yin flowing tonight, enveloping our urban grind in very sweet surrender.. it was kinda like our own vagina monologues in the room tonight; I'll explain in a few minutes.. first let's meet our judges for tonight.. we've got micki adams & rob tavakoli who both need to get one term of judging done to help qualify themselves for the grand slam; we've also got vejea and his bud eryck judging- vejea won last slam, thus he's fulfilling his community service; and in the fifth chair is visiting pasadena poet bruce arnold.. bruce's girlfriend diana is here with him, and she agrees to be our sacrifice poet tonight- she does a kickass piece that some of us got to hear earlier in the day during the open reading at Red's.. gets her all 8's from the judges, which ain't bad at all for a 1st-time slammer! ok, we've got a total of 14 poets in the hat tonight, including 1st-timers florence, mary ellen cavanaugh, another woman named sam, and james j murphy; veterans john parker and chris mosher were also first-round poets; however, only the Top 8 go on to second round; and just like last slam, all eight earned themselves at least 1 qp, or qualifying point.. they included arnikka, chris vannoy, drucius aka tom p, who gave us the memorable opening line "I love the way you look at me, biting down on that grenade".. chris dison revealed "what my professionalism demands of me, all 9's and no 11's".. in 4th place tonight, with a cumulative 52.59 (woulda been a 55.09 but for the oft-cursed time penalty), was jennifer joseph, who dedicated her 2nd piece to the black panthers.. she wove together nursery-rhyme riffs with urban battlefield imagery: extremely powerful, it bears another repeat performance, hopefully before the end of april.. next, in 3rd place, was belinda etezad rachman, with a 53.64 (woulda been a 54.14- you know the rest..) now, taking home $18 for the cumulative 55.91 she racked up tonight- the name is lady j, who brought with her the largest entourage in urban grind history (thus far)! s'ok, though- we love it when y'all brings in your friends & family.. finally, in 1st place tonight, with an incredible 58.03! michael klam is the man and he took home $27 to boot..

and now for my story.. see, we had this lil' theme going on in second round, with arnikka doin' a particularly sensual homage to the female sex organs, called "eden".. jennifer had earlier done her homage to the wonders of being multi-orgasmic.. plus there was a piece by belinda in the mix somewhere as well.. now add to this the fact that all the art on the walls had been changed since last slam from paintings of the male form in all its eroticism, to paintings of the female form.. ok, the stage has been set.. so when michael announces his poem entitled "stella the cat", our second-half emcee lizzie wann couldn't refrain from, awww who could blame her.. any of us would have done the same thing.. there could be no better timing for it.. for what, you ask?! for the sound bite of the evening, as lizzie busts out "just when you thought we were done with all the pussy poems.." oh yeah, it was one perfectly fabulous slam moment! so thanks lizzie, thanks bruce & diana for visiting us, come back anytime.. thanks joey gunne for providing the between-rounds entertainment along with 3 of our judges.. and thanks to everyone who came out tonight allowing us to stuff 45 more bucks into our slam fund..

next slam is friday, march 15- it's the 5th of 8 qualifying slams..

your slammaster
and faithful servant,

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