Urban Grind, Hillcrest
the April slams..
tonight was 7th in a series of 9 qualifying slams.. and this was one weirdass slam, lemme tell you! first off, lizzie was missing tonight which always makes for a bit more chaos than is the norm for us.. then there's the fact that many of the poets in tonight's line-up are shy just 1 qp, or qual point, and so there was all that tension going on as people approached the sign-up area.. but with just 14 names in the hat at 7:30, any tension disappeared with the announcement that we'd be able to do two full rounds for everyone tonight. but wait- if a person just needs one lil' ol' point, you gotta think that this would be the night they'd wanna try out some new stuff on us; maybe even go bold-&-daring and do a first draft, like several of our poets did tonight.. oh yeah, that'll for sure get you some respect from your peers- no shit.. so before I go any further, though, I gotta introduce my assistant tonight to you.. I met her last fall at the annual
s.d. writers' picnic in balboa park- she's a theater critic for the north county times, as well as a creative (short fiction) writer.. and tonight, at her first slam ever, she served as score-keeper (fun job, eh?!). many thanks to new friend tracy clare cummings for being so full of positivity for our scene at the urban grind.. next I want to tell you a little about our judges for the evening.. fulfilling their team-qualifying judging, it was matt weatherman and chris mosher; also recent slammers heather bliss and micki adams.. we also had audience-volunteer jan rounding out the five; thanks much, jan! ok, how about that line-up of 14 poets.. we had several first-time urban grind slammers at the mic, including amy dexter, who deftly questioned how god could exist when, in fact, it was she who killed him.. moshay simpson put out a number which was one artful list of statistics, stated thoughtfully and oh-so-poetically; it got him 5th place tonight.. one of his stats, and I paraphrase here, was how "'x' number of people in this part of town have shot up heroin since this poem was begun", and then came one very loud shout-out 'oh yeah' from michael franklin up at the front o' the room.. theresa fox gave us a love poem which contained countless samples from the last 30 years of billboard-charted radio, and it was damn fun for someone my age to listen to her reach way back into the pop culture archives like she did.. theresa was in 6th place at the end of the night. and rounding out the first-timers: one very popular leila
.. I say that only because each time her name was called out, that part of the room was all screamin' & shoutin'! from last slam we saw the return of radwan and jennifer burton; jennifer gave us her homage to the folk standard "sometimes I feel like a motherless child", quite an emotional number from her.. thanks, jennifer, for entrusting us with your sensitive words.. it's been awhile since we alst saw him, but tonight also saw the return of j godley- the boy tonight tryin' to be heard across the street at the flame! but he was doin' something right, he got his first qual point.. also earning 1 more qp tonight were kimberly dark,
belinda rachman, and the afore-mentioned 4th-place michael franklin; in 3rd-place tonight, down from santa monica.. it's 2001 team member katie o'loughlin with a 55.12! in 2nd-place, with a 56.14, it was jennifer joseph, who gave us an ingenious study in opposites which I believe was called "contradiction".. one of my favorite lines (vis a vis her yin rolling over her yang) was something about how "I drink triple espresso's then try to meditate".. and the high-pitched screams and shrieks that emanated from the audience after her first round piece, entitled "fantasies of a single girl"- ohmygod! every hair on my body went into static overload just from that beautiful ending line "he just has to call back.." that piece is a sure-fire Nationals winner, doncha just know it! so congrats jennifer, and glad we could stuff those 2nd-place nine whole bucks into your hand tonight.. now comes the part about tonight's slam that I just don't get.. see, our winner tonight only needed one last point to qualify himself.. now, drucius ragnar aka tom p, woulda-coulda-shoulda won tonight had he not gone over the time limit.. the man's way overdue for a big win anyway.. but his thought-provoking 20-questions piece in the end became more like 60 questions.. and he was the only performer tonight to pull down any 10's.. that first round piece he did took two 10's and a 9.99! however, he ended up after second round with only a cumulative 50.39, which at least got him another qual point.. so tom's going over time enabled chris vannoy, doing "decaff" again (grumble grumble!) to take 1st-place, with a 57.54, and to also take home $14.. thanks to everyone who came out tonight- the audience at the urban grind has been so great month after month.. we were able to put $24 more into our slam fund tonight..
did you remember that we added an extra slam midway into this season?? it's on sunday, april 21, and it's the 8th of 9 qualifying slams..
so are we sick of all this qualifying stuff yet?!? must be- we had only 7 names in the signup hat tonight, and one of those was mine! but it's all good, we still had us a good
time.. I'm gonna tell you all about it but first wanted to tell you about our judges tonight.. trying to get one some judging done for qualifying, it was jennifer joseph, chris vannoy, chris mosher, rob e rob, as well as
veteran judge jim eret.. our faithful emcee,
lizzie wann, is going to host both rounds of tonight's show, so y'all won't have to deal with my tendency to ramble up at the mic- now ain't you lucky.. our sacrifice tonight was jennifer burton, who took a 24.89 on her piece.. first-time slammer aliyah went over time on both her pieces tonight.. but she vowed to come back again with some edited work for us.. dan woodward was back tonight, with scores all over the place both rounds.. he got 9's and 10's, but he also got lots 7's- therefore in the dropping of the highs, his cumulative wasn't as strong as he expected.. but he's a poetry-stage veteran and will come back and take top honors again some night, right dan? tom p had one of the sound-bites of the evening tonight, with his line "chopping is the sound of peace" or something like that.. actually, lizzie will remember the line better than I; therefore I'll have to get back to you on that excerpt. we were pretty stoked to have heather bliss agree to slam some rough drafts for us.. she rocks- she came in 3rd tonight, helped along by her second round piece "my boyfriend likes to complain about my shoes" which took a personal best 28.0 for her! we hope heather will consider slamming regularly again once all this qualifying b.s. is done next week. alright now, in 2nd place tonight with a 54.51, was our everslamfaithful micki adams rockin' us with some of her unique political satire.. and your slammaster here took 1st place with my tale of "the starglider man" on the late-nite tv.. I know some of you out there weren't so sure it was a fair contest, what with me up at the mic and the judges all friends of mine.. whatever- I was just glad for the opportunity to slam since I needed the practice. and the money I won, all ten bucks of it, I'll donate to the slam fund anyway.. so thanks to everyone who came out tonight, and special thanks to belinda rachman and matt weatherman for helping out with the scorekeep duties tonight..
next slam is sunday, april 28- it's the last of 9 qualifying slams..
finally, the last of our qualifiers is upon us.. after this we can all go back to slamming for fun instead of for points.. so the place is filling up quite nicely by 7 pm, and there are even 11 names in the hat by 7:30, so it looks like we're in for some good stuff- let's get started by introducing our judges for tonight.. first up, slam veteran linda bauer; audience volunteers brian & jan, plus getting her final qualifying judging out of the way, jennifer joseph; and in the fifth chair, carol hogan, host of a popular open reading in phoenix, az. and we've got belinda rachman opting to scorekeep both rounds for us, how cool is that?! oh yeah, belinda was also our sacrifice poet tonight.. she did a little number we think is called "shit happens" and took some 9's, some 8's and some 7's.. which made for a cumulative 25.7, and let's hope the judges score that piece higher at the grand slam! ok, next we're all set for a great lineup of poets..
moshay was back, it was cool to hear his spoken word inside the urban grind again.. also heard from sigfried aka tom p,
amy dexter and dan woodwardagain.. there were also quite a few first-timers tonight, and goddess bless the pool of new & untried talent that seems to stream into the urban grind month after month! lori, chris schmitz and dave st. amant all slamming with us for the first time, as well as dr. art, who delivered a piece about local military culture called "navy wives", in which he writes "this kind that privately fears the homelessness that comes with peace.." and "privately, this kind ruminates over unspeakable solutions that sometimes come with war.." hope to hear lots more from this man in the future..
we also got to hear some exquisite bi-lingual story-telling from first-timer jacqueline, who related a nightmarish journey through the streets of central america in round one, and came back second round with a tale of a greyhound bus trip into nyc.. her cumulative score of 54.95 was good enough to snag her 3rd place tonight.. congratulate her next time you see her! believe it or not, it was also a first-timer who placed second tonight.. dizzy order did some innovative beat box vocalizing in his second round piece, and along with the 55.9 cumulative, he also took home $7.. finally, it was katie o'loughlin in 1st place with a 56.75 cumulative.. she earned herself 3 qp's plus $11, as well as a chance to compete in the grand slam next sunday! thanks everyone who came out tonight, we put $19 more into the slam fund.. thanks as always to
lizzie wann for emceeing round two for us tonight-
next slam is friday, may 17- now that qualifying is over, we're back to the good-ol'-fashioned, free-for-all, open slams again..
and faithful servant,
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