Urban Grind, Hillcrest
the June slams..
so, belinda rachman calls the u.g. to say she's running late but is definitely on her way- how many names are in the signup hat?, she asks.. um, just two, I answer without a clue as to how close we are to starting time.. hey b, what time is it anyway?!?, I task her- like she doesn't have enough to do maneuvering at high speed through friday rush hour traffic.. it's 7:20- y'mean, no one's there yet?!?!, she yells above the roar of southbound 18-wheelers and beach-bound campers & rv's sporting dashboard caddies with notations to pick up supplies upon arrival.. "Bleach, Coke, rum, Pe[p]si, mouthwash"; y'know-- the usual.. ok, looks like someone's been listening to way too much rick roberts lately.. so luckily the number of sign-ups (and audience-type folks) had been upped considerably by the time belinda and friends arrived.. but I think for the rest of the summer we'll forego starting right at 7:30, since alot of y'all are still watching the sunset (in a mellow tone) out along the coast about that time.. so we'll say "between 7:30 and 8" through september.. of course, remember that we can only accomodate 18 poets in first round, and once we hit that magic number 18, we're starting! so michael klam rolled in around 7:25 asking if he could scorekeep for us.. hey, let's make sure everyone knows that any ol' time any of you want to play scorekeeper for the evening, it's definitely ok with us! michael's volunteerism allowed lizzie wann to emcee first round, instead of her usual second-half.. so allow me to introduce tonight's judges to you.. we had everlovely bonnie, formerly of somewheres, ohio; bonnie also judged when las vegas was in town visiting.. and from helix high school, it was english teacher heather, and how lucky are her students?! man, I'd have given anything for a teach like her, out cruising the local assorted spokenword happenings.. also a cousin of one of our slammers, who was so extremely taliban in his scoring that he had to be replaced between rounds.. and rounding out our five judges it was slam veterans linda bauer, as well as katie o'loughlin, down from santa monica fulfilling some community service.. our sacrifice poet tonight was frankie, also formerly from ohio.. she may or may not be a former english teacher, also.. she put out a piece that utilized some iambic pentameter, and pulled down a 23.5 from the judges, and that included a 9 which, as high score, had to be dropped of course.. oh, it was frankie that stepped in as replacement judge after that crazyass first round! on with the slam, then.. among our slam veterans tonight, we heard from micki adams, and giving us two pieces written over at the flame just minutes before we started first round, gabriel jacques.. in 4th place tonight, with a 51.4 and also performing two brand new, never-tried pieces for us (always a brave move that inspires admiration from your host)- belinda rachman.. in third place, with a 55.0, it was dizzy order, pulling down a mighty-as-a-rose 28.4 in first-round.. it was a first-time u.g. slammer who took home 2nd-place tonight (and the accompanying nine bucks).. from "up north somewhere"- sabur israel with his native jamaican groove on, and a 55.1 score, mon.. and 1st place tonight went to jennifer joseph, coming in with a 55.3 (one helluva close slam if ever there was), workin' her mojo overtime for a first-ever win, and ripping the man a new one in a decidedly furious & ferocious not/love poem.. she pocketed $14 along with the honor of getting her name on our Wall of Champs!
so yeah, this was a feelgood slam if ever there was.. I can't explain, but there was
some extra-strong positivity going on in that room tonight; 'course there's almost always
a supportive vibe inside the urban grind, but tonight more than usual even. I mean, it felt like people were really pulling for all the poets; hanging onto every word, as it were.. maybe it was the high percentage of first-time slammers on board tonight.. but
whatever the reason, it dropped some mellow on me, that's for sure.. and that's saying something, considering that I was without my co-emcee tonight, lizzie wann. yeah, most of y'all know just how hinkie things can get when my righthand woman is gone! so let's meet our judges.. from the marie montclair school of subtle charm, anne cortez and the cuteness of nikole's fave sidekick (he is so gonna hate this) joel.. also audience volunteer michelle; and our good-natured fallback judge, linda bauer.. I say that because when you see her name listed as judge, it usually means we were struggling to find a 5th.. and linda will invariably step forward and volunteer her services to save the day.. but she knows we'd still love her even if she didn't bail us out occasionally! there was a fifth judge tonight.. she was seated at the "encinitas table".. but damn if we neglected to record her name in our records.. so if you know her, write and tell us her name! before I get to our roster of 18 on tonight's signups, a quick muchas gracias to claire for being our scorekeep tonight.. when it comes to volunteerism, she's the bomb.. if she ain't judgin', she's on calculator for us! ok, first-time u.g. slammers tonight included trish dugger, jim barnes; jennifer simpson, who made a spoken-word-goodwill-thrift-store fashion statement, jene alan, june gottleib giving us a peek at the darker side of fourth grade.. and a sweet woman named maria.. first-time slammers tonight who went on to compete in the second round included trish dugger, doin' her granny rap (and pulling down the longest stretch of uninterrupted applause for the night).. also a guy named isaac who blended luscious creme de menthe with exquisite imagery in his first-round piece.. john rubio, coming in 5th tonight out of a field of 18, lyric neo-formalist that he be.. along with several others tonight, putting the 'poet' back into 'poetry slam'; and in 4th place tonight- direct from pacific beach: nyaze (en-yah-zay).. and the man was very cool to spell out on his signup slip the pronunciation of his name so as not to trip up any of us emcee-types.. ok, first-round slam veterans tonight included brian julianel, jennifer burton, micki adams, doing her ode to the pledge of allegiance.. micki's going in for some surgery and says she may have to miss the july last sunday slam.. we'll be gracious and let her get away with the extended absence.. we so gonna miss your political satire while you're gone, mama.. so get well and hurry back home. tom p stirred things up by asking us to examine our prejudices vis a vis racial profiling, and the fine line between nationalism and racism.. chris vannoy did a piece tonight I hadn't heard before- it was fresh and lovely, like a big sur meadow in july.. I'll have to get the title of that piece from him when I see him next. cecil dropped a whole long list of names from the mic tonight.. he juxtaposed the renowned & illustrious with the names of several pop icons known more for their claim to mediocrity than for their art. it was a great piece, and hopefully he brings back an edited rewrite, cuz it deserves another chance.. see, unfortunately we had to deduct 2 whole points off his 25.14 score due to a time penalty.. and had he stayed within the 3:10 limit, he'd have advanced into round two no shit.. in 3rd place tonight, with a 55.65 cumulative, it's p.e.t.a.'s worst nightmare,
jimmy jazz, doin' a little thing he calls
his "pig ritual".. in 2nd place tonight, with a 56.11 and taking home 20 bucks (well actually, he bought himself a slam team chapbook with part of his winnings.. ain't that cool not to mention supportful).. matt weatherman. and in 1st place, with a 57.09 and pocketing $30- prince of freestyle, dizzy order winning his first sd slam.. and I heard he took his winnings and bought drinks for his urban grind entourage over at galoka later! so thanks again claire for scorekeeping, thanks professor hugh hyde for being our sacrifice tonight.. thank you all for your generous donations tonight.. hillcrest rocks!
next slam is friday, july 12..
and faithful servant,
ps- got anything to add to this entry? email it to us
here, and we'll upload it to this page..
Back to the Wall of Champs!