Urban Grind, Hillcrest
the August slams..

friday aug 16, 2002

tonight belonged to samantha barrow of philadelphia. definitely. if you were one of the lucky ones to be at the slam tonight, you already know what I'm talking about.. the lady stole our hearts with her humility and her poetry. I was telling the audience tonight how often I receive requests from touring poets who would like to feature at the sd slam. I inform them that we already have a venue in town that utilizes features.. but we offer touring poets the chance to be a VIP judge for us, for which in return we offer a 10-minute set between rounds, and a second 10-minutes before we anounce the top two winners of the night's slam. so anyway, samantha agreed to judge. and after her second set, the girl had a line of patient, dollar-bill-laden chapbook-buyers forming behind her table! it appears she sold a good 20-25 books tonight, which will help buy some gas for her hog and get her on east to her next performance destination.. oh, did I mention she's on a cross-country motorcycle tour of spoken-word venues and bike shops, promoting her book and cd?! yeah, she left her hometown of philly back on july 3rd. click right here to read more about samantha.. anyway, I don't know if it was samantha's raw & gutsy road-warrior poetry that helped fuel the high-level energy in the room tonight, or if it was just that always-pulsating hillcrest vibe.. but it was another fabulous slam, with 16 names in the sign-up hat, all vying for some audience attention; and, of course, some cash! in addition to samantha, our judges tonight were audience volunteers kim & yolanda, plus terrie relf, poetry editor for WritersMonthly magazine as well as "the mistress of rhetoric" (the name of her monthly column in sd's espresso news).. and completing our judges' party of five, it was elijah baxter, winner of the last slam back in july. lizzie wann not only kept score first round tonight, but also agreed to be tonight's sacrifice. she treated us with her poem "for jeff buckley" (from her cd a wing and a prayer) and garnered herself three solid 8's from the judges, plus a 7.6 and a 9 which we dropped as the high and low scores.. yielding a 24.7 total. so let the slam begin. round one poets included veterans hugh hyde, also micki adams, back from a stint of recuperation at home after some surgery.. first-timers included a david h., a lisa and a stephanie, as well as one very young man named ryan performing a 9/11 tribute piece, who would have gone on to second round but he had to leave early: now ain't that a drag.. well, a guy named jason didn't think so, cuz it allowed him to move up to the number 11 spot, thus ensuring him a second-round piece and the chance for redemption.. see, he had pissed off some of the judges with his first-round piece, which some found a bit too misogynistic for comfort. so he prefaces his poem with a resounding "hey judges, fuck off- I made it to second round anyway".. o unholiest spirit of slam, we invoke thee!.. ok- going on to second round, it was first-time sd slammer unearthodox, down from san b'ardo; second-round veterans included dizzy order with "I'm so cold", jene, down from north county; that irrepressible flo somerville, she of the keensharpest bullshit detector I ever saw, back with us after an extended absence; also jay perez, chris vannoy with a beautifully sad love poem that dazzled this occasionally-jaded correspondent (and second-round judge tonight..); now, in 4th place tonight with a 53.65, former judge but first-time slammer lashawn- yes we hope to hear lots more from this talented performer at future slams; in 3rd place with 54.7 it was roshan burnham doin' a piece that poked some fun at this crazy little thang called slam, which we believe was titled "to write or not to write"; in 2nd place with a 55.01 and winning herself $18, it was cara yes the same cara who was awarded the "I got robbed" empty wallet at the july last sunday slam! and finally, in 1st place with a 56.8 and driving back to san b'ardo with $30 in his pocket, the wildman hisself- bear wolf..

oh, before I forget- here's lizzie's "found poem" for tonight, wherein she takes 1 line from every poem in second round, and creates a little clone of all the poets' work..

Don't blame the bean if it's too dark,
a cold fire burned from behind her gaze;
burning that love smelled good,
like the sun just beginning to dry out the flooded storms.
sex drugs & violence-
a tongue tornado blizzard!
love is not safe for my environment..
I think about taking a picture,
part of her had gone away;
he finds himself lost in the scent'd opportunity of america,
nothing but moonscapes & stains.

btw, celebrity sightings tonight included former u.g. barista's emil and hersch, as well as zoetrope feature writer and new mama-to-be heather fowler and sd slam co-founder jennifer geran: o so good to see both them ladies tonight! special thanks again tonight to terrie relf, for judging and giving us a piece between rounds from her new book lapdanced by the muse.. how's that for a hella fabulous title?! I'll be announcing terrie's upcoming book release party at the next slam- you won't want to miss it! and thanks as always to baristas brian and kit for the fine food, drink, good looks & service they provide us each and every slam..

sunday aug 25, 2002

we had tonight, as our between rounds entertainment, THE s.d. slam team, fresh back from their damn high placing at the national poetry slam in minneapolis last week.. more on that later, just wanted to put that up front so those of y'all not at tonight's slam could get a feel for the energy level inside the urban grind, what with the likes of jimmy jazz & michael klam manouevering the haphazard tables & chairs, peddling their merch at folks.. our judges tonight included sd slam team alternate belinda rachman and her damn good sport of a husband eliot.. also past judge, scorekeep (and god knows what else we've used her for)- another unbelievably good sport when it comes to supporting this slam, claire; also audience volunteers krista & jack.. yours truly was tonight's sacrifice poet. my piece called "the turning to tears" took an 8 and four 8.5's, which garnered me a 25.5 total. so let's roll with tonight's line-up. we had 9 poets in the sign-up hat, thus all 9 competed in both rounds.. we had two first-timers tonight- a dude named marcel, and a woman named tricia, with her ode to the vulva or was that piece about her volvo, maybe?!..sd slam veterans included micki adams with a protest against our own 'king george' in the white house.. lyman dunnik, dizzy order and cecil hayduke, who once again suffered a time penalty, knocking him down from 4th place to 5th.. in third place, with a 55.35, it was always a bridesmaid never a bride cara.. but watch out, one of these nights the wall of champs WILL have her name on it! in 2nd place, with a 55.65 and her piece about the na pali coast giving her a lofty 28.0, this year's slam team coach kimberly dark, who took home $14 tonight.. and in 1st place, scoring a super-high 59.1 and stuffing $22 into his pockets for gas back to riverside county.. from the 2001 long beach slam team (yes, the same team that took first place at big sur last summer)- congratulations to mark gonzales.. oh, since it wouldn't be a slam without lizzie's "found poem", here's tonight's for ya..

Let's be skeletons,
Hendrix, Cobain, Marley
like a Greek chorus
lost up in the shuffle;
let's try this,
flowers blooming from my mouth and eyes;
I cross my legs tight
one revolution of a Bob Marley record
deliciously screaming!

next slam is friday, sept 13..

your slammaster
and faithful servant,

ps- got anything to add to this entry? email it to us here, and we'll upload it to this page..

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