We've found something pretty cool that I have to share with you. It's a poetry slam. Travis performed an original poem during one of the open mic parts several weeks ago (He's pretty shy, especially around crowds; I'm so proud of him!) and asked if I wanted to start going. The past 2 Sunday nights we've gone to the poetry slam at Backspace in downtown Portland. I'm not sure if any of you have ever been to one, so I will describe it.
The first night we went wasn't a normal night. First, they had an open mic, where anyone can sign up on a list (up to a certain number of people) and you have 3 minutes to read your poem or rap or whatever you want to perform, really. Then, there was a feature performer. She came all the way from New York. It was slightly akward because some of her poems were about gender identity (she was a lesbian) and politics. There was a very rude man in the audience standing in the back who kept shooting back obnoxious responses to her poems, like telling her she was going to rot in hell or randomly saying that the constitution should never be changed. In fact, I was really uncomfortable. I was sure he was going to pull out a gun or something. He left after getting stared at and after the staff tried to approach him to ask him to be quiet. Whether you agreed with the stance of any of the poets or not, it is really rude and inconsiderate to interrupt their performance with your comments. After the feature performer there was the "slam" portion. This just just a fun night, not for the competition, though there was still a winner. Poets were paired. They would do rock/paper/scissors to decide who would go first (the winner got to choose), then perform for 3 minutes. This night they performed song lyrics. One guy did Beyonce's "Put a Ring on It", a girl did The Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime". Some of the songs chosen were hilarious! After the two poets had performed, they were each called up onto the stage and the audience voted by standing up and clapping/hooting/hollering who they liked best. The winner would go to round 2. Round 2 was the same thing (different songs). The winner received a beautiful Pretty Pretty Princess tiara, a loaf of bread (banana muffin I think), and a CD. :) The winner was a guy, so it was great to see him in the tiara.
The second night we went was more like a "typical" poetry slam night. They did the open mic first. Again, it was slightly akward because one of the guys read more of a political speech than a poem. But, whatever, it gave him a voice and it was appropriate. After the open mic part they had the feature performer, C. R. Avery, who is a beat-box poet from Canada. He was AWESOME! He has numerous albums out and is releasing one soon entitled Act One where he performed with the Prague Symphony Orchestra & La Pucelle d'Orleans Choir. He also uses the harmonica and guitar in his show. It was seriously different from anything we have ever heard. Then, they had the slam portion. Unlike the previous week, this week the poets had to perform works that they had written. The elimination was still the same (standing up and cheering to vote). In round 2 they had to read a work that they had never performed at Backspace before. This time there was a round 3 (I honestly can't remember if there was the first night). The winner got another tiara, a book of poetry, and a CD. This is where I'm not sure how it works. At some point (who knows when) that winner will compete with the other night's winners. This is a national thing, so then they compete with other poetry slam competition winners. I'll have to find out the rest.
Anyway, we really like going and recommend it to other people. Being around creativity is always enlightening, even if the poem is about shop class :)
My own poet
This is the mirror...
Being around creativity can make you more creative!
Have any of you ever been to a poetry slam? What was it like? Have you ever performed your poems for someone?