MN Mic at the National Poetry Slam in St. Paul

by Cole Sarar, photos by Cole Sarar

How can you keep your thumb on the pulse of the National Poetry Slam, happening in St. Paul, MN RIGHT NOW? Well, luckily, you have lots of options.

Twitter

Lots of poets and a few “pros”: watch the trending topic to get ALL of the latest tweets on NPS. Or, follow reporting Hers & His blogs from local freelance reporters Fish DeSmith and Ward Rubrecht. OR follow poets: local hiphop artist/activist Guante and myself are my picks at the moment.

There will also be longer articles and photos here on MN Mic throughout the week. Just to prove I mean business, I’ll put some shots from last night’s erotic slam up.

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Shades of Gray

by Fish DeSmith

It’s a hot July evening and I’m on my way to 42nd Avenue Station in North Minneapolis for Alison Bergblom Johnson’s storytelling series, Words in Shades of Gray. 42nd Avenue Station is a sweet little venue, with surprisingly comfy chairs. When I arrive, it’s lit equally by the indoor lights and the setting sun streaming in the large windows. Attendance is sparse. At first I don’t see anyone I think is even there for the event. Then a group of four comes in. That’s it: me, Alison, Britt, Nancy and (I think) Britt’s parents and their friends. For the quality of what’s to come, it’s a shame, and at times it makes the little raised stage and microphone seem almost a barrier the stories have to climb over to get to us.

Britt Aamodt is the night’s first feature and she tells us she loves stories of lonely hearts and dreamers. She begins with a story called “Cracker Jack Elvis.” After finding a cracker jack prize in her pack-rat grandmother’s attic, a long-expired sweepstakes to win a date with Elvis, she dreams of a day spent in high school with the young and not-yet-famous Elvis, who asks her if he thinks he’s any good at singing. She’s torn, not knowing if she should lie, and save him from being destroyed by the fame he seeks, and crush his dreams so he can live a longer, perhaps happier life, or to tell him that he’s going places and set his feet on the path that would have him dead at the age of 42. She ponders what to say to a man whose dream will (with the certainty of foreknowledge) destroy him.

She is reading from stapled-together pages, but it is a story she knows. Before I can distract myself with gnawing at the rough seam between her grandmother’s attic and the lucid dream it evokes, I stop because it doesn’t matter. Britt loves Elvis. Not as a screaming, fainting parody of girlishness – she sees the man behind the fame and music, and that man’s life, for all the hypnotic gyrations and glittering rhinestones, ended up pretty horribly. She loves him enough to want to save him from his dreams. It’s a paradox that I would love to see her explore more fully.

Britt’s second story, “Oh Hell,” is told in first person by a dead atheist woman whose failure to ponder what happens to us after death consigns her to a parade of afterlives and eventually finds her working behind the scenes beyond the veil, in a cubicle for the Hereafter Housing Bureau. In this version of theology, you build the blueprints for your own afterlife while you’re alive, and God, in his wisdom and love, grants you that vision for eternity.

Well, the plucky narrator finds herself in the position of a pre-death social worker, infiltrating the dreams of a soon-to-expire sex-crazed, atheist bank executive to exhort him to learn from her mistakes and think up a suitable afterlife so he doesn’t end up in her lot. But, as she tries (and fails) to drag his attention away from his X-rated dreams, she begins to think it might not be so bad if this fellow ended up in the Housing Bureau, maybe in a cubicle next to hers.

The narrator of the second piece speaks in character, and Britt puts on a voice for her, bossy and a little nasal. It helps to separate flesh-and-blood Britt from the (literally) disembodied protagonist, and for a piece of its length, she keeps in that voice very evenly. But at times it is a little too strident for the content, as our pink-baseball-capped atheist grapples with hopes, failures, desires and belief.

Nancy Donoval, the night’s second feature, got her start in storytelling fresh out of grad school by touring the Chicago Public Library system as Amelia Bedelia, which is about the best boot-camp for nimble-minded stories I can think of. Her first story takes up the lion’s share of her time, and is about growing up Catholic and a woman, and about faith and its challenges, and about the possibilities and realities of the church. She begins with her first communion, at seven years old, in that moment of holiness. She goes to a Catholic high school and is solicited eagerly by the sisters to be a nun, but they subside when she asks if they think that during her lifetime women might become priests (especially resonant with the Pope’s recent announcement that the ordination of women is a sin of the same severity as raping children).

She is also grappling with the inaction of Christian camp counselors when confronted with the evidence of abuse and rape in the homes of camp attendees, and with the possibility of other inhabited worlds in other galaxies that God turned his back on by sending his only son to Earth to die for us. And through this all, feeling abandoned by the church, she can never abandon it, and does what she can for it and its causes despite her own doubts and uncertainties.

Nancy forges bonds in the audience with her eyes. She finds each person most affected as she moves through the good and the bad in her stories and delivers to them directly. It’s a small crowd and I can’t hide; she sees me shaking my head at the camp counselors and our eyes lock. She is now speaking to me: yes, it is a terrible shame. We shake our heads together in disgust.

Her second story is a distillation of a 75 minute story into 5 minutes, a version of which won the 2010 National Story Slam in Chicago. It starts with a growing bump on her head, which makes her think she might be becoming a unicorn. She guides us through the loss of her virginity in being raped by a friend and the restoration of the idea her virginity by another friend, later, of the same name. It’s about the pervasiveness of rape, and the nature of unicorns and other magical things that you can lose, and finally, about healing and, as unicorn horns are fabled to do, the neutralization of poison.

It’s clear that Nancy has mastered the pain in her stories and can present them calmly to her audience and they need not fear her untamed emotions. Though some may miss the spiky urgency of pain still raw, that is not her purpose. She wants you to be able to look and listen, and not turn away.

I got to talk with Alison, Britt and Nancy afterwards, and I found myself reaching to define what Words in Shades of Gray is supposed to be about, realizing only after some strain that shades of gray are only connected by their uncertainty and flux, not necessarily by themes or content. To frustrate myself by trying to find some sort of structural relatedness is to miss the point entirely. I found myself thinking about it later, and having a discussion with myself that not every story needs to take a stand or be about Big Ideas to have an impact. Storytelling, like stories themselves, is a work in many, many shades of gray. I am looking forward to what new shades of gray Alison will find for the next installment.

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Summer Vacation!

Hi folks, it’s your editor-in-chief, Cole Sarar. I’ve been super busy, but I wanted to know I’ve got some things in store for you soon. I’ve got some folks working on articles for me, as I’ve been super busy trying to make rent and preparing for the National Poetry Slam.

Awesome things that are happening/have happened locally that deserve mention.

1. I had a really amazing conversation with Ryan “Bugs” Williams-Virden a little while back, where we talked about activism and being conscious of local issues, and how that does and does not relate to slam poetry- also the relationship between slam poetry and the wider spoken word genre. I think it defined “slam” more clearly as a game, a sport, and a competition for Ryan, but also gave me a whole lot to chew on intellectually as a public voice in the spoken word scene. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since our meeting, and hopefully will come out with some ways to begin to address Ryan’s desires for more diversity (something that I’ve said a lot of times that I’m interested in having) and more local awareness and involvement (something that I’ve admittedly been a little blind to.)

2. I worked on a couple of community hiphop/spoken word sessions with Sha Cage and e.g. bailey over at the Bedlam (which we’ve all heard by now, is slated to leave its current location, for points currently unknown). Hopefully Sha & e.g.’s new project will find a new home, because it addresses some of the fact that there is a history and a “family” aspect to spoken word, and that there are a lot of folks who ought to get a taste of the different things that are happening. Def Poetics, as it is called, was just getting off the ground when I was last in, so I hope it keeps going so that I can see it develop.

3. I’ve got a number of local spoken word albums that I’m looking at reviewing, but due to my time constraints, have yet to put them to the close listens that I think they’re deserving of. Probably after the National Poetry Slam.

4. Did I mention I was on a slam team? The first all women’s slam is sending a team to the National Poetry Slam in St. Paul the first week in August, and we’re doing a fundraiser. Please come- it’ll be a complete blast and a great gender-bender.
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We also put together chapbooks, and are putting together a great CD, which will be a cheap way to get your hands on a bunch of great spoken word.

5. I’m going on tour with a fantastic local poet/activist/hiphop artist this October. We’re going to rock your pants off, so buy a belt and bring a pencil, because you’ll want to take notes.

6. There are still a number of spoken word gigs in town that I’ve still not touched on- but luckily, I’ve got a couple of new MN Mic folks who will be checking in on them, and making sure I’ve got the calendar up-to-date.

7. The National Poetry Slam. Oh man. I’m so excited to see talent, both local (slam and non-slam: I’m excited to see the side events almost as much as the competitions- Bao Phi is leading the API open mic, I hear that some sweet dudes are doing the Hiphop open mic…) and national. I was interviewed about the National slam just recently. Hopefully we see that interview online soon!

8. Fringe! Holy crap, right on the tails of NPS, so many wonderful spoken word artists make the Minnesota Fringe Fest a completely beautiful and unique beast in the world of Fringe Theatre Festivals. Are you excited? I’m excited!

9. I’m going to workshop/meeting of minds regarding being a teaching artist, in a few. You’d best bet this will be information I’ll want to share with you.

10. Hiphop wedding! I know, I know, it’s not a publicly open event- but this is so cool, to see spoken word and local music embraced readily and consciously at the marriage of two lovely human beings. I got to act the photographer- maybe they’ll let me share a shot or two, when I’m done editing them. Sha Cage, Dameun Strange, Guante, Itchy…

11. So much more, but now I need to hop on my bike and get to this workshop.

More updates forthcoming.
-Cole

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NPS 2010!

Obviously, all spoken word is not slam poetry, and slam poetry is not the end all be all of spoken word, but as one of the most organized community of spoken word artists in the world, it’s hugely exciting to know that the National Poetry Slam is coming to St. Paul this summer. For more information, including how to get involved- see the Official NPS 2010 website.

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Loren Niemi’s Two Chairs Telling

by Wonder Dave, photos and video by Cole Sarar

Loren Niemi is one of those lovely, curmudgeonly installations of the storytelling scene. Wonder Dave and I happened upon the idea of focusing on Loren’s work in the spoken word scene nearly simultaneously, so Dave interviewed Loren, and we attended his most recent “Two Chairs Telling”, to see what he had put together. This indulgent post gives you lots of Loren- the interview, some video of a recent story of his at Balls Cabaret, and a little discussion of his most recent “Two Chairs Telling”. Dave is actually performing in the upcoming May 18th event at The Open Eye Figure Theatre where “Two Chairs Telling” is hosted. – Cole

    Interview with Loren Niemi

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WD: Over the years you’ve held the label of scholar in residence, teacher, slam poet, published author, performance artist and storyteller. Care to describe where/how you see yourself as an artist these days?

LN: First and foremost I am a storyteller. It is life’s work and every one of those labels fits within the continuum of what it means for me to be a storyteller. As an artist, my role is to create, collect, teach and perform narratives. Sometimes it is oral, sometimes written, sometimes it is photographic images but it is always about what it means to be human, to embody a quote that I really like from Pat Costello, that “we story our lives into meaning; and those meanings shape our beliefs, values and actions.”

WD: One of your current major projects is the monthly Two Chairs telling show at Open Eye Theatre. The show pairs two spoken word/ narrative artists (often from very different back grounds) together what was the initial inspiration for this show? What inspires you to continue the project?

LN: The seed for Two Chairs Telling came from an experience I had in the early ‘80’s in a kitchen in Toronto when four storytellers including a Hungarian survivor of the camps and a Buddhist priest spent the entire night trading stories, poems and conversation. I wanted to give an audience a glimpse of that experience, the uncensored back and forth of artists responding to each other and sharing material that is more personal, raw, not necessarily a part of their performance repertoire.

What inspires me to continue that is seeing those pairings offer their authentic selves as responses to being together and the audience the gift of being in the room while they do whatever it is they will do. Two Chairs Telling has been produced for 8 years at the Jungle or Open Eye Figure theatre with my pairing approximately 123 performers for 72 performances. In all that time I think I’ve had maybe 1 “bad” show a year and I’ve got to be honest, even the train wrecks have had a compelling can’t look away quality.

CS: Do you make your living doing writing/performance/curation?

LN: Part of a living – combined with teaching/workshops/consulting and coaching. The corporate and nonprofit end of the work is where most of the money is… My curating Two Chairs Telling is at best a break even proposition since I am prepared to cover the costs our of my own pocket if admissions/grants/contributions don’t.

WD: March 16th Two Chairs Telling featured Katie Knutson & Dean Johnson and April 20th paired Leslie Ball with slam poet 6 is 9. How do you decide which acts to pair up?

LN: I begin with whose work do I want to hear? Who do I think they might have “juice” with? I like to mix established performers with newcomers and emerging artists, local luminaries with regional or national performers, men and women of various sexual leanings, artists of color, styles and ages. I try to have them balanced in terms of energy or presence because the worst parings are when one artist completely overpowers the other. I have a pool of whom I want to see or who has asked to be on stage and when I can find a match I put them on the schedule. I will admit that some part of this is my knowing a really wide variety of folks and trusting my instincts to have X be able to work with Y.

WD: You co-authored a book (with Elizabeth Ellis) entitled Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories. What made you want to tackle this topic? Why do you feel it’s important to talk about difficult subject matter in the storytelling community?

LN: When the American storytelling revival began in the ‘70’s it was wide open. Storytellers of every stripe – from traditional Native American or Appalachian tellers grounded in a specific community to the edgy experimenters, Spaulding Gray or my mentor, Ken Feit – had a contribution to make. As the revival became formalized and commercialized, what was deemed as appealing to the audience narrowed the telling styles, content and the audiences. A part of what I wanted to talk about in the book was the fact that there is a need and a place for those stories that are hard to hear and harder to tell. Every story does not have a happy ending and some audiences, especially audiences outside the while, educated, middle class that is the backbone of the revival, want and need to hear their lives, with all the messiness and challenge they contain, in stories as well.

WD: Where can people purchase this book if they find the topic intriguing?

LN: They can contact me – niemistory@aol.com or they can find it through Amazon or most of the other bookstore on the web. The value of contacting me directly is that I sell it a less than list price and – LOL -100% of the price goes to me not to corporate middlemen.

WD: Who were some of your influences when you first began performing? Who inspires you today?

LN: When I came to storytelling I was fortunate to have two mentors of wildly different persuasions. One was Ken Feit, who was a former Jesuit, a clown, a self-described “Holy Fool” whose work was very physical while at the same time being imaginative and grounded in radical Catholic social justice. The other was Rueven Gold, who was a teller of traditional Hassidic tales. His performances violated every rule – he would weep, be entirely caught up in emotions and the moment, laugh at punch lines before he got to them and yet his stories were a transformative experience of being in the moment. I was also influenced by the work of Lennie Bruce, Spaulding Gray, Elizabeth Ellis, poets John Berryman, Gary Snyder and Alan Ginsberg.

Who inspires me today? Khary Jackson, my old Slam team buddy, Bao Phi, Megan Wells, the fabulous Nell Weatherwax, Jim Stowell, Kevin Kling, and the late great Brother Blue would be on the top of my list.

WD: Allow me to indulge in asking you about your experience with one of my favorite art forms, Slam poetry. You were a part of the first Slam team Minnesota ever sent to the National Poetry Slam in 1998 tell us about that experience.

LN: That is a long story with subplots full of burning cars, trips to Fargo, Chicago and Detroit and 100 plus heat in Austin, Texas. The five of us, Diego Vazquez, Bao Phi, Kate Pearson, “Wildman” Patrick McKinnon and myself covered the entire universe of Slam styles. The bottom line – we did held our own against better-known and star-studded teams. I wrote two accounts of the experience, one a blow-by-blow narrative sent to a subscription list that I still have in my archives and a summary account that was published in one of the late 1998 issues of A View From the Loft.

WD: Are there any skills that you feel slam helped you to hone?

LN: Slam honed my willingness to improvise. I’d let the audience pick the topic and do three minutes on the fly. When it worked, it gave me both permission and powerful images that I developed into full blow stories and poems. When it failed, it was usually because I violated the time limits – ‘cause if you going to dive into making it work on the spot you’ve really got to get the heart and soul of the images quickly.

WD: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline we should be discussing right now?

LN: This summer Howard Lieberman and I will be taking our storytelling/”game” show – “55 Minutes of Sex, Drugs and Audience Participation” to the Hollywood Fringe and back to the Indy Fringe where it was one of the ten best selling shows of 2009. It is a show in which the audience member gets to pick the topic and then be incorporated into the story. LOL – the number of people who want to be on stage is roughly equal to the number of people who want to head for the exit when it is time to get that audience participation the title promises.

We did not fare well in the MN Fringe lottery so unless we can find another venue/producer (Hello, Bryant Lake Bowl, let’s talk…) we will have to wait to bring this show here.

I’ve got a couple of other things in development, most notably, Bad Brother, a faux memoir/novel based on the seven years I was in the religious life. LOL – It begins with the line, “Poverty, Chastity, Obedience – I was only good at one of them.” I think it’s a comedy but I haven’t come to the end yet.

    Two Chairs Telling: April

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Two Chairs Telling is an ongoing series hosted by local raconteur Loren Niemi. Each month Mr. Niemi pairs together two different spoken word/ narrative artists often from two very different backgrounds. This last month’s show saw the joining of performance powerhouse and jack-of-all-trades Leslie Ball with slam poet superstar Khary Jackson a.k.a. 6 is 9.

A lineup of this nature promised a high energy, well-crafted evening and the performers did not disappoint. Throughout the evening they touched on a variety of themes taking us along for a ride that followed them through linear time stopping at key emotional moments both personal to the performers and to the characters they gave voice to throughout the night. The night was filled with music, laughter and in an especially memorable moment tears as Leslie heard Khary’s persona poem “Heaven” for the first time. Part of the show’s joy was watching the performers play off of one and other so well throughout the evening despite having never worked together before that night.

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The show began in the past, Khary setting telling the story of Stradivarius the violin maker and the death of Stradivarius’ first wife Francesca. What this piece showcased to me was not Khary’s ability to step into a persona (I already was aware of his ability to do that) but his attention to detail when researching the violin crafter Khary noticed that the period in which Stradivarius’ highest quality violins began right after the death of his wife. He made a connection. Created a story and presented in beautifully.

Leslie Ball brought us a little closer to modern times with the love story of Howard and Harriette two lovers perhaps not best suited to one and other but important in each others lives all the same. This was one of many pieces to showcase Leslie’s musical talents.

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From here the evening progressed rapidfire and beautiful, the performers taking turns. The second round was more personal with Khary recalling the joys of his grandma’s house and the sadness of its selling. Leslie then told the story of her life as it related to the State Fair. As a child Ms. Ball was intrigued by the spectacle of it and wanted to attend but her mother was a woman who according to Ball, “loved human kind but would rather not rub up against it”. In the story a young Leslie asks if they can go to the fair saying because it sounds like fun only to have her mother reply, “It sounds like fun dear, but it isn’t”. Leslie then told details of her life and the joy she had when as an adult she finally made it to the State Fair and found “her people”. Khary revealed that he is in fact not a fan of the fair and seemed reticent to take up Leslie on her offer to go with him. I myself cannot imagine that going to the fair with Leslie would be anything but delightful after hearing her speak with so much enthusiasm.

The performers then took turns discussing Alzheimer’s with Khary performing his slam staple piece “Heaven” and Ball recounting a her time in seminary and the time she spent working with Alzheimer patients.

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The evening continued filled with various twists and turns more of Leslie’s wonderful musical talent, Khary performing two pieces written in the style of Shel Silverstein, Leslie listing off some of life’s quirky joys such as warm moist q-tips, cross sums and compound words, a discussion of the fears that go along with illness, love poems and songs, happy dogs and a tale about poultry including three geese in a polyamorous relationship (this was a true story, by the way).

Two Chairs Telling was an excellent event and certainly deserving of its recent mention in the City Pages’ “Best of” listings. The greatest thing about this event was getting to see two performers who I have seen regularly in a different light and watch them interact in new exciting ways.

Two Chairs Telling happens at the beautiful Open Eye Figure Theatre, monthly, in and amongst the set pieces that may be on its small thrust stage, against the background of its raw brick arch. The Open Eye is located at 508 East 24th Street, in Minneapolis. You can find more information about Two Chairs Telling at the Open Eye’s website.

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Big Rumblings in Twin Cities

by Alice Shindelar, photos by Cole Sarar

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The slam season came to a close in the Twin Cities these last two weeks with the Minneapolis SlamMN and St. Paul Soapboxing finals. After St. Paul’s win at the National Poetry Slam in West Palm Beach, Florida last year, the race for team placement was bloody, poetically speaking. This was my first season as a regular slam goer. I rarely missed a show, and while I haven’t been going to slams long enough to witness this myself, it is evident from what I caught in 2008 and what I hear amongst the seasoned poets, that both cities slams have significantly increased in popularity and begun to diversify since St. Paul’s victory. Sitting room has been hard to find, poets have had to show-up early and often to get a place in the line up, new faces have shown up at almost every slam, and countless doubtful have become true slam addicts, jamming poetry into their veins with the rest of us. The Twin Cities even added an additional slam this year, Punch Out Poetry a.k.a. POP, an all woman’s slam at Peach Artspace in downtown St. Paul.

SlamMN finalists, Syd Malicious, Shane Hawley, Sam Cook, Wonder Dave, EZRA, Cynthia French, Miles, and 6 is 9 took the stage at the new Kieran’s Irish Pub in Block E last week. Kieran’s finals proved how much increased interest in our slam community has diversified our stage and pushed poets to up their game. From Syd with her consistent use of metaphor and strong imagery, to Shane with his tried and true pop culture romancing, to Sam Cook and his midwest brouhaha, to Wonder Dave with his fluid theatrics, to EZRA with his unfailing ability to alienate and woo a crowd at the same time, to Cynthia who never fails to bring the dirty fun, to Miles who reminds us to shake off the stereotypes we’ve learned to shade our eyes from, to 6 is 9 with all new material, the SlamMN finals didn’t hold a boring moment. Some of my favorite poems of the night included a poem by Cynthia French about getting it on old school style in a chat room back before any of that modern web cam crap when woman could be sexy in over-sized stained t-shirts and men had 12 inch boners just because their keyboards said so, a piece by 6 is 9 about the notable skew towards black people voters who voted in favor of prop 8 that had the crowd cheering and crying and jumping out of their seats, and a piece by Shane Hawley that succeeded in portraying Wile E. Coyote as the unsung hero of so many losing battles. At the end of the night the top four poets were guaranteed spots on SlamMN’s team. They included Shane Hawley, Sam Cook, Cynthia French, and 6 is 9, with Ezra coming in fifth, followed by Wonder Dave, Miles, and Syd. But, as three of the qualifying poets were still to compete in the Soapboxing slam, the team was not yet determined.

The following Monday, Sierra DeMulder, 6 is 9, Sam Cook, Shane Hawley, Dylan Garity, Michael Lee, Guante, and Wonder Dave took the stage at the Artist Quarter’s Grand Slam. Cole Sarar a.k.a. Inky pointed out to me that she was impressed by the trends in subject matter during the first round of this slam. Guante, Wonder Dave, Sam Cook, and Michael Lee all brought poems that worked to redefine masculinity in content and performance. Guante started the night out with a poem about men who try to squeeze their insecurities out onto the strangers they meet with finger crushing handshakes that left the crowd roaring for more. In addition, Wonder Dave brought out a poem about a young boy battered and eventually murdered when he dared to be too feminine and wore make-up to school, Sam Cook addressed the violence passed down in a father-son relationship by evoking everyone’s childhood favorite Where the Wild Things Are, and Michael Lee impressed the crowd by knowing way too much about designer purses for a tattooed roughing-it poet. Dylan Garity won my heart with two new pieces, my favorite of which was a hilarious piece depicting everyone’s favorite comic book heros in pornographic scenes. At the end of the night Sierra DeMulder, Guante, Sam Cook, Shane Hawley, and 6 is 9 qualified for the St. Paul team.

Now that the poets who qualified for both teams have made their decisions the two teams will be Cynthia French, EZRA, Wonder Dave, and Miles representing Minneapolis SlamMN and Guante, 6 is 9, Sierra DeMulder, Sam Cook, and Shane Hawley representing St. Paul Soapboxing. Our slam scene is unique, in that the slams of our neighboring cities are almost completely intermingled, almost all poets from both cities compete in both slams. This gives us all more opportunity to perform and makes both stages equally entertaining and challenging for the poets. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have grown over the last year in the wake of St. Paul’s win and now they’re whet-stoning their writing utensils in preparation for a battle on their home turf. In the end, we have two very strong teams with the ability to both dominate at nationals. My only disappointment is that I would have like to see more woman in both teams finals, out of 13 poets competing over all, only three were woman. Thanks to the powerful, dedicated poets, new and old alike though, we now have our all woman slam, POP, which will hopefully help to foster a productive environment for woman to march up the ranks in both cities. Don’t miss POP finals at the end of May!

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Posted in Artists' Quarter, Kieran's, Slam Poetry, SlamMN, Soapboxing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More Advice for Touring Performers

As I put together the next “real” MN Mic post, I wanted to take a moment to point spoken word artists who are considering going on tour to check out Mike McGee‘s most recent blog post over on Mike McGee Town (Mike’s blog.)

As someone in the thick of planning a tour for next autumn, seeing this post was heartening, and I wanted to make sure that folks over here saw this preliminary chunk of advice from a pro. Things like “If people are begging you to come to them, [...] go. If you think people need your words in their scene, [...] ask them first.” and “Have an hour ready to go at the drop of a hat.” are really wonderful ways to know exactly where you are in the process.

So go check out http://www.mikemcgee.net/personal-updates/why-i-do-this-thing/ and educate yourselves.

-Cole Sarar

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