A Poet Errant in Southern Ontario
There’s going to be a little change of pace here. As readers may have noticed, I’m still terrible at keeping up with recaps.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to be temporarily skipping the recaps from January and February (Not permanently. They -will- still be done.) This is going to be a little 4 day recap of the slam scene in March as a whole. For you see, dear readers, I have been out adventuring! 4 days of slam in a row, popping out to some of our neighbouring slams to check out the scene, and see what was hot.
In another view, it could just appear that I was stalking Christian Drake. But more on that later.
Thursday, March 15th – Burlington Slam Project
This was an extremely exciting slam before it even happened for a few good reasons. First was the promised feature by Christian Drake – The impossibly sexy offspring of Walt Whitman and Steven Tyler, raised by Nick Cave and granted a black belt in hairstyle.
Second was the word of some visiting poets from out of town. And I’m not talking Aberfoyle. I mean Ottawa’s own Just Jamaal and Sean O’Gorman. Anybody who attended CFSW 2011 will remember these two by the bruises left on your chin after your jaw slammed to the floor. Some old friends from out of town included Greg “Ritallin: Canada’s 3rd smartest person” Frankson, Brandon Williamson, all the way from BUFFALO and Cathy Petch; and we were dazzled by a new face from out of Brampton – Knowledge Gonzalez, who threw down with a curt intensity that should probably be watched out for. We also saw another new face and heard some sick poetry from Courtney, who helped round out the evening, not just by having a fresh face, but a fresh sound as well. Of course, many of our old familiar friends were present as well – The P.O.E., Yogi, Jay Raw Day, and our own usual host Tomy Bewick, stepping down from his usual duties to butt heads with this gauntlet of heavyweights. I, AKA myself, AKA me took the opportunity to sit this one out and enjoy the show – putting myself in the sacrifice role for the night. Our dear co-coordinator, Nea Reid, took the host mantle for the second time, and led us through one hell of a night.
The success of this night was a little miraculous to some…having arrived to the venue to meet a near-death Christian Drake, and our usual slam space filled with some enormous reunion party, things did not seem very hopeful for the night’s BSP. However, some quick movements, a rented mic & amp, and we found a temporary place on the main floor – and subsequently had one of the best slams I’ve seen in the 2 years I’ve been active. The night was taken by Just Jamaal, despite a time penalty. 2nd went to Ritallin, and 3rd went to our very own Yogi. I’d like to give a special shout out to our open mic poets as well. We were graced with the poetry of our dear friend Tim, and got to hear some new voices from both Sarah and Andrea – It takes a hell of a lot to hit that mic, and the hard part’s over now. Keep the words coming!
Christian Drake is a werewolf. Anybody present that night will be unable to dispute this claim. He’s a werewolf. End of discussion. From a man we met outside, sweaty and feverish, he transformed into a performance machine the moment his touched that mic. Perhaps he’s a were-poet. He performed a set that ranged all over the spectrum – Whether a persona piece featuring Tarzan exploring the nature of love in his own broken english, or a howling poem discussing the merits of period sex – well…let’s just say the audience could have used a cigarette afterwards.
To top -that-, I managed to catch his next two shows over the next two days. There were no repeats, folks. Each night was a new set performed with the same level of mastery and confident skill as we saw in Burlington. If anybody has yet to catch his performance, I highly suggest seeing him either Wednesday the 21st at Bill Brown’s 1-2-3 slam, Tuesday the 27th at Mississauga Poetry Slam, Wednesday the 28th at Yorkslam, or Saturday the 31st at Toronto Poetry Slam. Then buy all his stuff. You will not regret it.
Friday March 16 – London Poetry Slam
Tomy Bewick and I had been discussing venturing out to London for the last couple of months, and this month, we decided, was a good time to do it. We picked up Guelph’s loviest love poet Matthew Dryden and brought him along for the ride. Having never been to LPS before, and in fact, only having been to London maybe 3 times in my life, I honestly did not know what to expect. What I got were some reunions with friends made at CFSW’11, and an unbelievably warm reception from what may be the most loving and welcoming slam community I have ever seen. The night was London champ-slammer Dana ID Matthews’ last slam in London, as he will soon be moving out west to the coast to further his career in the arts. Tomy took the sacrifice spot, and I joined in the slam, competing with poets such as Dana ID, Melissa Krone, Bo-Guss, Jaded, and Ted O (Apologies to any names left out. It’s been a very busy 4 days.) Throw in another feature performance by Christian Drake, and you’ve got the makings of one fantastic night. And, for the curious, if you MUST know, I managed to take 1st in London that night, and was completely overwhelmed by the amount of love (and free beer) sent my way over the rest of the evening.
London will be holding their finals next month on Friday, April 13th. $10 entry. If you’re looking for something new to do on a Friday night, head a little westward and check their scene out! I’ll definitely be going again! Information on their finals can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/events/256090667810217/
Saturday March 17 – Guelph Poetry Slam
Pffft, St. Patrick’s day…why bother getting wasted? Slam is cheaper, gives a better intoxication type, and does the exact opposite to your mind. So yes, dear readers, on the highway again to hit up another scene.
Now, this was not my first time at GPS. ‘Twas in fact, my 3rd, and my 2nd as a competitor. And lemme tell ya…there’s some serious fire goin’ on in this city. Now, I was still soaring on a victory high, and the same two poems that won me LPS also won me Burlington back in February. So I thought “Well, let’s shop these suckers around. Let’s hit Guelph with the same stuff.” I had taken 4th last time I visited Guelph, so I had come out with the express intention of winning, and winning hard. Got to hit the stage with Matthew Dryden, Stockard Channing, Sean Warren, Fannon, Sean O’Gorman, London poets Bryton McKinnon and Jaded, and our new Brampton friend, Knowledge Gonzalez. Got to have another night of not competing with Tomy Bewick, as he took the 1st round sacrifice spot (on account of having to leave early.) Guess I got lucky =D
Oh, also, more Christian Drake. Yet another night of watching this man blow the minds of the universe’s collective consciousness.
I took 2nd place at Guelph, dear readers. Guelph regular and heavyweight Fannon came out and took the gold, reminding me that I wasn’t, in fact, Superman. Of course, I went through every slam motion. (Trying to find people to blame for why I didn’t win.) Couldn’t blame judges, couldn’t blame the host, couldn’t blame bias. Fannon just flat-out won. I urge you all to check out Guelph’s scene and see what all the noise is about. (Remember that our old friends Truth Is… and Kay’la Fraser are BOTH also Guelph poets. Something in the water, folks…)
Guelph’s next event will be the Sound Off youth slam on March 30th – featuring our own Tomy Bewick! Information can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/events/375676059128697/
Sunday March 18 – Roots Lounge Open Mic and Poetry Slam
This was not exactly a planned evening, but Tomy called me in the afternoon, asking if I’d like to come to Toronto for the Roots Lounge slam with him. I’ve open mic’d at Roots Lounge once, and slammed once with P.O.E. – both of us being eliminated in the 2nd round. This slam is INTIMIDATING. There is some major skill going on at this scene. Enough to shake any poet. Not only was the scene an intimidation factor, but it meant my luck had finally run out, and I would have to slam against Tomy. Though this night proved that he wasn’t even the biggest of my worries at UFTR.
Some outstanding open-mic work from cats like Adrian Worrell and Eddy Da Original One – and a slam that saw Toronto supernova Lishai as the sacrifice. Got to be among a lot of awesome performers, including Peterborough’s Wes Ryan, Cathy Petch, Patrick De Belen, Vanessa McGowan, Serafina, and of course, Tomy Bewick. We even got to hear a very unique rendition of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”
This is a very cool, very tight community LOADED with stellar poets. UFTR doesn’t have a feature performer – instead, they throw a 3 round slam with 2 open mic segments. Come too late for the 1st open mic? No problem. Catch the 2nd one. Awesome set up.
I got to hit another personal milestone at this slam, which was making my way to the finals stage – the elusive 3rd round of Roots Lounge. 10 poets in the 1st round, 7 in the 2nd, and 4 in the 3rd. I got to taste that 3rd round for the first time, and while I took 4th place, I still considered it an absolute success. Toronto superpoet Patrick De Belen took the win, with our Tomy taking 2nd, and Serafina hitting 3rd (though her 2nd round poem received FOUR perfect 10s)
The next event in this community will be the brand new Sixth Street Poetry Slam, created by Patrick De Belen, on March 23rd. Information can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/events/286358488103768/
In conclusion, dear readers, there is a hell of a lot of poetry going on in our community. All over the province – all with different ideas, styles, voices, and feelings. All of which are worth any time you put into them. So by all means, venture out! Check out the scenes! Ontario has more slams than ANY other province in the country by far – let’s keep the community alive through our support of each other, and our mutual love of poetry and the arts.
Dan (AKA Dan Murray(AKA Dan))