Hey cats! It’s been a wacky summer, full of adventure and poetry.
We had an awesome feature in June by Ahmed Knowmadic – member of the 2011 CFSW championship team. He came through dropping some very tightly-written, beautiful work contained within a fairly relaxed and natural flow. It was a real treat to be able to see him do his thing on our stage. June’s slam also marked the first time that I took on hosting duties for the evening, and while I will remain neutral about the quality of said hosting, I -will- say that I was the best thing to ever happen to the universe. Ever.
July saw a feature from our new 2012 Burlington Slam Project team, and what better time to do such a feature than on BSP’s FOUR YEAR ANNIVERSARY! That’s right, BSP is four years old as of July, and we got to celebrate it in style by showcasing some of the work the team has been preparing. An all-around awesome show, and a wonderful night had by all in attendance.
Beyond that, BSP held the first ever Hamilton Youth Slam at the Lyric Theater in Hamilton, giving an opportunity to speak and be heard to a city that seems to have been thirsting for it, considering the turnout. The youth brought some serious poetry to the mic and reminded us all that there is no such thing as “too young to have a valid opinion”. Winners of the evening formed a Hamilton youth team (composed of Justin Cargill, Jamie Kasiama, Tara Zimmerman and Noura, with alternate Osama Siddique) who have since been sent to compete at the Youth in Unison slam festival. The night ended with a small featurette by the 2012 team, followed by a feature performance by THE Shane Koyczan & The Short Story Long, who delivered a stellar set involving folk-rock instrumentals and Shane’s increasingly well-known spoken word poetry.
July was -also- the month holding the first ever SLAMtario Provincial poetry slam, which pitted several of Ontario’s National slam teams against each other in a grueling 2-day competition. So for two days, dozens of us congregated at a familiar community center (one of the venues from CFSW 2011) in Toronto, and duked it out for the title of Provincial Champions. And wouldn’t you know, when the dust settled and the smoke cleared, it was your own Burlington Slam Project team who emerged victorious, with Toronto’s TPS team and Up From the Roots team taking a tie for 2nd place.
More recently, the Burlington team took a stylish ride (courtesy of Hamilton Limo) down to Buffalo and boarded a plane to Charlotte, North Carolina – where we joined the ranks of 71 other poetry teams for the US National Poetry Slam. This was Burlington’s first year attending, and we were fortunate enough to be the fourth Canadian city in history to be invited to compete. And compete we did…convincing many of the US poetry teams that Burlington, and Canada were not to be underestimated. As a result, we netted ourselves a position in the Group Piece Finals, in which the 10 teams with the best ranked group pieces battled to see who had the best. And Burlington, be proud of your team! We took a 6th place finish at Group Piece Finals. 6th place – out of SEVENTY TWO teams at the festival. We’ve continued to prove that this city and its slam are a force to be reckoned with.
Last night was our ANYTHING GOES slam, and the final slam in our off-season time period. This was a chance to break the rules. ALL the rules. And break them we did! For some, it was a matter of wearing a silly hat while spitting a poem. For some it was the…inventive…use of a lightsaber, and that which it could represent. For me, it was taking a month to not read poems, and instead, pull up a guitar and cover The Cure and Dallas Green. The point is – this was a slam at which many came to have fun. And mission accomplished. 2nd round sacrifice “Thatt” decided to freestyle over a beat about topics of the audience’s choosing. We spoke a heartfelt farewell to Burlington regular ‘A Girl Named Shoe’ – who will be overseas teaching shortly. This was her last slam before leaving. We were also very happy to see a NUMBER of new faces in our audience and on our stage. We all hope to see them come back in future months!
The Anything Goes Slam was won by The P.O.E. who brought in his beats and DJ – DJ Arum, and quite handily brought the house down with some re-imaginings of a couple of his most famous pieces, and for an encore, he recited a hip-hop blended version of ‘The Raven’ – which left the audience floored. Edgar Allen P.O.E. indeed.
That’s all for now, friends. Our next Burlington Slam will be September 20th @ Philthy McNasty’s! 8pm – bring a fiver and a friend!
Until then – cheers!