St. Finals Day!
And just like that, another season of slam is finished! First off, I’d like to say thank you to everybody involved. Open Mic’ers, Slammers, Judges, Features, Audience, Volunteers, The Black Bull, thanks to all of you for keeping this fire burning.
Any night that starts with an open mic this size is bound to be a good time. I kicked it off with a cover of Fernando Raguero’s “Fucked Up Something Special” – a piece that is tremendously important to me, and felt fitting as a way to open our finals. From there we had Mo’Fleeka from We Flip Tables drop a piece about the capitalistic and societal methods through which women are constantly bombarded with media that destroys their own body image. “Your ideals make me wanna vomit, but that’s just what the bastards want.” Diana Vasu followed with a piece about the decay of our first world life – “I don’t trust words, I trust behaviours”. Keeley hit the open mic again with another bittersweet entry – “flirtatiously dancing upon a line that lies between full truth & half lies”. Sarah Burgess came in from St. Catharines and shared a poem called “Beauty knows no pain” about the beauty of staying strong and moving forward – “I’m a survivor. I’ll survive this too.” We met a new friend named Kelsey Knight who did a poem titled “Magnetic” about the intuitive draw of connection between two parts of a whole – “You are soul mate familiar. Once again, hello.” And Jeff Cottrill closed out the open mic with a brief cover of Mike Bryant’s salty “Clue” poem, as well as a skit entitled the Jim Show – centered all around the excuses of people who don’t want to see your show, but won’t come out and admit it, which ends with a funny spin pointing out how the whole truth is often something the artist is not the best at accepting.
Also, surprise! Halfway through the night, dear old friend and BSP alum Yogi popped in a shared a new unfinished piece before round 2 dealing about the details in being a father and talking to your kids. Amazing to see him on stage again.
On to the slam! We sacrificed only the finest blood for our finals, which is why we got Bassam and Truth Is… – two faces seen on a few BSP teams.
Bassam gave us a piece about social silence & apathy – “We are slaves. But what if we could be gladiators?”
And Truth ran an incredibly powerful piece about blackness…comparing the way the world sees it to the way the world sees a cancer. – “Most of us will die from this cancer, or it’s treatment”.
And then off we went on a tight evening of competition!
Lip Balm drew bullet and came out slingin’ a southern drawl and delivering a classic piece about work in rabbit breeding, as well as calling for people to be a little more aware of what processes go into the foods they eat (2 nails, a stump, and an axe…” His second round poem is a nod to Suzy Q’s “I fuck like…” piece, entitled “I hug like…”, and it’s all about hugs.
Lip Balm’s stand out line of the night? “I hug like it hurts. I hug like forever. I hug like never again.”
Tomy Bewick stepped up next and brought us some classic work with Microphone Fiend (about trading in his addictions for an addiction to words), and Imagisolve, arguably his most famous piece, posed as an infomercial for a fictitious drug intended to remove all the pesky side effects that come along with experiencing reality.
Tomy’s stand out line of the night? “I’m a damn slam addict. A microphone fiend, and I came here to score.”
Korey with a K brought back his “Catching up” piece – talking about catching up with old high school friends and the weird nostalgic view for high school, but combatting that with grim memories of his own journey and struggles involving his mental health battles. His second piece was fan-favourite – The Runs. It’s about a bathroom emergency during a public jog. Can’t make this up folks.
Korey’s stand out line of the night? “Dreaming of the day they would replace my cage with a casket and ask my mother where she wanted to bury the box.”
Sean hit the stage with his “2 to 5 responses to how my hair took me from a 2 to a solid 5” which is a playful piece about the oddities of compliments, and at times, their importance. He also brought his poem about being unsure of what safety feels like while speeding down a forest road at night.
Sean’s stand out line of the night? “As an avid player of Dungeons & Dragons, I know that if someone gives you a +3 in anything, it must be magic.”
Our WoWps representative Ifrah Hussein, just back from the festival brought us a chilling, grim, and raw examination of female genital mutilation in Africa, as well as a piece titled “a list of terrorists who look nothing like me”. Ifrah then goes on to list a number of white people who have committed acts of terror, but, because of their whiteness, are often viewed as mentally unstable, rather than terrorists.
Ifrah’s stand out line of the night? Funny enough, it’s not even from a poem. “I’d like to dedicate this victory to the gentleman who gave me a 7.9″ (Also, spoiler alert, Ifrah won)
But if you want a line from her poems…”Please give me children who love me more than they fear my love.”
And finally Sebastian dropped a new piece about referring to himself as a force of nature, as well as his poem about his adventures in earning the name “poet”
Sebastian’s stand out line of the night? “Thank you for letting me be more than my mistakes.”
And finally, our feature! Winona Linn, who I hadn’t seen since CFSW 2011 in Toronto gave us an incredible performance with a beautiful variety of poetry.
She started with a piece that centered around “Show me your quiet” – cause us poets sure do like to yell.
Another piece about a dream involving meeting a crush at a Starbucks, which was almost neatly absurd in its length and detail – “And I say ‘Hi Dylan Thomas laptop quotes’ and you say ‘Hi. go away, I’m working.”
Her next piece was a sobering discussion of the treatment of indigenous people in France, referring often to the “feral child” case of Marie-Angelique Memmie Le Blanc. Telling us “Her parents died of unnatural causes” and referring to it as “colonist cancer” (which, by the way, brilliant.)
Her next piece was about the difficulty of loving a sort-of disappointing lover. Not that this lover disappointing…just sort-of disappointing. And some of that disappointment comes in that loving him isn’t actually all that difficult, but that’s what makes it difficult?
*place on facebook under “it’s complicated” *
“Loving you is the exact opposite of blinding a guy. Loving you is like growing new eyes. It feels really weird.” – I can’t even begin to describe the journey the room took in those three lines. From absurdly funny to poignant and beautiful, and then to blunt and silly in a couple small steps.
She also brought a piece which was a celebration of her real name and the difficulty in living with a more disconnected named “for others”.
And there’s one line of all in this night that I must say is one of the best I’ve ever heard.
“We are all made of shit and our shit is made of stars!” – Winona Linn.
And with that, the dust settled, and we saw our victor crowned – Ifrah Hussein won the title of Grand Slam Champion for 2016! Sadly, however, time constraints restrict her from being able to commit to the team, so your 2016 Burlington Slam Project National Team is:
Tomy Bewick, Korey with a K, Lip Balm, and Sebastian!
We’re gonna have a whole lot of fun in the coming months while we’re in off season! Our 1-2-3 slam for IWPS is coming, as well as our birthday and Anything Goes! Keep posted for details and we’ll see you real soon!