Monthly Archives: June 2016
Alright, so it’s not the best title. But aren’t I so against the grain?
We had a slam in June! Yes we did! Hosted for the first time ever by the adorably adorable and hilariously hilarious Sebastian Chong, who kept the energy up, the judges’ fingers flipping, and the night moving moving moving!
Our open mic kicked in with Sebastian reading a selection of Franny Choi poems, followed by our friend Andrew dropping a serious limerick, and taking us on a poetic canoe trip. Sean Muirhead gave us a story about a trip to a winter cabin & the beauty of isolation (“The cold and I had made a promise to catch each other”) And Sean was also kind enough to provide the sacrificial blood for our first round!
Getting into the slam proper, another Sean (a first-timer at BSP!) kicked us off with a poem detailing a philosophy of the things in life that -really- matter. His second round offering was a playful, though deeply personal and, at times grim, look at the resuscitation of one’s own emotional or psychological self, presented as paramedics trying to save a life at the scene of an accident.
Sean’s stand-out line of the night? : “CPR – Corporal Punishment Respiration, where they inflate your lungs with all the toxic fumes left over from all the toxic things you’ve done just to see if you could even sustain yourself in your presence”
Next up was Korey with a K, who set his apartment on fire and was insistent that we understand it to not be a metaphor in any regard. While it was not clear if this was intentional, the poem gave an interesting image of the poet, established in their own persona, and the difficulty in having their words taken at face value, when a world is expecting something profound. His second piece was a fun, wacky list of the rules of the cartoon universe, which, I must admit, were quite accurate.
Korey’s stand-out line of the night? : “While you were burning your tongue on first-world-narcissism, I set my apartment on fire.”
Next up was Dan Murray, who led with his piece about Einstein’s solitary regret – the encouraging of America to acquire the Atomic Bomb. His second piece was a personal account of watching a friend’s life slowly disintegrate and feeling powerless to help.
Dan’s stand-out line of the night? : “I wonder if Mozart would be sickened to know how he inspired me…”
Rounding out the slam was Tomy Bewick, who described a life living with a partner whose PTSD would instigate severe outbursts as sleeping next to a Chainsaw. His second offering was his coyly prodding piece about blaming (read: thanking) his mother for the life he has.
Tomy’s stand-out line of the night? : “It doesn’t matter which sui-side of the bed you wake up on”
Our feature was the magnificent Ebony Stewart, who exploded into her set explaining that she always had a hard time writing about herself. – “Every time Johnny Hart would pull my bra strap, I would wish my breasts came with a receipt.”
She discussed teaching sex-ed to 6th graders, and listed a series of hilarious questions that only the mind of an 11-12 year old could devise, followed with some very frank, real, and honest responses. – “There is no Skull & Crossbones over your heart, and that is a good thing.”
Next up? She had a conversation with the room about pickup lines and took some suggestions (some great, some not so…). She went on to explain she was not good at flirting (which, let’s be honest…who is?) – “You smell good – what is that? Forever?”
We were then treated to a BRAND NEW POEM read off her phone written to Monday as an almost-apology for how much hate it receives as a day, in comparison to the other days. – “Every day is Monday when you wake up alive. Every day is Sunday when you learn to operate in forgiveness.”
She closed us off with a poem dedicated to all the women in the room, and made a point of identifying that there were none participating in the slam, which is pretty common in a lot of slams, and should be identified more often. This is a very male-dominated scene. – “Anyone who believes that women are delicate and breakable can’t remember the ways in which they were born.”
Overall, Ebony brought an explosive energy with a constant air of welcome to the room around her. The kind of person who says “Yeah, I’m setting this place on fire, but sit down with me when it’s lit and let’s sing together.” It was a real treat to have her on our stage.
The slam ended with a tie between Sean & Tomy for 3rd place, Korey taking 2nd, and Dan Murray taking 1st.
Next month is The Burlington Slam Project’s 8th Birthday! You’d better come celebrate with us!
Sometimes things are short and sweet. Like bite-sized candy bars or Elijah Wood, or even May’s poetry slam! A decently sized audience gathered in the back of the bull and got to see a slam that, while small in competitors, was anything but in content.
Host, fearless leader, and human tomato Tomy Bewick opened up our night with a fun burst of tongue-twisting wordworking of mice and men, and our friend AJ dropped some curt truth about lava lamps. #WhereElseButSlam
And we kicked right into a 3-person slam, including Dan Murray, Sebastian, and Lip Balm.
Tomy sacrificed himself to the poetry gods with his Wolverine poem, and the game was on!
Lip Balm came at us with a poem talking about moments of love and connection through a person stopped at a red light asking the person behind him to get out of her car, and get into his – to “turn my car into our car” and “share the driving responsibilities. He began his second piece with a parody version of Billy Joel singing “spit me a poem, you’re the poet man” – which detailed life as a poet in the face of slam and the different expectations slam crowds and other people have of poets. As usual, Lip Balm’s work was full of blunt, no-nonsense satire.
Lip Balm’s stand-out line of the night: My favourite was “…turned my windshield into an insect cemetery” – but props HAVE to be given to him delivering “If I mention Justin Trudeau” *picture Lip Balm miming a sharp elbow here* “Will my approval rating go up?”
Next up was Sebastian, who kicked us off with a poem that saw someone approaching on the horizon, and flickered between images of it being a person and it being a dragon. His trademark beautiful imagery and powerful delivery made this poem particularly hypnotizing. His second piece; “Dear Atlas; is a piece that compares Atlas to the ant, their similar struggles & weights, and forms a beautiful relationship between the two.
Sebastian’s stand-out line of the night: “Are you always looking down because you wish you could go where your fallen brothers have gone?”
Lastly was Dan Murray who brought a piece discussing comedy, depression, and Robin Williams’ suicide. His second piece was an acknowledgment, as a musician, of how much of the music he loves and plays was at some point stolen from black musicians, and though continuing to play, does so in respect and reverence.
Dan Murray’s stand-out line of the night: “I -am- the white boy who plays that funky music”
And that’s not all! There was a feature! A great feature! The incomparable Alessandra Naccarato, who began her time on stage discussing the multiple different uses of landline phones (better than an episode of Popular Mechanics, I thought)
She said she liked to start by honouring her ancestors, and launched into a poem about her Grandmother leaving her husband
“No shiver in your voice when you said ‘one way…”
Followed by a response to an article called “10 things men find unattractive about women” that was a list of 10 things men find unattractive about a variety of fantasy creatures (unicorns, pegasus…pegasi?, chimera, etc…) (NOTE: Yeah…I don’t have the proper title. I was laughing and not writing.)
“I will feed you freedom like a carrot if it lets me stroke you awhile”
“You may be able to fly through the universe, but I’m pretty sure you can’t do math”
After this, ukelele hero and consummate beard-grower Brad Morden joined her onstage and gave some fantastic uke-backing to her pieces.
Next up was a poem inspired by Artemis that talked about remembering the strength of self in the honest, crushing weight of love & lovers.
“We still crave it (love) like a beast, even when we know what’s coming”
And her final poem was a love poem. One written to all those living the art life. A fitting ode to a room of artists.
“Thank God desire is unreasonable”
“Thank God poets write with the pistol of poverty to their heads”
At the end of the day, Dan Murray took the win, but a 3 person slam means nobody goes home without some money! Score!
Looking forward to June’s slam featuring Ebony Stewart, and I hope to see you all out!