Rina's blog

Freestyle - "Spiritual Roots" (1 of 14)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

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Let us introduce our newest webseries Freestyle, featuring clips from Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme!

In this early sequence we see how freestyling traces its origins to spirituality, a theme which runs throughout the rest of the movie.

The Making of Freestyle

I was first introduced to Freestyling at a National Poetry Slam event where I was promoting my movie SlamNation.  The accomplished hip hop artist, Sage Francis, who was also a slam poet at the time, busted into a rap at a daytime showcase. He was so polished and seamless that he was half way into his performance before I realized that it was completely improvisational, interacting with the environment and the people in the audience. I was blown away!

Check out Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme.
Buy the DVD.

Rejecting the College Rejection Letter

Posted by Paul Devlin:

When I was a senior in high school, I noticed that the rejection letter I received from Harvard had a grammatical error. So, I wrote a letter back, rejecting their rejection letter. Then I sent a version to all the colleges that had rejected me.

My mother, Nancy Devlin, sent a copy of this letter to the New York Times and it was published in the New Jersey section on May 31, 1981. Then in 1996 there was a cover story in the New York Times Magazine about the trauma students were experiencing getting rejected from colleges. As an education writer, my mom knows all too well that educational issues are cyclical. So she re-submitted the letter.

This time it was published on May 5th, 1996 in the Op-Ed section of the Sunday New York Times, a very prestigious, high-profile space. It turns out the letter had already become popular and was reprinted in newspapers, books etc. (without my knowledge, pre-internet). The New York Times accused me of plagiarism. When they discovered that I was the original author and they had unwittingly re-printed themselves, they were none too happy. But my mom insists that it was important to reprint the article because the issue was clearly still relevant. The letter remains popular on the internet even today.

Anyway, here it is:

Office of Admissions
Any College
Wherever U.S.A
Dear Any College:

Having reviewed the many rejection letters I have received in the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform you I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.

This year, after applying to a great many colleges and universities, I received an especially fine crop of rejection letters. Unfortunately, the number of rejections that I can accept is limited.

Each of my rejections was reviewed carefully and on an individual basis. Many factors were taken into account – the size of the institution, student-faculty ratio, location, reputation, costs and social atmosphere.

I am certain that most colleges I applied to are more than qualified to reject me. I am also sure that some mistakes were made in turning away some of these rejections. I can only hope they were few in number.

I am aware of the keen disappointment my decision may bring. Throughout my deliberations, I have kept in mind the time and effort it may have taken for you to reach your decision to reject me.

Keep in mind that at times it was necessary for me to reject even those letters of rejection that would normally have met my traditionally high standards.

I appreciate your having enough interest in me to reject my application. Let me take the opportunity to wish you well in what I am sure will be a successful academic year.


Paul Devlin
Applicant at Large


Slam America Bus Tour: Cass King - "Silence"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

A truly touching piece from my friend Cass King, performed on the New York City stop of Gary Glazner’s Slam America Bus Tour. Cass’s main gig is The Wet Spot and her production of SHINE: A Burlesque Musical has enjoyed great success.


SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer


Health and the City

Posted by Rina Svet:

Part of a larger project on the subject of health literacy, this little video was shot back in the summer of 2008 when I was just learning how to use that huge and heavy professional camera!  We spent a hot summer's day walking around Times Square to see just how people felt about their doctors, their relationship with their doctors, and what they knew about health care in general.  The result is this fairly amusing and somewhat enlightening clip!

Slam Poem: Saul Williams - "Untimely Meditations”

Guest post by Misha!

Imagine Divine Inspiration slipping one of Saturn’s rings on Pure Talent’s finger and the two of them joining together in holy matrimony. Feel the blissed out perfection of these two beating as One sweetly singing truth. Lose and find yourself in the om of “Untimely Meditations”.

For me, there is no other spoken word performance that can even begin to hold a candle to Saul Williams’ performance of this piece in SlamNation The Movie. I have been waiting for years for this clip to become available on-line so that I could more easily share it with friends. Not even Saul’s own other performances of this poem compare to how electrifyingly he is plugged in to the divine wow in this presentation. There are great works of art that usher us into other realms. This is one of them.

~ Misha

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer


BLAST! - Theatrical Launch | Filmmaker Magazine

Posted by Paul Devlin:

I believe it is vitally important for filmmakers to share their experiences. Even failures and embarrassments. These happen to all of us, and it’s good to be reassured that we’re not alone. Whenever the opportunity arises, I like to speak up. And when I think I have enough to say for an article, I publish.

Releasing my science epic film BLAST! theatrically in the U.S. turned into its own epic story. When I wrote it out, I wasn’t sure how such an in-depth piece would work in a magazine. I structured it episodically with built-in cliffhangers, in case it had to be divided up into pieces. I fully expected to have to cut it way down for publication.

indieWire completely ignored my submission, but Scott Macaulay, Editor of Filmmaker, picked it up and published the article in its entirety in Winter 2010. The fact that it was the longest piece the magazine ever published became a selling point for the print edition of Filmmaker. I’m very happy to have contributed a comprehensive New Yorker-style story to our community of independent filmmakers.

Check out the article here!

Slam Poem: Karen Wurl - "Educated Love"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Fantastic quirky word play in this piece. I had several crews shooting the simultaneous bouts at the National Poetry Slam. Discovering gems like this after I had collected all the footage made editing SlamNation a lot of fun. Karen Wurl has gone on to write plays. More about her here.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer


Slam Poem: Patricia Smith - "Building Nicole's Mama"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Patricia Smith is one of the all-time great Slam Poets, a national champion 4 times over. This piece is one of the many that show why.

In SlamNation, this poem was excerpted as part of an opening montage. Roger Ebert, who was a friend of Patricia Smith’s from her Chicago days, reviewed SlamNation and focused on his experience of being profoundly moved by this piece when he heard it live. Patricia is still out there writing books and performing. Catch her if you can!

"Building Nicole's Mama" is from Teahouse of the Almighty.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer


CutTime - Two Minutes Hate, "I Can't Take It Anymore" (11 of 11)

Guest post by Two Minutes Hate Guitarist, Steve Tramell!

Previous Episode

Take a sinister looking singer, one out of tune guitar, and one Hofner Beatle Bass mash em together and you have the hurricane that was Two Minutes Hate!!! Born out the minds of the brothers Price. Tom(bass,bking& lead vcls), Gerry(lead & bking vocals) circa 1984.

Starting out with just bass, vocals and a toy piano( their friend Dee-mented). By 1987 adding one of many drummers and the twisted guitar of Steve Tramell. The band that scared and awed thousands was set. As seen by this clip, Two Minutes Hate was everything a punk band could be. We would never practice because "practicing would make us band, and we were a concept not a band".

Live shows was what Two Minutes Hate was all about. By the second song Jerry would be naked and the chaos would begin. As we were unsigned by any record labels this clip is a piece of music and NYC history.

Two Minutes Hate Stopped playing around 1994 expect for the every few years Reunion shows. Tom Price (who I am sadden to say passed away in Nov.2011. go to facebook & youtube for tributes.) went on to form the Brooklyn based mid 90s to 2011 band Ff (fat fuck).Their cd Lady Shoe was put out on Double Deuce Records. Steve went on to play bass in the Staten Island based band The Outcome, And Gerry is out there holding down the spirit of Two Minutes Hate.

As Gerry would say, "Who the fuck are you clapping for. You don't even know me!!!!!"

Buy or Rent Digitally through VHX!
Buy the Home DVD!


Pre Two Minutes Hate clips of Tom and Steve in the band Poptones Inc!

Buy or Rent Digitally through VHX!
Buy the Home DVD!

Slam Poem: Mary McCann- "This is How Songs Are Made"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Wonderful musical poetry from Mary McCann. Also known as The Bone Mama, Mary was on the Phoenix Slam Team at the National Poetry Slam in Portland. I very much wanted to feature that team’s unusual work in SlamNation, and I edited a whole section about them.

In the end, their story didn’t connect strongly enough to the rest of the narrative, and time constraints forced it out of the final cut. But that’s why we love DVD extras and the web. Those long lost “dead babies” are resurrected.

Mary is now a Jazz DJ at Seattle Public Radio KPLU

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

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