SlamNation

SlamNation: Andrea Thompson - "Firebelly"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Great example of an identity poem from Andrea Thompson. This one was an extra, but another, “After Kissing,” made it into SlamNation to show how hot the rookie Vancouver team was, almost beating Taylor Mali.

I was able to catch up with Andrea a few years ago in Toronto when I was shooting parts of BLAST! there. You can catch up with her too, in this interview.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation: Regie Gibson - "No Poetry Today"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Here’s Regie Gibson on the Finals stage at the National Poetry Slam in Portland Oregon. An accomplished writer and performer, Regie went on to become an individual National Poetry Slam Champion. He is also featured in the New Line Cinema film Love Jones, which is also based on his life.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation: Team Austin - "Tube"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

“Group Pieces” are a truly unique art form that has emerged from the National Poetry Slam competition. The concept of a team of poets created by the competition naturally led to interest in collaboration. Some of the most innovative performing art I have ever seen on stage has been Group Pieces at National Slams, with poets using their voices and movement to create a masterful mix of vocal music and rhythm. Multi-dimensional poetry.

But a slam team is a fragile, ephemeral phenomenon, and a Group Piece exists as performance for a very short time. It is near-impossible to re-create after poets go their separate ways. As Taylor Mali points out, if a Group Piece is not recorded that season, it is usually lost forever.

Thankfully, this classic Group Piece from Team Austin was recorded for SlamNation. Wammo, Danny Solis, Phil West and Hilary Thomas were masters of the Group Piece that year. They were favorites to win, but as can be seen in the movie, the competition played out differently...

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

 

Slam Poem: Taylor Mali - "What Teachers Make”

Guest post by Taylor Mali!

The first thing to notice about this performance, which comes from the final stage of the 2000 National Poetry Slam in Providence, RI, is how loud the audience can be BEFORE the poem starts. You can hear someone yell out "I love you Taylor" before I begin; but that's tame! Sometimes that good-natured hooting and hollering can last almost 30 seconds, and if you're not prepared for it you can lose your focus.

The second thing I notice is how short my hair is. I really do look like a Republican! The quirky laugh that I give to the lawyer twice is something I have stopped doing over the years because I think it's distracting. Notice that when I take the mic off the stand, which I always do at the exact same moment, the sound quality becomes appreciably worse. I wonder why I didn't hear that and move it closer to my mouth?

Lastly, of course, a pirated version of this exact performance has been on YouTube and received close to 4 million hits. Consequently, whenever I begin this poem today, depending on the venue, the audience is filled with people who either clap in excited anticipation or roll their eyes and groan, "Not THIS old poem again!"

This poem is part of the 2000 National Poetry Slam!

SlamNation DVD   SlamNation Trailer

And check out Taylor Mali here!

Slam America Bus Tour: Shappy Seasholtz - "Butterfly"

Guest post by Shappy Seasholtz!

Hello, poetry lovers! My name is Shappy Seasholtz and this here is a video of me performing my poem "Butterfly". At this point in my illustrious "spoken-word career", "Butterfly" was considered my "signature poem" meaning I performed this ridiculous piece hundreds of times. To me, it was the "Satisfaction" of my poetic repertoire, like when you go to a Rolling Stones concert you expect them to play "Satisfaction". Sometimes I don't even understand that metaphor since I'm really more of a Kinks fan.

I wrote "Butterfly" for a Rod McKuen tribute show that famous rock poet Thax Douglas put together at the Lounge Ax in Chicago sometime in the late 90's. Rod McKuen was probably the last poet to show up on prime-time network television. He was a huge phenomenon in the late 60's and early 70's reading sappy love poems behind canned music. My mom had his books and an 8-track called "Listen To The Warm." I figured what could be a more groovy topic for a poem than a butterfly? Especially one with a drinking problem? I have since performed it with jazz combos, punk bands, at comedy clubs and, of course, poetry slams.

When this video was shot we were in the last miles of Gary Glazner's SlamAmerica 2000 bus tour. A crazy poetry experiment in which a rickety tour bus drove various slam poets across the country to perform a slam poetry revue in support of Gary's Slam anthology that had just come out from Manic D Press. Somehow it had Grand Marnier as a sponsor which meant us broke poets could drink as much of the syrupy orange liqueur we wanted. I haven't touched the stuff since.

We were all psyched to be performing at a NYC venue. Everybody turned it up to 11 that night. In 2000, I was on my first ever slam team (despite having been around the slam scene since 1991) representing the Mental Graffiti team out of Chicago so I had a huge chip on my shoulder and was ready to kick ass at Nationals which were in Providence, RI that year. I ended up in a 3-way tie for 11th place in Individual Finals tying a former National Champion and a NPR radio host which was impressive but kept me from the Finals stage. Our team got to semi-finals hosted by New York City poet Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz. She thought I was an asshole because I refused to shake her hand as I walked on stage. Needless to say, I feel heads over heels in love with her, and later moved to New York City to be with her. We've been together for 11 years.

But back to this vid: I think Paul caught me at great point in my poetic path. This was my New York coming out party. I'm cock-sure, a little buzzed and fucking with the slammers heads in this video. Who knew that a year later, I'd be moving to Gotham to help Bob Holman open the Bowery Poetry Club or that two years later I'd be on the first team fielded from the BPC, and that we'd win the 2002 National Poetry Slam with the Urbana Slam team?

So I guess you could say this performance really helped me earn my wings! Get it? Wings?

Thank you! I'll be here all night!

Uncle Shappy's Chuckle Parlour!

Follow Shappy on Twitter!

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  © Copyright 2013 DevlinPix, Inc.
17A Stuyvesant Oval, New York, NY 10009
info@devlinpix.com
Tel/Fax: 866-552-7697