Hello slam fans! Dane here, back in the saddle after a few weeks off. Tonight’s feature was none other than one of Seattle’s highest-rising stars: Gabriel Teodros! This dude is rocking the hiphop world so hard Rolling Stone reviewed his album and gave it FOUR STARS. This guy is the real deal. And though slam and hip-hop are definitely cousins, it’s rare (at least in Seattle) to have a solid acapella hiphop feature. Gabriel gave a solid feature, mostly off-mic, but the choice worked for him.
His pieces rambled through vast arenas of content (from Gaza to the ghetto and back) but came full circle each time, leaving the audience roaring. True to Seattle’s streak, he did a brand-new, never-before-seen piece about choosing one’s family, and not being defined by where we come from – yeah! – and gave us some really interesting banter about the process of letting his work go once it’s finished. “When I put my record in my producer’s hands, it’s not really mine anymore,” he admitted. “It’s all about what people are going to make of it, and I have no control. It actually sent me into a serious bout of writer’s block.”
Thank you for coming, Mr. Teodros, and we hope you’ll be back some day!
Open Mic Notes
Charley Pope, an old friend of mine from back in the Hampshire College/Boston Cantab scene is in Seattle for the summer! Let me tell you folks, we are in for an absolute treat. Charley introduced himself through a piece called “Fishing for Satellites,” a whale of a story in a rough persona. Watch out for this guy – he’s going to rock your world this summer.
eLa came up next with a new piece about Arizona’s new immigration law and absolutely killed it. “Senator Pierce…Superman was an alien” Massive audience love for eLa.
General followed, with some sound issues, because his hand was covering part of the mic, but that got fixed in time for me to hear my favorite line of the night: “my heart’s agape whale.” Nice work!
Angel brought a piece about the history of a relationship to the stage called “The Lovers” after the tarot card of the same name. Loved the line “monkey puzzle trees”
2freethink came to the stage with a piece called “Give me my birth,” which ran a little long, but nailed the message of claiming one’s own voice. Powerful stuff!
Sunny closed the open mic with a poem about loss. “Loss wakes us up,” Sunny said. I couldn’t agree more. I needed to hear this poem tonight. Excellent work, Sunny!
Slam Notes- IWPS prelim
The ever-amazing Mike Mcgee agreed to be sacrificed on the altar of slam tonight with one of my favorite poems of his: “Dear Neal Armstrong.” It’s a love poem, and a space poem, and so much more. 23.2 opens it up nice and low with room to grow.
4 Minute Round
Hillary Watson opens the real slam with a bang-up rendition of “Letter to Pat Robertson” – I know I’ve quoted this line before, but “If only you had more resorts, Haiti, you would be closer to G-d.” Holy crap! Well done. 22.1 for Hillary.
Marita Isobel comes up next with a piece about love and accepting love from others, about not believing lovers when they tell the narrator she’s beautiful. Another one I needed to hear tonight. 23.5.
Roma Raye, fresh from what might be the most awful week any of us could imagine, rips out a memorial to both a teacher and two of her students. The crowd is stunned, and on their feet as she walks away. 27.2 explodes the scores.
Sara Brickman makes the smartest strategic choice of the slam and completely flips the energy with “Crazy Girls,” and gets mad reward – a 25.7.
Jayda Knowledge, a newcomer to our stage, but certainly not to performance, brings a piece framed in Arabic prayers with incredible presence. 24.2
Maya Hersh brings a new piece the stage, still on paper – a collection of woven stories about eating disorders that left me chilled. Maya’s subtle, understated stage presence, which usually gets people focused and interested, seems to fly under the audience radar tonight. 22.2
Dane Kuttler does the Shifra the Midwife poem, and feels good about it, but can tell she’s bombed as soon as she leaves the stage to a polite smattering of applause. 21.2
Bruce V Bracken follows with a haunting piece, involving a reoccurring image about red eyes. 20.9
Mende Smith closes the first round with the “sex in a nun hostel” piece I’ve reviewed here before. 23.4
2 Minute Round
Mende opens with a piece about Hollywood – some nice picture building in there, with the line “We are the letters that spell Hollywood, and we are deceptively small.” 18.4
Jayda Knowledge comes back with a piece about gender roles and the damage they can do. 20.2
Sara Brickman opts for knife-twisting humor with “If I were a Man” and reaps the reward: 25.9 and mad audience love.
Roma flips for the audience with “Faker,” inviting the audience to really laugh. 27.3
Marita closes the round with “Dandelion slut,” an image I still can’t shake. Lovely. 23.7
Roma continues the laughter with a piece about her high school boyfriend, who “preferred nuts with his Kisses.” A solid closer with a 27.8
Sara Brickman takes a risk and goes for a new piece with the line “I feel like I just won a medal in the Self-Destruction Olympics!” I thought it was hilarious. Judges disagree: 23.9
And Marita closes the slam with a piece about being fetishized. Punchy, powerful, and popular. 26.8, securing the runner-up spot to Roma’s win.
Next week is the QUEER SLAM, Y’ALL! With amazing feature Roma Raye!
Finneyfrock Slam News Correspondent