Another slam report from guest blogger Dan Kuttler. Enjoy!
So, slam fans, we need to talk. I get that the Nite Kite Revival show was amazing. I really do. I think Buddy and Derek and Anis and Timmy are magical, brilliant, you-make-me-feel-squishy-inside performers and writers. But I’m just saying: when you miss Bill MacMillan, you miss a hell of a show. Which is why you’re lucky I’m here to tell you all about it.
Bill MacMillan hails from Worcester (that’s WOO-stah, for all you following along at home) and has been involved with slam for twenty years. Do you have any idea how long that is? We are not an old community. I think if the community was a person, it would barely be able to drink. Which means Bill has some CRAZY amazing “back in the day” stories. And also some “what happened last week” stories.
Being in the scene for this long, I think, has given Bill one of the greatest gifts a poet can get: he never takes himself too seriously. Whether gently mocking himself in “How to Behave Middle-Aged” (with a small knife twist at the end that had the audience sink into a nice “ooooh”) or describing the World’s Worst Rapper, Bill skates through his poems with an easy candor, and sharp observations. He gave us a little taste of the Worcester scene by covering Gary Hoare’s “Maximum Advertising Potential AAAAAHH,” and swung the pendulum back with “Blacksmith’s Lament.” Favorite line: “I’ll return to bed ignoring the warring constellations behind me.”
From a regional standpoint, Worcester is the self-deprecating, slightly snarky counterpoint to Vancouver’s blithe, joyous take on the world. For the record, Seattle’s national reputation is for being kind of depressing, but brilliantly insightful about it. Also, surreal. We can thank Buddy Wakefield for putting us on that map. And, while I’m on the subject, when the host says “There are poetry slams all over the world; Seattle is known to have one of the best,” they’re actually not kidding. If you go to a national slam event, you get RESPECT if you say you’re from Seattle. Just saying.
Open Mic Notes
Daemond opens with a cover of Geoff Kagan-Trenchard’s “Ode to my Bathroom,” which delighted me to no end, because it involved Daemond trying to talk like a really nerdy seventh grader.
Jeremiah Gibson brought a sultry delivery of a poem called “Frozen Portrait.” Said host Marita Isobel “I don’t know if I should be turned on or creeped out.”
Thomas Hard wins the week’s Dane’s Choice Award for his cover of a Patrick Lincoln poem called “Any pub in Dublin,” which is basically a poet’s fantasy trip through Ireland, and had the audience rolling and cheering in alternate lines.
Stephanie read a poem for the end of a relationship which contained the line “gerber daisies and peacock fairies.” Nice work.
William J did a hilariously surreal sestina (yay, form!) that I couldn’t understand a word of, but enjoyed nonetheless for his matter-of-fact, deadpan reading style.
Heather – “gem in the emerald city. “ “come glow in my bed” “I want to be encrusted with you” Sparkliest love poem EVER.
Open Slam Notes
Only 5 in the bucket tonight, so Daemond shortened it to a 2-round slam.
Bill MacMillan sacrificed with an incredibly funny anti-slam-poem satire. “I want Sylvia Plath to stay dead.” Me too, Bill. 24.8
Bruce V Bracken did “Beloved Uncle” 16.6
Chase Rudolph did a piece on the meaning of sacrifice. 20.9
Barton Jackson did a piece called “Child’s Dirge” which was astonishingly beautiful, and haunting, and framed by him singing lines from “Ring-around-a-rosy.” Audience agreed: 25.7
Amber Flame came with the attitude that no one could beat – her fabulous, triumphant, funny sex/church poem. Time penalty brought her to a still-leading 26
Dane Kuttler finished the round with “Letter To A Young Queer” –24.7
Dane Kuttler led the round with “Lucky Little Girl,” a poem about class. 25.1
Amber Flame followed with that poem in which she’s eyeing someone really beautiful and constantly yelling “GIRL!” for an untouchable 27.1
Barton concluded the slam with “Straight Men.” 26.4 Nice work!
At the end of the night, no one could take it from Amber Flame. A well-deserved win. See y’all next week!
Finneyfrock Slam News Correspondent