Oops… I Won!

Posted: February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I wasn’t going to slam. I actually was planning to not slam again until May. I do have some new stuff but I have a feature in March at Dusty Owl (March 18th! A whole hour!) to promote my book (Rusty Priske: Trapeze Artist), so it isn’t the time to work up new stuff.

I also have some ideas but haven’t been writing and May comes fast.

Then came the snow storm on Friday. It really messed up attendance at Once Upon A Slam and there was serious spillover at Capital Slam. So, as the list was filling up… well, it wasn’t filling up. I did what I always do it this situation… put my name down. We need a certain amount of slammers to make a decent show, so I put myself down to pad the list.

Then I got into performance mode.

Then more people signed up, including a last minute addition of our DJ, PrufRock. This meant I didn’t really HAVE to slam, but by then my brain had shifted and I was ready to go. We had ten slammers, including four new people (new to us, anyway… AJ Comeau has done Once Upon A Slam, Vessel has done Urban Legends and our Open Mic, Rolling Zen has done… a lot of stuff) and some cagey vets (even young ones), Brad Morden, CauseMo, ArRay-of-WoRds, Mia Morgan and the aforementioned PrufRock.

Right when the names were going to start to come out I said to Ruthanne, “I am going up late. I can feel it.” Sometimes I can taste the bullet, but this time didn’t feel like that. At this point I didn’t really care about the scores etc. I just wanted to perform well. Brad went up, Monique, Ray… Good scores but nothing that separated from the pack. I remember thinking. “Hmmm… I could get in there.”

Then Pruf hit the mic and BLASTED it! Hw scored BIG with a full 1.3 point lead on 2nd (Ray).

Oh, remember I said that I felt like I would draw late? It got to be more than that. With four people left I said to Ruthanne, “Pruf, Mia, Allister then me.”

The last four, in order, were Pruf… Mia… Allister… me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now back to thinking that I had a good shot to get in the second round (but not a sure thing) and NO chance to catch Pruf, I went up and did Angst. I have always liked that piece, but its reception down at CFSW in Toronto really put in into the forefront of my mind. Plus I enjoy performing it and I dig the message and energy.

So did the crowd. They popped big.

So did the judges.

29.6. First place… ahead of Pruf by .1

Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. Feeling the love.

Due to the gap between 2nd and 3rd, we knew there were only two of us who could win (barring two major meltdowns on stage). I went from ‘just performing to fill a spot’ to ‘performing because I wanted to’ to ‘holy crap… I could WIN this thing!’

Flashback. I have technically won Capital Slam twice before, but I think of it as once. Sept. 2007 was my time. Since then I was part of a three-way tie during a summer slam, but a: a three-way tie is certainly not as satisfying and b: summer slams are way lower key. I have also won some out in Lanark, but CapSlam is my home, you know?

So… what to do? Earlier in the day, while walking the dog, I ran through some pieces, prepping for that Dusty Owl feature. That meant I had four poems fairly fresh in my mind. One was Angst. The other three were Why Art?, Moving to Arizona and 1968.

Why Art? used to my staple piece. So much so that I pretty much stopped performing it… got to keep things fresh, you know? The last time I slammed it was at the CapSlam 5th Anniversary show back in 2009. The only time I have performed it AT ALL lately was in a duo-mixed version with my Copper Conundrum co-hort, Kevin Matthews (who was AT CapSlam last night! That was cool!)

Sure, I thought. Why Art? Why not?

The feature was awesome, though I ducked out a couple of times to run through my piece in my head.

I tried to ‘predict’ the second round draw… meaning I decided what would be best for me. Pruf first. Me last. ๐Ÿ™‚

That didn’t happen. I went up 3rd, after Mia and Brad. When I started the piece I heard a reaction from a couple of people, but not too many. It was clear that MOST of the people in the room were unfamiliar with it.

Good. That meant any reaction was legit, and not just ‘nostalgia’.

I felt really good about my performance of Angst. My confidence was high. My flow was solid. It just felt right. That really boosted my feel for the second round. It was just as smooth. It sounded like it does in my head.

Great crowd reaction. he judges gave me a 29.2. That is a great score but Pruf was still to come.

I’ll be honest. I thought I had lost. Not because I didn’t do well and not because I was unhappy with my marks. Neither were true. I just have great faith in Pruf’s ability to kill it. When he got called up fifth (there were six poets that round due to a tie in the first round), I thought, ‘he’s got this’. Brad and I have done shows where we try to predict the scores before the poet even finishes the piece, based on how the judges have been scoring. I said to Ruthanne that what I wanted to happen (being honest) was for PrufRock to be amazing… and score a 29.2, giving me a .1 win. Brad looked at me and said, “29.6. No… 29.7”. I laughed and said, “Whose side are you on?” ๐Ÿ™‚

My hopes were almost exactly realized. He DID a great piece. The crowd loved it. The judges gave him… a 29.1. I was standing at the back with Ruthanne and Graeme and I started jumping around… quietly so as not to distract from the show.

I was pretty happy.

John Akpata was live tweeting it and he said some pretty nice things.

Rusty Priske brings great work. “Sometimes writing happy is a lie.” A Slam-Master who is also one of the best! #CapitalSlam Blaouw!!!

Rusty Priske is back. ‘Why Art?’ #CapitalSlam and the Mercury Lounge get a classic. The Slam Master gets it at every level.

Oh, I updated the season rankings… I am now in 2nd place!

All in all… what a great night.


  1. […] A good comic week and a good saturday in general. […]

  2. Tammy MacKenzie says:

    Awesome Rusty! I deeply regret I wasn’t there, congrats.

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