Posted: January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

I slammed on Tuesday.

That’s right… Tuesday.

But this one was a little different…

Flash back two years…

Greg Frankson and Tomy Bewick decided to create an event called Slamtario. It would be a slam that invited teams from around Ontario to have a mini-tournament. For some it was a practice run for CFSW. For others it was an opportunity to put a team together for the first time. They wanted us to send a team from Capital Slam.

I said no.

Well, to be more accurate, I said it would have to be up to the team, but that was effectively no, since our team didn’t form until June and the event was in July. A team made up of competitive minded people aren’t generally going to want to throw themselves into an event with such little preperation and face teams who have been practicing for a while… in one case, a team forms in January.

I still gave the team the option… they said no.

Greg asked me to come down and act as Slam Master for the event. I did. It was a fun event.

One year later, they wanted us to send a team again. (Honestly, they are trying to bill it as a provincial championship, and not including Ottawa makes that seem a little off, despite how many great teams there are in the Toronto area. Ottawa isn’t any ‘better’ – especially after Toronto teams have won CFSW for the past two years – but we should be part of the conversation.) We didn’t again. Same reason.

When you go out for the CapSlam team, you are committing to all the work etc. that takes the team to CFSW. That’s it. Other places want to do more (NPS, Slamtario, whatever) that is fine for them, but that’s just not what we are signing people up for.

But this year Brad Morden came up with a different idea. What if the Capital Poetry Collective were to run a DIFFERENT slam to send a team to Slamtario? And what if the slam was very different than what we do at CapSlam? What if we made more about pure fun and craziness instead of hard-core competition… and then if the team was not as polished as some of the Southern Ontario teams, well so what? We would just be going down there to have some fun!

The New ShiRt Slam was born.

The first thing Brad did was chuck out the rules.

New ShiRt Slam RULE #1 – All poems performed at the New ShiRt Slam would have to be ones NEVER performed in a public setting.

Time for some new stuff!

New ShiRt Slam RULE #2 – Our judges go to 11.

I think that tells you what you need to know.

For each event, the rules will change (other than the two above). Each event will crown a member of the New ShiRt Slam team going down to Slamtario.

I was on-board, in full support of this venture.

Then he announced the rules of the first slam.

ROUND 1 – Each poet would perform a poem that MUST refer to their shirt in some fashion.

ROUND 2 – Each poet would bring a poem written out and then would perform somebody else’s, randomly. Both the writer and performer would get the score for that round.

So, I wasn’t going to compete. I was just going to support… but then I thought of a poem. I had hardly written anything for myself since joining last year’s team, but I had recently been asked what the rules were about clothing for a slam. The example I made up on the spot was, “Say I am wearing my Spider jersey and I do a poem about spiders and refer to my jersey… that would be illegal.”

So I decided to write that poem.

So now, I was slamming.

It was a weird event… a whole lot of fun. We were the poets and the judges. There were seven poets plus one extra audience member, with Brad riding herd.

There were some great uses of shirts in the first round. I specificlaly remember Bruce Narbaitz’s note-perfect reference to his graphic T and Panos’ use of shirt as Alien chest-burster.

In the second round, I got Abby’s break-up poem. Abby was laughing at the idea that any of the guy sat my table would get their poem, and it was me. Unfortunately, I decided to take that laughter and kind of ham-up my performance a bit, which ended up feeling not so great for Abby. That kind of sucked. Sorry Abby.

Gavin read my Post Secret poem.

We also had to try and guess who wrote each piece. I only got 3 out of 7. Bruce was the only perfect score.

In the end, I won. While I was having such a good time, I kind of forgot that one of the reasons Brad was doing this was to get some different people on a team. Oops. Instead he got the person who has been on the most teams.

Well, I hearby swear that I will NOT get all slam-competitive with this team. Whomever else gets on the team… we are going to have some fun.

I may not even choose my own poems to perform and do some sort of team choice thing… we’ll see.

Oh, one other thing that Brad implimented was a post-show debrief and talkback session. I really dug that. (That is where I found out that Abby was not really cool with the way I had performed their poem. As I said, I am truly sorry about that. I would never have done that if I thought it could be seen as disrespectful.)

Slamtario, here I come… and I can’t wait to find out who I am going there with!

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