Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 6: Beltway Poetry Slam


As you may recall last year I went to a poetry slam with my friends Ruth (if not read about it here).  That time we showed up an hour early and we were picked to be judges, even though my knowledge of poetry was taught in the walls of a middle school classroom. We had a six point system on how to grade them and we were serious about it.

During the past year I mentioned to anyone who asked that this poetry slam was the perk of my 2011 28 day challenge.  When I made the decision to do another 28 day 28 thing challenge I had to add another poetry slam to this years line up.  It also appeared that timing was on my side and the same exact event was going on this year during the month of February.    It was a perfect win/win situation. 

The event was being held in the Soutwest and since I was venturing to the area I decided I had to stop by Good Stuff Eatery first.
I started off my evening with a delicious burger and fries that came out to about $11.  I was won over by the burger that included bacon and two patties…. I decision that was great when I was ordering, but eating the whole thing was a slight challenge.  And how can you say no to a place that has multiple mayo options?

The slam was being held at "The Fridge" A cute little hole in the wall places that is an "art gallery, performance space, music venue and classroom located on Barracks Row in the historic Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, DC"

from the online advertisement:
Join the Beltway Poetry Slam for this qualifying competition to see who will represent DC at the Women of the World Poetry Slam this March in Denver

The event was advertised to start at 8 and the doors were to open at 7:30, which was a slight lie.  It was past 7:30 and the door were still locked.  So I went to dunkin' donuts and got a delicious coffee.  (Just in case you did indeed want a play-by-play of my night)

Around 7:45 I made a second attempt to enter the small room where the performance was going to be held and paid my $5.  I drank my coffee and a guy with a beard, crazy hat, and a non-profit twitter shirt asked me if I wanted to be a judge I agreed.  If only to redeem myself from last year and the constant “Boo’s” I received for my "low" scores. 

I had no real system to how I was going to judge just that I decided that an 8 was going to be my average score. 
This lady was our "halftime entertainment" .. better then madonna. 
and I only got the one pic because my judging skills required that I paid full attention.

They had 3 female performers. 
4 rounds: 1, 2, 3, and 4-minute rounds.
And before each round they had someone not competing go up and perform a poem to give the judges (aka me) a feel for the new  time limit. 

They started with the 4-minute round, then the 1 min, the 2, and finally the 3.

I gave out my 7.9, 8, 8.2, 8.5, etc.... and I was still constantly being boo-ed.  if this was a sporting event they would be happy with these scores, but here they seemed upset that I was giving out constant 9.5's.  
And I came to the conclusion: poets are narcissist.

even with the boo's I did have a great time and I'm always impressed by anyones ability to stand in front of a crowd of complete strangers and pour their heart out.
it is something I know I could never do. 

I'll go again... 
And next year I’ll give an average of a 9.0  

1 comment:

  1. A brief comment on the booing....
    It's not about narcissism.
    Assigning numerical values to poetry is ridiculous. It's meant to be that way to an extent in a poetry slam (if you learn the origins of this competition). The booing is way for the audience to support the poet for getting on stage and giving a piece of themselves to that audience. This is a very nerve racking and delicate thing. Getting shitty scores (even if deserved) isn't pleasant. This is the way in which an audience supports the artist for their attempt, regardless of their performance. It's all about love. Not narcissism.

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