andy hall (hallawayjoe) wrote,
andy hall

Green Mill

So I went to the slam mecca last night... probably burned 35 USD in the gas tank, and drove half asleep there and back
two-3 hour drive with me schlepping the wheel. So I get there, There's Marc Smith who remembers me from last year's Rutabaga slam, Marc sowhat Smith... thatso?, is the big grand wizard of the secret society of slampoets... ummm okay... that sounded so wrong... but he is a nice guy, he performs marc smith every week, does the thing, even if he is playing himself, he has to be the persona to the audience and to the poets... Not an easy occupation... SO I get to sign up along with other poets, newcomers, etc... and get to spit a poem with the band... Not having any recent stuff with me, I do my Ann Coulter poem... gets a few laughs, but considering that this is an audience probably a bit burnt out on politics, it doesn't bring down the house or anything...
The poets that do really well are the ones who sing with the band... Then Jared Paul does his 4 poem set... interesting... but not my thing really. I like his energy... But I guess I want more humor or literary pretense.
The slam is a head to head between Tristan and Mythical Man, and Mythical Man from Macomb takes an early 2-0 lead with a poem about being a sperm, and another one attacking Bushie, catch phrase - King Kong Ain't Got Nothing On Me... Has all the masculine rage and energy... but Tristan has more of the literary style, and begins to win out with her poems about being Lesbian... but of course, go beyond her own suffering transferring it to the world as a whole... Mythie is good, but can't bring the audience into the rage and anger of the African American Experience...

Sorry if my review sounds reductionist... I don't mean to. That just points to my failure in depicting the event. I am blown away by both poets' energy, power and passion as well as presence. The slam ends... I make my 4th attempt to the tiny restroom to expel more caffeine before heading back to Bloomington.

Green Mill... quite the experience... wild juke box, and Al Capone hung out there... what more could you ask?

The slam is a true American cultural experience and democratic... sure, the poet can get full of themself, but will be brought down to earth when the judge holds up the 5.3. Something that has happened to me... far too often... but not often enough.
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What is fun about these things to is to go and run into people who are presences in the national slam scene such as Alvin Lau, or Citizen Wind, or Rob Meyers, who used to host the Normal, Ill slam the year before... other players were absent tonight because of the Chicago Young Authors Slam being held the same night at a different venue.

In some ways, the star of the show was Marc Smith, but he constantly deflected that deification glamour back to the idea of poetry itself. The event was more about the community in the room, not the poet or even the poem... but the people.

Viva La Revolucion!
Okay... shows you how muddled my brain is... Jared Paul, actually, was funny... he did a spot on imitation of Smith as a football coach he had in high school.

Also, for the life of me, I am not good at remembering details from Tristan's or Mythical's poems, so I probably am full of feces.
but... I am
Not the only human being who is full of it.