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April 2001 Slam

our second anniversary.. and our first night at the new venue.. the urban grind: a very cool space! lots of wall art, very linear, very euro, very uptown loft.. hillcrest is a much more vibrant part of town, of course. and here, we'll get more foor traffic as well. plus we're right across the street from "the flame"- what? you haven't heard of "the flame"? you must be reading this from outside san diego.. it's only the city's hottest women's dance club: very cool! anyway, this move has more than tripled our performance space, and it appears it has also doubled the size of our audience. it took awhile to get the "stage" area set up right. we didn't want to be too far away from the front of the room, but also wanted to be towards the back of the place, where we'd be out of the way of the comings and goings of the crowd.. as it is, we ended up having customers, who needed the restrooms, walking in front of the mic. we'll fix that next time, by moving the judges area up closer towards the mic, thus enabling folks in need of a piss or a fresh app of lipstick to walk *behind* the judges chairs. oh yeah, that reminds me: what a rush to have so many volunteers for judges tonight.. I was actually turning people down to judge- there's a first! we had two first-time judges: n'hari (the 'n' is silent, he informed me.. after I pronounced his name wrong!) and maria, who eagerly grabbed a chalkboard and judges seat soon after walking into the venue.. she was a tough judge to please but she was fair, giving out highest scores to poems she found "circular!". and we had three veteran judges: robert walker, poet/activist, author of a beautiful and thought-provoking chapbook called "lilies on a sunday pond"- next time you see him, ask him if he's still selling his poetry book for 5 bucks, and if he is- buy one! anyway, he drove down from encinitas with sharon elise tonight; also judging again for us was nahil, a real sweetheart: soft-spoken, doe-eyed and always consistent with her scoring; and adam deutsch was our third vet: he had been up in long beach all day, at the "big damn poetry slam", with chris vannoy, j.i. michael and billiekai. when I told him we already had our five judges, he was all "but we raced down here, all the way from l.a. county, just so I could judge! " but then, as luck would have it, one of the juges said he didn't realize he'd need to be at the venue til 9:30- said he had to leave at 8. so we replaced him with adam, and we were all set to start. I would emcee first round, while lizzie wann, was scorekeeper. and then we'd switch places for second round.. chris vannoy, who won last month's slam, was our sacrifice. his "bukowski's woman" took in 7.5, 8, 9, 9.9 and a 2 ("heard it before") from adam, our notorious but respected east german judge.. we need a new designation for the harshest judge o' the evening.. maybe the new title we bestow upon that individual should be "our taliban judge".. wonder if that's totally inappropriate, in light of the serious human rights abuses that go on in their name daily? we'll put it up for a vote from the crowd next slam.. first-time slammers tonight included alan, a neo-romantic who pulled down a cumulative 41.6 for the night, not too shabby for his first time up at the mic; poway high, the school that brought you unwritten law, blink-182 and others- now gives the world tina, who drove down with her friends, all students at p.h.s.. tina also pulled down a 41.6 cumulative.. coincidence? uh, yeah.. joanna, a veteran slammer elsewhere, but a first-timer with us, roped in a 47.0 cumulative. we also heard from my personal best bud, gabriel jacques, who brought with him his friend leesha: she wore a very rad "lydia lunch" shirt, which, if she had slammed, would have earned her an extra two points on her score (just kiddin'- about the points, not the cool shirt!); we also got to experience the up-rave that is j.i. michael, sally bonn, and katie o'loughlin, who all now have the 3 performance points they need to participate in the grand slam on june 3rd. hey, did I mention the name steve ramirez yet? member of the 2000 laguna beach slam team and co-host of the ugly mug readings up in orange county, he opened up Round 2 tonight for us, in place of our regular VIP judge.. whoa, very good to see wayne clemmons up at the mic again: he came in 3rd tonight, with a 52.7 cumulative, and now has 2 of the 3 required performance points- he'll be back for the may slam, fer sure! josh foote came in second, cumulative 52.9: that bought him 2 more points, added to the 1 he earned last month, and he's got his 3! and, for placing second, he was also handed 15 bucks, which is 25% of the donations we took in tonight; and in first place, with a cumulative 56.0, was sharon elise, who donated 30 of her $35 winning purse to our slam nationals fund. this was sharon's first san diego slam win! she only needed 1 more point, but ended up scoring herself 3 more tonight.. thanks everyone for coming tonight; we missed you, jennifer & serene; very good to see nikole & joel in the crowd, our number one cheerleaders (they is so gonna hate me for saying that..) also great to see laura, lenny as well- both whom I met up at the carmel mtn Borders Books feature I did last month; extra props to michael turner-ortega, for helping me with the sound setup tonight: thank you, miguel!! and thanks lizzie, it was fun workin' wichya! well, that's all now, til we slam again- may 20..

your slammaster
and faithful servant*,

*a nod to Keith Reid, the salty dog hisself..

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