is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Was Born In the Wagon of a Travelin' Slam...

Gypsies, tramps and thieves?  More like Gypsy poets, trampires and those who will steal your heart away...that's what you will find the SEVENTH edition of the Gypsy Poetry Slam tomorrow night at Transylvania's Carrick Theatre.

Bianca Spriggs
I asked Gypsy Poetry Slam founder and spoken word wizard, Bianca Spriggs, to tell me more about the featured speakers and just what will be new and yet familiar about this year's event, and to share her thoughts about Tara Betts.  She tells me, "Tara (pronounced Tah-ra) Betts is a Cave Canem Fellow and the author of Arc and Hue. She's been published nationally and has performed internationally, having shared the stage with people such as Patricia Smith, Kwame Dawes, MC Lyte, and Jill Scott. She is also known for appearing on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. You can find more about her impressive adventures at: Tara will have a two-part feature the night of the slam. She'll perform once before the slam and again in-between rounds."  

Spriggs points out the Slam organizers have brought together a fantastic assembly of guest speakers from across America.  "We have a great lineup from all over the country including a selection of local poets who are coming out to represent for the home team. The line-up includes: Ciara Miller, Maya Wegerif, Whitney Greenaway, Amaris Selah, Rose Smith, Katie F-S, Tuesday Knight, Joy Priest, Sarah Martin, and Porsha Jackson. And sometimes we have a few people show up the night of. The slam will be a two-round slam, meaning everyone will perform twice. The rules are that everyone gets three minutes to say their piece. It must be original material. No costumes, props, or musical instruments. 

Slams are not for the faint of heart or ears. I don't ask the poets to censor their material, so I would also encourage parents who want to bring their kids to consider that this is a PG-13 + show so young ears might hear some content or language parents would have to explain later."Is the open mic for men and women? "Yes! First come, first serve. Selections should be no longer than three minutes."  Bianca emphasizes, "I always like, for this event, to encourage material that celebrates the trials and triumphs of the female-oriented experience!"

 Spriggs will not be reading her own works at this event, however.  "Not this time. I like to just play host for this event. But I can guarantee, the audience will hear a lot of my mouth that night. I feel like a performance poet Oprah during the slam. I get to give prizes, introduce spoken word celebrities, fun stuff like that." This is the seventh Gypsy Poetry Slam, who sponsors it? Who are the judges? Are there judges? Spriggs says, "The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is the current and most consistent sponsor for the Gypsy Poetry Slam. There is a top honor, the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, carrying a $500 award, established by Frank X. Walker last year in honor of his mother. Second place is $300. Our competitors also receive complimentary registration to the conference and if they are coming from out of state, we help them out with travel and board. There are five judges. Tara Betts, our feature, is our "celebrity judge," and the four are selected from the crowd. Anyone can volunteer to judge! "

"The event will be held at Transy's Carrick Theater with the open mic starting at 6:30 PM. For the first four years, we held it at Victorian Square which we loved because of the walk-by traffic and the venue was just cool because you'd look up and audience members were hanging over the sides of the upper floors. We outgrew the space and moved to the DAC for two years and realized last year we'd outgrown that space as well (we get SRO crowds of over 200 people throughout the night) so Transy generously stepped in. Carrick seats 250."

How can we help? "It's a free event, so all we ask is that you show up, maybe tell some friends, and get ready to cheer on the poets!"

You can follow Bianca Spriggs on the Twitter
Booking: (347) 450-7771

see you there!

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