I hadn’t been to the Nitty Gritty Slam here at The Low Beat since #100 & in the meantime there had been a regime change with Amani & Poetyc Visionz apparently taking over the management, bringing their own style to the event. Amani served as host & started us off with a couple of her pieces, including a sexy piece about her mystery man.
The open mic started with Olivia who read a long, rambling, stream-of-conciousness piece that she said was written yesterday, about the Skidmore College students were hit by a car over the weekend (Olivia is a student there). She was the first of many women poets in the open mic, greatly out-numbering the guys. Rashanda (I’m guessing at the spelling) said that she too was a Skidmore student & began a long, long set, like about 20 minutes, as if she were a featured poet, mostly personal therapy rants that all sounded pretty much alike. Tim Verhaegen was more judicious with his time, just 2 modest pieces about, of course, his family.
Jazz introduced herself as a homeless youth activist & did 2 pieces about her own experiences being homeless in New York City. Amanda did the first real poems of the night, the descriptive narrative of “Possession” & “Him.” Poetyc Visionz followed with his piece on dark & light with the message to be yourself. Jacky’s first piece was the “lighter” of the 2, “Swipe Right” about an encounter in a bar in Austin, then a moving memoir of growing up in Colombia County “We Were Poor.” K.P. said he had a couple of seasonal poems, a haiku by a friend, then “On the Weather, or Winter is Coming” which was actually about complaining. Salina ended the open mic with more real poems, on tenderness, love, sex & about the power of women in the “Game” of sex.
There were just 4 poets signed up for the open mic, Amani, P.V., Tim Verhaegen & me, but first Jazz served as calibrating/sacrificial poet with the “Game of Love” for a score of 26. Since there were only 4 of us we went “head-to-head,” first Amani (her signature piece “Amandita…”) then me with “The Pussy Pantoum.” Amani gracefully conceded her spot, in spite of all her 10s, since she was the host, giving me the round. Then P.V. with his technology poem & Tim Verhaegen with “Pussy” (!), somehow technology beat “Pussy” — never so with me. That left me & P.V. This time he went with an audience participation piece (rare in Slam) & I got a respectable 24.5 for “Going Postal.” But it was P.V. in 1st place, me in 2nd, & Tim somewhere in 3rd, & after giving Tim a chance to do “Letters.”
The Nitty Gritty Slam is held on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month at The Low Beat on Central Ave. in Albany, NY, about 7:30PM, $5.00 (cheaper with student I.D.), with an open mic for the non-competitive sort.
This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on November 8, 2015.