Monday, May 29, 2006

Slab City Slam - Day 2

See, I told you there was a moat. That's right, yoga at 8a.m. on the stage while I wait around so I can move the board to a new position, tape down cables, etc. And yes, there were two more musical acts that I hadn't been prepared for, not to mention the Shakespeare improv group that wanted to run their computer through the PA. The musicians wanted to use the Eurodeck, but since they couldn't get it going & no one at Arco knew how to run it either, I convinced them to use the powered Fender mixer/head I'd been using for the slam. They weren't super thrilled, but they sounded decent. I think the only person really pissed was the acoustic guitarist, but what the hell. Again, I'd come to run sound for the poets. Besides, it's not like I was getting paid, dammit. Much running to and fro...Slam from 10am unitl 1pm, run PA over to ceramics studio for improv group, then back to ampitheater for afternoon Slam competition, PA back to ceramics during dinner break, then back to ampitheater for final round at 7pm. I was freakin' tired, but it somehow all worked out okay.

So the slam worked like this: 8 teams from around the state with 4 poets per team, each poet had 3 minutes, 15 seconds to perform, each poet got to perform 2 poems. Poets were judged by random audience members not associated with any of the performers (5 judges per round) on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, 10.0 being "kicked ass, no possible way to be any more awesome," and 1.0 being "dude/dudette, ya shoulda stayed home and kept yer mouth shut." Points are accumulated for the team, not just the individual.

First two rounds, everyone participated, and points were tallied. The top three teams went on to compete in the third round. At the end of the third round, points were tallied again and the winning team declared. This year, the winner was the Essenza team from Mesa.

One of the Slab City Slam traditions is that the bronze trophy from the previous year's winner is handed over to the foundry. The trophy is melted down and a new one is poured & presented to the winning team after the slam is completed. The winning team designates a poet to perform one last poem after the bronze is poured. Please forgive the crappy photo of the bronze pouring...I did the best I could. It was very cool. I was very, very tired by the time it was over. I have to confess that I completely wussed out & didn't stick around for the Flam Chen show. In my defense, I'll get to see them perform at Tsunami on the Square in Prescott in a few weeks.

View from a doorway of the ampitheater's "roof" (a white tarp). I wish I had a better camera to catch the beautiful weirdness of this place, but there you go. Arcosanti is a strange place. For those of you who have no idea what it's about, it's basically an Italian architect's vision of the city of the future that has been under construction for the past 36 years. That's right, for 36 years, Paolo Soleri has been building Arcosanti in the Arizona desert with help from like-minded travelers who stop by and frequently stay for a year or twenty to help build the bitch. They have a bronze foundry and a ceramics studio where they make the semi-famous Arcosanti bells. Arcosanti moves forward at a glacial pace with help from volunteers and donations & is open to the public for guided tours. They also have a cool ampitheater that hosts events like the Slab City Slam, Different Skies (techno music festival), and world-class musicians and dancers and performance artists from across the U.S. and beyond.

I'm basically worn out and spent yesterday doing all the stuff I blew off while getting ready for the slam. Today we started transferring all the audio from the hard disk recorder to cd's and, um, slept a lot. Tomorrow I go back to work, and need to get up at the early hour of 4:30 a.m., so I guess I should wrap up the ol' blog-o-rama and get some freakin' sleep. It was a great learning experience, all the way around. I have to say that my already high regard for Mr. Todd, the sound guru has shot up into the stratosphere. I'm looking forward to learning from the master at a more leisurely pace, fer sure. Oh yeah, and my fab spouse made the whole thing possible and fun. I would have completely lost my mind without him, so major props for the Drewmeister.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I think the photo of the bronze pouring is kind of cool, actually. It really caught my eye.


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