PLU Open Mic & Slam Competition – Hosted by Winona Linn
Last Thursday (October 17th), PLU started our 2015/16 slam season! It was a great turnout for such a rainy Paris night. Performances in a variety of genres by both PLU regulars and shiny new faces lit up (see what I did there?) the bar.
We started the evening off with a Canadian transplant, Jeff Cottrill, who gave us helpful advice on how to write a slam poem, complete with clichés and not-so-subtle subtlety. Then we were treated to a string ensemble (The Old Men of Storr), who lulled the room into a medieval hush.
Our slammers that evening were: Edouardo, Message Folk, Maria, Amruta, Flavie, Yasser, Avi, GTM, Bibi, and Maxx. As it was our first slam of the season, we allowed for an “anything goes” atmosphere, so we had cover poems and songs as well as individual pieces. Edouardo started off round 1 with classics to warm up the audience, reminding us just how jolie Belleville is each dimanche, and he was followed by Message Folk who performed a love/protest song to Hollywood, CA. Maria enraptured the audience with a monologue by 17th-Century playwright Jean Racine, and Amruta followed in a similar vein with a moving cover poem about the steps we must take when lonely. Flavie was next up to the mic, with an original song, then Yasser with a funny poem about a pet rabbit (both in French.) Avi read us three original micro-fictions, and GTM spoke an ode to his eyebrows. Bibi performed a cover poem with a focus on being yourself, and Maxx finished off round 1 by talking about his half-Lebanese heritage and knowing exactly who he was.
For round 2 we reversed the order (as is usual in slam competitions), so Maxx came right back up onstage with a poem about the other half of his family, the Russian side. Some slammers left the night early, so next up was Avi, with more humorous micro-fiction. Yasser reminded us of the plight of being just another “poor poet in Paris.” Multi-linguist Flavie sang her second song in German, and Message Folk again gave us some Americana with which to hum along. Maria sang an unaccompanied operatic song that silenced the rowdy bar, and Edouardo treated us to new material, never-before-heard at PLU!
The champion that night was Maria, who was awarded the prizes for the top three contestants, since the others had left before the show was over. She received prizes courtesy of local artists and gag gifts, as well as the title of Slam Champion for the first slam of the season!
See you in 5 more weeks for your chance to slam! And as always, thank you to the consistent and hard-working judges.
— Your host, Winona Linn
This is it: the first PLU Slam Poetry Competition for the 2015-2016 season! Start racking up your champ points this Thursday for a chance to participate in the International Slam Competition this summer!
Put your words to the test and show the world what you’ve got. Hosted every six weeks by slam champion Winona Linn, PLU Slam challenges performers of all types to engage in competitive performance with their surrounding creative community. Scores between 1 and 10 are given by five randomly chosen judges from the audience in three rounds of verbal combat. In the end, there will be only one performer left standing, hereafter ordained PLU Slam Champ – at least until the next competition!
Held on Thursdays at Culture Rapide, 103 rue Julian Lacroix, 75020 – métro Belleville.
Check the Community Calendar for the next evening!
About the host:
Winona Linn is a poet, visual artist, performer, teacher and spoken word artist. Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Linn made a name for herself in the thriving poetry community of Halifax, Nova Scotia while attending the University of King’s College. Linn was the 2011 poet laureate of the Federal Green Party of Canada, and wrote and performed poems on a variety of issues for the duration of the 2011 election. Winona Linn is also the founder of Slam Kingston!, Kingston, Ontario’s first slam poetry series.
Linn’s most recent work, “The Truth About Rabbits,” was published in the spring of 2015 as a joint project between Thee Hellbox Press and Greyweathers Press. This was a joyful collaboration between Linn and two letterpress studios, and resulted in a limited-edition hand-bound rare book, with Linn’s poetry set one letter at a time by Hugh Barclay of Thee Hellbox Press, and interspersed with the evocative and charming wood engraving illustrations of Greyweathers Press’ Larry Thompson.
Currently, Linn lives in Paris, France. She is a regular writer and feature performer in the Paris literary and spoken word scenes, is the director of Paris Lit Up Slam Series, and is in the process of publishing her third book, a graphic novel.