New Slam Season… and the travesty that is “Street Poet”


New slam season starts tonight at Writer’s Block. Individual World Poetry Slam prelims. This was the season I started out with last year… the one year anniversary of my slam adventure.

I admit, it’s had its ups and downs. I love performing. I love putting myself out there for people. I love hearing the different stories everyone brings to the table. I love the “So what!” scream and the “Fuck the time!”

I hated not placing well, though. I hate that it feels like I started this adventure so late.. though, really, not late at all. I hated not being able to go to the national events and be a part of the performances… and I hated that I felt that way.

But this year. This season… I’m turning over a new leaf. Performing what I want to perform– not what I THINK people want me to perform, and pretty much not giving a damn about the scores. I figure, I’ll either win to get in… or I’ll storm an event. Other people do it. Why can’t I. I just need to use these events to make myself a better performer, a better poet… and to have fun, dammit! Poetry is supposed to bring me joy. Creating is supposed to bring me joy. Letting myself get stressed out about the slams takes away that joy. I will not let that happen, anymore.

Speaking of slams…

I, and around 10 fellow poets from Writer’s Block all met at the library Saturday for a showing of the 2010 *ahem* movie “Street Poet.” SP is the SECOND title for this movie– the first being “Fighting Words”… from 2007. Yes, this movie was so bad that they had to re-issue it three years later with a different title. We sat and had pizza and snacks and watched this travesty and gave it our best Riff Trax treatment whilst also playing Slam Bingo. Every cliche we could think of we put on our bingo sheets and marked them off as we saw them. I won. Damn straight!

As to the movie. Wow. It was bad. It had C. Thomas Howell as a hipster sell-out poet with the world’s worst soul patch. It had a bunch of no-name actors portraying poets and publicists… and it had Fred Willard as a Marc Smith-lite version of a Slam Host… the slam being the “Poetron Slam.” No, there were no neon lit spandex suits worn during the making of this movie. If so, the movie might have been better. Maybe.

There was just about every conceivable stereotype concerning poets in this movie; everything from the drunk poet using his poetry to try to pay the rent to “I just want people to hear my words.” Ugh. There was (get this) a poet with a shoe endorsement deal (C. Thomas Howell’s character… that shit was funny). That literally had jaws dropping in the room.

Oh, yeah… we in the room believed that this movie took place in the 2000’s, but you didn’t find one poet using a computer, and there was mention of “floppy disks” in one of the poems. That one left us scratching our heads.

And if the general poetry cliches and inaccuracies weren’t bad enough, there were the world’s most awkward sex scenes in this movie (the most up-front way anyone in cinema has told another person that they were HIV positive AND later the most dramatic unsheathing of a condom ever. EVER.), and the oddest poetry slam ever created. And not one damn snap! Not one! AND they used props during the slam. The hell!

I could literally go on and on about this movie… but I will spare you. Needless to say, this movie should be buried in a pit. A pit of poetic despair, never to be seen from again, along with C. Thomas Howell’s soul patch.

It was such a bad movie, one of the poets in attendance said “If this is how people see us, I’m out.” We all kinda felt that way. About halfway through the movie, he left. Couldn’t handle it. We don’t blame him.

So, if you’re at a Redbox or on Netflix and you see “Street Poet,” do yourself a favor… search for “Slam Nation,” instead.

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