The Dambassadors: “After hours of calculations regarding the tetris of bodies and backpacks, we are pleased to announce we are being joined by CHELSEA. D.E. MOTHERFUCKIN. JOHNSON!!”
I suppose it’s true, what they say, about the third time being the lucky one. Twice before this year I have competed in the Van Slam indy play-off that selects a poet to rep Vancouver at both IWPS and the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam at Verses Festival. In 2009, with less than a year of slamming under my belt, I found myself almost upsetting Zaccheus Jackson, who ultimately knocked me off in the fourth round. Last year, feeling much more up to the task, I fell behind Lisa Slater (who ultimately made finals stage at IWPS!) in the third round and couldn’t catch up again. This year I found myself in a gruelling six-round battle with another giant (literally) of Van Slam: Duncan Shields.
Overall, we each won two rounds, lost two rounds, and drew in two rounds – and it was one of the most exhausting nights of slam I’ve experienced. So although I was announced the winner at the end of the sixth (or double overtime round), I can’t say enough about the poetry and performance of Duncan (and, of course, everyone on the night – but Duncan was killing it). He’s also just a wonderful human being – AND he’s the creepy, but thoughtful eye guiding the camera for the Vancouver Poetry Slam YouTube channel.
Now, as it happens, IWPS happens in Spokane, Washington in early October. And my being there was already in the books, because….
THE DAMBASSADORS ARE COMING!! THE DAMBASSADORS ARE COMING!!
The Dambassadors are…
shayne avec i grec “Mighty” Mike McGee Johnny MacRae
FRI–9/20: Quesnel, BC
SUN–9/22: Saskatoon, SK
TUE–9/24: Edmonton, AB; Breath In Poetry
THU–9/26: Canmore, AB; Zona’s
SAT–9/28: Nelson, BC
SUN–9/29: Ymir, BC
TUE–10/01: Grand Forks, BC
10/02–10/05: Spokane, WA; Individual World Poetry Slam
TUE–10/08: Seattle Poetry Slam
WED–10/09: Vancouver Alt Slam
FRI–10/11: Victoria, BC; Soltice Café
SUN–10/13: Portland Poetry Slam
MON–10/14: Bellingham, WA; Poetry Night
The Dambassadors are “Mighty” Mike McGee, shayne avec i grec, and Johnny MacRae: three interdimensional beings who use the musical resonance of words and sounds to manifest themselves in the third dimension as “poets.” Individually, they have all garnered honours and stolen hearts throughout the terrestrial domain. Now, working together to raise the dimensional vibration of all who hear them, The Dambassadors have united to form the world’s finest trio of folk hop vocalists. Popping tongues and locking jaws with avant garde beatboxing, complex lyrics, and their unanticipated combinations of words and voice, The Dambassadors are from the next level (traveling uphill both ways)—and they want to bring you there.
Whew! A lot of madness these days. Between our successful debut of the talk opera this past Saturday, rehearsals with the Vic Slam team, learning to manage bookings at Wordplay, and kick-starting an outreach program for the Victoria Poetry Project, I’ve got my hands full! But the shows go on, and it’s got me excited.
Aside from an upcoming tour with The Dambassadors that’ll see us cover most of western Canada and parts of the American northwest, I’ll be competing in the Vancouver Poetry Slam’s Individual World Poetry Slam play-off at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive, THIS FRIDAY. The competition will be intense, as always, but I’m stoked to hit the mic with the best of the best Van Slam has to offer, and leave blood on the stage.
With 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac, I’m looking forward to performing at the UBC Poetry Slam sometime in the autumn, and I’ll be damned if The Dambassadors aren’t going to rock the hell out of the Van Slam Anarchy Slam on October 9th. For ALL information about where I’ll be, who I’ll be with, and what I’ll be doing, check out my show listing.
Well, somewhere between the heavy rain as I arrived back in Victoria yesterday morning, the sweat-soaked sunshine of mid-afternoon, and the lightning on the horizon as darkness fell before the clock struck 9 PM, the recognition that Autumn was arriving sank in, and with that, the end of my festival season has come.
But that doesn’t mean the insanity has ended! The week began with the end of Quadrapalooza, which was a ridiculous and amazing experience that led to me waking up in my tent Monday morning, and hauling for the ferry to make my way to Vancouver so I could host the Vancouver Poetry Slam that night. Tuesday I woke up and once more hauled ass so I could get to the dress rehearsal at UBC for the Imagine Day pep rally performance I was giving to first years. After a day of recovering somewhat Wednesday, I returned to Victoria yesterday to rehearse for “The Anthropocalypse: A Psychedelic Talk Opera,” then meet with the Vic Slam Team so we could launch the Indiegogo campaign that will help us get to Montreal in November for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
But the craziness just gets better! Today we pick up with our first full-run rehearsals as we prepare for the end of humanity tomorrow. That’s right. Tomorrow. At 8 PM. At the Intrepid Theatre Club. The Anthropocalypse will happen then and there. And there will be blood! Mentioned. About three or four times…
Got to perform this today in front of a several thousand new students at the Imagine Day Pep Rally at UBC. Huge thanks to all the organizers who made this happen and who invited me to write and perform a poem for their event. I don’t know that I can yet formulate words to describe what that was like! Lots of fun, for one thing. I was having giggling fits in my seat listening to all the students chant and yell.