After every haircut at Phat's barbershop, I'm assured that this haircut will get me laid. I feel that's much more likely if I go to the Halifax Slam Poetry fundraiser, Oral Tradition, hosted by Picnicface members Brian MacQuarrie and Bill Wood.
"Tired of sitting at home touching yourself?" asks Stephanie Lent, sex poet and Hali Slam team alternate. "Well then, come out to Gus' Pub on Wednesday, September 2 and get touched by some dirty poets! The Halifax Slam Poetry Team is oiling up for a night of music, prizes and poetry, pertaining to parts of themselves that once were considered private. We will come baring open minds, legs and an open mic, so bring any poetry, music or talent of your own that'll make 'em drool from all orifices."
The tongue-in-cheek-titled Oral Tradition is part of Hali Slam's efforts to raise the $10,000 necessary to get the team to Victoria, BC, in November to compete in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. They're defending Halifax's streak of two straight victories. Prizes for the fundraiser include an autographed copy of Bill Clinton's My Life. Lent finds this a humorous auction item for a night entitled Oral Tradition: "If you guess why, you get the cigar," she quips.
This year's all-new team includes political fast-rap, ginger giant Hermitofthewoods (Michael McGuire); breakdancing educator David Zinck; '90s rapper-turned-poetic- preacher Marvin Trimm---whose poetry about Martin Luther King was enjoyed by King's wife Coretta, and who has shared studios with Marky Mark---and emotionally driven mental health worker Laura Burke, who claims poetry has kept her sane. The only thing this team has in common are minds that dwell in the dirtiest of gutters.
Trimm, a former rapper, police officer and bodybuilder, describes his stomach when he was in shape "as a delectable, hard-steel showcase of firm rocks." The Bermudan is preparing a piece called "Role Play:" "No need for triple x-ray vision, because I see you...I see through that see-through nightie."
Sexed-up poetry for the evening will range from Zinck's testicle-driven poem "Werewolf," where he declares "I'm pouring out so much pheromone, the raw scent of attraction and desire that when passing dogs sniff me, they grow their balls back and run howling down the street," to Lent's poetry, which Zinck describes as very "in your face---or in your vagina, if you prefer."
Lent considers her sexually explicit poetry to be empowering.
"I think that all female performers are feminists because they're altering the status quo. I don't have to talk about women's rights to be fighting for them," she says. But her words sometimes do cause trouble. "I did a poem about having sex with god and the devil and ending up a lesbian," she remembers. "The high school kids liked it, but my reborn ex-drama teacher wasn't the biggest fan. Ipso facto: Steph's not allowed to do poetry in school district 22."
All of this heat should make Oral Tradition into a sexy good time.
"It's a band of poets, in a bar, reading sex-themed poetry," says McGuire. "I would expect debauchery, a bit of sleaze and a whole lot of fun. And there's an open mic. That promises to be interesting, to say the least."
Lent agrees. "Get out and get off while helping your local slam poetry team head to nationals in Victoria," she says. "Come one, come all over the place..."