The days are winding down until SLAM! debuts at the 2017 Winnipeg Fringe Festival!
For months, I’ve been working hard to gather local spoken word performers and Fringe veterans together into a cast of competitors for a bonafide poetry slam tournament. I’ve taken on many roles in this production including producer, promoter, and of course, performer, and I’m excited to see what will come of this art/social experiment.
We’re taking our familiar slam format into the Fringe playground to show off to the neighbourhood theatre kids. Let’s see if we pick up a few new audience members and poets for next season! And in the meantime, let’s celebrate our words in front of a new crowd…with a few special guests along the way! (Stay tuned to Winnipeg Poetry Slam social media to find out!)
I want to thank some of my fellow cast mates who have risen above and beyond to offer their time and energy towards helping me along. Rob Malo’s confidence and performance experience, Kimmy Zeglinski’s personal support and knowledge of all things Fringe, and Larysa Musick’s design skills have all helped to make this thing a reality (that’s her image design above)!
Visit our SLAM! landing page for a rundown of the show, and follow the scores and standings as we move towards the last show of the run – the SLAM! Championship Final!
I’ll be on stage at the Roblin Centre in the Exchange Campus of Red River College on these dates:
Saturday, July 22 – 3:30pm
Tuesday, July 25 – 1:45pm
Friday, July 28 – 12 noon
Also, I’ll be joining Larysa Musick, Mike Johnston and former WPS feature Beatox (Adam Fainman) at the CUBE for an outdoor performance on Thursday, July 27 at 7:00pm!
Then, I’ll be just about ready for a nap, eh?
I’m very honoured to have participated in the Winnipeg Poetry Slam season this year, which was facilitated by a dedicated group of volunteers who provided a safe and supportive space for this old dog to try some new tricks. Warm thanks go out to Larysa Musick, Mason Kanne and Joanne Schapansky for their generousity and enthusiasm for the community.
And it was a very special evening last night’s finals as the season culminated in me winning first place! I’ll be representing ‘the Peg this fall at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Peterborough, Ontario. And I won’t be alone – I’ll be joined by 4 stellar young voices who are just itching to leap headfirst into the community culture and grow as artists and people. Big shout out to Derrick Natchtigall, Lindsey Olver and Joanne Schapansky! I can’t wait to see what tales we’ll weave together as a team.
After a couple of rough years, it feels like a landmark has been reached, giving me a solid pick-me-up for my current work, and whatever is to come next, including the Winnipeg Fringe Festival production: SLAM!
I’m excited to announce that a project I’ve been working on, called SLAM! will be hitting the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival this summer! Gathering up a troupe of 8 amazing poets and one fantastic host, we’ll be showing the theatre crowd what slam poetry is all about in a full-on tournament!
Stay tuned to the SLAM! production website as we’ll be featuring bios and links for each troupe member and posting scores and rankings as the tournament progresses to the grand final!
I have to share because I’m super proud of this one!
I recently completed a project with Meadows West School that explored sustainable relationships through Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program (yes, that Jane Goodall, author of Gorillas in the Mist). With funding provided by the Manitoba Arts Council’s ArtsSmarts program, I worked with students to develop spoken word skills in a two-week residency back in the fall. And from those groups, teachers picked four superstar students who met with me last month to discuss what it means to “Act Locally, Think Globally”.
Over the course of three half-days, we had the school’s art room to ourselves to put those skills to the test and come up with a collaborative piece. Together we explored writing on sustainable relationships to the environment, businesses, and of course, each other. On the last day, I put them through the grinder of performance rehearsal and voila! we came out of it with a solid team piece recorded on video!
I look forward to returning again to see the team present their piece in front of the school at their assembly next month. It’ll be a large audience for them, but given the individual creativity and charisma, they’re sure to wow their peers and teachers alike!
Though I enjoy working with entire classes, I love the small, dedicated groups that I can focus towards creating art that explores important social issues, like my work with The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. In a similar setting, I met with students in 2015 and 2016 to create spoken word pieces that were recorded and shared via YouTube, as well as during International Development Week in their respective years. Such great talent and experience!
The 2017/2018 school year is still a ways off, but the new Manitoba Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools Directory is out now! I’m going in for my second year of residencies, working with middle and senior years classes in developing creative communication skills and confident self-expression through spoken word and slam poetry.
The last of my residencies in my first year is about to wrap up, and I’ve already logged quite a few hours building confidence in students’ abilities to construct thought-provoking pieces that touch on personal narrative, cultural awareness, and social justice issues along the way. Also, chapbooks, puppet shows, and classroom open mics!
Visit the Artists in the Schools page to see how the program works, and find me in the downloadable directory (.pdf). Also feel free to navigate over to my For Teachers page to have a look at some lesson plan ideas.
January was a heck of a month! I traveled to Saskatoon to feature in one of my favourite communities (Tonight it’s Poetry!), and had it covered with a travel grant from the Manitoba Arts Council. Later that week, I came in first at the slam here in town, and followed that up with an Artists in the Schools residency at Montrose School, teaching spoken word and public speaking to grade 5/6’s.
Thank you so much to the community organizers, arts admins, teachers and friends who offer me these opportunities to share my work and otherwise live the dream! Please visit the links to learn more about community events and professional opportunities.
This month in town, I’ll be hosting the WPS February slam on the 15th with my birthday-brother Matt Moskal, and visiting H.G. Izatt school with a new lesson plan that incorporates spoken word with chapbooking and puppeteering. The wacky odyssey continues!
Photo credit: Sean Guezen.