Thursday, August 8, 2013


Every Sunday at 6pm the SHUT YOUR FACE! Poetry Slam by Curtis Meyer is held at La Casa De La Paellas (10414 E Colonial Dr Orlando FL). This is the only current ongoing slam in Orlando officially certified by Poetry Slam Incorporated. A winning team can go to Nationals or to the Individual World Poetry Slam and Women of the World Poetry Slam. On the line for the evening was $50 to the winner.

I ordered some food when I arrived and started sketching the stage before the poets started. Tr3 Harris was in the room. He said that going to poetry readings first introduced him to Orlando's art scene. Now he is curating shows and is an integral player in Orlando's visual arts scene. Chaz Yorick was there with his daughter. Chaz read a hilarious poem titled, "I wanna make love like zombies" about sloppy, messy, zombie love that I'm positive would make a great animated short if read by Vincent Price.

I was wrangled into being one of the judges by the MC, Natalia "MyVerse" Pitti. She started the evening off with one of her own poems as a "sacrifice", the first bloodletting, to get the judges started. The point system was between one and ten. One being a poem that should have never been written and ten being a poem who's originality hit hard and transcended all other poems. My judging seemed fair since I was right in line with the other judges. As a matter of fact my scores were often identical to Michelle Long's scores, the Full Sail instructor seated across from me, right down to the tenth of a point. It was actually pretty spooky. I was a bit concerned that contestants might view my sketching as a sign that I wasn't fully engaged. Of course the opposite is true.

When I sketch a poetry event, I like to try and sketch the poet that I'm convinced will win. I decided to sketch Sasha Nichols Rivera. Sasha swayed like a reed in the breeze as she recited her poems. Her hands gestured to the flowing beat, caressing the air around her. Her delivery was ambisnapping dexterous in that the crowd snapped their fingers in approval and everyone anticipated her next word with every breath and pause. The inspired poems, verging or music, lifted people up. Speaking with her after the competition, she was direct and incredibly curious. She also goes out of her way to encourage other poets. Her mom Yaa Rivera is a painter who has shown her work at artist critique events I often attend. This town continues to shrink as I sketch. Sasha won the $50 prize.

If you’ve never been to a slam before, it’s definitely worth checking out. Contact Curtis for more info, Also, Mark Your Calendars, there is Free Flamenco Fridays at La Casa which I'm sure will tempt me back to sketch again.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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