La Poème

SAT 5/28
You are an MFA candidate. Tuition is sky-high. A 5,000-word short story is due tomorrow. A stack of rejection letters from highbrow publications is piled on the desk. You marinate in your own filth for days. Your partner hates you. And the frequent diarrhea. Oh, the shitty end.

You are a slam poet known simply as "The Wordsmith." You write rousing prose about political activism, social justice and the loads of sex you get weekly. Fans sleep in the wilderness to watch you perform outdoors. During the routine, you exclaim, "Dear MFA student, nobody is camping out to see your ass perform!" The crowd roars and names the campsite in your honor.

On Saturday, May 28, word-slingers from across Arizona -- possibly the aforementioned -- will compete in the Fifth Annual Arizona Spoken Word Festival and Slab City Slam at Arcosanti, I-17 and Exit 262 in Cordes Junction.

The competition features 10 teams of four poets each, with the winners claiming bragging rights as state slam poetry champions. Eric Larsen, who will represent one of the Prescott-Flagstaff-Jerome teams for Northern Arizona Poets, says the event is "a gathering of the best performance poets in the state."

The slam is free, camping is a mere $5, and a limited number of guest rooms are available. Activities are from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. See, and then take a shower. -- Steve Jansen

Cymbal Minded
Milano's drums up business

WED 6/1
Why is it that cymbals are the bass player of the percussion family? (That is, the dude that groupies sleep with last.) Thanks to the Sabian Vault Tour, which rolls into Milano Music -- 38 West Main in Mesa -- on Wednesday, June 1, high hats, rides and crashes are finally getting some love and respect. The tour gives drummers -- and wanna-be drummers -- the chance to get professional advice on picking the right cymbals, and features hand-hammering and cymbal-lathing demos, as well as a showcase tour of custom-made cymbals high school band geeks can only dream of. Call 480-827-1111 or see -- Joe Watson

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Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen
Joe Watson