Monday, August 22, 2005

The Nation Poetry Slam...damn

What can I say that has not been said on about 1000 blogs and livejournals by now?
Nothing except tell you why I went, what I got and how it affected me this time around.
be prepared, this should be long.

Well getting there was some work. We had a slam off. I won. Means zilch since you are part of a 'team'. The team talked afterwards and that was that. Now you need the money. In years past a gig of some sort has sort of fallen into the teams lap. A couple of those times that gig has taken a BIG chunk of the pain of saving money out of the mix. Very cool when it happens. Last year alot of cats were doing shows on their own and I got a few gigs for either individuals or the team and that helped a little.
This year? Nats was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As in FAR FAR AWAY. Add to this- no team gigs this year. Ouch. So Scott Woods came up with the idea to have an auction of some goods he had been holding onto and other items he got from poetry friends abroad.
I had been told a few months back while teaching at slam camp how to do the same thing.
So I planned on a couple of auctions at the event which I was emcee at the time.

I did not set up my auction until very late in the game. Originally I was just going to let Scott do his and that would be that. Then i looked at the crowd the night I hosted was bringing in and said hey, I need to do one here to take advantage of all these people. So I made some calls, got some poetry. Made some more calls, got some more poetry.
Then while sitting around I thought, why just poetry? Why not other stuff?
So I made some fliers, made a booklet type promotional asking for donations, hit up some companies that I liked or knew had tie-ins to either poetry or the space which held the event I was hosting.
Next thing I know, I am getting free hotel stays at 4 and 5 star hotels, theater tickets, bath and spa packages, dinners from top shelf restaurants, paintings, sculptures, carvings, prints, cd's, books by the case, and more!
By the time it was done, over twenty corporations had donated goods or services for the auction.
This did not include the books (poetry, novels, journals,advanced copies) I got. Nor the cats on the poetry slam circuit who are still sending stuff now (bless their hearts but poets either forget or get distracted).
In the end this helped ALOT.
Scott's auctions did quite well and mine almost doubled that. after a 3-way split the loot either covered each of their plane tickets or hotel rooms, with maybe a buck or two left over.
Lesson: Do auctions. Don't underestimate your power and connections. Prepare far in advance.

One of our team members could not go to nats, partly due to personal obligations (she runs a theater company) and partly due to funds to go so far for almost a week. had these events been in place sooner, maybe she could have gone.

This was the 5th year Columbus has sent a team. We, me included, have not taken the financial part serious and unselfish enough. It is inexcusable that in a town with so much art and money that a team should have to pay its' own way to try and put that city and its' art scene on the map nationally. So my fundraising efforts for next years team have already begun. Like, now. As well they should.

Next up?
Prep work.