Review: Still Snapping for Slamala!

Review by Heidi J. Loos

Photo credit: Richard at Urban Artistry

My emotions were stretched and twisted and snapped on Thursday March 21st at Slamalamadingdong, a local, monthly poetry slam here in Melbourne. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much in one sitting, at one event, ever. My heartstrings plucked, then stroked, and healed by poet after poet after poet. They sucked sadness from my soul, vacuuming in the depths of our shared despair, relatable struggles, and shared oppression, then handed me a ticket to an even darker place where sadness meets hate and violent histories bleed into the present: lives are ruined by rape, racism, colonialism, war… I was so deeply saddened in one moment by one poem, but by the next, my tears had evaporated into laughter, pure awe, overwhelming inspiration and ambition. Rage erupted from my stomach to my chest, exploding in my head, but my rage was welcomed, invited, accepted, and harmonized by other voices.

They say every book you read changes you, but I think every spoken word event, every poetry slam, changes you too. Slam poetry is such a powerful genre and I think this particular slam was a really great showcase of all of the things slam can do. Whether its autobiography, memoir in poem form, relating funny anecdotes, or just telling really good, relatable, fictional stories, short and snappy, three minutes max, pointing out the good, the not-so-good, and the down-right-horrendous; instructing, complaining, entertaining, and transforming audiences. These slamalama poets had the crowd snapping constantly, snapping our fingers in appreciation of really magical moments, for poetic lines that blew our minds and rhymed words we had not even known sounded alike until tonight, for metaphors we’d never tasted and rhythms we’d never danced to: foreplay for our ears, and sex for our brains. I cried, and I laughed, and I snapped my fingers more.

I snapped for h

Review: Sweetalkers presents Anthropoetry with Ben Mellor and Dan Steele

Review by Heidi J. Loos

If my doctor could mix medicine and metaphor as quickly and as rhythmically as Doctor Ben Mellor, I think I would move into the clinic!

Photo by Michael Reynolds

But Ben Mellor is not actually a real doctor he was simply dressed up as a doctor for his performance of Anthropoetry at Sweetalkers on Tuesday, March 13, 2013 held at the John Curtin Hotel in Carlton, Melbourne. Mellor revealed his fraudulent identity of Doctor at the beginning of his set, but continued to feed the audience with a generous dosage of the very best medicine, well-crafted, well-delivered poetry.

Apparently this was the first Sweetalkers gig of 2013, and the first Sweetalkers event in almost a year, but it was my very first Sweetalkers event ever, and it was my second taste of the Melbourne spoken word scene. Enchantingly sweet and salty, sweaty, actually, but it left me wanting more!

Despite this event happening in the middle of a record heat wave, with a high of 37 degrees, held in a venue without air conditioning, I found myself constantly chilled by the talent and depth of the poetry. Goosebumps crept up my arms on more than one occasion, forced out of hibernation by pure passion and creative genius. The line up was diverse in style and performance and we heard everything from sassy love poems to boarder line satires. Topics skyrocketing from dinosaurs to soap powder, lustrous murder, individualism, hipsters, and optimism, to beautiful, dangerous, and romantic activism, Paris Hilton, and a call and response poem about breasts! And all of this happened before the UK Slam champion and feature of the night even took the stage. Let’s just say, the bar was set extremely high, but luckily Ben Mellor and his musical counterpart Dan Steele delivered a phenomenal performance that was bubbling over with passion and precision.

Their concoction of music, poetry, hip hop, beat boxing, science, left-wing env