Thursday, July 9 @ 6:30pm
744 High Street,
Has an Open Mic?
Randall Stephens and Steve Smart once again host one of their infamous duo sets at Tago Mago, this time bringing with them Griffin (host of Brother Tongue), and George O’Hara (one of the hosts of Spoken Word on 3CR) plus a photo exhibition with Michael Reynolds, one of the great photographic documenters of the Melbourne poetry scene.
Over the past 16-17 years Steve Smart has performed all over the world, run workshops, gigs, festivals (RIP Overload Poetry Festival) and been sporadically published. He has released six poetry CDs, various self-published chapbooks and has a massive web presence. His hair is no longer categorised as brown, it is now officially ‘salt and pepper’. As a poet Steve has been described as ‘Melbourne’s rockstar of performance poetry’ – (Perth Poetry Club), “wildly funny to deeply moving’ (Simon Leo Brown – abc.net.au) and ‘a raw, seething, hardcore poet who makes the rest of us look spineless’ (Amanda Anastasi – melbournespokenword.com). He lives in Footscray and is the current President of Melbourne Poets Union.
Randall Stephens has written poetry about other poetry, cycling, haemophilia, eroticism and sexuality, masculinity, dinosaurs and your boyfriend. People have called Randall controversial. Randall has called people idiots. Because they’re idiots. He’s been published, broadcast, vilified, ostracized, substance effected and performed on stages in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo, and competed in slams in London as well as New York, but he didn’t do very well because he was crap back then and slams weren’t. He currently lives in Denial, and has toured extensively through other emotional states throughout Australia. He’s recently completed cycling across the Nullarbor from Perth to Melbourne. This adventure was combined with touring performance poetry from his first printed collection ‘One For The Road’. His first album ‘PRODUCT’ is available at www.randallstephens.bandcamp.com with a third of the proceeds being donated to Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. He continues blogging poetry at ‘Tales Told by an Idiot’ (http://www.randallstephenspoetry.com) He also hates re-writing his bio, and has vowed not to do so again for a while.
With the world in a pretty unprecedented situation, as people already know, and although it’s by far not the most important issue right now, it’s had a pretty devastating effect on the arts, including the spoken word community.
Obviously, us coming together as a community at events in person are a crucial part of spoken word, and one the main reasons MSW exists is to support those community events. For us, it’s not just about the art form or individual artists, but how the art form brings people together, whether you’ve been doing this as a career for ages or whether you’ve turned up to an open mic for the very first time.
It’s been a learning experience and a bit of brightness amongst the darkness to watch how people have responded to self-isolation and lockdown measures by finding ways to use online platforms to continue to host open mics and other events. Alongside us starting to live stream events, we’ve been watching the rest of our community and the different ways events have gone online.
Spoken word, storytelling, poetry and writing still remain a way we can express ourselves and try to make sense of the world we live in and for us to come together as a community and for people’s voices to be heard. This remains critical in a time of self-isolation.
With most expert opinions predicting that this situation is likely to continue for months, not just weeks, the likelihood of us being able to hold in person events with an audience in July or August is pretty unlikely, and so Melbourne Spoken Word has made a decision to not hold The Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival in 2020.
Instead, we’re announcing The Melbourne Spoken Word Festival Online for 2020, with a new expressions of interest period now open for organisations and producers to propose events to be held on online as part of our program this year. We’re excited to see what spoken word
Morgaine van Wingerden, honourable mention at The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize performs ‘The Waitlist’ at Collingwood Town Hall. The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize was supported by Yarra Libraries.
Morgaine is a Melbourne based poet and artist who shares stories exploring family, mental health, relationships and womanhood. She has featured at numerous events across Melbourne and Sydney, and has performed at the Bowery Poetry House and Nuyorican in New York. She has been a member of Slamalamadingdong’s Team Slama the last two years in a row and was awarded an honourable mention in the 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize.
Miss Yankey performs ‘The Rose That Never Grew’ at Slamalamadingdong in March, 2019.
Miss Yankey is a British/Ghanaian Spoken Word artist; Founder of Poetry Prescribed; FLO Poet; Co-host and Resident Poet at The Chocolate Poetry Club; Open Mic Host at Mind Over Matter; and milli-tasking mother of twins. A passionate advocate of mental health and domestic violence awareness, she often writes poetry on these topics in a bid to takle the stigma attached to them.