Michelle Dabrowski and the return of Slamalama

Melbourne’s Premiere slam event, Slamalamadingdong returns at the end of the month at a new venue and new night of the week, the last Friday of the month. Melbourne Spoken Word spoke to Slamalamadingdong’s Creative Director (or Slamalamamama) Michelle Dabrowski about what’s in store.

Firstly Michelle, why the venue and night change and what can we expect that’s different or the same at 24 Moons and on a Friday night?

Benjamin! I just want to firstly say Thank you for this interview and for all you do for the Poets in this city. I have such respect for your work.

There are many reasons for the change in venue. 24 Moons is a newer venue and we are really excited to be moving north side and working closely with the owners who care about us and are excited to have us in their space.

Everyone can expect the slam to be easily digestible by staying under two hours with that celebratory, inspiring, supportive community energy we always bring. But now that it’s on a Friday, we have a bit more room for play and experimentation. For example we are trialing a new format where every month after the slam, hip hop jazz band O’Stranger Tang will play for about 30-40 minutes ready to back and collaborate with Poets who would like to experiment with music. This is pretty much like having a Jam Slam every month but with more flexibility and no scoring. I am hoping this allows us to experiment as a collective, serve the non slamming members of our community and create a force field of freedom, expression and positivity. I myself am looking forward to having a dance late into the night with DJ Swam Thing on the decks till late. We can all sleep in on Saturday, so this is really an invitation to celebrate, enjoy and make a spoken word night the thing that all kinds of folks can look forward to because there’s so much variety and ways to be nourished.

The first Slam in June is a ‘Back2Basics’ slam. Marc Smith said the point is not the point, the point is the poetry. I’m interested in your thoughts on what the essence of slam and Slamalamadingdong is, what are we being brought back to.

Oddly enough, I think the essence of the slam is freedom and equality. Even though the rules are there, Artists are really supported to take risks and be all they can be. It also brings together such a diverse range of cultures, ages and ways of thinking together in a space where everyone is equal and invited to be heard. Of course, I hate the lottery part of the slam and I believe it’s always a healthy challenge to our egos. We are being brought back into the essence of what Slama does best by making the Poetry Slam a conscious ritual, celebration and community coming alive which I think fills up our tanks and keeps us all going in this fast paced masculine driven society we find ourselves in, as artists, sometimes displaced. At Slama, we are the Kings and Queens of our expression. We value ourselves and each other. We are making a necessary movement.

What do you hope slammers bring the microphone on June 26?

I hope they bring their trust and surrender to the process. Their vulnerability and their own permission to allow themselves to take up space with their expression. No apologies.

Can you let us in on any secrets for what’s in store for the rest of the year? Any special themed slams or cool features coming?

All I can reveal for now is that the theme in July is PERMISSION and we will be featuring two of Melbourne’s most boundary pushing and unique voices who are very different from one another. So I’m hoping the community will join me in giving ourselves permission to celebrate our diversity as our strength.

Annie Solah