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SlamNation: H. M. Naqvi - "I, Carnivore"

Guest post by H. M. Naqvi:

My Fifteen Minutes: An Anecdotal History of the Golden Era of Slam Poetry


If I remember correctly, I ambled into a smoky, neon-lit joint on the periphery of civilization in the District of Columbia of yore, around the corner from the stretch patrolled by transvestites teetering on heels and desperate johns in slow jalopies. I was new in town, had five fifty in my pocket, and knew nobody. Parking myself on a barstool, I ordered a drink from a stout character sporting dreadlocks. “You ready, baby?” he asked in a stentorian tenor. “Cause it’s show time!”

Two shabby characters took the stage. One delivered an impassioned disquisition on the construction of identity, ontology and Cheeze Whiz. It was primal, electric, theatrical, occasionally meaningful, recalling Vachel Lindsay’s “Congo” or Ginsberg’s “Howl.” There was scattered applause among the malcontents who had assembled. They assembled every Monday evening. The audience, I learned, decided who would proceed to the next round. I had walked unbeknownst into a poetry gong show. By the end of the evening, the applause was louder than a circus. (The bartender, for some reason, would periodically holler, “I don’t need your money!”) The loser was booed off stage. The winner was awarded fifty bucks. Fifty bucks! I thought. What a goddamn boon!

Reveille Rescue

Posted by Paul Devlin:

When Texas A&M University Cadet Ryan Kreider saved the team mascot Reveille from a wayward SMU wide receiver stumbling out of bounds, the story went viral among Aggies everywhere. That inspired this fun piece for CBS Sports College Football Today that I edited with producer Joe Zappulla.


Rockin' Brunswick - The Groceries - "Nassau Street"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This is an outtake from Rockin' Brunswick shot at Patrix in New Brunswick, New Jersey summer of 1983. "Nassau Street" is one of The Groceries most popular songs. But Robin Gamble and Martha Haney wanted to do something more elaborate than a one-camera live shot for one of their favorite bands. So we made a music video of "Part of the New America" which is what ultimately made it into the movie.

Filmmaker Paul Devlin In the Gashouse Radio Studio

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for our screening of The Front Man at the Roxy!  We appreciate all your support, as always!

The day before the screening, Paul appeared on Gashouse Radio with Dustin Dellinger to talk about The Front Man!  If you missed the interview, you can check it out now!

The Front Man Screening Tour Continues: Filmadelphia Film Series at the Roxy!

The Front Man will be screening at the Roxy Theater (2023 Sansome Street, hiladelphia) as part of the Filmadelphia Film Series hosted by the Philadelphia Film Society. The showing is Tuesday Dec 16th at 7:30PM! Admission is free, so reserve your spot now!

And tune in to Gashouse Radio On Monday night, Dec 15th at 7PM as Paul joins Dustin Dellinger to talk about The Front Man!






SlamNation: Steve Marsh - "Protect Yourself with a Condom"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

In this outtake from SlamNation, Steve Marsh, the architect of Poetry Slam, Inc. delivers one of his signature pieces.


SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Power Trip - AES - Telasi PSAs

Posted by Paul Devlin:

The country of Georgia is doing much better now, but back in the late '90s and early 2000s, it was in crisis. This was spectacularly manifested with horrendous electricity problems, documented in my movie Power Trip .

But the Georgians are able to find humor in any situation. This included funny little Public Service Announcements produced by the Amercian/Georgian electric company, AES-Telasi, designed to raise awareness about electricity issues.

Here are a few more clever ones that did not make the movie.

Power Trip DVD
Power Trip Trailer

SlamNation: Patricia Smith - "Mad Rappin'"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Patricia Smith is a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. A monster talent and a fierce competitor, Patricia works her magic in this poem performed in a preliminary round of the Portland Nationals. But a crowd-pleasing group piece by the Austin team threatens her chance at the championship. Witness the strategy unfold in SlamNation.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation: Andrea Thompson - "After Kissing"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This was definitely the sexiest poem excerpted in SlamNation.  Sit back and soak up the entire performance by the lovely Andrea Thompson.

I was able to catch up with Andrea a few years ago in Toronto when I was shooting parts of BLAST! there. You can catch up with her too, in this interview.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Freestyle - "Akim Funk Buddha" (14 of 14)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Previous episode

An eclectic artist, Akim Funk Buddha, gets the last word in the movie Freestyle, summing up the spirit of the movement - with a freestyle, of course.

The Making of Freestyle (continued)

I had negotiated that the end of my time on Freestyle would be after the Slamdance Premiere. I knew that Kevin would have difficulty finally finishing the project, and would always want to continue tweaking, but I needed a definitive end, so I could move on to my next movie, Power Trip. I kept in touch as the team had difficulty cutting a sales deal. They now had many good sales offers, including significant advances from distributors. However, the music and footage rights had not yet been cleared, and that cost would have eaten up the advance. Since these were all-rights deals there would have been no money left for the filmmakers. So Freestyle remained stalled in this conundrum for several years. It seemed like the movie might never get released.

Then, while pitching my next film Power Trip at the IFP Market in New York, I met a lawyer who was very interested in working with me. But Power Trip was not his style. He wanted something more like SlamNation. So I showed him clips of Freestyle. He loved it and used his contacts at VH1 to get us a deal. Kevin resisted at first because VH1 would completely re-cut the movie for their purposes. But we convinced Kevin that it was the only way to release Freestyle from its shackles: VH1 paid for all the clearances, but only took U.S. Broadcast rights. That left Kevin with rights to distribute our version of the movie on DVD, in theaters and internationally. Eventually he signed a deal with Palm Pictures to release the movie.

Of course when money gets involved, things get tricky, especially when everyone has been working on deferred salaries. Not my first canoe trip, so I was prepared with some leverage in my back pocket. So I got paid (that’s a whole different story to tell sometime), but I’m not sure about everyone else, and I know there were some hard feelings floating around.

Kevin Fitzgerald took Freestyle all over the world, and Henry-Alex Rubin went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Murderball. But since then I’ve completely lost touch with them, and haven’t been able to track them down, even in the new world of facebook and twitter. So, I’m sending out the word to Kevin and Henry-Alex to get in touch someday!

Check out Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme
Buy the DVD

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