CapSlamReCap 2016 Edition!


(Feature poet Amal El-Mohtar, owl not included.)

2016 is two weeks old and we finally kicked it off properly, with a new edition of Capital Slam!

There was a very mice crowd on hand, with a mix if old faces and a whole bunch of first-time slam fans! That carried over into the poet list as well!

Rusty launched into the show, welcoming the audience to a new year of slam. We lost an open mixer between sign up and show start (come out next time Ember!), but we were still well served by a veteran of the Montreal scene, Lynn, who led us in dance to welcome the snow and ice to Ottawa!

Then it was time for the slam itself and Rusty introduced his personal favourite poet to act as Sacrifice for the show – Rusty Priske! 9.1 8.3 9.3 9.0 9.3 – 27.3

Then we went into the magi chat to find out who would be hitting the stage first… it was Origin, making his season debut! 9.4 8.8 9.5 9.4 9.4 – BUT he went 3:25 so ended with 27.2

Next up was the CPC Director herself, Sarah Ruszala! 8.9 9.7 9.3 8.7 9.0 – 27.2

Newly transported to O-town, a member of the reigning CFSW Champions, Larissa Tarasoff was next! 9.1 8.6 9.0 9.2 8.8 – 26.9

Another new voice on the CapSlam stage, Schuster was next out of the hat and into our ears! 8.7 8.6 9.1 8.7 8.9 – 26.3

Next up was one of the new CapSlam regulars, Word Witch! 8.5 9.0 9.0 8.4 9.0 – 26.5

The penultimate poet of the round was the current points leader, Blue! 9.4 9.6 9.7 9.0 9.2 – 28.2

We wrapped up the round with Rick from Lanark County! 9.0 9.5 8.9 7.9 8.5 – with a HUGE time penalty after going 5:20, ending with a 19.4


With the first round in the books and a break under our belts it was time for our very special feature! Amal El-Mohtar is a supremely talented multi-threat who shared fantastic lines about everything front he troubles in Syria to the right choice in gifts of honey. Wonderful. (I was happy to see the poets snapping up copies of her book, The Honey Month.)

Then we were back for the second round of the slam!

We started off with Word Witch sharing some pain with us. 9.2 9.5 TEN 8.8 9.1 – 27.8

Next was a second coat of Blue! 9.6 9.2 9.5 9.1 9.2 – 27.9

National Champ Larissa Tarasoff  was next up! 9.6 9.3 9.3 9.0 9.0 – 27.6

Rick was back! Would he get it in under 3 minutes this time? (No.) 9.3 8.4 9.9 8.0 8.8 – but a time of 3:59 for a final score of 24.0

Speaking of time penalties, how did Origin do in round 2? 9.9 9.8 9.9 9.5 9.2 – but a time of 3:23 for a 28.2

The penultimate poet of the night was Schuster! 9.7 8.7 9.6 9.3 9.1 – 28.0

We finish dup with Sarah Ruszala! 9.8 9.8 TEN 8.7 9.3 – 28.9



7 – RICK


JAN. 17th – OYPS at PRESSED featuring Amal El-Mohtar!
JAN. 20th – Our Slam Master, Rusty Priske is featuring at the Sawdust Reading Series at the Pour Boy
FEB. 6th – the next CAPITAL SLAM features SABRINA BENAIM!

CapSlam ReCap


We wrapped up 2015 with a show that featured one of the biggest names in Canadian Spoken Word – Ian Keteku!

Plus there were presents!

Plus there was a Rusty Carol!

Plus there was a slam!

Rusty took the stage as host and introduced the first Open Micer – a newcomer to our stage, Maisaloon!

With the strains of ‘Come Back’ echo gin through the room, Rusty Priske tried to make singing a Christmas Carol Parody about himself an annual tradition.

Then it was time for the slam… but as every SlamFan knows, we can’t have a slam without spilling a little sacrificial blood. It was CPC Director and OYPS Slam Master, Sarah Ruszala offering herself up! 8.0 8.8 9.2 8.5 8.8 – 25.6

Then it was time for the magic hat and the first name out was a familiar face, of late off in Toronto, Kay Kassirer! 8.0 9.0 9.3 8.3 8.5 – 25.8

They were followed by another mainstay, D-Zaster! 8.4 8.9 9.1 8.7 9.5 – 26.7

Third up was this year’s new star, Blue! 9.7 9.5 9.6 9.0 9.2 – 28.3!

Man, myth or Urban Legend? Infinite Mind was next! 9.8 9.1 8.8 8.7 9.4 – 27.3

Next was one of our new regulars, Word Witch! 8.0 8.3 8.0 8.1 8.0 – 24.1

One of three CapSlam Champs in the house, Nina Vuelta was next! 8.6 9.4 9.2 8.5 8.8 – 26.6

The penultimate poet of the round was a CapSlam newcomer, Sarah Kabamba! 8.5 8.5 9.1 9.0 8.7 – 26.2

We wrapped up with the return of DMP! 8.9 9.0 9.5 9.1 9.6 – 27.6


After a break it was time for former CapSlam Champ, former CFSW National Champ, former WORLD Champ, and all-around poetry powerhouse, IAN KETEKU!

It was great to have the legend back at CapSlam!

(Also, shout out to the third CapSlam Champ who stopped by for the show… Sense-Say was on hand!)

Then it was back to the hat, and back to the slam!

First up would have been Infinite Mind but he had to duck out so it was back to the hat for… D-Zaster! 8.5 9.0 8.9 8.6 8.5 – 26.0

Then we were back for a new shade of Blue! 9.0 9.8 8.9 8.9 9.0 – 26.9

Next up… DMP! 8.8 8.6 9.3 9.7 9.2 – 27.3

He was followed by his teammate, Nina Vuleta! 8.8 8.9 8.7 9.1 8.8 – 26.5

First-timer, Sarah Kabamba was back! 9.5 9.0 8.4 9.3 8.5 – 26.8

Next back was Kay Kassirer! 9.0 9.7 8.5 9.5 9.5 – 28.0!

We wrapped up with Word Witch! 8.0 8.2 8.6 8.3 8.2 – 24.7


  1. Blue – 55.2
    2. DMP – 54.9
    3. Kay Kassirer – 53.8
    4. Nina Vuleta – 53.1
    5. Sarah Kabamba – 53.0
    6. D-Zaster – 52.7
    7. Word Witch – 53.8
    8. Infinite Mind – 27.3


Next CapSlam is on January 2nd and features AVONLEA FOTHERINGHAM!




The Penultimate Capital Slam of 2015 was full of wonder and magic and heartbreak and struggle and art and art and art!

CPC Director Sarah Ruszala handled the hosting duties and she heralded a strong lien up of 8 slammers, 2 open mixers and a kick-ass feature!

The first poetry heard on the stage this evening came from an infrequent voice in our scene, Kel Seashore!

The second came from someone making his spoken word debut, Linzey Mentor!

Then it was time for the slam… but what is a slam without a little blood?

Sarah handled the sacrificial duties herself, far from the ever-present Parliament Eye. 8.0 8.7 8.5 8.7 8.0 – 25.2

Then it was time for the Magic Hat! The first name out was a poet who has already repped at the National level, but she was making her CapSlam debut – Emma F.! 8.5 9.5 9.0 9.0 9.4 – 27.4

Next up was an Urban Legend, Infinite Mind! 9.0 9.8 9.0 9.6 9.5 – 28.1

The 2015 CapSlam Champ was next up! Nina Vuleta! 9.0 9.7 8.8 9.7 8.5 – 27.5

Another debut! Ambiguous! 7.5 9.1 8.0 7.7 7.2… but he went 3:28 so got a 1 point penalty. 22.2

Always great to have visiting poets… A Block of Cheese was next! 7.9 9.3 8.5 8.4 7.7 – 24.8

With Sarah hosting, what was Rusty Priske doing? Slamming! 9.5 9.6 9.5 9.9 8.7 – 28.6

The penultimate poet of the round was also the person who has been leading both the CapSlam and OYPS rankings! Blue! 9.8 9.9 9.6 TEN TEN – 29.7!

We finished up with Word Witch! 8.5 9.2 9.4 9.5 9.0 – 27.6

(Though, according to the scoresheet provided by Nina Vuleta, there was another poet int he first round… John Cena. He got a 30.)

After a short break we were back with an amazing feature by the winner of the 2015 Underground Indies, Rabbit Richards! Rabbit had lots of real talk for us and we loved having her as… part of our world.

Then it was back to the slam!

Round 2 kicked off with Emma F. biting the bullet again! 8.0 9.3 9.0 8.8 8.8 – 26.6

Since Emma was first in both rounds, why not have Infinite Mind second on both rounds? 9.0 TEN 9.4 9.2 9.3 – 27.9

The trend was crushed by A Block of Cheese! 9.0 9.3 9.0 9.3 8.9 – 27.3

The first half of the last round was capped by Ambiguous! 8.0 9.1 8.5 8.4 8.0 – 24.9

Next up was vet (and recapper), Rusty Priske! 8.8 9.5 9.5 9.9 8.4 – 27.8

Would Blue continue her momentum? (Spoiler: yes) 9.8 TEN 9.7 TEN TEN – 29.8!!

Word Witch was the penultimate poet of the night! 9.0 9.2 9.0 9.4 9.3 – 27.5

We wrapped thing sup with Nina Vuleta! 9.3 9.9 9.5 9.5 9.7 – 28.7


  1. Blue – 59.5
  2. Rusty Priske – 56.4
  3. Nina Vuleta – 56.2
  4. Infinite Mind – 56.0
  5. Word Witch – 55.1
  6. Emma F. – 54.0
  7. A Block of Cheese – 52.1
  8. Ambiguous – 47.1


Capital Slam is back on Dec. 19th, with poetry super star, IAN KETEKU!!!




It’s slam time!

CapSlam was at a special venue  this time out as we collectively checked  out the brand new Origin Studio! Origin Studio is a real intimate venue in the heart of Hintonburg. It was a great atmosphere for sharing poetry and we had a lot of that, with not one but FOUR features and a line-up of six slammers!

We started out with a very special open mic as our volunteer co-ordinator, Jenica Shivkumar finally made her poetic CapSlam debut!

Remember this day folks and one day you will be asked , “Where were you with Jenica Shivkumar read her first poem at CapSlam…”


Our veteran awkward host doubled as sacrificial poet for the evening, but what does it mean? 7.5 9.2 9.6 8.0 7.0 – 24.7


But enough about him, what about the slammers? Who was going to be first out of the magic hat? (no, not Rabbit… she will be at the next slam.)

First up was poetry superstar, Cathy Petch! 8.0 8.1 9.0 9.0 7.0 – 25.4

Next was a brand new poet to our stage, Victoria Lucas! 9.5 8.5 9.4 8.7 7.5 – 26.6

Next up was CPC Director Sarah Ruszala! 7.5 9.7 8.0 7.0 8.0 – 23.5

Reigning CapSlam Champ, Nina Vuleta was next! 8.7 8.5 8.5 9.2 7.5 – 25.7

The penultimate poet of the round was D-Zaster! 9.5 9.3 9.2 7.0 8.5 – 27.0

We wrapped up with Blue! 9.2 9.4 9.5 9.0 9.0 – 27.6

After a 10 minute break, we were back with our very special feature, the 2015 Toronto Poetry Slam Team! Kay, Trevor, Justin and Spin kept us spiralling through laughter and emotional punch! A treat!

But there was no resting on our laurels as we still had another round of slam to go!

Sarah Ruszala was back to infect our minds with a Westminster Chime Ear Worm. 8.5 8.7 9.0 9.0 9.6 – 26.7

Blue had the lead after round 1… could she hold it? 8.9 9.5 9.1 9.0 9.7 – 27.6

Nina Vuleta was back… and got one of only two TENS on the night! 9.8 9.1 9.5 TEN 9.4 – 28.7

Another poem from Victoria Lucas! A great debut! Hopefully we will hear more from Victoria at future slams! 8.5 9.3 7.8 8.0 9.1 – 25.6

Penultimate again! D-Zaster! 8.7 9.0 9.0 7.5 9.3 – 26.7

Didn’t I say there were two TENS? Cathy Petch! 9.3 9.2 TEN 9.0 9.8 – 28.3


  1. Blue – 55.2
  2. 2. Nina Vuleta – 54.4
  3. D-Zaster – 53.7
  4. Cathy Petch – 53.4
  5. Victoria Lucas – 52.2
  6. Sarah Ruszala – 50.2

Don’t forget OYPS tomorrow at Pressed with Kay Kassirer and then CapSlam is back at Cafe Alt on Dec. 5th featuring Rabbit Richards!


CapSlam is at ORIGIN STUDIO this week!

There has been some confusion about the location of our next slam (featuring the TPS Team!)

ORIGIN STUDIO is at 57 Lyndale in Hintonburg. Is one block away from Scott and 2 blocks from Parkdale.

This is NOT the same place as Origin Studios on Sussex.

Postering Blitz

This Sunday, November 15th, Capital Slam is hosting a postering blitz and you are all invited. We will meet at the University Centre (85 University Private), on the University of Ottawa campus at noon. All volunteers will be provided snacks, supplies, and good karma. Then we will split off into small groups, and cover the city with colourful paper and the call to poetry.

Everyone who helps out will get out a voucher good for one free CapSlam show.

If requested, volunteers can receive highschool volunteer hours.

For more information or to RSVP please email us at

CapSlam ReCap


Our first CapSlam in November was also our second CapSlam at Cafe Alt! Trying t make sure everyone could find their way in was a job, but once things settled down, we had a list of NINE slammers, including some out of town faces and a surprise CapSlam debut!!

Rusty Priske took the stage as host with a poem to get people in the mood before he turned it over to stand-up comedian Tommy Fitz for an open mic section!

Then it was on to the slam!

Spilling the sacrificial blood was one of the co-organizers of our ‘sister-show’ Urban Legends, Playto! 8.2 6.5 6.9 7.5 8.2 – 22.2

Then it was time for Rusty to reach into the magic hat and the first name out was multiple-time CFSW finalist, Made Wade! 9.2 9.5 9.6 9.0 8.7 – 27.7

Next up was a slam rookie, but quite a word spinner, Shakesfear! 8.9 8.2 9.1 8.3 7.9 – 25.4

Next was a visiting poet who has repped at CFSW a few times, Wes Ryan! 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.4 9.3 – 28.0

Next up was a CapSlam debut, believe it or not! In all this time, Apollo the Child had never slammed with us… until now! 9.5 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.0 – 28.4

The mid-point of the round was filled by the CPC Director, Sarah Ruszala! 9.1 9.0 9.5 9.3 9.3 – 27.7

Another visiting poet, in from Montreal after reaping Guelph at CFSW, EVT was up! 9.1 8.7 9.5 9.2 9.4 – 27.7

Another Urban Legend, Infinite Mind was next out of the hat! 9.2 9.0 9.4 9.4 9.5 – 28.0

Next up was Blue, and it you want to see the petition that we spoke about at the show, you can check it out here.

Lastly, CapSlam Champ Nina Vuleta hit the stage! 9.3 9.4 9.3 9.2 9.3 – 27.9

After a break it was feature time and we were treated to the powerful words of Truth Is…!

Truth Is… has been sharing poems at the National level since 2006 and it was a real treat to witness the work on our stage. It has been a little but, but for tonight anyway, the Truth was here!

Then we were back for another round of slamming! Back into the hat as (nearly) everyone came for another go ’round. (Shakesfear didn’t stick around.)

EVT – 9.0 9.0 9.3 9.3 9.2 – 27.5

Made Wade – 8.9 9.3 9.2 9.4 8.9 – 27.4

Nina Vuleta – 9.8 9.6 9.1 9.3 9.5 – 28.4

Wes Ryan – 9.2 9.3 9.2 9.4 9.6 – 27.9

Blue – 9.6 9.4 9.1 9.5 9.4 – 28.3

Apollo the Child – 9.8 9.5 9.3 TEN 9.6 (and a time of 3:14 for a .5 time penalty) – 28.4

Sarah Ruszala – 9.7 9.2 9.4 9.6 9.3 – 28.3

Infinite Mind – TEN 9.7 9.7 9.8 TEN (and a time of 3:25 for a 1 point time penalty) – 28.5


1. Apollo the Child – 56.8
2. Infinite Mind – 56.5
3. Nina Vuleta – 56.3
4. Blue – 56.2
5. Sarah Ruszala – 56.0
6. Wes Ryan – 55.9
7. EVT – 55.2
8. Made Wade – 55.1
9. Shakesfear – 25.4

The next CapSlam in on Nov. 21st and will be held at a special location – Origin Studio in Hintonburg! Our feature is the 2015 Toronto Poetry Slam team!

Accessibility and CapSlam

The organizers of Capital Slam take issues around accessibility very seriously and with recent concerns about our venues coming to light, I wanted to explain the situation and talk about the challenges surrounding it.

This is a serious issue for us as we believe that slam is only slam when it is freely open to everyone. The problems we have had finding a good venue have been numerous and we are committed to working until it is rectified. Acknowledging a problem is only the first step to actually finding a solution.

Let me say right up front that I can’t claim that we have ALWAYS treated accessibility as a priority. This is not something I am proud of, but the reality was that we had a venue that we really liked. We knew it was terrible for accessibility but never took steps to correct it.

That is on us. Straight up.

As summer wrapped up this year we found ourselves without a venue, with very little notice. We had to scramble to find a replacement, and fast.

The first thing I did was make a list of absolute requirements for the new venue. It was a short list. One of the items on it was that the venue MUST be accessible. After going so long with one that was not, I did not want to get ensconced in that same situation again. (To show HOW short this list was, we are now in a venue with no sound system. That was not considered a high enough priority to make the list.)

The first thing I discovered in my search is how few decent venues this city has for a regular show. Everything was either too expensive, inaccessible, overbooked or some combination of those. We delayed our season because we couldn’t find a venue that filled those requirements on such short notice.

We thought we found a perfect venue in Cafe Nostalgica. Unfortunately the ‘too expensive’ part reared its head as the management gave us a trial run but decided that our crowd was not spending enough money there to make it financially viable for them. For us to top up their revenue enough, we would have been bankrupt within two months. The venue was nearly perfect (the stage was still inaccessible), but we cannot pay $400+ for a venue twice a month.

Cafe Alt was on our previous short list and when I asked about accessibility I was told by the management there that it is ‘absolutely’ accessible.

We held a show there. Things seemed okay (one of our judges was in a wheelchair and I asked if they had any problem getting in and they said no), but after the Director investigated the required route to get in, they did not feel comfortable calling the venue accessible because issues related to the length of the route and the lack of clarity in indicating the accessible way in.

We have a different venue for our show on the 21st (due to a scheduling conflict at Cafe Alt), so we are at Origin Studio. When I asked about accessibility I was told ‘it will be accessible by then’. (Keeping in mind that this is a brand new venue, so they are still getting things the way they want them.) I decided not to announce it as an accessible venue because while I believe them that the intention is to have accessibility in line by our show, I also think that the one thing worse than an inaccessible venue is one that you are TOLD is accessible and is not. After the problems with Cafe Alt, I am not going to announce it is accessible until that is confirmed.

In short – we are still looking. We consider Cafe Alt our transitory home… as in, it is where we will have our shows until we can find something that better suits our needs, and that big unfilled need is better accessibility.

CapSlam feat. Truth Is…!


We are back from CFSW and ready to SLAM!

The National Championships were as exciting, motivating, inspiring as always with Saskatoon both hosting and taking top honours.

CapSlam is back in the house and ready to continue the trek to CFSW 2016 in Winnipeg!

It isn’t all about the accolades, though, as people share their art and share their truth and nobody shares their truth more than our feature TRUTH IS…!

Truth Is… is correctly called an important voice in the National scene. (Those who remember Komi Olaf’s painting from our old home at the Mercury Lounge, the face of Truth Is… was right up there alongside Shane Koyczan and Ian Keteku…)

Truth is in Ottawa to drop wisdom and broaden minds and CapSlam is the place to be!

Doors and slam sign-up are at 6:30. $8 and free for performers. All ages welcome. Accessible (though somewhat confusing access, unfortunately).

See you at Cafe Alt!

CapSlam ReCap


CapSlam took over Cafe Alt for another night of poetry pugilism in a faux fight of artistic assault.

But don’t let the virtual violence fool you – it is all love and art!

Sarah Ruszala played ringleader as she introduced a neophyte on the open mic… Megan! With a rousing chorus of ‘COME BACK!’ we then moved on to the slam itself.

Of course, we can’t have a slam without a little sacrificial bordeaux spilled and Sarah did the honours herself! 8.6 8.1 8.9 9.9 7.3 – 25.6

Five poets tossed their names in the non-proverbial hat and the first to be drawn out was Omar Saghir! 8.9 8.6 8.4 9.7 9.1 – 26.6

Next up was the second member of the CapSlam team to tai the stage (Sarah was the first), Billie the Kid! 8.7 8.6 9.1 9.4 8.0 – 26.4

The midpoint of the round was the third team member, Rusty Priske! 9.2 8.9 TEN TEN 9.5 – 28.7!

He was followed by new CPC regular, Word Witch! 8.6 9.6 8.8 9.6 9.0 – 27.4

The round wrapped up with the standings leader, Blue! 9.6 TEN 9.3 TEN 8.9 – 28.9!

After a short break we were then regaled with the poetry / rants / humour / ramblings of (yes)tefania! A member of the reigning CFSW Championship team, she showed there was a lot more to her than a trophy!

Then we cam back for another round of slam!

Billie the Kid was first back, but she went 3:15 for a .5 time penalty. 8.4 9.1 9.5 8.9 8.7 – 26.2

Next was the return of Word Witch! 8.5 8.2 8.4 9.5 8.4 – 26.3

The leader after Round one, Blue was next! 9.5 9.0 9.2 TEN 8.9 – 27.7

The penultimate poet of the night was (appropriately) Rusty Priske! 9.2 8.8 TEN TEN 9.5 – 28.7!

We wrapped things up with Omar Saghir, who went 3:12 for a .5 time penalty)! 8.5 8.7 8.9 TEN 9.0 – 26.1

Final Results

1. Rusty Priske – 57.4
2. Blue – 56.6
3. Word Witch – 53.7
4. Omar Saghir – 52.7
5. Billie the Kid – 52.6

Next up… all this coming week, Sarah, Billie and Rusty are joined by Nina Vuleta and DMP, representing CapSlam at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon!

Then, three weeks form now on Nov. 7th, CapSlam is back at Cafe Alt with superstar feature, Truth Is…!!


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