Once again, like every year for the past TEN years, poets came together last night to find out who would make up the new Capital Slam team and who would take their place on the Championship belt alongside such luminaries as OpenSecret, John Akpata and Ian Keteku.
The Alumni Auditorium was humming as one of those previously mentioned champions, OpenSecret, took the stage as host for the evening. DJ PrufRock was giving us the sounds and great volunteers like Jenica Shivkumar, Ruthanne Edward, Benoit Christie and Nina Strange were making sure everyone was where they needed to be. Panos (Playto) and DMP were poised with the scoring and timing implements and poets were… pacing… sweating… shuffling…
We started with some great guest performers. We kicked off with that of afore-mentioned DJ as PrufRock stepped up to the mic. Pruf was the regular season champion for CapSlam this year. He was a member of the National Championship CapSlam team in 2010 and has also repped for Urban Legends. This year he will be a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam team.
Our second guest poet was Billie the Kid. Billie is the only poet who will have represented Ottawa at YouthCanSlam both years. (Billie is also leaving Ottawa for future endeavours elsewhere so this year’s YCS is her – at least temporary – swan song here. Come out in August to cheer her on!)
Our third guest poet was the FIRST person to get his name on the Capital Slam Championship belt. He was also a member of that 2010 National Championship team and is a Slam legend in Ottawa. John Akpata.
Then it was time for the slam!
But you can’t have a slam without spilling a little sacrificial blood first! And what better way to kick things off with another champion? 2011 Urban Legends champ, King Kimbit! 7.9 8.0 7.2 7.5 8.6 – 23.4
Whoa. Harsh judges! Will they adjust? (Spoiler: yes, but not right away… and we know what that means… welcome to slam. )
Eight names in the magic slam hat. Eight poets who desperately don’t want to be drawn first. Dipping into the hat to pull out…
Rusty Priske. 5-time CapSlam team member. Getting the vet out of the way early. 8.5 9.2 8.5 8.2 8.9 – 25.9
If you look at the sac scores, these could be all right. As long as creep doesn’t set in.
Next up was 2013 Ottawa Youth Poetry Slam Champ and first time Finalist, Sarah Ruszala. 8.2 7.5 8.0 7.0 7.9 – and she went 3:12, for a .5 time penalty (the only penalty on the night). 22.9
Rough. Sarah was one of the people that I think most people had pegged as a title contender this year. Her poem was very well-recieved… except by the people holding up the scoreboards. Then there was the time issue. Tough start.
Next up was Candice Bruchhaeuser. Candice is a two-time CapSlam Finalist (one of only three people this year who has stepped on the finals stage before). 8.1 9.0 8.5 9.0 8.8 – 26.4
Very well done! Candice jumps to the top of the list!
Rounding out the first half of round one was Ceilidhe Miller. Ceilidhe was a member of the Youth team down in London and this is her first year slamming in Ottawa. 7.8 9.0 7.3 8.7 8.7 – 25.2
A bit of a spread with a couple of lower judges that pulled her score down a bit.
Another new face this season was P-Rime and he was up next! 8.4 8.0 9.5 7.6 8.1 – 24.5
Talk about a big spread! The scores tossed out were 9.5 and 7.6!
Next was the second poet to have been on a CapSlam team before – Gavin Russell! 9.3 9.5 TEN 8.8 8.7 – 27.6
Spoiler: This was Gavin’s night. There were five TENS all night, and Gavin got four of them.
We rounded out with two more newcomers and the judges loved them both! First was Artemysia! 8.7 8.7 9.0 8.0 9.0 – 26.4
Solid score! She was now tied with Candice in second.
An lastly we had Avonlea! (Interesting story about Avonlea, she literally joined the semi-finals with only a week to go when PrufRock dropped out. She went from not competing to making the finals to…?) 9.1 9.0 8.3 8.8 8.5 – 26.3!
As we went to break, the scores looked like this:
1. Gavin Russell – 27.6
2T. Candice Bruchhaeuser – 26.4
2T. Artemysia – 26.4
4. Avonlea – 26.3
5. Rusty Priske – 25.9
6. Ceilidhe Miller – 25.2
7. P-Rime – 24.5
8. Sarah Ruszala – 22.9
We came back from the break with a second Sacrificial Poet ready to get the audience back into the groove! It was a new member of the Up From the Roots team in Toronto, Scribe! 9.2 9.3 8.8 9.0 9.0… oh, and a big time penalty that nobody cares about so, whatever. 25.7
So it was back to the magic hat… first up, the leader after Round one… Gavin Russell! 9.4 9.3 9.5 9.3 9.4 – 28.1!
Gavin came back with the highest score of the night so far!
Next up was Rusty Priske. 9.1 9.3 9.3 TEN 9.4 – 28.0
There was the only non-Gavin ten… and nearly as good a score in round two, though he still lagged behind after round one.
Third up (again) was Candice Bruchhaeuser! 8.7 9.4 9.2 9.2 9.3 – 27.7!
Another solid score! Candice still had a firm hold on second!
Next was P-Rime! 9.2 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.4 – 27.0
What would have been a great score in Round one was a little weaker in round two. Score creep had definitely kicked over the last round.
Artemysia returned to the stage for round two! 9.4 8.0 8.9 8.8 9.2 – 26.9
Avonlea was behind Artemysia by .1 after round one, so… 8.9 9.3 9.0 9.0 9.0 – 27.0
…she outscored her by .1 in round two! Ties are always interesting, because if they end up tied in FIFTH, an extra person is going to round three…
The penultimate poet of the round was Sarah Ruszala! 9.5 9.3 8.8 8.9 9.2 – 27.4
We finished up with the return of Ceilidhe Miller! 8.8 9.0 9.0 9.2 8.9 – 26.9
Two rounds are done. Moving on to Round three are the top five poets. This will be the CapSlam 2-14 team and we will find out who is the 2014 Champion.
The first member of the team, and now SIX time CapSlam team member (breaking his own record)… Rusty Priske. 8.8 9.3 9.0 9.1 9.5 – 27.4
Next was the first of three FIRST TIME team members, Artemysia! 8.7 9.6 9.5 9.2 9.5 – 28.2
Then came TWO time team member, Gavin Russell! 9.5 9.5 TEN TEN TEN – 29.5!! Wow!
First time team member, Avonlea! 9.6 9.5 8.5 8.8 9.3 – 27.6
First time team member, Candice Bruchhaeuser! 9.7 9.4 9.2 8.9 9.1 – 27.7
So, who was the champion? If you read this recap, it should be obvious!
Full final scores:
1. CHAMPION – Gavin Russell – 85.2
2. Candice Bruchhaeuser – 81.8
3. Artemysia – 81.5
4. Rusty Priske – 81.3
5. (team alt) Avonlea – 80.9
6. Ceilidhe Miller – 52.1
7. P-Rime – 51.5
8. Sarah Ruszala – 50.3
So, now what?
Well, a couple of things… just because the finals are over doesn’t mean a rest for us!
The CPC Summer Slam starts up on June 7th at the Mercury Lounge! Remember folks, the CPC Summer Slams have a 3 minute, 1 minute, 3 minute format and have a $100 prize!
Then (tentatively) on June 22nd we have the Capital Poetry Collective Annual General Meeting! Time to come out and have your say on how thing safe going to be run next year! This covers ALL CPC shows, including the Youth Slam, so come on out!
Also, the new CapSlam Team will have some serious fund raising to do this summer so when you see shows pop up, please come out and support your 2014 CapSlam team: Gavin Russell, Candice Bruchhaeuser, Artemysia, Rusty Priske and Avonlea!