On Monday, April 16, some of Toronto’s finest slam poets walked into the John & Richmond Chapters-Indigo and performed sans mic, sans stage, sans everything.
The poets included David Silverberg, who tipped us off to the vid; Electric Jon; Truth Is; Tomy Bewick; and Boona. The collective has uploaded one video so far of the event (more are on their way; we’ll update the post when they’re up), and it provides a little piece of the strangeness that is the poets spitting (or, to be more correct, shouting) out verse in the midst of a typically-quiet book store. The weird juxtaposition of corporate blandness and individual creativity isn’t hidden, either: the poets stand outside of a Starbucks in a Chapters in an “entertainment district,” and chant about everything, from escalators to Silence of the Lambs.
Though the video is pegged as being “guerilla,” it’s not quite: the collective had Chapters’s approval for the invasion, and was provided with “free reign to rock out anywhere, in any aisle, without a mic or a stage,” Silverberg says. Obtaining permission for a guerilla operation is pretty much the most polite thing that we’ve ever heard of, while simultaneously serving as a magnificent example of paradox manifesting itself on a formal level. Those crazy poets!
Still, patrons seemed more enthused than employees did: “funny enough,” Silverberg told us, the staff—who knew the crew was coming—”were the most disinterested people watching us.” Sucks. Maybe they were just mellow from all those scented candles that they sell.
UPDATE (June 4): Silverberg just put another video of the impromptu slam on YouTube. Check it out.