Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?

“Slam poetry was invited into the White House last month and it is also the focus of the recent HBO documentary series “Brave New Voices.” So you might think that the originator of the poetry slam, a raucous live competition that is more likely to take place in a bar than in a bookstore, would be feeling rather pleased these days.

But from his base here at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Marc Kelly Smith expresses mixed feelings about the growing popularity and respectability of the art form that he created almost 25 years ago. From the start, he envisioned slam poetry as a subversive, thumb-your-nose-at-authority movement, and he wants to ensure it stays true to those origins.” (New York Times )

Related:

Anonymous Postcard

Official congressional portrait of former cong...
“The artists behind Anonymous Postcardhave created a website with real-world applications. You send a suitably interesting message of complaint or congratulations. They create a one-of-a-kind postcard and mail it to your chosen recipient.

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke received an encouragement card fashioned from a $5 bill. Former governor Rod Blagojevich’s card was crafted out of a hair-product container. And the message addressed to “Moms of Mill Valley, CA” — asking them to control their bratty kids — was printed, none too subtly, on an empty condom box.”

Street with a View

“On May 3rd 2008, artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley invited the Google Inc. Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside to collaborate on a series of tableaux along Sampsonia Way. Neighbors, and other participants from around the city, staged scenes ranging from a parade and a marathon, to a garage band practice, a seventeenth century sword fight, a heroic rescue and much more…

Street View technicians captured 360-degree photographs of the street with the scenes in action and integrated the images into the Street View mapping platform. This first-ever artistic intervention in Google Street View made its debut on the web in November of 2008.” via STREET WITH A VIEW: a project by Robin Hewlett & Ben Kinsley.

The Pedestrian Project

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Eerily familiar...

“The Pedestrian Project consists of several performers wearing entirely black custom-made costumes modeled after the generic images of men, women, and children seen on public signs. Mimicking the lives of everyday people, the roaming sculptural forms inspire the imaginations of onlookers, who often find themselves mesmerized as these familiar icons assume busy lives of their own.” via The Pedestrian Project | Trend.Land.

The Last Whole Earth Catalog

Fall 1969 cover

The Last Whole Earth Catalog, from June 1971, has been scanned in and is available for electronic browsing pleasure. I was a devotee of the mindset of these folks and a charter subscriber to the quarterly spin-off from the catalogs, known at different times as Whole Earth Review and Coevolutionary Quarterly. I visited them in Sausalito at one point, and had the pleasure of being the next-door neighbor in New Haven of their graphics editor for awhile. (My across-the-street neighbor at the time was the New Haven Zen Center. Nice neighborhood.) In many ways, they were all about hacking the world and your life long before there was electronic hacking. Their closest online literary heir is Kevin Kelly.

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City hit by ‘legal to pee’ prank

‘People should ignore signs telling them that it is legal to urinate in certain public places in Nottingham, the city council said.

The signs, which were put up by pranksters in and around Nottingham, are designed to look official.

They feature a toilet sign and include the words: “Public Urination Permitted After 7.30pm”.’

via BBC .