Recently we here on the Beer Farm, had the pleasure of sitting down with some influential folks in this city of ours. We sat and chatted with Amanda Sutton of Bookworks, and Jazmine Cuffee local poet and community activist and organizer. These ladies are some of the folks responsible for bringing WOW, an international ALL female poetry championship, to the Duke City – March 18th-21st! Got your attention? Let’s see what they had to say to some of our questions in today’s offering of #Funk – via the Beer Farm Blog.
Amanda and I started the conversation with me asking who brought this wonderful competition to Albuquerque. Although there is now a team of organizers, and a list of volunteers, Amanda’s answer was simple “Jasmine ROCKSTAR Cuffee,” she said. We’ll take it. As far as the organizing team is concerned, those folks are: Jazz Cuffee as Host City Rep., Jessica Helen Lopez as Volunteer Coordinator, Erin Norther as Day and Night Events Coordinator, Amanda Sutton as Promotions and Marketing Coordinator, and Katrina Guarascio as the Website Coordinator. All this coordination couldn’t go on, if there wasn’t steam, money, support, and sponsorships behind it. Amanda expressed their gratitude for the host of sponsors who have signed on to make this thing a success, that list includes: ABC Library, KUNM, McCune Charitable Foundation, The City of Albuquerque, ABQ Slams, ABQ ACVB, Young Women United, La Palabra, Women and Creativity, Stereo Bar, Tricklock Company, Bookworks, Betty’s Bath and Day Spa, La Loca Magazine, West End Press and of course the official beer sponsor Tractor Brewing Company.
The four day event, isn’t just about competition, it is about community, local, global, national, and international – there will be something for everyone – and opening ceremonies, and a closing party that shows visitors just what Albuquerque is all about. When asked about the ceremonies Sutton said, “opening ceremonies are at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Thursday, March 18 at 1pm, and include jingle dancers and NACA Radical Poets from the Native American Community Academy, a blessing from indigenous folk healers, and a keynote from Margaret Randall. Two free writing workshops with Native American poets follow opening ceremonies at the IPCC and closing ceremonies–i.e. the AFTERPARTY/UNWIND–are at Tractor Wells Park.” That’s right, we will party on the Beer Farm post crowning of the champion.
72 poets from around the world will come to the Duke City to duke it out in a war of words! Yoga, writing workshops, and community building will all be a part of this one of a kind event. When asked about the whole schedule of “non-poetry” things to do, Sutton was excited about what they’ve put together – they’re comprehensive in their approach to getting the word out, and already have a schedule up of all things WOW, “Around 3 dozen free, noncompetitive events open to the public, including writing and performance workshops, themed readings, and community forums. All events are here:http://wowps2015.com/schedule/” Said Amanda. Cheers to that! Although Amanda admits to not ever having been to a WOW competition herself, she talked about how that has lent to the excitement for her. “I have never been to a WOWPS myself so I am looking forward to experience it with all you other rookies,” She said. There will be rookies – and veterans, that’s the way this city has built folks when it comes to exposure to spoken word; the venues are nothing new, and super supportive of all things art in Albuquerque. We asked for a list of venues to head to, or stumble upon. “Opening Ceremonies are at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center; Preliminary bouts are at Flying Star, Stereo, and Tricklock; Finals are at the KiMo Theater; Workshops and Readings are at El Chante, Main Library, 516 Arts, & Tricklock; Late Night Events are at Soul & Vine and Moonlight Lounge. Afterparty is at Tractor Wells Park,” added Amanda.
Sounds like a good time right? We have a poet in the “fight.” We have a poet to be very proud of as far as the community is concerned – that poet is Mercedes Holtry. Jazz Cuffee talked about Mercedes a bit, and how she got to this point, reppin’ the 505 on the WOW international stage. “Mercedez Holtry is our 2015 Abq WOWPS rep. Like many of the other WOWPS reps that will be joining us, Mercedez attended many local slams to gain points to qualify as one of the top 10 women to compete at the Abq WOW Championship held back in Dec to a sold out house at the Outpost Performance Space. It was a 4 round, high energy high scoring bout where poets had to do a 1min, 2min, 3min, and 4 min poems. Mercedez was completely on fire that night and made three perfect (30s) throughout the night. It was definitely a night to remember. Not only is she the WOW rep, she also won the City Slam Championship back in September and represented Albuquerque in Phoenix, AZ in October 2014 – she is definitely on a roll,” said Cufee. A roll indeed – we have witnessed this woman read! She won one of those crowns, in our Wells Park tap room, in front of a full house – we can’t wait to cheer her on against the 71 other visitors to the Land of Enchantment!
For those of you who want to join us in cheering on Mercedes, and showing our support, love, and appreciation for all the organizers you can find all necessary info by checking out the following links: Festival passes (which get you into ALL ticketed events including prelims, finals, and late night events) are $50 till March 4 and go up after that, find those at: HOLDMYTICKET.com: this link–http://bit.ly/1FY7WIK – Finals tickets are also on sale right now for an early bid rate and will also go up. Festival passes and finals tickets are on sale at holdmyticket.com. Entry fee can be paid at the bouts until capacity is reached, $7/regular $5/students for each of the two bouts (7pm and 9pm bouts) Thursday and Friday night.
For folks interested in volunteering – send an email to: abqwow2015ATgmail.com