Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CFSW is Over - Now What?

CFSW blew my mind.

And I wasn't the only one. All of the visiting teams said how incredibly welcome and appreciated they felt, and I met more than a few spoken word converts from the Victoria audience.

I mean, 5 days of intense competition, artistry, mayhem and general awesomeness - I can't wait for Ottawa next year!

How can Tongues of Fire ever thank you? You - the volunteers, the audience, the supporting artists? Well, I guess by continuing to create space for you to create! So remember we hold regular shows:

Tongues of Fire - every 2nd and 4th Thursday @ Solstice Cafe
This is a great opportunity to try out a new piece or be inspired on our Open Mic. Plus, many of the best you saw at CFSW feature at this show throughout the year.

Victoria Slam - monthly slam starting in January
This is for all those ready and willing to test their poetic metal through competition and a rocking night for the audience!

Monday, November 9, 2009

CFSW Speaks Out: Sheri-D Wilson

Last year she ran the whole show, this year she's one of the top features. We sat down with the Mama of Dada herself, Sheri-D Wilson, and got her to share a few thoughts about the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word...

CFSW: Last year CFSW was in Calgary and you were the festival director. How does it feel coming to be a feature performer this year?

SD: Great! And I look forward to seeing everyone.

You are hosting/festuring at CFSW's first-ever Erotica Show. What can people expect from you in terms poetic sexiness?

If expectations are necessary – then I think, expect the ridiculous, the absurd…there’s nothing more erotic than humour.

You're a mover and shaker in the world of Canadian Spoken Word, how would you describe the importance of CFSW to the evolution and community of Spoken Word?

The CFSW brings the Slam Community together to share – poetry and ideas in a peaceful forum – supportive - and to learn.

This is rare

And will continue to expand

The possibilities of Spoken Word

As the oldest tradition and the newest form

Of poetry and performance

This form has a life of its own

Always changing


You've been called the mama of dada. How would you describe your performance style?

In a state of discovery

Finally, the Dating Game question: If your poetry was a chinese fortune cookie, what would the fortune be?

Eros with a Beat.

Sheri-D Wilson will be hosting the Erotica Show Wednesday night at the Victoria Event Centre, and performing in the women's showcase on Thursday at 3:30. For information about all shows at CFSW 09 visit our website

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

CFSW Speaks Out: Scruffmouth

Today we shine the CFSW spotlight on Vancouver spoken word artist Scruffmouth. This former Van Slam team member is featuring at the Pan-African Showcase on November 13th 3:30 at the Victoria Event Centre.

Read on to found out why Scruffmouth loves Choose-Your-Own Adventures....

CFSW: Your stage name is Scruffmouth - care to elaborate?
SM: My brother gave me the nickname Scruffmouth to describe my scruffy facial hair in high school. When I began writing and performing spoken word and dub poetry, it seemed like a natural stage name over "peach fuzz" and "chicken scratch".

CFSW: Your work is often at the intersection between the personal and the political. Do you see your work as a vehicle for social change?
SM: Yes, my work is a vehicle for social change as much as it is a vessel for inner change.

CFSW: You've performed in Victoria before, what do you like best about the Vic vibe?
SM: I like the laid back island vibe and the greenery.

CFSW: You were on the Van Slam Team last year, what's your best memory from CFSW 08?
SM: Choose Your Own Adventure on finals stage. Van Slam!

CFSW: What can people expect when you step on stage this year as a feature at the Pan-African Showcase?

CFSW: Finally, the Dating Game question: If your poetry was the cover of a vinyl album, what would it look like/be titled?
SM: It would be a big tree. The face in the trunk would be me, the roots would be my beard spelling SCRUFFMOUTH, the branches would be my afro, and there would be stuff in the tree like children playing in a tree house, birds, fruits, afro picks and whatnot. The title would be embossed in gold and it would read AURIGINAL.

Scruffmouth features at the Pan-African Showcase on Friday Nov 13. Admission is by donation. Check out for more details.

Monday, November 2, 2009

CFSW Speaks Out: Barbara Adler

These days, she most often seen cradling a vintage accordion or touring her unique brand of storytelling around B.C.’s North. But Barbara Adler’s also a member of the famed Canadian storytelling rock bad The Fugitives (headlining the Late Night Cabaret on Nov 13).

CFSW 09 caught up with her to get her take on homey goodness of CFSW, singing better and Werner Herzog.

CFSW 09: Barbara, you are long-time Alumni of CFSW. What is so special about CFSW to the Canadian spoken word scene? Do you have a favourite memory of past festivals?
BA: My favorite special thing about CFSW is how it has managed to keep its home-y, friendly quality, while becoming the biggest thing in the Canadian Spoken Word scene. Even though there are more teams than ever competing, the festival is personable, supportive, and a little bit folksy. I mean, I think it's great that the competition isn't as intense as in the National Poetry Slam, and that winning CFSW isn't some kind of super-star moment. I'm not sure I know who the best slam strategist at CFSW is, and I think that rocks.
My favorite memory comes from my first festival, where somehow the organizers in Ottawa managed to scramble together enough soup and sandwiches to feed everyone. There was this genuine sense that we were all going to take care of each other. I think there should always be free food, even if it's ,like, a pickle.
CFSW 09: Your personal style has evolved over the years. How would you describe the work that you are doing now?
BA: Ha would I describe it... Erm, well, on one front I've become very interested in harnessing longer format storytelling to some of the tricks that performance poetry does really well: language that sounds good, rhythm, imagery that knows how to jump. But if I were to be really honest, I'd have to admit that I'm spending most of my time trying to figure out how to play the 120-button piano accordion well enough to mash it together with pseudo-rap. My favorite things right now are M.I.A and Geoff Berner, and Veda Hille. I think it's starting to show.
CFSW 09: The Fugitives just cut an album this year. What direction did the band take with this project?
BA: Ah-ha! We learned how to sing better and paid much more attention to the instrumentation. The new EP, Find Me, is much more orchestrated and lush to the ear. There is less focus on Brendan and I having poetry moments, because we are pulling more of our weight in the harmonies and instrumentation. We are really proud that the reviews of the EP have all mentioned the strong singing.
Actually, what's funny is that some of the reviewers have actually seemed offended that we are "ruining" perfectly good roots-folk harmonies with weirdo poetry. As a writer, I take it as kind of a back-handed compliment: I'm ruining music! I'm in a band that makes music! Cool!
CFSW 09: You guys are playing the late-night carbaret on Friday night. What can the audience expect from your show?
BA: High energy crescendo; personable banter and warm hearts; theatrics involving banjo, accordion and acoustic guitar; another viable way to take spoken word, kicking and screaming, into the bars.
CFSW 09: Finally, the Dating Game question: If the Fugitives msuic was a short film, what would it be like?
BA: Oh man, when I first read this question, I thought it meant you were going to get us dates. Shoot.

What's that one by that French guy, the one everyone sees in first year film... Oh, forget it, I'm not impressing anyone.

Listen, we wouldn't be a short film. We'd be Fitzcarraldo, by Werner Herzog. It's the one where the main character drags a ship over a mountain so that he can build an opera house in the jungle. Herzog was accused of enslaving the native population to make the film, because he ACTUALLY dragged the ship over the mountain. People DIED! The scene in the film where they show the boat going up the mountain only lasts, like 20 seconds. A moment of impassioned, debaucherous hyperbole, for no reason except that it's awesome. That's us. Come see the show. We will drag a ship over a mountain (but we won't enslave anyone).

The Fugitives rock the late night stage 11pm Friday, November 13– Tickets are $10 at Solstice Cafe and Lyle’s Place. Check out The Fugitives for yourself