A Celebration of Art and Words with Orlando Oh

Spoken Views Collective – Compliment Slam – Thursday, January 11th, 2018 – the Potentialist Workshop

Photos and story by Jesse James Ziegler, Video by Dana Nollsch

The family gathered around the table. Not a single person was going to eat, but everyone was preparing to feast. There would be no holiday meal per se at the center of this table. There was a sign-up sheet and a piece of original artwork as the prize.

When traveling to the National Poetry Slam finals last year in Denver, local artist and Reno representative Orlando Oh came up with the idea for a ‘Compliment Slam’. There have been all sorts of negativity lately, which has culminated in a lack of hope among many. However, we have within us the ability to praise each other and to lift each other up.

Rather than using wordplay skills to do battle in a traditional sense, it was his idea to give each other praise and love, and have the audience decide the ‘competition’. What started out as twelve individuals willing to put themselves out there, and try something new, led to laughter, smiles, hugs, and wordplay among this family of poets.

Surrounded by Orlando’s original work (on display at the Potentialist – 836 E. Second Ave., Reno – through the end of the month) the poets each gave their best freestyles on the spot without any backbeats to rely on or guide them.

That’s the beauty in a gathering of poets. Diversity is encouraged. The difference in perspective becomes the fuel for the evening. No topic is off limits at this holiday feast. In the end, the goals are increased awareness, sharing from your innermost, and giving love to others.

To keep up with events like these in our community stay tuned for upcoming Reno Arts News submissions regarding spoken word/Slam/poetry/Open Mic pieces, and follow ‘Spoken Views Collective’ on Social media platforms.


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