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Round 4 and We Are Still Getting Made

August 13, 2013

Since Round 5 is tonight, I guess I should get to telling you about Round 4! This round kept the momentum of the competition going and we had 10 performers this week!
We even had three guest judges this week, one of which was Shawn Wallace, who is part of the band Soul Circus. Also on the panel was local film-maker, writer, and actor, Shaun Hickerson. Shaun often works with SteraFilms and you can find some of his work on their website. He wrote and starred in the recently released “The Undoing.” You can catch the trailer here. Our other guest judge was the talented trumpeter Ryan McCaslin. One of the wonderful things about this musician is his musical diversity. You can often catch him around town playing some funk, soul and R&B with Soul River Brown and the Foundation Band, playing some salsa that will make you swing your hips with The Kentucky Salsa Allstars, or playing some classic big band and some originals with Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band. You can check them all out on the ‘ol Book of Faces for schedules and more info. In the meantime, you can check Ryan out playing a cover I absolutely adore of John Prine’s “Great Rain” with Small Time Napoleon. Watch it here.
Okay, enough about our wonderful judges, on to some wonderful contestants.
First to the mic was Clayton Williams with an excerpt from “In the Boon of the Titans.” I believe this story has real potential and loved Clayton’s use of language, but had some trouble understanding him at times. I hope he comes back for the next round. Matthew Presley tried on the competition once again with “The Color With No Name.” This piece really made me smile. Matthew is always comfortable on stage and it is a joy to hear his poems. I am hoping I get our next competitors first name right, and if not I greatly apologize. Lana Smith shared her short story “The Last Supper.” Her slight southern twang fit this piece so well. I could feel and taste the comforts of food and family while she read and I was charmed. Joshua Nisley was up next with something we have not yet had in this competition, a children’s story. Joshua is a story-teller in the truest sense and I could have listened to him all night. More than a children’s story, “The Seedling and the Caterpillar” was a story for the heart of young and old alike. Aside from his writing and story-telling talents, Joshua is also a visual artist and I encourage you to check out his work. The spoken-word artist Anthony Trotter, Jr. was on the mic next to give the competition another try, this time with “Foodly Medicine.” The concept of this piece was much different than what I have heard from Anthony thus far and I was delighted to know he is branching out. As always, his performance was solid. Jeremy Lane took the stage with an untitled piece. Jeremy made me smile as he read from small yellow pages and tossed them aside as he finished a page. Kenneth “Kenny Fresh” Woods graced the mic once again. His stage presence and magnetizing personality once again shined through. The audience really responded to his piece “Attendre.” Gwen Cee Pearce returned for another round as well, this time with “Not Your Princes.” She gave another good performance and as I’ve said before, I hope she keeps performing out and getting more comfortable on stage. Maplex Monk was up next and I was glad to see he came back for another round. What I adored about this week’s piece is that it was half prose-half poem and he performed it that way. Sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes laying on his back on the stage, I felt like he was really sharing a piece of himself. Had the piece been memorized, even partially, I think it could have made all the difference for this particular piece because it would have drawn us into his world that much more. Our last competitor of the night was Christian Englaund and if I understood correctly, he was just passing through town and decided to give the competition a go. He shared a poem and was clear and concise in his delivery, it was well prepared.
And the winners are…..First Place went to a well deserving Joshua Nisley, Second to the also well deserving Kenny Fresh, and Anthony Trotter, Jr. once again took the audience award.
Tonight is the last round of the preliminaries so I am hoping to see all you last minute folks, procrastinators like me, out and on the mic tonight. Remember Made in 502 is at Diamond Pub & Concert Hall, 630 Barret Ave in Louisville, KY. Sign ups at 7, performances at 8. See you there!

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