So, WordCrawl happened this past Saturday. The event was a lot of work to plan, and so both Jason and I were thrilled with how everything finally came together. While ticket sales were a bit slow to start off with at first, things picked up in the final days and hours leading up to WordCrawl’s kickoff, and we ended up basically selling out. Only one advance ticket went unsold, and the WordCrawl Express was nice and full of excited lit lovers when we pulled out of Bohemia. The only sour note for me was that the decrepit old CD deck in the yellow school bus malfunctioned and ate my copy of Big Shiny Tunes 2, that bastion mix of 90s alternative rock. Sadness about that one.
Both of us were pleased and impressed by the level of talent that performed for us. My personal highlight was meeting slam poet Patrick Swan and hearing his words. His passion for showmanship and the way he engages his audience inspired me, and also gave me something to aspire to. It was great hearing crowd favourite Matt Prins perform his seminal (no pun intended) work, “Penis Check”, for the second time. This was the story Matt read at the very first ever Words with Friends, and it made me a fan of his for life. I’m glad more people got to hear it this time around.
Our guest judges for the Literary Cage Match were fantastic, egging the crowd on and throwing out quite a few funnies of their own during the whole process. Here’s a little taste:
Matt Prins: Do you want to hear a story about my penis, or a story about smoking pot?
Kathleen Smith: I’m 45. I’ll take all the penis I can get!
Alberta Literary Awards nominee and veteran poetess Jannie Edwards was outstanding, as was to be expected. I was humbled and honoured to hear that she enjoyed the work I personally read at Audrey’s and to chat with her at the end of the evening. We have a coffee date planned!
Jason’s debut of his new short story collection, Americas, was very well-received. I cajoled him into reading my favourite story from the book, and very much enjoyed hearing it live.
I just want to take a moment to thank our partner venues — Bohemia, Kasbar, Expressionz Cafe, and Audrey’s Books — as well as our sponsors, the Edmonton Arts Council and Valley Liquor House. I would also like to thank Lamya Assif for helping us out by going ahead to all the venues during the crawl, setting up our audio, staging, and the wine bar at Audrey’s. Her assistance was invaluable. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.
I brought my video camera along with me, hoping to capture some magic and show the people of the Interwebz what Words with Friends is all about. The results were pretty good. So without further ado, I present to you a selection of performances from our inaugural WordCrawl. I have put them in the order in which they were performed, so you can get a feel for what it was like to be there.
As a side note, I did want to apologize to Trevor Kjorlien, who was the first performer of the night, for not including his story in the video series. The story he read was quite lengthy, and I only managed to get about 75% of it on tape. We’ll get you next time, Trevor.
Here we go.
Matt Prins @ Kasbar: “Penis Check”
Michael Hingston @ Kasbar: “Sudoku”
Patrick Swan @ Expressionz Cafe: “Mary Kate, call me Uncle Jesse”
Patrick Swan @ Expressionz Cafe: “I am God’s horrible creation”
Patrick Swan @ Expressionz Cafe: “Gynastrologist”
Patrick Swan @ Expressionz Cafe: “Cute as all hell”
Mikey Maybe @ Expressionz Cafe: “Mazda”
Jannie Edwards @ Audrey’s Books: “Calling”
Jannie Edwards @ Audrey’s Books: “Kissing”
Jannie Edwards @ Audrey’s Books: “Rita MacNeil’s Feet”
Jannie Edwards @ Audrey’s Books: “Martha Stewart’s Tips on Cultivating Melancholia”
Rebecca Traquair @ Audrey’s Books: “Paris”
Rebecca Traquair @ Audrey’s Books: “Talking Blue”
Rebecca Traquair @ Audrey’s Books: “Inked In Memory”
Kasia Gawlak @ Audrey’s Books: “Clark Kent is my boyfriend”
Kasia Gawlak @ Audrey’s Books: “four letter word”
Jason Lee Norman @ Audrey’s Books: “Costa Rica”
Jason Lee Norman @ Audrey’s Books: “Panama”
Jason Lee Norman @ Audrey’s Books: “Paraguay”