Author Topic: No Slam Venues in Cincinnati, OH or Kentucky. Advice Would Be Helpful. :)  (Read 2692 times)

bsully1215

  • Haiku
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Hello PSi Forum Members,

    This is my first topic posting in the PSi Forums and I just wanted to say that I have been writing since 2004 and reading at venues since 2009 (first at Loser Slam in Long Branch, NJ).   I recently moved to Cincinnati, OH for my job.   Since I have moved, I find myself looking for poetry locations around the Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky area.

So far, I have located open mics, but no PSi certified slam venues that are close by and have been considering starting my own.   I saw a post earlier by the GaelicSamurai that mentioned there are no slam venues in Kentucky.   If I were to form a slam venue, Northern Kentucky (Covington, Newport, etc. ) seems like a nostalgic area for it.   Otherwise, I'm pretty much focused on Cincinnati, near the Downtown area.

Loser Slam gave me a good idea as to the feel of a slam venue so I'm already down for that.   My issue is a few things:

1) How do I draw in a crowd?  I am still getting to know people out here.   Attending some of the open mics has given me the opportunity to network (as well as my huge network on FB from across the country).

2) What determines if the location is sutable for hosting slams?  There are all sorts of random areas around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.   I have been specifically looking for Coffee Houses and their hours vary.   There are bars and concert halls that do small gigs so a slam venue might be possible, but the issue is age restriction (21+).

3) What is better: charging a cover or asking for donations?  If I am to maintain a non-profit slam venue that has dues to cover and poets to bring to NPS & iWPS (yes, I am totally down for the idea of helping the community), I have to find a way to accrue these funds.   Unless you can give me a better describtion of how this is accomplished, I would really appreciate it.

4) What are the conditions towards features?  How does that get handled?

And any other additional feedback would be helpful.

Thank You,

B Sully

suziqsmith

  • Epic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3797
    • View Profile
Re: No Slam Venues in Cincinnati, OH or Kentucky. Advice Would Be Helpful. :)
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2011, 08:23:14 AM »
Hi B Sully,

Have you talked to other poets at the open mics to find out what their experience/familiarity with slam is? 

My recommendation is to have those conversations and once a bit of interest in generated in the community, fire it up! 

Scott Woods

  • Epic
  • *****
  • Posts: 10978
    • View Profile
    • http://www.scottwoodswrites.net
Re: No Slam Venues in Cincinnati, OH or Kentucky. Advice Would Be Helpful. :)
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2011, 09:28:11 AM »
First: welcome to Ohio!

1) Put on good shows. I charge $5 for my show and give people $10 worth of show. This will likely involve doing things at your show that aren't just putting up poets. Figure out how to make a good, engaging show, do it over enough time, and people will come.

2) I have a list of about 15 factors I use to determine if a venue will work for me. That list is based on the kind of show I want to do and what kind of audience I want to bring in. But remember: venue determines audience.

3) Whatever the market will bear. If people seem okay with paying $3 or $5, do it. And don't feel you have to start for free and work your way up to money. Start with money. If I couldn't charge a door i probably wouldn't be as committed to the show I do now as I am, for a number of reasons.

4) I rarely have features because we're a smaller reading and we already have some overhead. I have started breaking that down lately for locals though.

There are so many factors to consider in this venture, but the one I haven't heard yo mention that I would want to know is WHY you want to be a PSi recognized venue. That would color some decisions for me.
Final recommendation: come see my show in Columbus on Wednesday nights. We can rap and you can see how I've translatedthese general pieces of advice into specific pieces of action.

sethwhite

  • Sonnet
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
    • View Profile
Re: No Slam Venues in Cincinnati, OH or Kentucky. Advice Would Be Helpful. :)
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 11:15:00 AM »
Scott provided some great advice.  I will just add a few extra things I have learned from running my slam for some years.

1) On venues, look for a location that is easy to get to for the majority of your audience.  Find a place that can accommodate your crowd with a little extra room for growth, if you start in too big a place, it looks empty and not as exciting as a packed house.
2) I would definitely charge a cover to get in, we charge $5.  It is very hard to take a show from free to pay.

3) If you can, come up to iWPS in Cleveland and talk to everyone there.

Good luck with your show

bsully1215

  • Haiku
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: No Slam Venues in Cincinnati, OH or Kentucky. Advice Would Be Helpful. :)
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2011, 03:51:35 AM »
Thank you so much for the responses.

Scott, you definitely bring up a good point that I left out so I will do my best to explain this to the best of my ability.   

I have faded in and out of the poetry community since I was heavily focused on college and work.   Once I finished college in December, I thought that I would be able to continue going to open mics and slam venues, but the position I received meant I had to relocate.   I have been in Ohio since January, but lived with my father for most of the year.   My girlfriend, also a poet and a powerful writer, was still living in Jersey while I was in Ohio and we planned the time she would be moving out here.   I mentioned to her that we would concentrate on our involvement with the poetry community considering how much we enjoyed it in New Jersey.   

My job sent me out to Phoenix, AZ for three weeks.   While I was there, I added numerous poets onto my facebook page in order to form a network because knowing my girlfriend was coming out here I would have a stronger chance of forming something great, but it was only a thought at this point.   On July 29, I attended an event in Tempe, AZ that Jared Paul's band was involved in.   Jared Paul is heavily involved in the poetry community so I thought this would be a great way to gain an insight into setting up a slam venue.   I did speak to him for a good amount of time and while I was there, I met Corbet Dean and ended up speaking to him regarding everything.   Corbet Dean has been involved in the poetry community since 2000.   He helped me understand that forming a slam venue wasn't just about being a host, it was about having a huge involvement in the community that venue is located in and how much dedication it takes to show the community how it will benefit them.   I never realized how much of an effect having a slam venue had until he mentioned that.   I always saw these locations as a way for people to be able to express themselves, but never this underlying beneficial manor directed toward the community as a whole.   For instance, Columbus and Cleveland are happy to have PSi certified venues to help individuals go from writing poems to competing against poets across the world and standing out in front of thousands, if not millions, of people.   This brings out the spirit of these communities and develops into a unity across the area.   It becomes a home to even traveling poets looking to make a presence and introduce new ideas to upcoming writers looking for new inspiration.   It just sounds incredible.

My girlfriend just moved out here and we got an apartment in the neighborhood of Mt.  Washington.   This gives me the opportunity to see what areas are good and bad around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.   I have been forming connections between people after attending a few open mic locations and there are still locations to be visited.   I have some venues in mind based upon a few qualities I have been considering, such as location, current interest level from community, convenience, etc.   We definitely want to come visit Columbus and Cleveland at some point.   And yes, I am considering stopping by for iWPS and have been researching the hotel costs and such.   It would be great to actually meet you all and see one of these events first hand.

B Sully