“I’ve been helping organize this (event) for the past three years,” Flores said. “In the past, we had an open mic but this year I thought it would be fun to have a poetry slam. We sent an invitation to all the poets in San Antonio. There will be 12 poets and three alternates, and we will have cash prizes.”
The Canto San Anto: Our City in Poetry competition will feature poems celebrating the history, flavor, and identity of places, people, and traditions unique to San Antonio’s multi-cultural spirit, said Kelly Kapaun, public relations manager for the Center City Development and Operations Department (CCDO).“ Attendees to this free event will enjoy complimentary beverage samples from Alamo Beer Company, free paletas, art demonstrations, interactive workshops, food trucks, retail vendors, and more,” Kapaun said.
Cody Shown, a management analyst for CCDO, participated in the selection of Saturday’s poet lineup and talked about some of the vendors who will be at the celebration.
“Scarlette Dove has Mexican folk art,” she said. “David Gonzalez has small leather goods. The famous (Mexican culinary company) HERNÁN will have Mexican chocolate and mole. We also will have Katie’s Jar who offers organic dog treats and doggy accessories.”
Dogs are welcome at the event as long as they’re kept on a leash. “Bring your snacks and drinks, blankets and chairs, kids and dogs, and join us,” emcee Flores said.
Local art patrons Donato Arredondo and Lisa DeLaLuz-Arredondo will also serve as judges. A reputable member of the poetry community and a creative writer herself, DeLaLuz-Arredondo has served as judge for a number of poetry slams in the past.
“I’m going to judge on content and creativity,” she said. “I tend to judge on what moves me, not on technicalities. I don’t care if it’s prose or poetry, it’s got to move me.”
More than 20 local poets entered their names in a random drawing held at Alamo Brewery under the Hays Street Bridge Friday evening. City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3) helped draw twelve contestants and three alternates who will compete in the poetry slam.
“San Antonio is a city filled with immense artistic talent, history, and culture,” Viagran said. “I invite the entire community to hear the voices of San Antonio as they share our unique stories and legacy through their inspiriting art form.”
The competitors for Saturday’s festivities are Darrell Pittman, Jacinto Jesus Cardona, Zakiyah Hasan, Diamond Mason, Eduardo C. Garza, Max Edman, Patrick Cummings, Adolfo Rodriguez, Ernest Leonard, Sean McDonald, Marisol Cortez, and Leilani Pena. Should one of the poets drop out, they will be replaced by Corey Hunter, Jessica Tilton, or Almost Saved.
There will be five judges and standard slam rules will apply.
“Poems can’t be more than three minutes,” he said. “After 10 seconds over the limit, judges will take points off. Top prize is $200, $150 for second place, and $100 for third.”
4J’s Cinema, Cine Studio San Antonio, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, and 3807 Productions collaborated to bring the feature documentary film, Las Tesoros de San Antonio – A Westside Story to the event at Mission marquee. The film was directed by Jorge Sandoval and produced by Jesse Borrego, James, Borrego, Janet Vasquez, Robb S. Garcia, Adela Gott, and Alex Avila.
More than 300 attendees of all ages enjoyed poetry and music from around the city at last year’s event. Flores said Los Nahuatlatos will provide musical entertainment between poetry performances this year.
“We picked up the services of Miss Texas-San Antonio (Alayah Nicole Benavidez), an educator and advocate of literacy and the poetic arts,” Flores said. “She will be one of our five judges for the poetry slam.”
H-E-B and Alamo Beer, two of the event’s main sponsors, will help poetry fans beat the heat with free paletas and local craft beer.
The City of San Antonio acquired Mission Marquee Plaza, the former drive-in theater next to Mission San José, in 2007. In 2013, the mural was restored, public restrooms were added, and the historic area was transformed into a popular venue for the entire community.
VIVA Poesía, Música y Cultura is one of many events taking place at Mission Marquee Plaza during an unforgettable season of family-friendly activities. The H-E-B Family Film Series continues through October with free screenings of movies for the entire family.
Top Image: Night scene with theater mural outlined in LED lights at the Mission Marquee Plaza grand opening June 7, 2014. Photo by Lily Casura.