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Maui Slams for the Earth

Speaking up about climate change.

April 29, 2010
Trisha Smith

Although scientists still deliberate on the causes of natural catastrophes, many researchers predict that disasters like these may be followed by similar events due to significant climate change.

Climate change is a global issue. Its impacts and potential solutions will affect us all on many levels, in many different ways.

You will have the opportunity to join some forward-thinking creative forces as they express their feelings and opinions about Mother Earth and climate change solutions in a competitive poetry performance on Thursday, April 29, during the “Maui Slams for the Earth” event at Casanova.

Article Photos

Poetry asks the big questions and searches for the big answers. Reveal your sentiments on climate change at the monthly Maui Slam event this Thursday at Casanova. The thoughtful Mountain (above) was last month’s winner.
Photo: Jessica Pearl Photography

Poets, spoken-word artists and emcees of all levels are invited to conjure up and throw down original works of three minutes or less and compete for a $100 cash prize. 

With a little help from her friends, Maui’s own artistic alchemist Ellen Peterson has been running the Maui Slam since February 2009 after its founders Chela and Dave Coennen “gifted” her the popular monthly event which began in 2006.

Since then, Peterson has worked hard on “mashing up” the art of the slams, integrating more visual artists, such as body painting by Rachel DeBoer and live painting by Rachel Gonzalez, fashion shows, belly dancers, variant deejays and a visual jockey (VJ).

“I always envision the Maui Slam events as kind of an underground art house scene, where a late-night artistic edge exists, and some other late night ‘artsy’ or creative happenings may also occur,” said Peterson. 

She tries to mix up slam themes, including dedicating a month to the Erotic Slam—where Peterson’s Kit Kat Club cabaret kittens perform—and a scrimmage with Hawai‘i Slam from O‘ahu last month. Some of Maui Slam’s brilliant poets have earned their way to the National Poetry Slam.

As a college librarian, Peterson naturally enjoys incorporating academic elements into Maui Slam. “I think there’s a place for inspirational and educational art in a late-night venue,” she said. “When I can pull off that kind of thing, I feel entirely rewarded.”

Opening the climate change slam will be the “green pirate,” Sara Tekula, and her full-circle holistic “peek” into what happens when a tree is planted.

There will also be a fashion show by the sweethearts of eco-chic designs, A.R.I.E (Art Remains in Everything) and Miranda Viegas Designs, and a deejay dance party with JayP and mad skills from VJ Douglas DeBoer.

Maui Slam has become a “labor of love” for many involved, and has developed into a home where freaky is chic-y—or “freak chic,” as Peterson said. She loves producing meaningful events where unique artists feel comfortable expressing themselves.

“I really love bringing artists together—the slams and cabarets are really just one big orgy of cheeky creatives,” she said. “I love the alchemy that’s created when we all collide.”

Did you feel chilly after last December’s U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen? Does it anger you that polar bears are on their way to extinction as melting ice caps deplete their Arctic habitat? Do you fear for our island communities as sea levels rise and the ocean’s circulation changes? What sustainable steps are you taking to reduce your carbon footprint? Here is your opportunity to step up and sound out. 

Make a poetic plea for Mother Earth and join in as “Maui Slams for the Earth” on Thursday, April 29, at 9:30 p.m. at Casanova in Makawao. 

Poets must register at the door by 9 p.m., and there’s a $5 cover for all attendees. 



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