Grand Slam for Broken Speech and Michael Wanzie

The next time someone tells you this pathetic tourist trap of a burg lacks culture, you look them square in the eye and say, "Hey, we've got two national poetry teams." This is an honor reserved for cities that have enough poets to support two national teams, places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and now The City Beautiful.

April 8 at Stardust Video & Coffee was the Grand Slam for Broken Speech, the original team-producing competition in this town. Run by nerd gadabout J. Bradley, Broken Speech has represented Orlando at the National Poetry Slam for the last two years. Last year they placed 64th out of 65 teams. Winnipeg was last, making Orlando's entry officially the worst in the nation.

The Grand Slam is final qualifier of the "season," determining this year's roster. Host Michael Tedder showed up in a dress, as he agreed to do after raising $200 to send competitor Barry Kudrowitz to Individual World Poetry Slam Championship in South Carolina in February. We felt the black knee-length '50s number was too conservative to warrant satisfaction of such a dare.

After three rounds, the winners emerged: Kudrowitz ranked a surprising fourth, youngster Shane Smith placed third, J. Bradley claimed second, and the singly-named Strat was named No. 1.

However, the final roster is still in flux. Strat may well be jumping onto the Say Anything Slam team, organized by former Broken Speech alumnus Dani O. Miss O. started Say Anything at Austin Coffee and Film late last year amid rumors of dissatisfaction with Bradley's leadership. Her team, which will officially represent Winter Park, had its Grand Slam earlier in the month, and is experiencing the same kind of identity crisis.

Provided all this gets sorted out, at least one Orlando envoy will be able to compete at the May 27 Hot Air Slam, state finals, in Delray Beach. Who says poetry isn't quantifiable?

The next time someone tells you this pathetic tourist trap of a burg is a haven for third-tier celebrities, you look them square in the eye and say, "That's a scurrilous lie. It's a haven for the relatives of third-tier celebrities."

Just a few weeks ago, we stumbled onto the simply fascinating factoid that actress Monica Travers, currently appearing in Theatre Downtown's production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," is none other than the wife of that elder statesman of whup-ass, guitarist Pat Travers.

But no sooner had we finished our celebratory round of snortin' whiskey and drinkin' cocaine (singing the song, we mean) than we learned something every bit as earth-shattering: Full Sail students who seek the guidance of film placement adviser Laura Rhodes are putting their trust in the sister of Tom Rhodes, the long-haired '90s comedian and star of the single-season sitcom "Mr. Rhodes."

The breath do catch, don't it? When we've tracked down the closest relations of Ronnie Montrose and Bobby Slayton, we'll let you know.

We huffed a sigh of "not in our backyard" when the news blew up last year of a webcam gay-porn "Real World" thriving in the 'burbs of Orlando. Then we thought silently of how our backyard could use some work. continues its sneaky perversion to this day, however, and is even expanding to include the ubiquitously gay Michael Wanzie. Beginning April 16 at 7 p.m., Wanzie's going to host a talk net-radio show from the very house where those naked boys are cavorting. So we called Wanzie, mostly to ask him not to take his clothes off ... even though we're not watching.

"Which one of the college boys did you sleep with?" we quizzed in jest.

"Uh, Pickle," he replied. We hoped in jest.

You may be familiar with Wanzie from his work with Gay Days, or his prolific stage work, or as a founding member of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Center. Perhaps you were a fan of The Monday Movie Review on Real Radio WTKS-FM (104.1), a thinly veiled excuse for Wanzie and his co-host, Doug, to talk dirty to us on the air. Seems they ran afoul of Clear Channel suits and FCC types, however, and the show was sacked.

No such problem on the Internet. There is no FCC nannying to worry about. We are concerned that Wanzie might get naked, though. It's happened on the site before.

"I went out to the swimming pool one night, and it didn't occur to me that there were cameras outside the house. So I went skinny-dipping with a bunch of the boys."

Not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, but apparently, it's also a damn fine way to get a national publication to the newsstands on time. Here's how we described the full-frontal nudity in the film "Young Adam," compared with how Entertainment Weekly broached the topic a full month later:

"Yes, Obi-Wan McGregor gets to wave his light saber around yet again." Orlando Weekly, March 11.

"Yep, Ewan bares his lightsaber again." Entertainment Weekly, April 9.

Lucky for you, EW, we're not litigious types. Just comp us our next year's subscription, and we'll forget anything we read.

Mathematical proof that George W. Bush is the Anti-Christ

Ghassan J. Maarawi, clearly a code breaker of the highest order, sent an eye-opening cryptogram.

Assign a number to every letter of the alphabet, starting with A = 1, B = 2, C= 3 and so on, through Z = 26. Then tally up the values for the following title:

16 18 5 19 9 4 5 14 20     7 5 15 18 7 5     2 21 19 8     10 18
31513131144518     211492054     1920120519
156     113518931     1181354     615183519

Add it all up and you come up with 666, aka the number of the beast! You can't argue with mathematics.

Granted, Shrubbie isn't technically a "junior," and Commander in Chief is one of several titles conferred on the president. And Maarawi did send us a nonsensical note written in a tight scrawl that suggests a worldview -- how do we put this delicately -- that differs from commonly held reality. And he did file a complaint in U.S. District court in Vermont suing Congress for a "war on welfare which is high treason."

Nonetheless, we think he has a beautiful mind.

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