This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

GumptionFest V packed with artists

GumptionFest V
  • Fifth annual event takes place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12.
  • Activities last all day at several venues along Coffee Pot Drive.
  • Admission is free. All art and music is supplied by donation.
  • All amateur and professional artists are invited to participate.
  • To volunteer, participate or for more information, e-mail
GumptionFest V packed with artists

GumptionFest V: Raiders of the Lost Art takes place along Coffee Pot Drive in West Sedona on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12.

Events begin at 10 a.m. both days and end after midnight. GumptionFest V will feature an art gallery displaying local art, a kids zone with children’s activities and a bouncing castle, vendors, information kiosks, and entertainment at four stages:
  • Oak Creek Brewing Co.
  • the outdoor stage behind Creative Flooring, hosted by Dave Harvey
  • The Best of Show stage hosted by Kathy Perry of Best of Show; and
  • Sedona Performers Guild’s Studio Live.

The festival features some of the most well-known names in the Sedona and Verde Valley art scene, from singer-songwriters, performance poets, rock bands, painters, sculptors and fire-spinning performance artists.

However, what makes GumptionFest unique among Arizona arts festivals is that anyone who wants to play music, perform poetry, display art or dance is eagerly invited to participate.

Talent levels are not important: participants should range from full-time professional artists and musicians and published poets to recreational artists, part-time photographers and those who pen poems in private journals.

Youth and teen artists are strongly encouraged to participate whether they aim to become professional artists as adults or just create art, write poetry or play music to pass the time.

Kick-Off Party
  • The GumptionFest V kickoff party begins Friday, Sept. 10, the night before the festival, at Oak Creek Brewing Co.

  • Dirty Lingo has been playing music in Sedona, the Verde Valley and the Phoenix area for several years. Influenced by The Beatles, guitarists Mike Chapman and John Hayden form the core duo.

  • Captain Squeegee, from Tempe, is a seven-member progressive blend of multi-instrumentation and conceptualized orchestrations. The Phoenix New Times described the band as “‘Fantasia’ music, with lead singer Danny Torgersen making like Mickey in a swirling maelstrom of flying horns, dancing guitars, broken melodies, and mad-prophet vocalizing.”
    The band was awarded “Best Album of 2008” and “Best Hope of 2009” by webzine Progressia.

Musical Acts
  • Eccentric world beat music group Amitahba includes Sedona musicians Vusi Shibambo, Andre Fearonce, formerly of The Beatnigs with Michael Franti, bassist Lindsay Buckingham, drummer Alex Ogburn, guitarist Keith Kavisic, vocalist Terry Bryant, Leah Lamat and guitarist Michael Casella.

    The band has a full sound made of percussion, marimba, vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, bass, drums and vocals.

  • Da Ominators is led by frontman, guitarist and vocalist Dom Giazzon, a veteran of popular local bands Radio Dogma and Liquid Theory.

  • Singer and songwriter Brandon Decker, musically known only as Decker, writes songs that delve into the human heart and the human condition. Not quite rock, not quite folk, his acoustic-based music draws upon a variety of influences, from Leonard Cohen to Tom Waits, from Cat Power to PJ Harvey.

    Decker has toured the West Coast promoting his debut album “Long Days” and is soon to release his second, full-length album.

  • Hip-hop duo Double Vision is comprised of twin brothers Jonathan and Jarred Lindsay. They masterfully fuse hip-hop, rock and ska over cleverly worded, uplifting lyrics. The result is something truly distinctive.

  • Born in Venice, Calif., they moved throughout the Midwest and the South as kids. Products of the hip-hop generation, they started rhyming before they were out of their Underoos. In high school, they hooked with producer Bill Blast and formed Double Vision. In 2008, they recorded their first EP, “No Explanation.” Their debut album, “Bifocal,” is reminiscent of Pharcyde and Outkast mixed with Gym Class Heroes.

  • Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Ralf Illenberger started performing in 1977. His first album “Waves” was released in 1978 and nominated for the German Record Awards.

    Illenberger released seven European recordings during the next nine years, exploring styles that ranged from new-classical to avant-garde to progressive jazz. Through Germany’s Goethe Institute, Illenberger and guitar partner Martin Kolbe played more than 1,000 concerts during the 1980s in 40 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

    Since 1995, Illenberger has been writing and recording in Sedona releasing several more albums which garnered critical acclaim.

  • Jake Payne is a singer and songwriter who plays solo acoustic folk music, as well as fronting an electric rock band. He presents a diverse repertoire of poetic and dynamic songs ranging from soft moody lullabies to all-out rock.

  • Guitarist Dave Harvey and cellist Courtney Yeates will perform together.

  • Self-taught singer and songwriter Adam Smith was born in Virginia, raised in Kentucky and discovered on the streets of Nashville, Tenn. He discovered the piano on his own as a 7-year-old and picked up guitar, teaching himself to play around the age of 18.

    Smith eventually began performing regularly at open mic nights. His visual approach to music carries through to the guitar, but with a twist.

  • An improvisational music collective, Vamp Syllabus combine elements of post-rock, ambient, experimental, funk, and jazz to create a unique experience of musical exploration and discovery.

    There is no rehearsed material - everything is created live and on the spot. Each performance is one-of-a-kind and never repeated.

    The collective is led by guitarist Matthew Barlow with bassist Dylan Jung, drummer Michael Leibowitz, saxaphonist Gabriel Masterson and vocalist Kelly Cole.

  • Singer and songwriter Jay Fout’s style is a combination of folk, funk, reggae, blues and jazz with a rock twist.

  • Yin Yang & Zen Some, Sedona’s costume party rock band, will perform its distinctive show as a headlining act.

  • Other groups include The Mods, from Cottonwood, Näthan Saith Gangadean, duo Nathan Trujillo and Jason Kevin, Alex Ogburn, the Gospel Fire All Stars and Poem from Phoenix.

Slam Poetry
  • A series of head-to-head poetry slam competitions will be hosted by five-time National Poetry Slam competitor Christopher Fox Graham.

    Judges will be randomly selected from the crowd.

    Tucson slam poets David Rogers Luben, Mickey Randleman and Laura Lacanette, and Phoenix poets Lauren Perry and Bernard “The Klute” Schober will challenge local poets for the cash prize. To register or for more information, e-mail

  • A Haiku Death Match takes place on Sunday, Sept. 12. A Haiku Death Match is a competitive head-to-head poetry duel. Death matches have been a prominent feature at the annual National Poetry Slam since the mid 1990s.

    Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables in three metrical lines of five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. Slam haiku need only 17 syllables; lines are unimportant.

    Death match competitors, or “haikusters,” need 20 to 30 haiku to compete. Poets must be the sole authors and can read from the page. Poets can have haiku written beforehand or write them in their head while at the microphone.

    There will be a cash prize for the winning haikusters.
Performance Art
  • Abandoned Minds improve comedy troupe has been performing shows in the Verde Valley with a revolving membership for the past few years. The group brings their on-the-fly performance to entertain the crowds.

  • Members of Pyroclectic will perform their fire-spinning performance art after the sun sets. The Prescott fire troupe was featured at Prescott’s annual Tsunami on the Square festival and was a member of the Fire Conclave at Burning Man 2010.
To Participate

Volunteers are also needed this year, so even those who don’t play an instrument, paint, sculpt or write poems can help and be a part of one of the largest free arts festival in Sedona.

Organizers for GumptionFest V: Raiders of the Lost Art are still looking for more visual artists, photographers, dancers and dance troupes, musicians, bands, theater groups and poets who want to be a part of the festival for either one or two days.

To participate, volunteer or contribute as a sponsor, contact or visit GumptionFest on Facebook.

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