Cram Slam

Using a blank canvas and buckets of paint, Miami artist Jonas Gerard stands onstage and creates colorful works of art. He calls it "spontaneous performance-painting." To expand the concept, he's going to paint while interacting with others, perhaps a saxophonist, a poet, and a dancer. The ensemble's improvisational piece called A Conversation in Four Mediums will be one of the featured acts during S.L.A.M. (Something Like A Muse), a showcase for professionals and amateurs to display their creativity. S.L.A.M. features a fast-paced, high-energy series of performances, each up to seven minutes long, according to co-founder Kaihan Krippendorff. The assortment of acts includes video, music, poetry, dance, performance art, and stand-up comedy. The idea: to offer a forum for artistic folks as well as inspire others to incorporate aesthetic pursuits into their lives.

For Krippendorff, that's poetry. He wrote in college but submerged that interest after earning an M.B.A. degree and working in the corporate world. Eager to reconnect with his poetic side, he gathered a group of friends and friends of friends and created the S.L.A.M. events at Power Studios in the Miami Design District. "This gives you a safe place to express yourself,'' he notes.

Among the array of performers is Katie Rubin of North Miami Beach, who does a segment of the one-woman show she is writing. Her act consists of humorous poetry recited through animated, expressive characters. Gerard, a professional painter and sculptor, calls S.L.A.M. exciting and fun. The energy fuels his spontaneous performance-painting. "The stuff oozes out of me without any effort whatsoever,'' he says.

Although the bulk of the show consists of featured performers, several slots are available for the open-mike segment. In addition to show business professionals, entertainers include teachers, lawyers, architects, and even Website designers, Krippendorff says. Some are at home onstage. Others are novices. It's all fine by Krippendorff, who sees value in any artistic pursuit: "It makes life more colorful, more interesting, more vibrant."