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Gabrielle Bouliane

I’m Allowed gives the first Unstoppable Woman recognition to Gabrielle Bouliane, seen below. She became a full-fledged angel on January 29, 2010. She has profoundly touched the lives of many, including mine. May she touch yours as well.

Gabrielle Bouliane at the Austin Poetry Slam

The following is a direct clip from The Buffalo News Obits

Photo by Damien Failla

Gabrielle Bouliane, noted for organizing, videographing poetry slams

Updated: February 04, 2010, 4:47 pm

Published: February 04, 2010, 12:30 am

In her final spoken- word performance Dec. 9 in Austin, Texas, Gabrielle “Gabby” Bouliane boldly confronted her approaching death and urged audience members to live up to their potential while time allows.

“What are you waiting for?” pleaded the University at Buffalo graduate, widely known for organizing and videographing poetry slams. “Why aren’t you being everything you can be right now? Please, take it from a girl who’s already half angel. Do not wait.”

Ms. Bouliane, who in 2007-08 staged slams—competitions in which poets read or recite original works—as part of “Gusto at the Gallery” in the Albright-Knox, died under hospice care Friday in Austin, five months after she was diagnosed with a rare cancer. She was 43.

After working for 15 years with Poetry Slam Inc. to establish poetry series in Seattle, Buffalo, Austin, Chicago and other places, and creating a digital archive of the past 10 years’ events, Ms. Bouliane returned to Texas earlier this year as production manager of the Austin Film Festival.

She continued to work on the slam archive as video projects coordinator.

“She did it, like so many in our community have done—out of love of the form and love of her medium,” Steve Marsh, executive director of Poetry Slam Inc., blogged as word of Ms. Bouliane’s death spread online.

“She shot our shows for years with her personal time and her personal camera. There was no financial compensation of any kind in those days,” Marsh said.

Both then and recently, as a paid staffer in charge of recording major poetry events across the country, she “made a contribution to the form that would not have been made without her,” Marsh said.

Born in Boston, Ms. Bouliane earned an associate’s degree in digital video production before moving with her family to Buffalo, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and publishing from UB in 1990 and her master’s in urban planning in 1992.

She returned from Seattle about five years ago to organize a poetry slam with Just Buffalo Literary Center, recalled artistic director Michael J. Kelleher.

“Her tenacity and spirit quickly created the premier slam series in the region, the Nickel City Poetry Slam, Kelleher said. Later, he said, “she brought the best slam artists in the country” to the Albright once a month “while also developing the best of our local talent through the slam competition.

Ms. Bouliane twice organized, coached and delivered a Buffalo team to the national poetry slam, Kelleher added.

“She had quite an impact on the local slam scene,” noted Buffalo News poetry reviewer R. D. Pohl. Besides being a skilled organizer and videographer, Ms. Bouliane was “quite dynamic” onstage, usually performing in a bunny costume and fishnet stockings, he said.

“She came on like Molly Ivins [the late political pundit]—witty, sharp, not a person to put up with a lot of guff,” Pohl added.

Her parents, Tom and Gretchen, survive.

Ms. Bouliane’s life will be celebrated at a “Bunny Up for Gabrielle” benefit featuring several bands, vocalists and poets from 2 to 11 p. m. Feb. 14 in Nietzche’s, 248 Allen St. Admission will be a minimum $5 donation. The video of her Dec. 9 performance in Austin can be seen on YouTube.

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