February 22, 2007

Zounds! The Night Sky Cafe Spoken Word Open Mic, February 21

This open mic is on the third Wednesday, which this month came the week following the third Thursday, fancy that. And it continues to be one of the open mics to be at, particularly if you (like Billy Pilgrim) are in Schenectady.

The open mic poets this night were like features, only didn't read as long, their work hitting home in different ways. In fact, Shaun Baxter at one point got lost in the readings & forgot he was the host, waited for someone to make the next announcement.

Bob Sharkey was the first feature. He did a wildflower bouquet of a variety of his poems, including one by William Carpenter. He is the kind of poet you will see scribbling in a pocket notebook on the train or at a lunch counter in NYC or Maine.

So different from the other feature, D. Alexander Holiday. Doug (Alex to some) always pushes our faces into it, where we often need to be. After all it is not only Black History Month, but the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. In spite of his string of familiar poems from his book, he read some new, angry poems about his job situation. While Doug's focus is often on race issues, these poems stepped beyond into the boss-worker dynamic that we all, black or white, have had to deal with -- angry, over-the-top, & sometimes too much. But, hey, who are we to say? Sometimes he is our Jiminy Cricket.

I had been uncertain of what to read, but did my "white man's tribute" poem, Africa. Then later Dr. Boji Jordan delivered a short talk on Africa as the source & cradle of civilization -- Africa, the keystone, the great Mother of us all -- so it became our own Black History Month version of the third Wednesday open mic.

Other readers included Alan Catlin, about whose work what can I say? who is writing his critical survey?; Shaun (who also read some of the postcard poems people have sent -- show up sometime & find out what it's about!); Jason Dalaba (? spelling) with his gothic mix of cookie crumbs, sex & his idea of an English accent; Julie Lomoe's Sophomore Slump is an open mic poem poem for the anthology of poems about open mics; & Virginia Osborn debuted her new chapbook, "A Fleck of Yeast". Virginia had read at the Poets in the Park last year. Her marketing strategy is to charge $5 for the chapbook & refund it if you can convince her you've read it, but it's worth the $5 even after you've read it, so let her keep the money.

This is a great series in a wonderful venue, with a killer program next month: Don Levy & Mary Panza -- I can't wait to write the Blog on that!! Third Wednesday, March 21 (a week after the third Thursday: go figure).

3 comments:

Doug Holiday said...

Thank you Dan for the excellent "review" and remarks on Bob, my own, and other's (including yourself) performances at the Night Sky Cafe on Wednesday evening.

If I can just add here, it was a deep honor to share the stage with Mr. Bob Sharkey and, again, I apologize for missing some of his performance while I helped Al Brophy and his wife Virginia (aka Beth) to get into the building (for those of you that don't know, Mr. Brophy is confined to a wheelchair). Thanks to Shaun, too, for inviting me to read at his open mic.

This looks like it is going to be a great blog Dan. Great idea.

Finally. Al Brophy has invited me to host the open mic portion of the "Voices in Wartime" event on the 3rd in East Greenbush at the East Greenbush Community Library, from 1:00pm until 4:00, so I would like folks to come out and support Al's event.

Thanks.

Scott Hughes said...

Thanks for the reviews. I love spoken word, so I'm interested.

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