September 4, 2008

Colony Cafe, August 18

I was on my way back from visiting the grandchildren in Pennsylvania & stopped in Woodstock for the regular Monday night reading at the Colony Cafe on Rock City Road, hosted by Phillip Levine.

Ron Rybecki appeared first as "David Baxter" (then later played a role in the heckling of Allen Midgette). One of the old-time Woodstock characters, Max Schwartz, read from a notebook on Death/Life, with frequent page-turning & flipping glasses. Richard Boes read from chapter 4 of his novel/memoir, Last Train Out, watch for publication soon. Donald Lev, editor of Home Planet News, read a couple of his poems then an unpublished poem, "Rude Tides," by Enid Dame.

Allison Koffler was featured here recently (with her husband, Dayl Wise); she read a "coming of age poem," "Mis-use Can Result in Fire or Death by Electrical Shock" & a poem for Bread & Puppet founder, Peter Schumann. Dayl Wise followed with new "Odes about things I used to carry": "Ode to Steel Helmet," & "Ode to Toothbrushes."

There were 3 featured performers, 2 poets & a "raconteur," which is French for "bull-shit artist." The first of the poets was Dayl's friend & former room-mate, Marc Levy, who now lives in Gloucester. He has been writing "mostly prose," he says, of late, & read on leadership & war -- on President Bush (why don't you shut up), on Muhammad Ali, on Chess, & a 20 year-old dream. Quietly powerful pieces that deserve larger audiences.

The second poet was one I've yet to grow tired of hearing, Carol Graser, reading from The Wild Twist of Their Stems as well as newer pieces, & including her classic "N + 7 Prayer" (on the "Our Father"), & "Pope Air Force Base."

Allen Midgette was torn between responding to impatient hecklers & those hungry for prurient stories of dead celebrities. In fact he was torn between what stories to tell: (almost) getting picked up by Montgomery Cliff in Italy, getting stoned & laid in Warhol's factory, rubbing up against big stars.

But it was getting late & I had to leave so I missed the rest of his stories & the rest of the open mic, mea culpa.

Check it out, every Monday.