March 1, 2010

Karaoke+Poetry=Fun, February 20

How can I write intelligently about a night out at a bar with poets drinking & doing karaoke? I guess I can't. Besides, half my notes are illegible. I'll try to hit some of the high (or is it "low"?) points & deal with the revisionists later.

The host/MC/party leader was Daniel Nester who organized this event in conjunction with the CLMP Small Press Book Fair held at the College of St. Rose earlier in the day. Of course, Nester jumped in throughout the night with a faux guitar, or not, on stage or on the dance floor. He even gave me a fling (literally) at one point. The banner, as you can see in some of the pictures (if not here, then a more complete collection on my Flickr site), was certainly correct: "mic+pen=beer". He started off the night with a reading of the Mooning section from his recent book How To Be Inappropriate, then sang "Can't Get Enough of Your Love." Later in the night he read a Robert Hayden poem (a nod to Black History Month, I guess), then sang "My Sharona." At times he joined other readers on stage, such as Michelle Bulla, as well as other groups. Did he learn anything from writing that book? You'll have to check out the pictures -- I ain't saying.

I read way up front as one of the "featured poets" since I always know what I'm going to "sing" at these things & it gets it out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the night; I read the old QE2 poem, "Where Were the Professors" & followed it with my standard, "Wild Thing." Another early reader was maveric-press icon Geof Huth, who also handed out a folded broadside, karrakokkoe, of the poems he read, including a version of "Louie Louie," the song he performed.

Eric Auld's poems were mostly humorous lists of stuff (his list of reasons to apply to grad school made me think I should have read my "27 Things to Do With Your MFA") & then he performed "Me & Julio." Cara Benson's poem was "Ain't She Pretty" then performed "Material Girl" (I think). Tobias Seamon's poem was "a rip off" of a Philip Larkin poem, he said, then sang "All Along the Watchtower" (the Hendrix version). One of Alifair Skebe's poems ("Bird Caged") she described as "another lovely absurdist piece" then sang "Day-OH" (a connection there?).

Shannon Shoemaker who had on 2 different hats because everyone liked the little black fedora she arrived in & wanted to wear it, did her Emo boy poem & then "Born to Run." I think (if it matters) that the best poem of the night was one Kira Brady read from her iPhone, about the changing of the seasons, the solipsistic "The Return of Brown Kira." & I was particularly thrilled when one participant (Carissa Haberland) read my poem, "Ordering Lunch," from my new chapbook boundless abodes of Albany.

Mary Panza & Murrow, with guest singer Tony the Intern, turned things around by doing "Sister Christian" (she loves them mullets) before they performed their poems. Typical. Mary did the street-feminist "Girl Busts Finger," while Murrow (Thom Francis & Keith Spencer) followed with a couple pieces, the "3rd can poem" & "Aftermath."

There were some karaoke virgins & poetry virgins as well, including Sue Conroy, who was the first woman to read after about 5 guys, with a prose piece of family drama & "The Beat Goes On" with Lila as back up singer. Carmine came with his daughter, a student at St. Rose, & he read some of his own rap, & Marie's poem was "Home."

Others I've barely retrieved from my notes include Tony Geras ("Tony the Intern"), his roommate Jessie, Dan Henderson (whose poem was about a fuzz-ball game, if I got it right), Michelle Bulla (sorry about spellings, there was no sign-up sheet to consult afterwards) with a Taylor Mali poem & Danielle S. Ely with a grim poem about Florida.

& of course, without whom we wouldn't know the words, Lila from The Karaoke Zone, who helped out on some songs, & joined in with the faux guitar, patient & good-humored throughout (did anybody buy her a drink?).

With an expensive banner like the one hanging behind the stage, I expect this event will re-surface from time to time. You can always practice in the shower.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only Dan Nester bought Lila a drink - thanks for the awesome posting!

Anonymous said...

The Karaoke Zone:

http://pw2.netcom.com/~lilalynn/KARAOKEZONE.html

Anonymous said...

Tony does have alast name. His parents were not called The Interns! Uncle Don

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mack said...

When The popular comment layout is common, so it is easily recognized scanning to post a comment. If the comment section is in a different format, then I am going to spend more time trying to decipher what everything means.

study from home