July 21, 2010

Live from the Living Room, July 14

It was nicely air-conditioned, one could say a most-cool night at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY, with our equally cool host, Don Levy.

Even cooler was our featured poet for the night, Jill Crammond Wickham. She began with a poem for her co-President of the HVWG, Carolee Sherwood (who was off doing the poetry thing on the Left Coast), a patchwork poem of the lines of Anne Sexton, "You Are the Answer." She was also the proprietor until recently of Miss Jill's Art Studiio, "was" because the landlord kicked her out, but her poem brought in what the kids know, & they really do. Jill's titles themselves can make for an interesting Blog, but the problem is that some are so long that I can't keep up, scribbling in my my reporter's notebook (where the hell is my voice recorder?). She included a couple of her signature "June Cleaver" commentaries on suburban housewives (I liked her naming birds at her feeder for her former boyfriends), but a also a bigger chunk of "circus" poems, like "Lady Derringer," "On Keeping Up Appearances: The Wooden Woman at the Circus Museum Speaks" (see what I mean?), the mis-heard poem, "Did You Make a Date to Join the Circus?" & the "Ghazal In Anticipation of Love's Resurrection." But is "Pole Dancer's Diary" with all it's gardening really a June Cleever poem? Then there was "Little Red Riding Hood Discusses Her Costume," & a Goldie Locks poem, & Barbie tells "What the Dolls Do While We Sleep," even an ekphrastic poem. All full of word play & sex & attitude. Who knew this was her first featured reading? & her hair was perfect!

With only a few open mic poets there, Uncle Don let us read up to 3 poems if we wanted -- & I did: the Frank O'Hara inspired "Poem," & from Cape Cod, "The Easel's Story," & "Sand Sheets." Jason Crane is on his bike a lot & can easily imagine drivers' reactions as he did in "This 2-Wheeled Life," followed by "On Tuesday All As One" as he goes officially car-less, then a lonely, just-written poem.

Bob Sharkey began with a prose piece from his series set in Troy, "The River" then an erasure poem based on Michael Ondaaje's novel about the early jazz musician, Buddy Bolden. Sylvia Barnard brought a recent poem about a visit to the "Adirondacks," moose, deer, & tourists in rhyme. Don Levy brought the night to a close with a collage of history of the gay liberation movement, based on an anthology with the same title, "Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation," then the Facebook commentary, "How Can You Have Too Many Friends?"

If not cool, at least pleasant & straight-friendly, every 2nd Wednesday, 7PM.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Thank you muchly for this wonderful review, Dan! If I were, in fact, June Cleaver, I would bake you a bundt cake. Seeing as how I am not June, how about I buy you a beer? :)