November 7, 2010

Open Mic Shoe Slam, November 5

This reading at the Albany Institute of History & Art, during Albany's monthly First Friday art walk, was in conjunction with a couple of exhibits involving shoes, & was hosted by Jessica Layton (from Channel 13). It was a "slam" in the most loose sense of a competition (audience got to vote for the best performers), but more just fun for a cross-section of the community. Jessica began by explaining that she is "passionate" about shoes & culture, & started us off with a rhyming piece about her tangerine pumps displayed on the table.

First up was Chloe Gatulik reading "My Fall Shoes." Then Mikayla McCrary read a poem also about her new shoes -- 2 young poets bravely trying out their craft. Ali Gutman had only one shoe left (the dog ate it), as she explained in "An Ode to My Peep-Toe Shoes" (from Florence, no less). My poem was not exactly about shoes, although there were ample references to shoes, but was more about "Feets," an old piece, with recent revisions inspired by this event.

From there the mode shifted to the story-tellers, with Kate Dudding talking about, & demonstrating, her tap-dance shoes. Sandesh Nalic's story about shoe-throwing against political opponents was tempered by humor & a stand-up comic's delivery. Claire Nolan's story was about walking 26 miles in Dr. Scholl's exercise sandals in 1970. Josie (from the AIHA staff) showed us her blue suede platform peep-toe shoes & an informal story about walking in them home through the night streets of Albany. And Monica showed us rather ordinary looking black rubber boots, with a beautiful (& comfortable) red lining.

Once the audience voted, there was a tie for first place between Kate Dudding & Sandesh Nalic. Jessica came up with a plan for an instant-haiku run-off, which Sandesh Nalic won, Kate Dudding was second prize winner, with Claire Nolan as 3rd place. Lots of smiles & fun -- & wine & cheese & sweets, too. And interesting that there were no other poets there from the many open mics in towns; but I did run into a few during the rest of the evenings gallery crawl. Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it.

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