June 17, 2011

Professor Java's Wide Open Mic, June 13 (not Keith's Birthday)

It seems the folkies & the poets have at least one thing in common: they both shun the #1 slot on the open mic sign-up sheet. So once again, I was the first performer up. Meanwhile, our host, Keith Spencer kept insisting that tonight was not his birthday, his birthday was tomorrow. But that didn't stop little Julia (Mary Panza's daughter) from making a miniature birthday card, signed by many of us (but "no poetry" she told us), & delivering it abruptly during the evening.

It was a mix of poets & musicians, as always at this "guitar-friendly" venue.

I started off the open mic list with poetry, "The Pussy Pantoum" then a couple of poems from my chapbook Poeming the Prompt (A.P.D. [Anticipating Pantoums Daily, etc.] 2011), "Poeming," & the wistful haiku "Love Poem." Other poets this night were Carol Jewell with a "Pantoum for Keith" wondering what to write about, then the 2 sad, short poems for her brother that she had read yesterday at the Arts Center. Brenda Rusch read 2 versions of a poem she first wrote in college, the second shorter, compact, more a poem than the original. Dain Brammage found his way back here after a year with a string of haiku, some from an insomniac series beginning "4 in the morning…" "Poetic Visions" (Darian Gooden) performed one of his signature pieces, "Upside Down Inside Out," then a love poem he had performed at WordFest, "The World's Most Wanted."

In between & around the poets there were a series of musical performers, & one "stand-up" comic, Mike Ingraham. There were performances of classics by Robert Johnson & Eric Clapton by Greg Guba, & more Eric Clapton & a Seals & Croft tune by visiting Sheri Levin. Brian Rivera got some level of audience participation with his song & Dan Sayles played instrumental bass pieces. In addition, there were groups, the duo "The Midnight Society" & the trio "The Normanskill Saxons."

But the musical highlights of the night was the father & daughters team of Dwight, Kate & Margaret. As a trio they performed a moving tribute to Viet Nam war veterans, "A Man Named Clay," the performance debut for Dwight.  Kate followed with a stunning solo piece about meeting a homeless man in Italy & singing the "Ave Maria" together, then she & sister Margaret sang Joan Baez's love song to Bob Dylan "Diamonds & Rust," reading the lyrics off their smart-phone.

Wide-open for musicians & poets, at Professor Java's on Wolf Rd. in Colonie, NY, 2nd Monday of the month, 8PM. Brought to you by AlbanyPoets.com.

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