Jill Crammond was first up, even before the bands, introduced by an enthusiastic M.C. who nonetheless equated "slammin'" with "poetry." This was not a Slam -- no judges, no scores, the poets did sets. Didn't matter, few in the audience knew the difference. But Jill, "blond, pink & beautiful" hit the suburban housewives in the audience with her biting commentary on marriage, the role of women (& men), sex & divorce with a selection of her best "Mary poems," reading against the rock beat next door & the 3-deep chattering at the bar. Not to mention her hair was perfect.
Next up was jazz-singer Donna Singer performing with the Doug Richards Trio. Miriam Axel-Lute is a poet/performer whose work is much closer to Slam than Jill's, reciting most of her poems from memory. Her poems were energetic pieces set in Albany, in New York City, even a little bit of radical economic theory. She ended with a piece that about being LOUD! & was able to get through some of the babble.
That was it for poetry, as the Hot 8 Brass Band took the stage. On the way out, Don Levy gave his blessing to the night with his classic assessment: "That was a good reading." I'll give the organizers credit for reaching out to poets to be part of the Saratoga Arts Festival, but Caroline St. on a Saturday night may not be the best venue for it. At least no one got stabbed.