October 25, 2016

Poetry, Painting & Discussion, October 15

Armando Soto & "The Three Drummers"
Maria Diotte invited me in the past to her eclectic art & performance salons but, up to now, I haven’t been able to commit due to other events I was attending. She invited me to be one of the poets reading tonight & I was available. This was held out in Latham (!) at Music To My Hair Salon on Troy-Schenectady Road, a spacious, bright place with a small performance space with an elevated stage. It was perfect!

Along 2 walls & the stage were the bold, colorful paintings of Armando Soto, who gave us a brief tour. Many of his subjects were musicians: Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, & “The Three Drummers.” There was also a tribute painting to the poet Pedro Pietri (1944 - 2004), & Armando read a couple of Pietri’s poems, including the classic “Telephone Booth (number 905 1/2)” & poetry by Pablo Neruda.

Music by Christophe Ragliacci (know as the clown “Rags”) with an array of shakers, tambourines, cowbells, other percussion instruments for the audience to accompany him.

The first poet to read was “Sauce,” Christopher Caulfield, who gave up part of his time for Devon who read a poem by Sappho. Sauce performed most of his pieces with a guitar. I was next & read 3 poems from 3 of my chapbooks, then ended with “When Donald Trump Farts.”

Jay Renzi, formerly of Troy, now ensconced in Boston (where his accent has become even more pronounced), read mostly short, epigramic poems, ending with an excerpt from a longer piece title “The Crown of the White Goddess.” Jay's best quote was “my favorite person to quote is myself.”

The next act was “Poetry & Percussion by Diotte Sorelle,” who were Maria Diotte reading poem/chants from her notebook while her sister Kristin played congas.

Following the break there was an open mic. The readers included Patrick Harris (who read twice), Devon again with a memoir piece of her own on gender issues, Paula, John who read a love poem which he said was the only poem he’s written, Ed whose children’s short story was longer than any of the featured poets, Michelle with a piece for her late grandmother written just today, & Kristin with a touching poem of sister-love for Maria.

A pleasant night of the arts in an unusual setting that worked well with the art. I hope to see more of these in the future.

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