April 5, 2009

Yes, Reading!, April 3

When I first got the notice back at the end of February for this new reading series, the start time was 6:30 PM. I was out of town for the first two programs, but tonight got to the Townsend Park Bakery Cafe promptly, found other poet friends waiting for the reading to begin, & the gussied-up host, Douglas Rothschild (zoot-suit pants & chain, white shirt & pork-pie hat), busy setting up. As time progressed, approaching 7:00PM, there was still no sign of the featured reader, Cara Benson, & Doug didn't seem to know what time the reading was going to start. Some folks in the audience were there because they had been in a workshop run by Cara & wanted to support her. Others, like myself, were trying to fit the event into a busy First Friday Gallery Walk night, so when the show started at 7:15 we were already late for the rest of the night. When I got home later I found a last-minute reminder email with a corrected start-time of 7:00PM; I guess I didn't get the memo about the change.

Oh well, what I saw was fun. Doug Rothschild hosted "The Poetry Game Show" with $-Store prizes & games like Name that Poem/Poet, & Write a Blurb, surrounded on stage, lucky man, by lovely honies. The reading by Cara Benson was short, but I hear she read again after I (& her workshop fan club) had to leave. She read her "confessional" poems in a pressured-speech style, piling up the minutiae & detritus of daily-life details, often filled with surprising admissions, like "clowns freak me out." I tend to like poems about things & people & enjoy her work. But it made me wonder what her poems would sound like read slowly...

The audience, with a few notable exceptions, seemed to be mostly grad-school students or folks of that generation. It was like those Trivial Pursuit nights at local bars, but without the booze (perhaps booze would help), & it made me realize that the current generation likes these games -- guessing poems, naming characters in TV programs, or obscure historical figures -- but back when I was that age we sat around plotting to take over the college administrator's office or figuring out how to make LSD in the bathtub. I guess that's progress.

You can find them on Facebook (where I just noticed the start time is clearly 7:00PM).