April 18, 2011

Psycho ClusterFuck, April 16

The 10th annual occurrence of this celebration of local talent, spoken words & music & whatever else pops up, named after the first such event at the very first WordFest when that's what it was. It's basically a term of affection, trust me.

But I had been here at The Linda on Central Ave. since 7AM, with a few breaks. It was more than 12 hours later & my head was spinning.

The first performer was Avery, barefoot, with a string of spoken word pieces enhanced by his energetic cavorting, first in performer black, then in martial arts white, twirling a didgeridoo (which he unfortunately didn't play). "Driven by the Crunch" set up the ironic contrast of shouting about yoga asanas. "Floating" came from a performance/installation at EMPAC at RPI.

Olivia Quillos provided a musical interlude, with her singer-songwriter pieces performed on a tenor ukelele (I think that's what it was). It's great to see performers whom I've seen at area open mics (specifically, I'd seen her at Professor Java's Wide Open Mic) finding a place on bigger stage.

A WordFest tradition is to showcase the winner's of Metroland's Readers' Pick for Best Poet. KC Orcutt  read first, explaining, "This is a social experiment" & read a series of mostly short jottings, musings, poems, sounding a lot like a collection of Tweets, where you can often find her, when not Blogging. She is new on the "scene" & it was her first appearance on Metroland's annual list.

RM Engelhardt is a perennial figure on the Readers' Pick list, having been on the scene & hosting open mics in a variety of venues over the years. He read "some new ones & some old ones from the greatest hits collection" of his self-published chapbooks. His usual theme of the poet against the world & the sanctity of poetry was the thread through each of the pieces.  Couldn't quite tell which were new & which were old, all written basically in the same style & sentiment.

Mary Panza has been on the poetry open mic scene even longer than Rob & has also been on the Metroland Best Poets list a number of times. She had been here all day, doing most of the MCing & was beginning to look frazzled, but taking the stage brought all her attitude & energy back. She also did a series of "greatest hits", particularly the trashing of Shel Silverstein in "Fuck the Giving Tree" & a poem that could've come from a prompt, even it it didn't, "This is Not An Angry Poem." As she said, the best poetry prompts are from living your life.

As the band Mother Judge was setting up to play, my day began to crash around me in the form of a fatigue headache & I realized I could no longer make it through the night so my report ends here too, as did my day. Sorry I missed the other performers, but as Groucho Marx once said, "I love my cigar too, but sometimes I take it out of my mouth." There's more poetry readings somewhere.

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