September 17, 2015

Yes! a Reading Series, September 12

Another sure sign of Autumn, along with cooler nights & the leaves turning colors, is the return of this eclectic reading/performance/art series. For the season opener there were no out-of-towners, just 3 locals, Diana Alvarez, Olivia Dunn, & Adam Tedesco.

Diana Alvarez, who is currently a PhD student in Electronic Arts at RPI, already has an impressive resume as an interdisciplinary artist.  Tonight she stayed behind the mic, reading & singing. She began with some short, mostly anaphoric poems, then some pieces from a chapbook, Consultations with Bruja Juana, poems around Sor Inés de la Cruz (1651 - 1695), & a nervous poem “You Are Still Here.” Then she charmed us with 2 beautifully sung poems by Mexican poets, “Sabor a Mi” by Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón & “Usted” by Gabriel Ruiz Galindo. She ended with a marvelous poem filled with the influences of Hispanic surrealism, “To Heal the Way in Which I Walk.”

Adam Tedesco was the only one of the 3 readers whose work I had heard before; he is a frequent reader on the local open mic scene, usually accompanied, as he was tonight, by his lovely cheer-leader wife, Lisa. His poems are edgy, complex & his reading had a trajectory from just provocative to philosophical, starting with “This Is My Mushroom Poem,” “Stuffed Crust” (“my heart is a Pizza Hut…”) to the chant “Come Let Go.” The poem “Future False” was a meditation on power & religion that started with an image of his son’s baptism, while the next poem ranged from compartmentalization to fucking to writing a poem. Then to a long piece “The Open House Has Been Cancelled.” “Birthday Walking Storm King…” was linked to the more gentle “Clouds” by, well, clouds. “Say Something…” merged word play to image play, then to the surrealistic social commentary of “How to Tell If You Are Dreaming,” winding up thinking about the end in “Change Me.” Nice to hear more than a couple of poems from Adam.

Olivia Dunn has returned home after graduating from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She’s currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of writing at Skidmore College, & blogs at She began with some vignettes about walking around the Empire State Plaza, descriptive, humorous, somewhat self-deprecating. Then on to a series of memoir pieces, one on Winter in Middle School in Albany, another on the 3 Albany Price-Choppers, where a discussion of the Delaware Ave. store, known to all as “the ghetto Chopper,” led to a thoughts on racism & being one of the minority white students at Philip Livingston Middle School. Check out her Blog for samples of her work.

Yes! continues on a monthly basis at the Albany Center Gallery, 39 Columbia St., Albany, 7PM, a donation helps keep the series going. Find them on Facebook to see when the next readings are.

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