July 8, 2016

Nitty Gritty Slam, July 5

Well, Nitty Gritty anyways, an open mic night on the theme of “independence” in all its aspects, at The Low Beat, hosted by Amani & Jay — even an exquisite corpse poem for the audience to create. There was a sign-up sheet, some got added, & some of us who hung around went around twice.

Amani did a mix of her own pieces, some read, some recited, & a skit with Jay about a phone call from a school about a child who is rebellious, just like his mom raised him. Early on I did my “love version” of “Labels & Names”, & “Going Postal;” later, did “One Poem.”

Liv (or Olivia) was a bit closer to the theme with piece about being in Palestine & Israel, thinking of the Palestinians & the connection of their suppression to white supremacy; later performed a piece titled “The Ice Poem” about attempting to make peace with her mother. Both were delivered in a Slam style, both too long, seeking that 3 minute finish line. Perhaps “long” is a matter of perception. Ramon said he had “3 short pieces” but the first one was longer than, say, my 3 pieces put together; in half-rhymes he explored the frustrations of a black PhD student, of wet sex/love, &, later, a narrative piece in rhyme titled “The Preacher & the Un-Preached.” I really need to hear what he would call a “long” piece for comparison.

A couple of young women did single pieces from memory. Esha (? spelling) did a song/poem, linking images & rhyme, either from memory or free form, a good performance nonetheless.

Cleo also gave a good, energetic performance, also involving song, “to the kings of algorithm.”

At one point Jay & Amani read the audience-composed poem, the exquisite corpse — hope they saved the copy. As at other events where such works are created I wish the organizers would post the results somewhere online — here, perhaps?

Amani & Jay ended the night with another audience participation piece, this a reading of quotes from Frederick Douglass, followed by the call-&-response, “Freedom — Now!” Now this is the way to celebrate “Independence Day.”

Nitty Gritty Slam is held each 1st & 3rd Tuesday, open mic, sometimes a Slam, sometimes a featured poet, at The Low Beat, 335 Central Ave., Albany, NY, $3/$5, starts about 7:30. Have a beer & read some poetry.

No comments: