“Heads are a science apart.”
i have been at the nuyo for the last two weeks in a row and fully plan on going again this week– holy shit!
i have had such a love/hate thing with the nuyo.
the love is simple it is THE best stage i have ever been on, period. no where else has come close, not 13, the BPC, chicago, NPS, no where! there is this incredible feeling of, well, ominpotence up there. if your poem is tight, they laugh when you want them to laugh, they cry/ahh/gasp/cheer/clap when you want them to… the entire room! not just a few people in the front or that core group of listeners… the while place, all 200 of them. i was doing a poem once and for some strange reason looked to my left for no reason at all and everybody started looking where i was looking… f’ing cool, man.
of course, the nuyo also has the most history of any stage in nyc and maybe, the whole country, when you are up there and know that this is the stage the saul, beau, rog, lynne, guy, mayda, suheir, regie, emanuel, tracy morris, carl hancock rux, miguel algarin, bob holman, steve cnanon… have all been on… you just have to tip your hat.
then comes the hate from the fact that it is not the stage pinero, cienfugos, pietri, piri, esteves, all cut their teeth on… that stage is gone and may never come back since the nuyo has elevated itself into such a POETRY institution that it may never again become the NUYORICAN institution it began as and still remains in the minds of the common every man. i remember going there waiting to see the best in RICAN poetry and getting a nice cross section of popular performance poetry. i think i would have been happy if it was the best in performance poetry but it wasn’t, in my opinion, just the most popular.
well, the last two weeks have had mums and cheryl-boyce taylor as the feature and that is awesome, it’s good for the nuyo to dig deeper into their past and get the new audience in touch with the people that helped make his
mums had an amazing set where he did what he does best– serve up urban philosophy ingrained with the teachings of nietzche, krs one, frued and nas into a form of poetry that is as current as it is profound. the slam that night was good with rich almost pulling out a victory over the marxman, a nice cat and good mc but not a poet. (here ya go, jive) marx was all about having wonderful word play and went to the hip hop formula really well (punchline, metaphor, punchline, metaphor.. huzzah!) but was very geocentric with his works and kept mixing his metaphors to suit his agenda, braggin’ about ‘mself. works in hip-hop but for more me, poetry should be deeper.
cherly boyce was great this last friday, giving the crowd what they should be hearing instead of what they like hearing. one girl by the front was just so bored and was golf clappin cheryl throughout her set, sad. i would have loved to find out what she was missing, what wasnt connecting, especially since cheryl’s work, like mums, has a built in universal appeal. the girl got to clapping when the slam started and the more people used trite rhyme scheme or outrageous performance on the stage– the more she clapped. another good slam with jorge monterossa taking the win and angel, kanaya’s girl, showing me that her work has nice focus.
if all goes well, i’ll be there again this friday as willie perdomo hits the stage. his set should be interesting as he could do the classics, and really SHOULD do em, like ‘a night at the nuyorican’ and ‘nigger rican blues’ but then he has a whole new book of poems. i hope he mixes it up and let;s this crowd know that just cuz you win a slam here, the best stage in the world, you aint done shit… yet.