“When the fifth sun sets get back reclaim”
On the Monday I was leaving for Nationals, Leslie Shipman, of the Bronx Writers’ Center, E-mails me about being part of the Lit Fest: Home. She mentions a panel discussion which really sparks my interest since I have never actually been part of one and I am thinking the process would be cool to help get my head in check. Then she drops the kicker, “We’ll be exploring issues surrounding first generation American writers.” (Stone Cold voice ON)Oh, hell yeah! (3:16 OFF)
Bringing it back to a few weeks ago, I discover that the event is scheduled the same night as Acentos. D’oh! No worries, Fish has the helm and I’ll just have to miss a night at the Blue Ox.
Luckily, the reading was only four blocks away. As Rich might say, “En el medio del carajo,” actually that’s what my mom would say.
Reading– Dope! Lynne went first and ripped through a set of poems that she had already begun writing for another project.
Audience– Not so Dope! Lynne is not the most feel good poet out there, for sure, but she does bring immediacy and poignancy to her work. This crowd could give two shits and was content sitting on their hands throughout.
I go up next and get a little bit more reaction with the “Ceviche” poem but once I go back to my more personal work the crowd dies again. Check it– the fact that they aren’t feeling me at the moment isn’t what bugs me… it’s the fact that they have some energy in them and they just aren’t willing to share it.
Patrick Rosal finishes it off and through my own sheer will, I lead the applause for each of his pieces. For the record, Patrick’s work is dope and I have got to pick up his book.
Then comes the panel discussion and guess how many questions the crowd had? … That’s right. They pleaded the Fifth.
Much love to Ron of Mosaic Books for putting the show together and trying to get the energy up in the crowd.
I had a good time doing work in front of an entirely new crowd and having to reach deep as opposed to riding on my rep (whatever that is). Let’s take a look at the clock (8:28), time for Acentos!
I boogie over the Blue Ox and catch Mahina Movement going over their set in the front, Matt Siegel and Guy splitting a Newport, and then walk into warm lights, an energetic crowd, and good music. (Not for nothing, it was kinda like the first time I ever went to 13.) A head count a bit later told me that we had almost the same number of heads at both readings but the vibe was SO much better. I missed the Open Mic which was sad because that is usually my favorite part of any show (provided that the curators give a damn about it and don’t let it turn into a sad addition to a top heavy line-up).
ACENTAS in the house as we had a great balance of ladies on our mic and, from all reports, presenting lovely work. Dats what I’m talkin’ about!
Mahina rocked but that was never a question. The ladies are the epitomy of collaborative work exploring range in voice, tune, and visuals in a style that emphasizes organic interaction versus the ‘flash over style’ mentality that permeates so many super-sized duets and trios running around spoken word today. (Sounds like if I was still doing the Announcements, huh?)
Guy has been talking about the warm energy surrounding the series for a while now and this was the first time I actually got to experience it from the outside, if you will, and was really feeling the signature we have created in our little rincon criollo.
More of that ol’ Nuyo spirit remained as Rich, Jess, Juan, Matt, and myself ended the night with an impromptu workshop of sorts as both Juan and Jess let me look at the work I missed and we started kicking around some more ideas. Let me tell you, Juan is one of the coolest mo’fos on the planet– he really knows how to accept critique on his work. As a group we rocked this old synonymUS practice of performing each other’s pieces. Matt did “Brooklyn Back Break Beat” and got real emotional in this spot that I normally get reserved at in the poem. I covered Juan’s piece and got to step out of my voice for a second in that Juan has serious lyrical skills and I had to adapt a faster cadence to read his piece. Man, this life rocks!
“You need to get up there and/give it away so you can keep it”
See y’all on the 11th!