“Make me strong, yeah you make me bold”

Why must all these Acentos audiences work on Latino Time? There have been maybe two shows that the audience showed up on time for. The Karen Jamie show started with me knowing everyone in the place, by first name, last name, and phone number… don’t laugh.

The tradition extends to our other events as Ascension begins with three of five features and a crowd that was what would be referred to in some cases as… intimate. Good fortune still smiles as we have Eliana (on guitar from Russia via St Louis) and Mitsu (on upright bass from Japan via DC) joining Ray for an impromptu jam (huh! synonymUS! huh!). After Rich dropped a pair of poems (hey, it looked like we were going to have a long time to kill!), Eliana & Mitsu rocked out for about 12 minutes and then they helped me close out the Open Mic with ‘Oda para Leticia’- synonymUS style.

The NKOTB kicked it off with Nina Parrilla taking the lead off position like a champ. Anything more will make her blush but I will just say that she was everything I always thought she would be and then some.

Next up to bat, Juan Diaz, looking all Alfonso Soriano but without the low swing. His poem selection was tight but he showed some neo-rust in his performance. And he was still much better than I was at my first feature spot!

Jessica flipped the whole script by starting out her set with the high chair, Willie Perdomo style. Anybody else may be looking at an 0-2 situation but Jess’ imagery is strong enough for her to let the words take over and leave the drama for others.

All three are much farther ahead then when I got my first taste of the feature spotlight (Opening for a show that Roger was doing at the Bowery Poetry Club. This crowd wasn’t intimate– it was just plain incestuous! The set went aight, Rog’s show was strong even though the crowd size did not change, and, of major note, that was the night I met Cheryl Boyce-Taylor.) As with any performers, the NKOTB have miles to go but at least the first step started out strong.

After the break, we end out the “sofrito & pork rind portion of the evening” with the music of Tyrone Acosta. I usually defer to Ray for analysis of a musical act but I do know that Tyrone brings a lot of voice with him onstage, a strange twist of his more reserved off-stage persona. (Why is the comic book geek in me wondering which one is the mask and which is the face?) On top of that, Tyrone is young, Ecuadorian, and trying to get ahead on his own terms… what mo’ ya want?

I had fun hosting this muthafuckah and acted all the fool the whole night long while doing my best to make sure that the performers got to be as comfortable as possible

And a special shout to the ‘new hotness.’ Ms Rebecca Hart.

“The smoke was alibi thick” Say word.

Night three was also fantastic with Grisel+Toro going all garage band daze on us, Mara’s stage presence increases by the outing, Roger brings it up a notch by finding it all within, and Farbeon & Rabbi Darkside renew my faith in hip-hop.

All done on eight days notice!


‘yeah, ray?’

“We have a space to do synonymUS.”

‘word! when?’

“Next week.”


“And we have it for three days.”


“Let’s plan out a show…”

How we actually pulled it off is a lil much even for me but the combo of Ray’s vision and my behind the scenes help is a good combo and I can’t wait to see how we take this momentum and infuse it into the next incarnation of synonymUS.

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