and today is another wild day as i am at a meet & greet breakfast of bronx legislators… at 8:30 in the ay to the em… more later… set the way back machine 24 hours earlier to Acentos…
Tuesday was a good work day, mucho productive and me feeling very comfortable in my skin allowing me to leave in plenty of time to get to the Blue Ox Bar.
Where nothing else has deterred us, the weather may be our biggest foe. The nicer it gets, the thinner the crowd at the Ox. It wasn’t bad and nothing to call the troops over but it was a little less then what we have been used to lately. The upside- An easier to manage Open Mic list where the spotlight can be spread around better and a chance to plug some other events. We had a world premiere debut, never read a piece, ever. Eliel christened her a Senorita and damn, that may stick! What we will call the fellas is another matter entirely…
I was able to clear through everything to set up a nice size break in between and give the ladies some room and hit em with the surprise of the night- Lenny reading a poem to intro em. I don’t know why everybody was so shocked, the way Lenny ran to me as soon as I got there set my poet.sense (like spider sense but not as cool) all abuzz and as she says, “I need a favor.” I’m saying, “What ya reading?” The surprise did stick and she did a great job of starting off the features.
I’ve never tries to make a request to a feature. I’ve had a few ask what they should read and I tell em, Whatever is moving you… As a fan, I have asked for personal faves from poets but as a curator I would rather see what happens naturally or what the crowd asks for. Meaning I had no idea what the ladies would do. I told em how much time they had on stage together and that’s about it. Seeing them kick it with a group piece was dope especially when you consider that the group piece was well done and had good flow rather than just the cut-and-paste jobs I see way too often disguising themselves as collabos.
Nina is THE lead off hitter of the group. She commands attention and her more emotionally driven pieces really nail you to your seat. The story within the feature was a great touch and I was really thrilled with her new (Thanks, Rachel Hyman) piece that combined many of her facets into a full blown gem.
Jess has come a long way and not in her writing which has always been mature but in her voice which just needed as much practice as her writing hand was getting. Every time she gets just a lil better, though this time around she was a LOT better which is kinda scary, in a Shiva kinda way. Dat gir, good!
Maria also put a lot of thought into this her first set. The epics were well edited and her sincerity never crossed into the saccharine territory. She did get all mushy with Rich but what ya expect? The night wouldn’t be right without it.
And then the group close which led to my only regret of the night which is that I shoulda asked Jess to just close out the mic, she knows what to do and how to push the next show but by the time I thought of it- too late! But ya know already, flaws are the measure of perfect. And this night was among the best.
I was thinking that it may have to do with the fact that Acentos is still pretty young so all the benchmark performance from Mahina, Louis Reyes, Fish, Alixa & Naima, Guy, Ed, Cheryl, Jorge, Ray, et al… are fresh in the dome and when you come up on the mic, you better have you’re a game cuz we are keeping score.
I have seen bad features in a lot of spots. Folks with mad rep fall seriously flat. Hey, shit happens. Ya know?
Chuck Knoblauch was the man at 2nd until he got divorced from his wife and he was never the same after, things happen away from the spotlight that carry over. And everybody is entitled to an off night. Some folks see a few shows at the Nuyo and think its always fantastic and never hear about folks getting lost and arriving an hour late or some just not showing up at all! And, I’ve seen my share of 13 features that wasn’t all that but so far we got a real good record in the Bx. We just got to make sure not to forget.