the latest edition of acentos is in the books. it feels funny hyping up a kick off event to a new venue when, as MANY people pointed out, all that counts is the actual series itself. after tonight, it feels like we could run acentos out of a broom closet in schenechdaty and still pull off a kick ass show.
the poetry gods have been good to us as of late. first by bringing edwin torres on a night where chaos was the order of the day and now by having emmanuel ortiz and magdalena gomez in the house.
i remember manny from the 2002 national poetry slam. he was featured poet on the finals stage (a special showcase spot given to poets that didnt make the actual finals) and at the latino showcase that year. the latino showcase, incidentally, was the first time i ever saw a diverse group of latinos from across the country ripping it in a variety of styles and forms. aint it sweet how it all goes full circle? manny was tight back then and his kung fu continues to be top notch.
speaking of the kung fu, magdalena was beyond on. she only did four poems, the lowest number any acentos feature has dropped, but quality whips quantities ass every time. the crowd was feeling her every word and the duende in the room was powerful. let me say this- the performance she delivered could only happen at acentos. magdalena was beyond comfortable and the freedom of featuring in a spot where you dont have to explain spanglish or excuse code switching from espanol to english let her voice soar. all this leading up to a well deserved standing ovation. the first for our new home at the bruckner bar & grill.
the crowd, ah, the crowd. im happy to report a full open mic of 18 readers with not a carpet micer in sight. the support was strong and all seems well.
was the night perfect? if you follow my definition, which says that some mishap and error must occur, then yes. we need a better mic, increase the lighting and compensate for some outside noise which means we still have work to do. that says we are not anywhere near comfortable enough to lay back and let the show work itself out. good, i love the challenge.
i wasnt loving it 12 hours before. i was tired and nervous. mentally exhausted more than anything else. now, i feel i could this for another decade.
the end of the night saw me go over that. sharing my fears with the crowd in a way i dont even do with my poems. mixing that with a excerpts from a wonderful pre-feature conversation i had with magdalena about the timeline of latino poetry and bronx art and her appreciation for a series that was raw and rugged in the best sense of the words. the shit had me damn near crying. and finally, after two plus years, coming up with an end quote then closes out the night well– “we dont say goodbye, only good night”
if you were there (or if you are tata), i thank you very fuckin much and appreciate each and every one of you. for real, for real.
if you werent there, come through for the next one. cuz it feels like with each show, we are makin a lil history. werd.
love ya like a bolero that makes all the sense in the world