Sunday, October 02, 2005

Last Tuesday's show and WORDWORKS

It sounds corny but I don't know where to start. Last Tuesday was SWEET. You're 12 and mom is not around and you pour extra sugar into the cherry kool-aid and get a REAL good sugar ihgh from drinking half the pitcher-SWEET.

Another packed count was somewhere over 60 folks! There will be a day when two people show up and I will discuss that soon.

I really felt my age this past week. The features for the night were some great kids (see, I said kids) from ANN ARBOR, Michigan who are in a Performance Poetry Troupe known as WORDWORKS.

There are like, 12 cats in this group, but only 5 came down. I am not complaining in the least. These cats were BAD. As in GOOD.

Jeff Kass had hipped me onto them and I figured they would be decent just from him and his word on it. But let me tell you, they were professional, courteous, nice, polite, caring, honest, sweet, cool, upfront, funny,and on top of all that? THEY HAD GREAT POEMS. Not just great performances. (i can hear the eyes rolling in their sockets of those who think all i am or care about is performance, but you'd be surprised. I am a little more than that. Really.)
These kids had damn nice poems and knew how to set up a "set"-ask any touring poet and they will tell you that THAT is one of the hardest things to do.

Adam, Coert,Paco,Mollyand Lauren? I hope I did not just screw up the names but I am guessing at this point-all rocked the spot.

Now here is the old man part. I have been really good about the start time for the night. It had been 8:30 on the nose and this past week was to move up to 8:15 (it will this week coming up).
BUT I did not want to cut my phone off or start the night until I knew...THE KIDS WERE IN TOWN AND SAFE!
Oh my GOD, I have become a father figure to kids that aren't even my own! Arrgh!
I was walking back and forth, looking at the door, checking my time, checking my phone to make sure it worked, then after I couldn't take it anymore, I broke down and called them to make sure they weren't wrapped around a pole, or had stopped to watch some girls wrap themselves around a pole.
the phone rings.
someone answers.
while i ask questions and try to sound all cool, I notice a young man has just walked thru the door with a huge backpack on...could it be?
"Turn around", I say into the phone.
and the kid turns around.
Yes! They are safe! Joy!

So after that I was able to go into host mode and get the night started. apologized to the crowd for waiting and they were cool with it.

The open mic filled up literally in the space of about 15 minutes. So much so that the 25 people signed up to read only got to do one poem each.

Ran thru about 16 poets. Then the Wordworks cats did their thing.
They opened up with a nice group piece that NO ONE was expecting. (not to mention most of this crowd has no clue about group/multi voiced pieces etc so it was extra cool for them to see), from there each one of them showcased a different point of view and different styles of poetry. It was simply fantastic! I was on my feet between tweaking the mics for them, guffawing and clapping louder than anyone else. It was a great night for Michigan poets as Matt Ernst was getting down at a spot in Dayton about the same time.

the crowd really felt them and I will get them backdown again. Plus now that I know there are another 7 or so of them I did not get to hear? Oh, we gonna have a BIG show boss!

They made me wish I had been doing this when I was their age. Then it hit me that I should quit saying that. What I SHOULD be doing is using that as mental energy and inspiration to get off my butt and do all I can do NOW to be the best I can be NOW. This whole zen lifestyle is hard but makes good sense.

And I can't say enough about the other special treat of the night- Talisha Holmes. the band I wanted was already booked but Talisha was a trooper and said she would come and sing anyway.
In the end, I am glad there was no band. They could not have hung with her that night, nor would the effect have been the same.
We had agreed for her to do bluesy type pieces. Beyond that it was whatever her little red wagon fancied.
She decided that on a couple of the songs she should sing some verses then I would come in and perform a piece.
I would say it worked but that would be incorrect.
It was...perfect. For anyone who has ever done something and in the middle of it you hear this giant CLICK, like the world just shifted and you are in the zone? That was what happened that night. (similar experience in jazz slam which we'll get to later)
The crowd was begging for her, eyes were moist and she even got some gigs out of the night!
Just a testament to one incredible jewel that resides here in Columbus.

When the night was done, no one seemed to want to leave, and this is with us going WAY over time! The last poet headed out after midnight, with people winking and waving their goodbyes in love and friendship to one another.

(sidenote-someone screwed up and booked my bartender to do a party problem. she digs the night so much she left the locked in money of the party and demanded to be put back downstairs with the poetry...exclaiming, "hey, it's my night and my bar and my people"...gotta love it.

If you want to book someone, get Wordworks. I know alot of "mature,seasoned,professional,touring-vets" who could learn alot from these cats. And only ONE of them that came was even old enough to drink! (boy can college kids eat wings and fries)

Oh, and to top it all off, a part of the proceeds went to support the survivors of Hurricane Katrina that had been moved here to Columbus. The love and support for those who have been hit by hard times was great and it will come back to all of you. I will never wait again for other people to act on something. Never. Thank you all.

Next up?
next Tuesday, Jazz slam news, and more announcements.