Friday, August 05, 2005

Feeling soooo dumb

there are about a billion things this blog can do and I am not computer savvy enough to even make them happen with the assistance of the damn help thingy on here.
Anyone know how to do some of the things listed here please get at me.
Add buttons
Add pics and crop them
Can you add sound?
virtual store?

things in running a night

i keep getting told to add stuff here about me, my thoughts, my life,etc. and i day. but for now let's just talk about basic goings' on, shall we?

Now, if you own something, you run it.
If you run a night, that's ALL you do-run a night.
The catch? If you run a night like it is just a night, it will at best, keep its' head above water and at worst, die.
You must run a night like you OWN THE PLACE. Period.
This is where most poetry spots that are not actual POETRY SPOTS have problems.
Well, see that person over there in the corner, crunching numbers, telling people what to do, keeping a smile on their face in spite of this being their third 20-plus hour workday just THIS WEEK? That person? That would be your owner, aka your boss, aka your silent partner.
Now you want to go up to them and tell them the ice cubes smell funny tonite?
Go right ahead.

See, somewhere along the way you have presented this great idea about having a poetry night and it sounds really cool. You might even have these noble ideals that include the moral code of art being available to the public, how it improves community relations, makes the world a little nicer, a little smaller, a dash sweeter.

And them?
Well, before you cam around, they wouldn't have known a poet if one smacked them in the head with a haiku. Doesn't mean they don't LIKE poetry, just means they have other things to do. Like run a business. Now for some reason they have heard your idea and are willing to go for it.
Sounds great right?
Maybe, maybe not.

there are a TON a questions that should be asked before you even gt to this point but let's say you asked them all and they were all the right answers.
Do you know what will make you happy, in regards to body count (turnout), money spent (revenue), labor adherence (money outflow)?
Do you know what will make the owner happy in those same categories?
Do those numbers jive?
Almost never.

Things to say and do:
1-make sure they know that poetry nights are not a cash cow. unless you keep a hot crowd for about ten years or so, become a fixture of your city, AND get a little lucky, the night will make enough money to support itself, but not send the owners kid thru Princeton.

2-how long can you take a financial bath before the owner sees red? let them know that things like this take time so don't expect 100 people to walk thru the door and all spend 100 bucks. if it was that good, you wouldn't have been approaching them to begin with, now would you?

3-what their bottom line is. this just means what money must they see to be happy. make no mistake about it, unless you own the spot yourself, there is always a dollar amount that theywould like to see your event make. that nice old lady who sells day-old wedding cakes and lets you hold slams in her storefront window? Even she has a number in her head and if you don't match it after a while, you will find yourself trying to get in thru a locked door one night.

Things to ask yourself about doing it:
what is my budget?
how much do i charge?
how much are people willing to pay?
how long should the night be?
food? drink? alcohol?
is the lighting good?
is the sound good?
who will work my door?
who is my target audience?
why would they come here?
why wouldn't they?
is there good atmosphere?
open mic and/or slam?
do i advertise? to whom? how?
how long should the night be able to last in this space?
what is my time commitment each week?
do i need help/employees?
who is my target audience?
etc etc etc

and for each question there, i can think of two more.

i need kool-aid right about now.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Standing in the shadow of Jesus

Don't run, this is not where I reveal my real intention of this blog is to convert you.
Instead, I am just thinking that I turned 34 last week. The big guy got sold out at 33 if I am not mistaken.
I am thinking of HIS life.
I am thinking of mine.
I have REALLY wasted alot of time.
It's not a pity part nor midlife crisis. Just the truth.
I was supposed to be supreme ruler of earth by now. or at least Toledo.
I hope this post takes care of all those who wanted to read something that shows an inside look at 'me'. Remember, you asked for it.
Now back to all things Black Pearl and Poetry.

Things to Come...

People keep wanting to know what is coming up for Black Pearl Poetry.
Well, here are a few things I hope to install during this year:
SHESLAM- A womans only night (men can come but can't read. i will be looking for the ideal female host for this night as well. hint hint ladies)

SLAM-yes at some point we will have slams. to what extent and what level i have yet to decide.

FEATURES- I will be booking features from around the globe. (no exaggeration there folks)
In house poets (RE: local features) will happen to some extent. More than likely they will serve as opening acts for out of town features. (this will up the crowd that comes out to hear YOU, dear in- town- but- still- great- feature- to- be)

VIP CONTEST! (Very Important Pearl) this is happening starting next week! Special gifts and prizes to whoever has the biggest bartab! (keeping it real y'all. if no one eats and/or drinks, the night fades quicker than an American Idols popularity)

Musical Guest!- We will, now and forever, remain a night focused on POETRY! When that stops, I walk. period. But I will from time to time ask for Friends to stop by and hang out while providing a nice vibe. (Yes, i am asking my left hand man JRawls to come thru one night and spin between poets...ditto Krate Digga..and alot more cats!)
this just gives you music while you wait for the night to start, music between poets, and music to escort you out the door once the night is done.

VENDORS and MERCH TABLES!- Each week a vendor will set up shop and offer their wares. (vendors hit me up directly-not here-to be considered). also poets can sell their own stuff OR kick it to the door person and they will keep track for you! (the fee for that is currently set at 10% of your total sales-this goes to the sweet person selling your stuff for you-OR-a copy of whatever you are selling donated to the night for giveaways,etc.-OR-you can do it yourself. this can and might change-the fee part that is)

SPECIAL CONCERTS- I won't speak on this much but just kow that while some poets that come thru can be considered 'features', others, due to their popularity or style would gie a out and out concert! When these happen, they will still be on Tuesday nights. There will still be an open mic, albeit a short one. and VIP members will get a special rate for those events.

This is only a portion of things to come. there will also be workshops, and more!

Is 'excited caution' a proper term?

Why Ed, Why?

I have had a few people ask, "Why another Columbus venue?"
Well, let's see.
There are always some fly by night spots here in town. Someone checks out an open mic, thinks to themselves, 'hm, I could do this' and goes out and tries it.
Catch is, once they discover it is work, or there is no money in it, or they got a bad spot to do it in, or the two friends they got ain't enough to sustain a night, or this, or that,etc., they end up fading away.
Truth be told, there are only a handful of places to get poetry on a regular basis at this point. Each one has its' own unique flavor and characteristics as they all should. Feel free to hit and check them out (no hating allowed here. i will always support others no matter what.)

Now with the events at the Brownstone and what is happening now, I noticed that about 90% of these people had never done a poetry venue before! Ever. So not only was this open mic their first, but it would be the one that would determine how they look at poetry in a performed setting from this point forward. A little responsibility there.

I have seen firsthand the effects of bad venue owners, bad emcees, and how a 'scene' can implode. It is ugly and not a way to grow.

So now, here is a chance to take this new set of people and show them not only what poetry in Columbus looks like, but what poetry OUTSIDE of Columbus is like. There is a whole world of cats out there doing great work, and now these people can see what that looks like. And during this phase, those who care about there work will develop the required writing,editing, and performance skills to find the discipline which suits them best and work it. Those who come out to be entertained will be, and those who don't really care will eventually stick out like sore thumbs and erradicate themselves. (they always do).

From a physical perspective, the other spots in town couldn't hold the crowds that had been coming out, so that was a factor as well.

So here we are, new and old poets alike, trying to find a niche of our own to carve and hoping that we do it well enough to not just be noticed, but to be proud of our own accomplishments, our own poetry, our own community and lifestyle.

That which you covet is always obvious by that which you have or that which you seek to gain.


The reason that we're here

Well it ain't just an old Earth Wind and Fire song.
I served as emcee for a great event here in Columbus know as Mahogany Soul.
Very ambitious event that in my opinion, worked quite well.
Well, this event had poetry in it. My general job was to serve as emcee. My specific job was to:
a) get the poets to come
b) legitimize the event in poets eyes/minds
c) run it in a professional manner

To those above stated directives, the poetry portion was a success.
As fate would have it, the poetry grew beyond anyone's expectations. This is a GREAT thing, believe me.
As fate would also have it, the event came to an end, at least in the form which it was know for at that time.
At this point I looked around and realized that here were all these people (average 40-100 a week) that would have nowhere to go once this came to an end.
So I convinced the owners of the spot to give me a shot at doing just an open mic.

This was no arm twisting experience, mind you. They liked the poetry (as much as people about their business like things) and saw a chance to ad a night to their roster that went in synch with the image of the place. (It is a high quality, upscale, black owned restaurant with a soul food lean, if you will)

Having just the open mic in their lounge also would ADD to the night there-
1) no noise from other floors
2) a very nice atmosphere
3) people were used to the space-just had to switch days
4) they wouldn't pay for parts of a night they weren't using. (while some cats came to party, a good amount came for poetry and left thereafter)

My mother always said, in a relationship, give the person what they say they want. Then if they complain, you know they weren't being honest.

So, with that, I figured I would offer the people here what they claimed they wanted and see if they respond. If not, at least I know I tried and can walk away with that knowledge.
(yes I do view running a spot as forming a relationship, a very important one at that. we'll talk about that later.)

So far, so good. Though I hope more people come out.

The goal is for the people to take over the night. Make it a monster that can't be stopped, just steered. THAT is the job of the emcee, to navigate the tricky parts, no more-no less. brand the night as a place of joy, fun, entertainment, somewhere you can let your hair down and be you while enjoying or sharing some poetry.

Again, so far, so good. But it's EARLY.

until that day,

Last Tuesday's open Mic!

Had my 2nd BLACK PEARL POETRY open mic at The Brownstone On Main this pastTuesday night. Wow. This thing can be scary when you are in charge of everything.
The night only goes from 8-11 (more like 10:45) so when it is 8:30 and you got like, 4 people there?! Ouch.
Then an hour goes by and you've got 30. a few more minutes and boom-51 people was the final count!
And that is STILL not enough. i want the place packed to the gills each week with poets and people out for a great time in the name of poetry.

We had some really nice poets come out and share themselves on the mic. Andy, a regular at another open mic came out and did a great job. Everyone was eager for their shot to read and get the crowd worked up.
Attention to all men reading this-WE NEED YOU!
The nights are like 80% women and we are taking a browbeating, albeit a poetic one.
If ya got poems, c'mon out and share them.
ditto for the rappers and slam poets and performance artists and all those other neat categories we find it necessary to confine ourselves to.

Next week will be really special since we will have three features and our first "Vendor Of the Week"!

Each week people can hit me up back channel and tell me what they sell, what business they run etc.
then if i think it is a good fit, they get to be "Vendor Of The Week". this gets them in the email I send out, a spot to sell their wares, plugs that night, and a guarantee of being the only person allowed to sell that night! (aside from poets slinging merch from their backpack of course). and they get in free along with 4 friends!

Well I got more to say but will do so in another post.
until that day,
ed mabrey

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

testing out this send photo thing..don't be scared. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 01, 2005

Houston, we have liftoff

Okay, so this is how this feels...hmm.