Sunday, March 12, 2006

The March 14 show

What a night.
You could feel things heating up early on this one as people were calling the hotline all day or sending out emails to confirm the place and time and see if they could get tickets in advance. The place and time were set and no tickets here, you had to get in where you could fit in and grab a seat early. And that is just what people did. It was great to once again start on time with the new rules set in place and the crowd is responding and breaking the bad habits I had began to allow to set in.

This was truly an incredibly diverse night, moreso than normal, with not only a huge variance in race, gender, and age represented, but a new crop of people in each of those categories coming in, making themselves at home and sharing their work! Young high school kids, teachers, professors, more mature cats, even a grandmother doing her thing-all in the name of poetry. It was great.

The open mic list filled up even quicker than normal and was full (20 poets) within about ten minutes time. Everyone was gracious and understanding and really with one chance to do their thing, came to the mic with a fury and left it all on the stage. (which is a catchphrase of a good friend and great poet-Dasha Kelly)

Krate Digga was in the house spinning between the poets and playing along with me and my banter. Having a DJ or band can be a great thing if you know what you're doing and the DJ/band is good enough to actually FEEL what needs to be done and when/how. Believe me, it is more than just hot beats or blasting some music, what these people can do is an artform and very poetic in its' own right, so much thanks to Krate for making it fun and keeping spirits high.
(in fact we came up with an idea and will soon bring to you a oldies but goodies night with the music to set it off right)

Now of course the open mic had its' highs and lows but what open mic does not? Some were great, some were good, some were funny, sexy, thought provoking, great story tellers, and some were, well, you had to be there.

But of course, everyone was waiting for the quiet man over in the corner surrounded by a stack of his recordings on a table in front of him.

I shared my personal testimony of what the man means to me and then got out of the way as Umar Bin Hassan took the mic, the stage, the minds, hearts, and souls of everyone within earshot. He was happy to be in the space and had come down as a favor to me and the general good vibes of the whole affair seemed to take his performance even higher.

When you get people of his status in, it is wise to leave a nice chunk of time for them and let them roll. His anecdotes and stories of his life growing up and the things he has seen, places he has been, sources for some of his life's greatest work were just as invaluable as the poems themselves. (ask anyone there is they weren't moved by his tales of Harlem, Chicago, Dick Gregory, or what Jimi Hendrix said to him to inspire his infamous poem about the man)

The people greeted him with a standing ovation and left his feature with one as well. I said then and will say now, if you are a poet and were there and after his show you did not have any inspiration to write anything, then put the pen and paper down; you're done writing.
His words never seem to not move me but he was in another mode altogether this past Tuesday and it resonated in the faces and the cheers, laughter, sighs, and tears of the crowd.

If you missed this for any reason beyond school, work, kids, then shame on you.

My thanks to all who came out and supported, to all those who listened from the stairs and rushed to get in when someone walk upstairs, to the courteous staff who really worked hard, to every poet who spoke and to those who came and listened, hell-just thanks to everybody!

It ain't hardly over, I ain't hardly tired, and it will only get better and stronger, critics and haters be damned and be warned.

Make sure to check out for all your artistic and entertainment needs in town. But don't just read what's what- join! It's fast, fun, and free! Become a member today! (hint-their new poetry contest is coming and in order to compete, you must join the forum)

Thanks this week go out to Soundchampz and the Soundchampion crew, DJ Krate Digga , DJ JRawls at and the Columbus Dispatch.