Monday, July 16, 2007

Chicago-Bound.....On Beatnik Monkeys.....Et Ceterah, Et Ceterah.

1. The Travelling Wilburys

I am off to Chicago this week. Here are the places you can catch me:

7/18: Palabra Pura. The reading series co-sponsored by Letras Latinas and the Guild Complex, hosted by Francisco Aragón. Featured poets are Suzanne Frischkorn and Coya Paz. The Lady and I will be reading on the open mic. Find out more at their website. California Clipper, 1002 N. California. 8pm.

7/20: Reading with my lovely partner Tara Betts at Mercury Cafe. 1505 W. Chicago Ave., 7pm.

7/24: Another reading with the Lady, this time at a reading called Safe Smiles, hosted (I think) by the inimitable Billy Tuggle. Trace Lounge (upstairs), 3714 N. Clark St. Not sure of the time, but I'd say get there at 7pm to be safe.

I haven't been to Chicago since the National Poetry Slam in 2003. It'll be interesting to see the place now that my tastes have shifted somewhat since. That, and I hear Wicker Park has completely changed, which is crazy considering how much it was clearly changing then. There's a party being thrown by the Poetry Foundation on the 20th, so I think we'll be hitting that too.

I have to say, I'm excited to meet a certain Tia from the Chi, who has given me a hankerin' for that comida buena which I understand is much cheaper than New York. Everything's cheaper than New York. I will also be meeting the Lady's family for the first time, which I'm sure will be a trip. Everyone I've spoken to so far seems very nice, so I think this will go well.

2. The Curator's Song

No, I haven't neglected my updates for Acentos. I had some very interesting and maddeningly last-minute changes to the schedule. I guess it could be worse. In that vein, here's a bit of information that the organizer-promoter types will simply nod their heads in agreement to, but that might come as a shock to others. Ready?

Organizing and hosting a regularly-scheduled event is a real pain in the ass sometimes. In the case of my reading series, it is rewarding, it is inspiring, it often makes your life better. But it is still a monumental pain in the ass.

It's thankless: People tend to think that any trained monkey can host an open mic. Actually, it's true. But not just any trained monkey can get their audiences to actually enjoy themselves at a poetry reading. Especially if the monkey is a Jaded Former Beatnik Monkey, the type that tends to flings poo at the audience for not knowing who John Cage is.

It requires the cumbersome juggling of schedules, times, other events. You'd be surprised (or not) how many other open mics and readings there are in New York. Plus, it's still hard to convince people that "New York" is not synonymous with "Manhattan." YES, WE'RE IN THE BRONX. I'm pleased to say that we've been able to get poets to trek up here, but the story would be drastically different if we did this thing at the end of the D train.

And then there's the massive egos and family feuds: like say, for instance, when you invite Persons A and B to the reading, because Person C is a mutual friend, and you find out that Person A can't attend because Person B pissed on his cat in 1975. And besides, Person C thinks that Person A's work could use some editing anyway.

Yes, curating is difficult, and I can't say that cancellations make it easier. The good part is, two poets I hadn't planned on featuring for a minute both came through in grand style, and I'll be talking about them in due course...maybe even later today.

For now, some sleep is in order. I need to rest my mind so I can challenge The Lady to Scrabble again. She's been whipping my ass like a government mule for the past week or so, and I've fallen in love with the game as a result. Figures.


dwayne said...

hey rich,

i can play scrabble too homie. when you come to dc, i'll give you my number one guaranteed to beat any competitor tip. tara won't know what's coming.


Tara Betts said...

Why Dwayne gotta offer to whup my ass? Why? We're going to have fun, fun, fun, Rich.

dwayne said...

oh man tara, the secret was really to just lose to the beautiful woman so much she takes pity on you and lets you win a game. now you ruined my secret.