The entry fee was $6-$10 on a “Sliding scale,” meaning 6 to 10 dollars is the suggested donation, and you pay what you can. For those who haven’t been to the theater at BLB, it’s cozy, with good sound, lights and stage, and waitstaff. You can order food, apps and drinks right there in the theater.
First up was Todd Boss, who gave a list of thoughtful suggestions for how to make readings more alternative:
- include video during your reading
- memorize your work
- record your work for internet distribution
- collaborate with other artists on stage
Todd also suggested a new book by the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute filled with ideas that you can download for free called Poetry and New Media: A User’s Guide.
Jamie Buehner & Nick LeMere gave an example of on-stage collaboration. Jamie read her poetry while Nick did some motion/interpretive dance inspired by her words. Someone pointed out how it felt more like watching TV because the poet was reading to the dancer more than she was to the audience.
Alison Morse & Sandy Beach were there to represent the Talking Image Connection, an organization that “connects emerging poets and writers with adventurous visual artists and new audiences.” Alison talked about the TIC group and what they do. Sandy Beach read a poem inspired by a visual work from another artist. Read more about TIC on their website: http://www.talkimage.org/
Punk poet Paul Dickinson gave a highly entertaining presentation of his poetry. Watch the video below of Paul giving a reading of his poems at the Art Shanty Project:
Notice that he has his poems memorized. Paul also hosts a poetry reading at the Turf Club in St. Paul on the first Wednesday of each month.
E.G. Bailey & ShÃ¡ Cage gave three examples of alternative readings. The first was a beat poetry reading with cool jazz sax accompaniment, broadcast over the house PA while E.G. and ShÃ¡ sat in the audience, leaving the stage empty.
Second, they went on the stage and performed separate pieces of poetry that they had written about their homelands. What made this alternative was that they both read their poems at the same time, overlapping each other and creating interesting rhythms and textures as they changed the tempo and volumes of their delivery. It was really amazing, and even more amazing that they had never practiced the parts nor heard each others work until they performed it live.
Their third experiment was an audience participation project, which… I won’t talk about. Suffice to say it was alternative.
All in all, I was right that the writer’s salon is dominated by poets. The host, Lightsey Darst made a point to mention that prose readers are also encouraged to participate, and she would love to balance out the poetry with some prose. Go to http://lightseydarst.com/theworks.html to find out more about the Works salon and to sign up for the newsletter.