09 July 2005

the scariest van in van

West Coast Poetry Festival last night: a program featuring Oni the Haitian Sensation, Evalyn Parry, and Sheri-D Wilson. Sheri-D phoned in sick. I was not heartbroken. I'm a huge fan of Evalyn's music so it was great to see her do a strictly-spoken-word performance, as she and Oni traded off poems a couple at a time. They are both amazing performers, and there was a pretty big crowd, and they pleased that crowd. (God, everything at this festival seems so well-attended; maybe that's what happens when all events are free.) I gave Oni a poetry leaflet afterwards and she asked me to sign it and I signed it, "Stuart the Russian Concussion." That is my new performing name. I think it'll mean a new level of wealth and notoriety.

Next event featured Wayde Compton and his collaborator Jason (last name?) on turntables, which was a neat way to see Wayde perform. Beats and sweet singing mixing with pomo and social theory. I liked it all right. Also good was Hilary Peach, who apparently I read with 15 years ago, but my memory is pathetic so I'd forgotten. Anyway, her quirky not-exactly-spoken-word performance was intelligent, deliberately naive, mildly surreal; I bought her CD and am looking forward to checking it out. Last up was Alexis O'Hara, who the crowd (of 200!! 200!!) loved, but I wasn't entirely sold on her. She works with echos and tape loops and stuff, building up backing tracks for these strange repetitive narratives she weaves. I liked the first piece well enough, but the next three didn't seem to do anything new. The irony was laid on a bit heavy for me. But maybe I'm too old for this stuff.

Frankly, I just like plain old readings of really good poems.

Afterwards, some drinks at the bizarre Brickhouse with a bunch of the festival people. I mainly talked with Evalyn and her partner Suzanne, who were both great folks (as George W. Bush would say), and I drank two draft beers (Raven cream ale) which are at this moment, the next morning, causing me to suffer greatly. I ride back to Clint's with Johnny Frim in the most rattling, erratic van I have ever climbed into. Johnny was telling me some very intricate story concerning twelve bundles of roof shingles, and was so excited that he was veering in every direction on these narrow, parked-car-lined streets. It was terrifying. But I survived.

Over and out.


At July 11, 2005 11:26 am , Anonymous hedda hopper said...

russian concussion!@*

sounds like you're mostly having a blast on the coast. it's sweltering here again today, so keep enjoying the gentle climate there. good to read your solid poetry confirming postition.

news from here: jay is still in vancouver, until the 15th, so maybe you'll bump into him. dhb wrote a nice little piece on your vancouver blog entries, if you haven't had a chance to check it out already.
best from hedda hopper.


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