Thanks to everyone who made Tuesday night’s Lix and Kix at the 806 anti-censorship poetry extravaganza a great success, especially to Dianne Borsenik, my co-host! It’s been one hell of a past week at home, and I had almost no time to prepare or get into the proper mindset. But sometimes magical things can happen when we get our house-of-sand human plans out of the way.
The 806 Wine and Martini Bar in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood has an awesome vibe. The place is, even without poetry, a work of art. Euro cool, lushly decorated, and yet totally comfortable, it makes you feel like you’re living in the best of the future and the best of the past at the same time. It’s the type of place where I can imagine Salvador Dali, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Parker, Gaughin, Kerouac, Hemingway, Sarah Bernhardt, John Coltrane, Miles and Bono sitting around with me creating paintings that perform organic poetry with avant-electro jazz music.
Dianne and I bounced back and forth with poems – sprinkling in a serious free speech message leavened with a hearty dose of humor. We read some old favorites as well as a lot of work we’d never before shared publically. We tackled a hearty mix of politics, religion and sex – and paid tribute throughout the night to certain artists who’ve been known to kick against the pricks of censorship (e.g. Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, d.a. levy and Steven B. Smith). Early on, a selection from Smith and Lady‘s book Criminal about the time Smith learned to masturbate had the crowd laughing hysterically. (They’re looking for a publisher, by the way.) And the fun kept coming.
I also played several of my original songs, including two that were censored by the authorities in prison: “Enough of This Wonderful Counselor Bit” (from 2000’s King of all Kings) and “Judas’ Lament” (from 2002’s In Remembrance). I performed my once blogged “Forever’s Haunting Me” by request as well (click here to see a video of me playing that song at home).
After all that, open mic contributors Danilee Eichhorn, Steve Goldberg and Jen Pezzo kept us entertained and read some fine poetry, even outshining a post-debate guest appearance by presidential candidate and senator Barack Obama (okay, I admit it was me in a mask) reciting anti-Bush haiku.
We haven’t confirmed it yet, but I believe we’ll be having another poetry event at the 806 Wine and Martini Bar next month (if we stick to the first Tuesday, that’ll be election day). When I know for sure, I’ll post something about it in my blog and on my home page (www.crisischronicles.com). Meanwhile, here are a few photos from the event:
Me before the show (photo by Geri)
James Borsenik (photo by JC)
Dianne congratulates a couple of newlyweds who were in the house (photo by JC)
Steve Goldberg chats with a doctor whose name I can’t recall (photo by JC)
Dianne heats up the crowd (photo by Geri)
Danilee Eichhorn shares her “Cunt” poem (photo by Geri)
Steve Goldberg shares a poem inspired by the 806 (photo by Geri)
Jen Pezzo was so good I didn’t believe it was her first reading (photo by Geri)
Geri Burroughs (photo by JC)
Me wearing a work of art by Steven B. Smith (photo by Geri)
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To get your own Steven B. Smith art apparel
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And check out the 806 Wine and Martini Bar
at 806 Literary Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio
Peace and poetry,