Monday, January 31, 2005

Reading report 1/29/05 

Came in late to a PACKED La Tazza crowd to hear Kristin Prevallet reading the last of her baby poems (McCrearys would have appreciated!). Then she launched into a final long piece (beginning with great Rexroth epigraph) that was bracing in its irreducible honesty and plainspoken moral outrage. I am always impressed by how powerful the individual human voice can be in expressing resistance and personal truth. Kristin and I talked later a bit about how children and the attendant “domestic space” add a new dimension to one’s political outlook.

After a short break which allowed me the opportunity to edge into the bar and get a Guinness, Theodore Harris gave a slide presentation of his amazing collage work, while reading from his manifesto. Harris’ collages, in my opinion, most noticeably show the influence of Romare Bearden in their bold color and critique of racial and class repression. The most shocking image in all of the collages is the inverted Capitol Building, which unnervingly resembles a missile touching ground, if a Loony Tunes version. In the manifesto, Harris points out that tv reporters are always framed with the Capitol in the background, and that the Capitol was actually built with African-American slave and American Indian labor. Heady stuff.

When Harris finished, Kristin went back up to the mike, and asked if anyone would like to speak. This led to a wonderful series of extemporaneous cathartic expressions of support for progressive causes (memorably, “BARBARA BOXER FOR PRESIDENT!”) and for the important work of the poets in particular and artists in general, and denouncement of the present (lack of) administration. Empowerment was in the air, and people were saying so all night.

The evening concluded with Alicia dancing up a storm (how many times was “Let’s Go Crazy” played?), Matt recounting funny stories of his/Nicole’s/Conrad’s/Chris’ trip to Amsterdam, and Nicole and I arguing with Frank Sherlock about the EU. When I stepped outside, there was an inch of fresh snow on the ground. Chestnut St. was mobbed with shivering scenesters in long lines, and I quickly hailed a cab.


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