READING AT A SMALL VENUE IN CHICAGO'S ROGERS PARK
I went to the poetry reading at the cocoa bean last night. The usual rectangular space, one wall of exposed brick, various artists on the wall -- ranging from very cool prints of human organs, to something to do with torture that I put in my 'why does anyone take this fool seriously?,' category. The El track was accross the street, and passing trains could be heard and seen buzzing by behind the stage.
We arrived early, me in jeans so torn up that I kept thinking a strong wind was going to leave me naked, M. looking very hot in a black blouse and tight jeans that accented her incredible figure... we sat opposite the stage at a small table and waited. It is a tradition here to only start the show when everyone shows up, so the hosts showed up around ten after. Josh and Kate.
Kate is very cute, and sexy in that way some swingers are -- like there is a sign over her saying -- GOOD TIME. She actually ended the last reading I saw her at with, "Does anyone want to fuck?" On the surface, she could come off frivilous, but when she reads her poetry, her depth and clarity of vision are astounding. Everytime I have seen her read, she is head and shoulders above everyone in the room. Her partner is this every thursday night reading, Josh, was funnier than hell. I actually wrote down one of his jokes to use (I asked him during the break if he wrote his own jokes and he told me it was all off the top of his head; a real natural).
I ended up being part of the show. It's funny, M. has barely ever seen me perform, because I was out of the scene when I met her, staying away from stages with the thought that they were just an ego stroke that took me away from work. Anyways, M. saw me give a reading last year, where the people were laughing their asses off... but, at the reading two weeks ago, I sucked. I read the wrong shit. People laughed at this peice before, but they were warmed up a bit. The scene is in here, stoned artist talks to a cat, and if you look at it you will think I was nuts to even try to read it. Especially after Jason, who takes control of the crowd like he is leading a symphony of laughing people.
So, last night I told her that I thought I should read at this cocoa bean and her face fell. "You're going to read?"
I was amused by this, since my ego is intact. I took the bad reading as a mistake that I could easily correct, and ultimatly meaningless. I sucked, so what? The show was great anyways. I chose to read Rlynn, which is in here, too. And I practiced. Once she heard the piece and laughed throughout both reads (a short work that was is also a comic and a painting), she felt better, but I could tell by all the advice she was giving me that she was still nervous -- I mean, she seldom says anything about my work, because I am the expert. I am glad to say that my preperation paid off.
I was treated as a little celeb at the thing, which is cool, but I didn't announce the reading or say anything more than my first name (accidently), then I read. When I sat back down M. was beaming at me, so happy to be with me, etc... that made the whole thing worth it.
I gave Kate some flyers about her reading for me on sunday, and she liked them a lot. M. came up with the idea of making the collage about Kate, so we put a bunch of sexy pictures admist the usual soldiers and stuff I have been putting in the posters that I'm making for all the readings.