Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday Evening at the Bowery Poetry Club: George Wallace Presents The Beat Hour

This was posted to Richard Grayson's MySpace blog on Friday, September 21, 2007:

Thursday Evening at the Bowery Poetry Club: George Wallace Presents The Beat Hour

Last evening at 6:30 p.m., I was one of about 35 people -- including a dear old friend and colleague, poet Linda Lerner -- at one of my favorite downtown venues for readings and performances, The Bowery Poetry Club, for an hour presented by the always-dynamic literary impresario George Wallace.

Although the scheduled bongo player was MIA, audience members improvised and there were some great sets by poets and performers:

Barbara Southard read some interesting poems, including a couple about downtown Jacksonville, a place I know well from having worked as a college instructor and run for Congress in that neighborhood;

Donald Lev, an old friend from the scene in the 1970s -- I had several stories in and was interviewed in Home Planet News, the great newsprint indie literary review founded by him and his late, much-missed, wife Enid Dame -- read some of his great film-reviews-as-poems (on The Goodbye Girl and Chalk) and other inimitable stylings by the guy who famously played The Poet in Robert Downey Sr.'s classic 1969 black comedy Putney Swope;

Brant Lyon and A.J. Antonio presented some wonderful jazz-poetry to musical accompaniment; and

Levi Asher, brains behind LitKicks and a lot else, read a couple of terrific Beat-style poems, the second a righteous riff on the Iraq war, and as a finale, brought up special guest Ed Champion, fresh from an interesting encounter with Danica McKellar, who joined Levi in a duet of simultaneous readings of a cut-up of Gregory Corso's "Bomb" to the accompaniment of an improvised bongo beat. It was a great way to end the evening, and since no Beat poetry event is complete without someone in the audience getting offended and leaving in a huff, it apparently prompted a guy in the first row to get up and go.

Snaps to everyone, especially George Wallace and the rest of the crew at the BPC.

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