Friday’s feature went really well. Ended up being a 20-minute set but, not knowing til the last minute, I’d prepared a flexible enough list beforehand (aka Down the Hatch: 2 beers, atomic wings & waffle fries!) and was pretty comfortable dealing with the time limit. Mixed some really old with some brand new as I opened with Reality, a piece I haven’t done in ages that I was able to edit and memorize in the hour between getting off work and the start of the show. Started it from the audience, a common slam technique for effect, but also a great way to settle one’s own nerves. The equivalent of just jumping in the pool headfirst. I was happy to see that I was quite nervous as Jackie announced the final open micer before the feature and my stomach went all aflutter. I’ve always said the day you stop getting nervous when you get on stage is the day you need to stay off the stage because the privilege has lost its meaning and its importance.
After a brief introduction, I did Fulano, another one I haven’t done in ages. Between the two, I realized I hadn’t grown cynical about slam over the years but, instead, had been that way from the beginning. It’s right there in several of my early poems but no more apparent than Fulano: “to have come so far for this, seems such a waste.” Next, I took a gamble and did my new Batman piece that I wrote and posted here just last week. Thought it read pretty smoothly, especially considering it was the first time out loud! Went with the Army suite next, the poems I wrote this year touching on my time in the service, gave props to the Nuyorican and keith roach (for the benefit of the documentarians) with Nuyorican Memories, and closed with the old standby, Breathless. Thematically, I felt like it was one of my strongest features ever, covering a range of styles, periods and subjects while all flowing together extremely well. The reading itself was pretty good, too, getting a little wacky towards the end as a couple of Columbia and Brown students took to dissing each other in a rather pale (pun intended!) attempt at the dozens.
Nice gig Jackie Sheeler runs there and, if not for the tough time slot, it’s a place I could see myself hitting once or twice a month.
Saturday was Big Apple Comic Convention day and, for my first time, it was quite the experience. Took the whole family down and it was a lot of fun. Way more comics than I could focus on (or afford!) but a great simultaneuous walk down memory lane and inspiration for my current revival. Came across a full set of the original New Mutants run, as well as much of the original Moon Knight series. Debated back-and-forth which direction I wanted to go – collect or inspire – and ended up going for work by writers I wanted to check out, including Morrison’s Invisibles: Kissing Mr. Quimper, a two issue Hellboy mini by Mignola and the two-issue JLA: World Without Grownups with art (and a signed first issue) by new Spectacular Spiderman artist, Humberto Ramos. Amongst the tables and tables of comics, graphic novels, toys, cards, bootleg videos, etc. were two guys selling their own independent comics, including one that featured a crazy monkey named Jennifer. It looked a little silly with psychotic artwork but there was something endearing about the creator, Ken Knudtsen, sitting there telling me about it. Came back around before we left and picked up his graphic novel, My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer, and got a surprise gift with it: a shot of vodka!
Odd thing about the convention: what is the connection between comic books, wrestlers and porn stars? There were a couple of wrestlers there signing autographs, as well as raunchy porn star Jasmine St. Clare. What’s the story? [Side note: St. Clare is the first porn star I’ve ever seen in person and I have to say she wears her business like a shroud. Not surprising considering her reputation and approach but I’m pretty sure she’s under 30 and, even under all of the makeup, she looked…used up. I don’t really deal with the politics of porn much as, unlike prostitution, it’s usually not something being done against one’s will, though I do believe it’s an industry that preys on women with self-esteem issues.]
Anyway, with one of my purchases, I got a free copy of the Claremont/Lee X-Men #1. Lee is the special guest at September’s convention so I will be getting my first experience as fanboy seeking autograph! Excelsior!