Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Brooklyn Art Collective Presents 'Food Chain'

Contemplating a set list that will go over with a fabulous art crowd.

I was invited to read last evening, along with several other poets, at The Brooklyn Art Collective's latest opening, entitled 'Food Chain.' The show was held at Built, a gallery just north of Canal Street, where the main order of business is the design of cool furniture.

Sponsored by Old Milwaukee beer ("It doesn't get any better than this!"), the event featured art, live music, and spoken word performances. I should point out that this edition of the Collective was filled with students from Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, and thus the crowd was young, hip and fabulous. The only thing missing, it seems, was an appearance by the Olsen twins (should that be a capital 'T'?).

Still, old geezers like me were welcome and it was wild. I think this is the closest I've come to experiencing what the Exploding Plastic Inevitable must have been like: The Velvet Underground performing their brand of droney noise rock accompanied by whip dancers amid psychedelic Warhol images projected onto the stage.

A noise band (one of several booked for the evening), perched atop a second tier in the high-ceiling room, played briefly before the poets took the stage - which was basically a couch at one end of the gallery. A microphone hung from the musician's level, creating a Wrestlemania ring announcer motif, and in turn we read. The audience was right among us, I mean right in our collective "grills" (you should pardon my attempt at vernacular), and I had to shout into the mic to be heard over the din of the 200-plus person crowd.

I is one powaful Mac Daddy on da mic.

It was like being in a slam, only not competitive, with a slight element of frustration. The thick, drunken crowd made for a vaguely uncomfortable situation, as people jostled past while I read some of my more challenging pieces, like "There is No 'I' in Fuck." My material went over quite well, and was in fact helped along nicely by a loud, angry delivery. Who knew?!

Quoth Borat: "Great success!"

(Photos by MsAPhillips)


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