the launch – wed. jan. 19…

open miker dwight peters noted that to eat with your fingers means feeling fingertips on your lips.  this past wednesday, we all ate with our fingers.  with a standing room only crowd of 80 heads, vermillion was abuzz for 3 solid hours with poetry, music, and video art.

jeremy springsteed led off with variations of love poems set to a surreal night-in-the-life video shot by alex miller (the1979bizarre) complete with him scrawling text from his poem “we placed the yolks” around his own kitchen and bathroom, and a lightbulb in a microwave.  it was a blitz.  dizzying.  set the stage for an electric evening.

next up was singer songwriter jeff brennan, who, simply put, wailed, as he bled one song into the next.  no need for an amp with that one.  i’d overheard someone likening his singing style to bright eyes.  i’d say more like bright eyes on eleven.

i read 4 poems next – softer and slower than usual – just to keep things dynamic.  alexM created an amazing video for my last piece – “found in a cord.”  with a shaven arm as his subject (won’t say whose), lines from the poem were scrawled out in black marker before being bandaged over.  the audience bore witness to a poetic act of self-mutilation, followed by an act of secrecy.

kristen young read next from her novel-in-progress.  the juxtaposition of her characters’ tense, terse colloquial dialogue played fascinatingly with glorious, sweeping descriptions of pacific northwest fauna and geology.  she really writes birds well.  all ears were on her.

trent thornley played next.  with his acoustic guitar miked, and impromptu alexM original video footage behind him, for two songs his music turned the otherwise dimly lit art bar into a bright sunny day.  his bouncy vocals lifted the collective spirit of the house.

greg bem closed the feature segment of the evening with a 15-min visceral internalization of the outer macabre world, for lack of a better way to put it.  alexM videographed a piece featuring greg himself in a dark, dank basement (dark coast press’ own jarret middleton’s, to be precise) wherein he engaged the senses in various modes of vice, including strong drink, pornography, and uncooked packaged mac’n’cheese.  simultaneously riveting and revolting.  a true gentleman, throughout the performance, greg made room for audience feedback.  then shat on us.

but the most electricity came from the open mic for which, impressively, the capacity crowd stayed put.  jack remick kicked it off with a crowd-pleasing san francisco rant, followed by seattle poetry stalwarts morris stegosaurus, jesse minkert, and paul nelson.  we were pleased to have a sneak-preview of february’s featured musician coopersmith, who blew the crowd away with his virtuosic guitar playing and and vocal range.  the man in the round hat.  spoken word artist laura wachs dazzled us with a film metaphor meditation on domestic abuse, before rowena erhard whispered us to the ocean.  open mic juggernaut said farah came correct to close the evening.  all involved were exhausted.  not too exhausted to after party, though.  if you don’t believe my hype, check the footage for yourself.

see you out there – WED FEB 16 7pm – when we’ll be featuring the musical talents of coopersmith, video by nico vassilakes, and poet ???????!

alex bleecker

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