Hello this June to new readers in Australia, Portugal, Ukraine, and Indonesia. San Diego has had a burst of sunshine. For those of you planning to visit, we still have evening fog rolling in and temperature drops; compared to hot days, a few degrees colder is most appreciated. The changing temperature from May/grey, June/Gloom to sunny definitely was a plus for Olga Garcia's reading at San Diego's Cafe Cabaret.
I see a flier in my email a few days earlier and consider going to the reading. Olga's new works are full of flavorful and sometimes abrasively juxtaposed images and metaphors. Host Jim Moreno is making sure that people get the word out.
A day or so before the reading, I get a call from Olga asking if I would like to read with her on her feature evening. It sounds like a "moment," you know, one of those artsy exciting YEA moments. So, I quickly say yes. It's always an adventure to read with Olga. I think about our women's group from years before--4Nth.
The next day, we practice over a light salad, not at our regular pre-performance spot (Cie's Bakery in Hillcrest), but at a vegan restaurant in the Kensington area, near Cafe Cabaret.The garden salads are delicious, a colorful blend of vegetable, just large enough to satisfy a normal appetite.
When we arrive at the medium sized cafe with patio seating, Jim Moreno is greeting the few guests, but it begin to fill up quickly. Jim opens with a tribute to Jhymie Collins whose legacy lives on in many San Diego poets and visual artist. Sunshine illuminates the cafe in a strange orange-yellow glow. Open Mic starts. so many good poets, who also double as open mic hosts and poetry editors, are here, to listen to Olga, talks with her, catch up life.
Christopher R who bills himself as "The Voice of the Middle Ages" spins a life lesson line in one of his poems that sets me on my chair's edge. "Don't mistake rewind for reset."
Poet Pilar Rodriguez electrifies the room with her intense reading in Spanish and English. In mid-line about art, she whispers "poem as a stutter in the night . . ."
Jim is asking for more musicians to come to Club Cabaret and last Tuesday, a quiet young man with a velvet voice and vocal ranges the produces a smooth falsetto with ease, sang original songs. Chris Luis Redford (his stage name) is a name to listen for in the near future. His guitar rhythms and chord voicings are refreshing.
Geraldo Negarra in a husky hoarse voice speaks in very terse imagery about our 21st century electronic reality, then comes to a line which says," "Cause this generation has never properly fallen in love . . ."
As night shadows drifts in, Beat poet Chris Vannoy, mentor to many young poets too into the stage, lights, applause, partying, the artistic creative adrenalin flow was back in town. His line about beat poetry "Beat is finding the rhythm in the poem." reminds takes me back to hours of poetry sharing, work shopping, finding rhythms of truth on my tongue.
And, whenever, he's in town and not busy producing, writing, or directing in New York, Reg E. Gaines http://broadwayblack.com/savion-glover-reg-e-gaines-talk-noisefunk-20-years-later/slips quietly into a seat and listens. On a few occasions, he'll do poetry. Tuesday night, he previews a poem from put to music in his upcoming New York show.
It's feature time. Olga and I get up to read. She reads in Spanish and I read the translations. for one of her poems, she reads in English. We take turns at the mic, sometimes sharing it. The old energy returns, the 4nth energy that bonded Kelli Parrish-Lucsu, founder, Megan Webstar(who replaced the Kathryn Rice-Simmons who died of cancer), Olga and myself. We have found the poems' rhythms of truth.
Many other poets and artists were at Cafe Cabaret. It seemed like a reunion. San Diego's poetry scene is alive, vibrant, diverse and dynamic.