Friday, July 30, 2010

Ode to a...Poetry Night!

We're just so cultured. Well, last night anyway. We got invited to go to an evening of poetry at the Ma Pau Casino downtown (right next to where the cruise-ship passengers disembark).

First the venue. We had no idea that anything was open in Port Zante at night, which is probably why the businesses that are, are struggling. We had also heard that cars get broken into downtown at night, but Port Zante had a police presence (at least last night, a council member was there) and the parking was right where we wanted to go, so no worries (just lock your car and don't leave anything in there - duh).

The casino itself actually had a few locals trying their hand at Lady Luck, but was pretty quiet. There are just slot machines and a big electronic roulette wheel in the middle. Upstairs, is an associated restaurant, Sweet Lime and the "theater." Obviously, the theater was where the entertainment would be, but we would have had absolutely no idea it existed if we hadn't been with someone who knew where they were going. There were 2 big, closed wooden-doors to pass through and then you were in the land of Oz. I'm not sure how to even describe this place, but I so want to have a party there sometime. On the one side, was a pirate's lair kind of theme with a cool paper boat hanging from the ceiling, image projected on the wall, and a cave-like bar. Aargh ya matey's!

The other side, the VIP section, was just...weird. But I liked it (groovy)!

Now for the entertainment. Island Xpressions was created to give folks a chance to express themselves in ways other than violence, promiscuity, and other bad behavior. The gentleman who started it went to all the schools and challenged the students to write their frustrations in poetry instead and then gave them a venue with which to share it with others. There were students, teachers, friends to support them, etc. all dressed to the nines (what does that mean anyway?) and ready to cheer on their favorite poet. The place was packed - truly standing room only and the people kept coming all night long.

It ranged from poetry in motion...

to poetry in speak...

to poetry in song (these four sang barber-shop style and were really good).

It did get a bit karaoke at times, but everyone had to do it a capella, which was pretty gutsy.

One guy got on stage and really got into the poem he was reading from his iphone only to realize it all hadn't copied. After trying to get through it twice with no success, he whipped out a written copy (to much laughter), but then decided to ditch the whole thing and sing his wedding song to his lovely wife (the entire wedding song).

It was pretty funny actually (although they might want to consider putting time limit on folks - invest in a big hook or something). Another dude sang two off-key Bette Midler songs badly, but you couldn't help but love the guy.

Even this little girl was spell-bound.

There were poems about Haiti, stuttering, drunk driving, you name it. Right before they took a break, and we went home, one poet, Damon Lawrence. debuted his poem video (he also just put a book out). Yeah, just like a music video, only he wasn't singing or rapping, just versing (to the reverberating sound of a beating heart). Sounds weird, but it was actually really cool. Maybe he'll post his video sometime.

This "show" gets put on the local TV channel, and I'd seen it before thinking it was all a bit cheezy (and, frankly, amaturish). The problem is, you have to be there. Really all the local telecasts (including the news) come out as tinny and hard to understand. Being there allowed us to share in the nerves, the excitement, and the vibes of the whole thing. It was those factors that made it fun. It was so refreshing to do something other than hang out at the bar either drinking or watching other people drink. This group was just there to encourage their friends, drag others on when they were too scared to do it, and otherwise just, themselves!

Michael & I wanted to stay for the whole thing just to see what came next, everybody was so different and we were enjoying the wholesomeness of it all, but knew we'd regret it the next day when we had to get up, so slinked out during the break. If you want to do something unique, support the budding local artists and come on down on the last Thursday of every month (it'll be on the calendar, of course).

Hash this weekend! Although it may be a wet one.