Saturday, August 28, 2010
Southern Gothic Perception Goes North... More Lonesome Liz in NYC
The day after our rain-soaked journey to Trump World Tower, Katelan Foisy and I traveled to Brooklyn, where her friends, writers with the Numu Arts Collective, (check out their main site here.) were having a one year anniversary party at the Knitting Factory. There were hats! Cake! Rather profound poets! Along with comedians and musicians; in fact, one of the most unforgettable hi-lights was a truly hilarious stand-up performance by the host of CollegeHumor.com. Poets were accompanied by the incredibly talented French-Tunisian saxaphonist Yacine Boulares, a Sorbonne graduate in Philosophy.
The whole thing brought back memories of the group of poets I performed with in Chicago wayyyyyy back in the olden days, when Slam was just starting at the Green Mill. It was nothing like it is now, for better or worse - and, in fact, was a lot like this collective. Poets in clubs was a novel concept at the time and we would perform in places similar to the Knitting Factory, with bands also on the bill. There was even a Subway tour - which I'd totally forgotten about until once again on a Subway. You can read some of my Chicago and other early poetry here or, better and more recent poetry turned Lorca-esque play here.
Ochani Lele, was in town and I was going to interview them both for Fine Art Magazine's new video live-stream, Ghost Studios.
Unfortunately, no matter how we tried, we couldn't get the connection right and had to postpone the interview, (there I am on the left working on doing just that). But I had a wonderful time nonetheless. I met as many talented and creative people there as I had the night before at the Knitting Factory. The religious art installation you see some of in the photo left was created by one of the practitioners in a matter of hours - dizzying when you consider the detail. I'll see if better photos can be found -- it was made up of at least a dozen individual mixed-media pieces, each with religious significance. They truly rivaled anything I've seen in Afro-Cuban museum collections.
After some amount of interview frustration, (Ochani has a new book out, the first ever to record the mythos of Santeria and we had really hoped to discuss it. You can read more about it in my spirituality blog.) I finally gave in to a game of dominoes with 2 of the younger boys, (which I was later told was quite a distinction, that women don't usually play and that the game is taken very, very seriously in Puerto Rico, where most of the attendees were from). After winning without drawing once twice in a row, to the astonishment of my opponents and my own, I quit while I was ahead. We spent the night with Katelan's Godmother and her wonderful family, where I was shown more beautiful, truly sculptural/installation-like arrangements that are a routine part of this unique and extremely ancient tradition. She, like the young man who created the throne in the photo, is a truly gifted visual artist with a unique and vast outlet for it's expression.
Next up... Warhol and Robert Mars in Soho, more from Brooklyn and more time than I wanted to spend in Chinatown...
Posted by Ramblin Liz at 5:35 AM