Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Page Meets Stage!

     In the world of poetry there's this strange stigma that there is a separation between "the page" and "the stage" and the poets who take part in either. The page meaning poetry that is published in chapbooks, magazines, full collections, anthologies, online publications, etc. and a page poet would be someone who only specializes in those things. Whereas the stage aspect is only spoken word, poetry that is typically performed from memory, live, in front of audiences. For years, naturally, "page" poetry has been seen as more academic and stage poetry is seen as more street/urban/underground. There is a certain level of prestige attached to publishing work, to this day there are writers who do not believe they are "real poets" until they are published. Spoken Word being the sibling to rap and a big part of Hip-Hop culture it gets the reputation that comes along with hip-hop culture, being made from scratch by people who did not have other resources, being apart of the lower class. Spoken Word artists are still seen as poets who can't really write and poets who do not performer are seen as poets who are confined to academic standards.

     For over a decade the Page Meets Stage has capitalized off of this "separation" by hosting monthly events that pair a typical "stage poet" with a typical "page poet" for back to back performances followed by a Q&A. Often, however, the pairings make it difficult to determine who is who. The page poet has probably performed and competed in poetry slams plenty of times, and the stage poet has probably been published various places. At the end of the day they are always both phenomenal poets and the events are always great time.


New York based poet, April Ranger. The host for the evening


Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib
   This month as we all returned from the holidays, Page Meets Stage's first pairing of the year is quite the mouth watering one. For the page we had Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Poet published in various journals and collections, essayist, and currently a columnist for MTV. For the stage we have Steven Willis, Spoken word artist, "Slam Poet", instructor, and two-time finalist of the Individual World Poetry Slam. Not to mention Hanif has taken part in slam poetry for years, whether as a competitor or coach and Steven has been published in few collections as well. None-the-less these are two incredible contemporary poets on the scene right now.

    The entire evening was moving, entertaining, thought-provoking, and just enjoyable. You cannot help but feel proud of two established Black Men, still learning, still growing and being damn good with words while they're at it. In Page Meets Stage fashion the poets went back in forth with poems that spoke to one another, so great it almost became competitive. A line in one of Steven's poems would be an image in one of Hanif's and so on and so forth. With personal accounts of being Black in America, Masculinity, heartache, growing pains, and humor there could not have been a better pairing than what Sunday night brought. In the historical Bowery Poetry Club, a staple in New York City's art movement on the Lower East Side, PMS proves that that art is still thriving. Though both Abdurraquib and Willis are both Mid-Westerners they certainly made home out New York City on that stage.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib and Steven Willis

     Following the poems was the Q&A, which is often my favorite part of any event. Both poet answer questions pertaining to their work but also how their personal lives influence how they, especially considering the social climate. Find out more about these poets and their work: Hanif Abdurraquib, Steven Willis. For more information about Page Meets Stage and how you can attend click HERE.

Steve Willis

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Queer Abstract Launch Event !

     The Queer Abstract is a monthly performance art series created, hosted, and curated by Shannon Matesky. Matesky is a Bay Area born, Brooklyn Based Poet, Performer, Educator and Queer Woman Of Color. Held at the recently opened Starr Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn, last Friday was the first event in the series and certainly a rare one of it's kind. The Queer Abstract is a safe queer space celebrating art created by QPOC(Queer People of Color), occurring monthly on every third Friday. With a filled lineup of poets, musicians, comedians and dancers, followed by a dance party The Queer abstract is a promising event. Even with The space, being one where is a performance are separate from the bar, there is focus on the main event and also the opportunity to mix and mingle. This is a free event, on a Friday night, and you cannot help but have fun.


Shannon Matesky
     There was mix and mingle time for about the first 30 minutes as the DJ got the party started and folks started to pile in. The very few seat filled up and no time, but there was plenty of standing room, audience members even sat on the floor to see the show. The Queer Abstract combined the intimacy of a poetry night with the energy of a concert. Often when people see the flyer and the line-up is filled of 10 r more different kinds of performances, dancers, comedians, singers, all for one show it can be concerning. Is this show going to go too long? Will there be awkward transitions? Am I going to enjoy one performance and dislike the other? The answer is NO, when it comes to The Queer Abstract. Our host kicked off the night with the warmest welcome with an introduction to the event is and what it stands and a spoken word piece. She is a phenomenal performer, so with her alone you can already tell what you are in for. The night flowed seamlessly, the timing was perfect, each performers individual set was just long enough for the audience to be satisfied and quick enough so that we would not be fatigued. Each performer commanding attention and each chosen to perform by Shannon! Towards the end of the event was the dance party. The DJ spun for nearly another 2 hours as folks dance, drank, mixed and mingled and of course began to filter out as the night wound down. I can gaurantee everyone went home satisfied.

   Even commissioned as the photographer for the evening I was able to be present and enjoy the event, and this was only the first event ! For more info about the next event check out The Queer Abstract on Facebook and Instagram.













Monday, January 2, 2017

NYE Look!

Of course my outfit is very #UOonYou. I am wearing the Silence + Noise Backless Shimmer dress, black opaque tights, and studded platform heels from ShoeDazzle. NYE always calls for glitz, glamour and glitter. The shinier the better. This dress shimmers with metallic detailing all over and being backless adds wow-factor. The high heels were thrifted and finally got their chance to shine on this night, they are all black suede covered in small gold studs that catch the light. I completed the look by curling my locs using flexi rods(tutorial coming soon) for subtle sophistication.





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