Went to "Green" at Tanner's Culver City last night -- was somewhat disappointed. This is the third time I've been to Green, and the first two were absolutely incandescent, fiery nights of rockin' poetry. Last night's was good, no doubt about it -- the equal to many other readings in the city -- but it didn't match up to the last two I've seen. There's no pointing the finger at any one factor -- it seemed a lot of the really fiercest poets from past readings just weren't there that night. The usual host, Damien (I'm not sure if I'm spelling his name right -- correct me if you know) was there but didn't host, instead turning the mike over to Poetri, a very talented and funny poet who has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry. Poetri did "The 100 Million Dollar Question" which absolutely brought the house down. He had some stylistic differences with Damien (for instance, everyone who wanted to read had to dribble a basketball between their legs) which didn't really detract from the reading, but other things did -- the worst example of which was a far-too-long "joke slam" in the middle of the reading where Damien, Poetri, and two random audience members competed in telling a joke. (Damien won.) Funniest part was the crazy-ass old white guy they asked to judge, who would just shout out numbers at random (44 or -5 on a scale of 0 to 5).
I get severe "poem envy" with some poets, where I really wish I had written the pieces they do. That never happens with Wayman Barnes, because I know I couldn't get away with half the shit he pulls off so well. He did a piece I'm going to call, "Chickeeeeeen! I like chickeeeeen!" that had people yelling along with him wildly, and another piece (I don't remember the title) that also rocked. The night really picked up towards the end. Gina did an amazing performance piece, even though she had to get her arm twisted to go on stage. The penultimate poet of the night was good, and the final poet did an absolutely tremendous piece -- one of the best I've heard recently. I didn't get either of their names because we were doing a "speed poetry" type thing to try to get everyone in before the place closed. Again, let me know if you know.
I did "Tuesday Morning In The Rain" which went over approximately like a ton of bricks. Thud. Not sure if it was the performance, the crowd, or the night, or the poem. I was editing it right up until I got on stage, making some changes that I thought improved it -- I'll have to look at it again tomorrow and see.
After the reading a bunch of poets headed over to Denny's on Jefferson. Lots of greasy food and good conversation. Going tonight to the Midnight Special reading on 3rd St. Promenade. Haven't been there in years. Gotta run.