Wednesday, February 25, 2004

All kinds of random weirdness at Acentos last night, starting with the big ass pool table smack in the middle of the already-small-to-begin-with Blue Ox! Nice turnout, to the point where the open mic is starting to feel a little on the long side and Oscar even had to cut a couple of people. The double-edged sword of success.

All of the regulars were in the house, plus some surprise drop-ins like Seve, Jeannie (with Ed, who was taping the feature) and Eric, who met me at my place beforehand. Funny how the guy I initially didn't like thanks to some purposeful miscommunication on the part of a louder regular he was dating at the time, became one of my best friends on the scene and, more importantly, outside of it. Having him there gave things that final feels-like-old-times touch that I get from Acentos.

The much-ballyhooed National Slam Champ Mike McGee was there for a mini-set towards the end of the open mic and I have to admit to being...underwhelmed? Extremely underwhelmed, to be honest. Some funny stuff here and there but nothing particularly original or interesting and certainly nothing I'd want to, you know, read. Sean Connery impressions don't really translate all that well to the page. I had to go to the bathroom at one point because I knew my forced smile was getting more and more obvious as I got more and more bored. Kind of reinforced my being glad I didn't waste a week's vacation last summer at Nationals.

Omar was the feature and he delivered an interesting, if uneven set that seemed to have a surprisingly vibrant undercurrent of anger to it. The kind of performance that usually precedes some crazy act of self-destruction no one sees coming, emphasized by his closing with a piece about death being on his mind. Overall, it masked the more subtle layers his work tends to have by focusing too much attention on the surface, particularly with his "killing Europeans" piece that made even me a little uncomfortable - more for the delivery than the content. His stringing together of several of his journal entries was a lot of fun, though, and served as a nice reminder of how good he is in that rarest of forms: the really short poem. He can say more in a handful of lines than most people cram into their 3-minute diatribes.

After the show, we all hung out, played some pool, played random songs on the jukebox and had some drinks. Considering my very public decision to hop on the wagon a few months back, I feel obligated to mention that I hopped off again after about 40 days. Not surprisingly, it was a night at Acentos and, considering I'd resisted the urge at Urbana and a couple of other places, I think it says a lot about my comfort level there. Also, when your wife doesn't take your decision all that seriously, it suggests that maybe you're not as bad as you think you are. Still have to watch that tendency to ignore/test my limits and keep it social. It's all good, though.

On a side note, I bought the Maroon 5 CD, Songs About Jane, a couple of weeks ago and it is without question my favorite album of the past couple of years. Looooooooove it! Even more than Milli Vanilli. That's a compliment, by the way.

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