Friday, May 14, 2004

I may be speaking a bit prematurely on this but I'm bored at work and excited about the potential of this new wrinkle that's come up.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I wasn't feeling the idea of continuing louder than words after Eric heads west. One of the keys to the show was our tight relationship that allows us to smacktalk each other without offending.

After some solo thinking on it, I asked Omar - one of the few people I share a similar rapport with - if he'd be interested in stepping in. He was, but more importantly, he offered some great - if belated! - feedback on the format itself. Similar to what several others have said, he basically felt there were too many hosts and that it should have more of a Bill Maher-driven, Politically Incorrect format. From the beginning, that's pretty much what Bob was looking for, too - me in the driver's seat.

While I'm not a particularly modest person, I'm not an egomaniac either, and I've continually balked at the idea of centering the show around me. I realize, however, that the control freak in me will never allow anyone to be a full partner in anything I do. It was most apparent during the first night of the show which by all accounts - and the videotape - I completely dominated. The second show was a bit more balanced as I pulled back, but at the same time, it felt a lot less dynamic. At first I thought that was a result of the lack of friction between Bassey and Patricia as opposed to the inherent polarity of Taylor and Roger, but now I'm thinking otherwise.

That said, I still like the idea of regular co-hosts I can count on to participate and not clam up or go into rope-a-dope mode when things get interesting. A little bit more than an Andy Richter, a little bit less than a Kelly Ripa, I suppose?

To spice things up even more, this morning I got a surprise email from Bassey, saying she'd love to be a regular part of the show, too! I've gotten similar offers since the first show - Taylor Mali, in particular, who I think owuld steal the idea if I decided to can it! - but none have been as appealing as the prospect of working with Bassey on something.

Imagine?

Me and Bassey and Omar?

Makes me giddy thinking about it!

BUT - and this is a big one, the kind Sir Mix-a-Lot would appreciate - Omar posed an important question that I haven't yet been able to answer, and that is the question of WHY I'm doing the show to begin with.

Is it simply a response to my personal issues with louderARTS? Or the larger national poetry slam scene? Do I just want to dis the people and things that annoy me, like an onstage version of this journal?

Or, am I actually trying to accomplish the rather high-minded goal that Bob has put forth for the show, offering a "LIVE & in yr FACE" critique of poetry?

The latter option is the only legitimate one. It's also the most intimidating and, even on a monthly basis, requires the kind of committment I'm not sure I want to give it. There's also the question of how appealing that angle is to a general audience.

Of course, answering this question becomes a lot more palatable with the prospect of having Bassey and Omar in the mix.

Stay tuned.

And, you know, offer some feedback.

Because everything I do, I do it...for you.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tony B here --

First off -- did you actually reference Sir Mix-a-Lot???!

Anyway -- I agree, there's only one reason to do this show, and that's because performance poetry needs it. And it's a hell of a commitment. But that's where co-hosts can come in -- you can keep each other honest and motivated and on track.

Why not ask Bassey and Omar (who, I have to tell you, was the first person I thought of when you said Eric was gonna be leaving) to put their own thoughts into the mix?

Finally: it strikes me that as long as there's an entertainment value to it, NYC ought to be able to support it...

Keep me in mind sometime as a guest.

Anonymous said...

As subtle as he tries to be; around me at least; Omar has a set of balls that clank when he walks. I have been holding my tongue when I read your journal and saw you were thinking twice about the continutation of this show. I was a little bit upset and I didn't want to get into it. A piece felt it wasn't my business and I caught myself not wanting to offend you; talk shit towards you; or even just smack ya around for thinking some shit. I wanted to catch you so bad at Acentos and the gravitational pull of madres saved your ass.

This show is something that we need. It's a shot in the arm the poetry community needs to innoculate them from all the other bullshit there are succepted too on stage:around coffee; around drinks; and back channel e-mails or at other venues. With Eric leaving; hey; it might be hard; live with it and work harder to make it work.

IF this is a platform for you to spew whatever comes from your mouth agaisnt louder, PSI, Bush, those 5 U.S Soldiers that killed nick berg; so be it. It is your show where only your style of being makes this show insane. Don't hold back.

Ok, so Eric is leaving: Whooptie freakin dooo...... Call him and go back and forth before the show and get his views. Throw in Bassey but don't make it a brotherly love fest. Keep it real.

I have so ranted in this post!

Damn

Fish said...

As subtle as he tries to be; around me at least; Omar has a set of balls that clank when he walks. I have been holding my tongue when I read your journal and saw you were thinking twice about the continutation of this show. I was a little bit upset and I didn't want to get into it. A piece felt it wasn't my business and I caught myself not wanting to offend you; talk shit towards you; or even just smack ya around for thinking some shit. I wanted to catch you so bad at Acentos and the gravitational pull of madres saved your ass.

This show is something that we need. It's a shot in the arm the poetry community needs to innoculate them from all the other bullshit there are succepted too on stage:around coffee; around drinks; and back channel e-mails or at other venues. With Eric leaving; hey; it might be hard; live with it and work harder to make it work.

IF this is a platform for you to spew whatever comes from your mouth agaisnt louder, PSI, Bush, those 5 U.S Soldiers that killed nick berg; so be it. It is your show where only your style of being makes this show insane. Don't hold back.

Ok, so Eric is leaving: Whooptie freakin dooo...... Call him and go back and forth before the show and get his views. Throw in Bassey but don't make it a brotherly love fest. Keep it real.

I have so ranted in this post!

Damn

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how to take Fish's comment, but I will say this. There's a lot about me that folks don't know. I spent a large portion of my high school years in a National Talk Show with a similar format/goal. I think that LTW is an extraordinary program and has the potentional to be even greater. Not just with the addition of myself and Omar. It's because we are so different and dynamic in so many ways. I can reel the boys in when they are just being nasty for nastiness sake. But I can hold my own when it comes to hard hitting. While on stage at the last LTW, I thought of at least 12 questions I would have asked myself and about 4 that I would have asked Patricia. Nothing to push buttons but something to push things in another direction. I think the goal is in opening up the audience and having them say what they are sitting there thinking. At the last LTW, I wanted someone to say, "This is boring. Why are you two being so safe? Bassey, do you feel like joining the cast of Def Jam corrupted your work? and if not, Why the FUCK are you up there lying?". I'm confident that if added, it won't be "brotherly love"... it'll be point-to-point, hand-to-hand, straight gangsta like only a bourgie chick from the 'burbs with something to prove can bring it.
But seriously,have a little faith. I'll be getting my nails done.

Guy, let's talk. Next week is packed 'cause of taping and a wedding. But week after is open.

love to love ya,
B.