Karaoke plus Poetry equals Fun

Albany Word Fest Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, April 21

It’s all over except the shenanigans (or as we used to say, the “PsychoClusterFuck”). Karaoke + Poetry = Fun was held upstairs at Valentines. Lila ran the music machine & in order to sing you had to first read a poem. There was a great variety of poets & wannabee rock stars getting more & more energetic as the night went on. Some of us even went more than once. The evening’s host was the most-inappropriate professor, Daniel Nester, who kept writing things in my notebook about people taking their pants off.

Nester’s poem was his ball-scratching “Mott Street Pastoral” which he teamed up with “Dirty White Boy.” Later, in a weird bit of synchronicity (see previous Blog) Nester read a poem by the 20th Century poet Robert Hayden (again, see previous Blog) — how weird is that?

Dirty Dancing

Another particular favorite was Don Levy reading his poem “Action Figure with Kung Fu Grip,” then making his way through “Harper Valley PTA.” It seemed a perfect fit for me to hear Avery do the suburbanite’s fantasy escape, “Margaritaville,” although he wasn’t bad later on (more juiced) as a rapper & a couple times as a back-up singer, stripped to a soaking tee-shirt. Speaking of which Sadie had an interesting poem about working in a tee-shirt factory, as well as serving as “back-up guitar” to Josh Harkins, who also had some pretty good poems, including one titled “Critical Thinking” (a love poem).

I was up a few times with various “Coyote” poems, & performed some Karaoke favorites, “Wild Thing,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” & “The End.”

Another poet whose work I liked (among the many) was Marie Frankson, whose strong poems & songs belied her small stature. One poem began “I love a man who…”, & another recalled a “Bad Day” & she was even joined by Kevin Peterson & Avery as sweaty back-up singers at the end. Kevin Peterson read a poem “4 syllables longer than a haiku” & channeled Janis Joplin (minus the giggle) on the Mercedes Benz song; he also popped up increasingly as a back-up singer for Carlos Garcia, Marie Frankson & Carissa’s grand finale. I think he’s a dead-heat with Avery about which is the gayest straight guy on stage.

Lila even read a poem, “Too Many Clothes,” & another one-timer was Jill who read a poem to her finance so she could do the Stones’ “In My Life.” A.C. Everson also did a Stones’ tune, “Mother’s Little Helpers” after reading her poem about pollution. Shannon Shoemaker recited one of her sad lost love poems before channeling Joan Jett. Ed Rinaldi was up a couple times, one time cloning the Violent Femmes, as well as backing up Thom Francis whose poem was a cover of Jim Morrison’s “The Movie.”

Mojavi’s poems were of love & sex & then backed up for his song by Nester & Ron Shaver.

The grand finale was Carissa reading a rare poem, “Used to Do,” followed by a raucous (could it be otherwise?) version of Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” with a motley crew of backup singers.

Oh Baby, if you weren’t there you missed the end of WordFest 2012 & have to wait for it to come around again as the World turns. It was the biggest & best of the WordFests. Who’d had thought back in 2001 we’d still be doing this & making it better each time. Thanks to AlbanyPoets.com & all those whose venues made this week so powerful.  More photos can be found at my Flicker! site.