A quick post to reflect on a couple of things from the world of performing arts, one featuring yours truly and one not. The former of the two goes first: I dolled myself up last night (Friday) and returned to Mother Fool’s for the open-mic poetry event it hosts every month. I hadn’t been to Mother Fool’s in a while, and the good feeling I had performing there, combined with the equally good feelings lingering from my performance at Trans Monologues last month, drove me to perform at Mother Fool’s again.
As is usually the procedure with the Mother Fool’s poetry and freeform events, those who wanted to perform added their name to a basket, from which the host (more on him in a moment) pulled out names to determine the order of performances. I was the penultimate name pulled, taking the mic at around a quarter to 10PM. By chance, I had a literal front row seat to the entire show; the table you see in the foreground of this photo is where I sat, with a lady sitting at the next table obliging to take photos while I was at the mic. By chance or error, she hit the “video record” button on my phone’s camera a couple of times; they were brief and incomplete, but I’m tempted to edit and post them to show… well, audio proof that I perform my poetry. (If I do, a bit of a spoiler alert: I still not the most confident performer.)
Two spots after my 5-minute slot, which included 3 of my poems (including the holiday-themed first poem I ever posted here), the host took to the mic to finish off the event with a morose and rather morbid listing of the mass shootings in the United States over the past 5 years, including date and incident (his last entry was, “Next date: To be announced”). The host was Ron Czerwein, who owns the Avol’s Books consignment business that operates out of A Room of One’s Own downtown. For reasons left undisclosed, Friday was Ron’s last night hosting poetry open mic at Mother Fool’s. The plan is for him to cede host duties to a rotation of four hosts, with one of the quartet caring for the hosting duties each month (including, presumably, making arrangements for the guest performers who open each event). Two of those four hosting slots were still open, according to Ron, and being the type of person who wants to help out any way I can, I was tempted to inquire about the host slots. I didn’t, however, because for one, I don’t have any real skills at arranging event logistics. Also, I’m still relatively new at poetry writing and presenting. Perhaps if I had more of those logistical and performing skills, I would have stepped up and asked, “Hey, do you need a fourth host?” Maybe that will change in the future.
While I may not be hosting material yet, at least there were those in the audience who enjoyed my poems. I know this not by the applause after I had finished, but rather by the couple of people who approached me after the show and said, “Good to see you perform again” or even “I really appreciated your work.” Though I’m not the greatest of poets by any means, words like those really do perk up my poetry and performing confidence. It won’t be my last poetry performance, at Mother Fool’s or anyplace else, by any means.
Okay, now to the other performance arts note that doesn’t involve me, and for several good reasons: I’m not the greatest of performers (as noted above). I couldn’t memorize lines if my life depended on it (as you can tell from my holding my poems in the above photo). And I’ve never been a drag queen. Oh, and it’s a long flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
What I’m getting at there is that there is an event highlighted by one of my WordPress peeps, Anna Blair, on her Facebook page. The show is “A Nashville Nativity,” which is being staged this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the Britannia Panopticon theater in Anna’s neck of the woods, Glasgow, Scotland. The theater’s website describes “A Nashville Nativity” thusly:
“The drag queens of Glasgow felt there was something missing from the greatest story ever told: Rednecks, bible bashers, oil barons and good old southern bigotry. A full original musical score by Lacy Rain and Deano Monsoon, will see the big old virgin M line dancing her way to Nashville to drop a magic baby and country EP in time for Christmas.”
Yep, the opening chapter of The Greatest Story Ever Told is being retold by drag queens, in full-on camp. What’s more, it’s satirical guns are aimed squarely at Red State America, a demographic who holds that same Greatest Story Ever Told in high regard — even though they’re not one to hold every tenet that the Baby Jesus would preach as he gained “Lord and Savior” status — and won’t be afraid to vociferously call out those who make fun of it.
But to borrow the famous plea of TV writer/producer Marc Cherry, “It’s a satire!” And personally speaking, I’m glad that the Bible Belt is on the receiving end of this satire. Some background: When my stepfather came into my mom’s life, he was a member of a Southern Baptist church, the very church in which he and Mom were married. And my stepfather, perhaps due to his other background as an over-the-road truck driver, has had a propensity to… uh, let’s just say own a Bible but not entirely abide by it.
For sure, not all of the Baptist faith (Southern Baptist or otherwise) tend to put bigoted beliefs ahead of their faith in God and their fellow man. And when I was younger, many in the above mentioned church Dad was a part of, as morally conservative as it may have been, still put faith and respect ahead of bigotry. But it’s that segment of the faith that puts their faith in God, guns, and guts, (and by self-delusion, not in that order) that gives the “Bible Belt” a well-deserved reputation that’s ripe in parody. If you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding a certain political candidate in Alabama, you can see why that reputation is deserved. So, kudos to the folks behind “A Nashville Nativity” for ripping the Bible Belt and its myopic views of faith and their fellow man a new one. Here’s hoping this show makes its way to the States, if it hasn’t been performed here already.