Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What's on your shirt?

Had an enjoyable read last night at Somarts as part of Full Circle: Betty Nobue Kano and Nancy Hom. About 20 folks, good crowd for a Tuesday evening.

Reading started off with Jeffrey Leong, who read poems mostly about his newly adopted 3 year old daughter who sat right next to me. Her mother, who called herself her daughter's "support staff" sat nearby supplying her with crayons, cheese sticks, and other amusements while daddy read his poems about her. He could really turn it into a performance piece with her daughter. In between his lines you could hear her quibble about coloring book, ask me for the 3rd time what was on my shirt, and asking the fellow behind us what his name was. She seemed fascinated by the design by Christine Wong.

I followed with a variety of pieces I had read before, and closed with a new piece inspired by Denise Duhamel's book of Barbie poems, "Kinky," and Nick Carbo's "Secret Asian Man," entitled, "Philippine Centennial Barbie plans her wedding." And no, she doesn't marry Ken! I'm going to do some edits and maybe post it come June, since June is wedding season.

I was followed by Andres Saito who opened with a Mother's Day 2005 poem and ended with a Japanese version of Cisneros' "You bring out the Mexican in me" that had the line, "You bring out the fire-breathing Godzilla in me."

Nancy Hom closed out the night with very lyrical pieces, many intertwined the politics of the world in contrast to everyday rituals. A sense of out and in, and in and out. Her visual work hung behind her, decades of silkscreening, really one of those lost arts that is being pushed aside by economical color printing. Silk screening is physically intensive. She says she just can't do it anymore, but makes smaller versions of the more popular pieces. There are a lot of birds, particularly crane, motifs that dot her images, a sense of flight, a need for freedom. While the Fiance liked, "Dancer with Birds" and a classic image, "Mother and Child," I really got into "Stay like a Mountain, Move like the Ocean" a black on black piece that required the viewer to come in to see the work. It's my current fascination of white on white type pieces that require me to look more carefully to see something more.

The next event linked to the Full Circle event is Betty Nobue Kano painting alongside music, specifically the band that rehearses in the same space she paints in. Many of her works exhibited were done that way.

Spoke with some of the audience. One fellow who is a tech guy from campus. Said the person he commutes with got him into writing poetry in December. Andres had stopped by their writing group and he got the announcement for the reading. He said he now felt like a real poet, "going to the City for a poetry reading." Another woman was a visual artist who needed a break and needed to hear "words." I'm hoping to stop by her Open Studios.

Conveniently enough, Somarts is also hosting, "Pirated: a post asian perspective" which includes works by Stephanie Syjuco, and Mel Vera Cruz. More on that later.

1 comment:

Bond said...

In answer to a challenge from Alison, my friend and muse, I've written a "rondeau" inspired by Tuesday's reading.

The Gallery
Up the alley, beside the bay
Signs say simply, readings today
Paintings are hung, slightly askew,
Artists graze on chroma and hue
Brush, pen and word will have their say.

The sky had turned a drizzled gray
I took a seat, I thought I'd stay
The murmur ceased, a whistle blew
Up the alley, beside the bay.

The poet spoke, as if to pray,
The words she said with hushed dismay
An inner life of pain construed
Whispered phrases hard and true
Paint the picture the writer's way,
Up the alley, beside the bay.