We're in a taxi en route to our 5:00 gig at Teatro Paraguas, still debating the correct pronunciation. Our driver, a Connecticut-born biker cowboy type, instructs Russ Green, When you say Paraguas, think "r" but come down on it like a "d" – I think his "d" is too hard and am sticking with my LES dialect, but Russ practices, and Biker/Cowboy/Driver Guy encourages him, You're 80% there, stops the car to write it phonetically, then regales us with stories of fishing in Alaska and movie extra work in Santa Fe, takes the back roads, gets us there with time to spare, and I swear I went out with this guy in another life. Jane Ormerod likens him to Eric Stoltz in Pulp Fiction, says she expected him to pull out a giant syringe at any second, and goes off to do her radio interview. Russ and I take a walk through the deserted streets – it seems to be a somewhat industrial, and it’s very quiet until we hear some rustling, followed by barking – two very angry dogs right across the road do not like our presence – we hear a third in the background – they are poised to lunge and we say simultaneously SHIT and Show no fear! and stroll casually away. Bye dogs, we love you, calls Russ over his shoulder. They do not respond in kind, but also do not chase us down, so it all ends well. I wonder if there was an invisible fence but I'm not about to check it out.
As the hotel guidebook states, Santa Fe's history stirs the soul. Diverse cultures are kept intact, and passed on, resulting in a city rich in the arts and deeply mystical. Art is a part of daily life and Daylight Savings Time Sunday, 11/03/13, is no exception - there are several readings going on the same time as ours, but we have fallen in love with the city and are willing to put up with its whims. Teatro Paraguas is lovely old building with a beautiful stage; our host, Argos, welcomes us warmly, as does our poetic liaison, Wayne Lee. The reading is part of a series to support the most recent great weather for MEDIA anthology, The Understanding Between Foxes and the Light.
The reading begins with a short open mic featuring local poets and is followed by our group of travelers.
Russ Green, great weather editor, opens with a poem he wrote at the opera, containing the lines
Gimmee back my radio
You only used it to fuck that concerto!
My kind of opera.
He is followed by Wayne Lee, Santa Fe resident and anthology contributor. Wayne reads two of his "fraudulent artifacts" and concludes his set with a funny, satirical poem, "The Major Poets," those high fallutin types who "get invited to things, They don't use words like things.
I am third and have changed my set based on the trip, so I read about high winds and airports, deserts, clocks, moons, and end with "Decisions", my piece from the current anthology.
Christian Georgescu a NYC poet who moved to LA several years back and flew over for the occasion, is next. Dapper in black and white pinstripes and polka dots, brilliant in language and song, he performs two parts from an upcoming larger written and theatrical piece. Think of it as Russian Dolls, he tells me later - "Tales Untold" is the mother doll, and "House of Bruise" and 'The Saints" are two of the smaller dolls contained within. It makes me happy that Christian intends to return with this finished product to NYC where I will have a chance to experience the....um...experience.
The delightful Tina Yang comes on fifth and enchants the audience with her enthusiasm and love of poetry. The previous anthology, It's Animal But Merciful, includes her first published work, which she reads, along with two very new ones, one which references the recent LA airport shooting and one which is another perspective on major poets what they mean to us. Tina is another Los Angeles resident, and she and her husband have driven twelve hours to attend and support the reading.
Jane Ormerod closes the show with her mesmerizing, committed performance of two pieces, including, "And I Belong," which she states that she now realizes is a poem about identity.
And I belong
I stay where I am but I'm on my way...
And there we are. We stay where we are, but we're on our way.
Thank you Teatro Paraguas, and thank you, Santa Fe.
Next stop on the tour is Los Angeles on Thursday November 7th at Stories Books and Cafe, 7:00 pm