September 19, 2005

New Yipes! at 21 Grand, Oakland

Hats off to new curator David Larsen and curatorial trooper Cynthia Sailers, and their decision of name switch from the problematic New Brutalism to New Yipes!. Last night's poetry reading was a nice mix of striaght-up reading, video and yes, over-head-projectorism. It deviated from the usual dry dynamic of most poetry readings; that is, it was entertaining and fun.

Cedar Sigo read new and not-so-new material, including some collaboration works written with friends. Overall, he held a good presence, gave the work a good sonic interpretation, and when I can figure out how (and get his permission) I will have a link here to a recording of one of his poems from the reading.

In between the two poets were five short animated films from LA video artist Kelly Sears. Sears' work is dominated with a sense of play and in parts an overturning of classic heavy metal iconograpghy: wizards, Led Zep, etc...

Kathleen Fraser began with a reading of visual wall work, assisted by Mr. Larsen on the over-head. While the reading of the material at times didn't seem to correspond to the layout of the text in any exact manner, it was great to see a visual element presented.

Afterwards, there was document footage from the 70s of Fraser at the Poetry Center that not only linked Fraser's and the Bay's poetic past to the night's activities, but also was a solid step towards upgrading the concept of curating a poetry reading series.

Afterwards, Fraser read two serial poems culminating in a series exploring De Koonig and Fraser's mother's experience with alzheimer's. A very emotonal work without being marred by over-sentimentality.

A solid reading. If more reading series brought as much to an evening, Bay Area reading series could expect more than an audience of other poets.



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