Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Concession" -- November 5, 2008

It was the day after an historic day. And, like all days after historic days, people were tired and hungover. It’s something you have to concede when you have a literary performance show on Nov. 5, 2008.

So, though the turn out for “Concession” was a little poor, the enthusiasm from the performers more than compensated. In addition to gathering Chicago performers, our curator, Miki Howald, got audio submissions from her poet friends -- Elizabeth Bradfield and Amy Groshek – who live in other places. In addition to their voices filling our room, we were also entertained by Josh Dumas (of Notes and Scratches) who played acoustic guitar for us and sang a haunting song that contained a narrative of unrequited love and the ultimate concession one can make for it. We also heard from Eric Elshtain who read a stirring and somewhat humorous poem which (I thought) gave a few nods to Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America”. (But sometimes I hear this poem in lots of poems, so maybe it’s just me!) We also heard from Meg Barboza, who -- unhappy with the current names being used for our generation -- decided to throw out a few more suggestions. I, Erin Teegarden, read a top 10 “essay” about things I conceded when celebrating my 31st birthday on election day, 2008 in Grant Park in Chicago. Miki read an essay about blind love and the loss of last election, and how one can overcome those losses. By the way, I’m told, ideally this essay would have been accompanied by a full orchestra. (I listened for the swelling at the end Miki, and I liked it!) Last but never least, Nicolette Bond was up to her usual performance antics. Her concession poem involved audience participation. Members of the audience had to partner up and arm wrestle. (I am happy to say, I almost beat my male partner.) From there, an audience member was volunteered (ha – BREDLE!!!) to arm wrestle Nik while she wore a skimpy hot pink “Love is a Battlefield” tank top. From there, Nik also sat on Bredle’s lap and the two of them read her poem. This made for a moment that was quite awesomely reminiscent of a Calvin Klein ad.

All in all, the night was a success. Spirits were high because of Obama’s victory, but I think it’s safe to say we were all still in a bit of shock and awe (to borrow and re-make a term from a dying regime). After 8 years of seeing the worst from our government most of the time, the sense that things were and are getting better in our community, country, world, was definitely palpable. I was very happy to be with good friends on Nov. 5 at rec room, to concede to silliness, cheesiness, and to the grandiose. Oh, the audacity!