Monday, June 11, 2012

2nd Annual June Bug Poetry Festival Open Mic

On the first Monday of every month there is a poetry open mic at Tatami Tea and Sake Lounge, (223 West Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park). The event was hosted by Russ Golata. I arrived a bit late and Russ, dressed in a red Avengers T-Shirt, gave me a warm meaty handshake and pointed out the sign in sheet for me. I found a seat at one of the remaining high bar stools and started lightly penciling in a sketch of the first poet. He read a rather long piece about the gears on a bicycle. I didn't commit to sketching him since I figured he would be done any minute. He finished and there was warm applause. Then he sat in the seat directly in front of me blocking my view. I'm such a dope, I didn't consider that possibility. I erased all my pencil marks and moved to the Susi bar right next to the stage.

The next reader was Amy Aviles. Apparently Russ had called her while she was making dinner and he insisted she come down to read. I was captivated by the intricate tattoos on her arm. I cursed my short sightedness because I couldn't make out the word that was inscribed in delicate swirling detail above a male portrait. She read her poems off her iPhone and the relaxed beat and cadence of her poem had the flow of spoken word. Another poet related that there had been a death in her family. She sat on stage and read a poem about living with pride in spite of illness. Her second poem about knowing a man, related the intricacies of a relationship well lived in spite of life's demands and limitations. It was bitter sweet. A young poet named Logan Anderson read poems filled with youthful angst. His second poem had a musical backup from his iPhone. Curtis Meyer performed with eloquent speed and fervor, his spoken words sparking at lightning speed. I liked his analogy that poets were like super heroes, their observations being their power.

As I left, Russ let me know that I was welcome back anytime. Curtis announced a new poetry event later that evening down on Fairbanks and another author announced she was having a book signing on June 16th from 1PM to 3PM at Stardust Video & Coffee. The room was filled with new faces. With so much going on, it is hard to keep up doing just one sketch a day. Walking back to my car, the rhyme and flow of poets words still rang through my mind. An event like this demands and inspires creative thought. I seem to only have time for the subtle layering of facts. Who could sit at home passively watching TV when there is energy like this around town? Seize the day.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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