Saturday Night Live
Saturday's night life in downtown Floyd included a quotable line delivered by poet Mara Robbins. From the Café del Sol Spoken Word stage she announced that "Pat Robertson is to Christians what Kanye West is to musicians," referring to Robertson's ludicrous remark about the earthquake in Haiti being a result of the country's pact with the devil and Kanye's onstage awards outburst. Mara followed that by ripping into a rousing performance of Andrea Gibson's poem "Say Yes."
The evenings entertainment also included a ventriloquist skit with a puppet stand-in for Spoken Word regular Wolf Cherrix who couldn't be there himself. Fifteen readers performed poetry and prose to a full house. At least one person sang their contribution and there was a last minute reading by a newcomer who identified himself as "anonymous."
My favorite part of the monthly Spoken Word scene is that the open mic is a stage for all ages sharing all levels of literary experience, as shown by this photo of college student Bedelia Burris-Mcgrath reading her original work while longtime Radford University English teacher and poet Chelsea Adams (by the window) looks on.
At the close of the evening some of us stepped into the Sun Hall adjacent to the café to check out the Singer Songwriter Showcase concert in progress. Unfortunately, I missed the first act (John and Linda Franklin) but caught Lavanah Byler performing her minimalist original songs to a rapt audience. Lavanah is a Blue Mountain School alumni who many of us watched grow up. Video clip of her performance is HERE.
It was a big night out and my friend Jayn and I were tired but we hung in there waiting to see Ash Devine, whose performance did not disappoint. Ash (pictured with cellist Andrea Jordan) lives in Asheville now but grew up in the country in nearby Blacksburg. I first met her as a middle school student shopping at Seeds of Light bead store where I worked. She was a regular performer at the Pine Tavern Sunday night open mic when she was still in high school, back in the day when the Pine was the second-home hangout of so many in the Floyd's alter-native arts community. Ash's native talent was evident then and it was a thrill to see how she has blossomed into such an engaging and soulful performer (video clip HERE). Her degree in theater and her humanitarian work as clown (which I just learned about on her myspace page) shone through during her playful audience participation numbers.
I got home in time to catch Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, who concluded his update on a rare serious note, giving viewers the Red Cross website address to make donations for Haiti relief effort.