Thursday, February 25 @ 7:30pm
744 High Street,
Has an Open Mic?
After a while between gigs, Steve Smart hosts another gig at Tago Mago, featuring Gold Gull and Loren Steinberg plus ‘This Sickness’ a poetry show with strange and disturbing music, written and performed by Carmen Main and Steve Smart.
Over the past 16-17 years Steve Smart has performed all over the world, run workshops, gigs, festivals (RIP Overload Poetry Festival) and been sporadically published. He has released six poetry CDs, various self-published chapbooks and has a massive web presence. His hair is no longer categorised as brown, it is now officially ‘salt and pepper’. As a poet Steve has been described as ‘Melbourne’s rockstar of performance poetry’ – (Perth Poetry Club), “wildly funny to deeply moving’ (Simon Leo Brown – abc.net.au) and ‘a raw, seething, hardcore poet who makes the rest of us look spineless’ (Amanda Anastasi – melbournespokenword.com). He lives in Footscray and is the current President of Melbourne Poets Union.
Best described as crepuscular, not-for-profit employee by day and occasional spoken word smith by eve, Carmen (from Melbourne’s inner North) takes slices of the everyday, distills them, ferments them, then presents her findings. Carmen had taken a break from performing (featured at The Dan, Passionate Tongues, Spinning Room, and Overload Poetry Festival Showcases in 2008/09). She is keen to return with some new work- focusing on love, it’s loss and it’s loose associations. “Carmen Main returns to Melbourne’s grassroots poetry scene after an absence of a few years (the great thing about our scene is that we can actually disappear for a while and come back to find everything as lively as ever). In Carmen’s case, her poetic insights, internal emotional explorations and subtly sharp tongue have returned with greater concentration and compelling urgency,” Santo Cazzati (MC, House of Bricks; Presenter, 3CR Spoken Word)
Lisa Bellear’s second collection of poetry, Aboriginal Country, will be launched by Gary Foley at The Brothers Public House, Fitzroy.
Hosted by ‘the patron-saint of Melbourne poetry,’ poet and photographer Michael Reynolds, what began as a one-off gig on Valentine’s Day in 1999, has turned into one of the longest running gigs in Melbourne, now hosted every second Tuesday at The Brothers Public House whilst The Brunswick Hotel is closed, with a diverse range of features from Melbourne and sometimes from beyond, and a substantial space for open mic, it is great for first time readers or performers.
You are part of the team that Slamalamadingdong is sending to US to compete in the National Poetry Slam. What excites you the most about competing in Chicago?
I’m immensely proud of Slama and of the whole Melbourne poetry scene, so I’m excited to go and represent everyone at such a huge event. I’d like to be a kind of ambassador for the amazing art being created in Melbourne and Australia. I’m keen to watch, connect with, and learn from lots of other amazing artists. I think we might also be able to push the boundaries of what American audiences think of as ‘Slam Poetry’ by bringing our own styles, experiences, and contexts into our work and our performances.
Your accent is decidedly English. What part of the UK are you from, and what brought you to Australia and Melbourne in particular?
I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, but grew up down south in Surrey. The rest of my family are from in and around Manchester, so that was an influence too. I’ve also lived in Leeds, South London and North London. So, maybe I’ve got more of an ‘undecidedly’ English accent. I wonder whether those varied influences were part of what got me interested in accents, dialects, and language generally.
My partner and I met in the UK but her mum is Australian and her family emigrated to live in Geelong some years ago. That gave us the chance to try living in another country and we fell in love with Melbourne. We said we’d give it two years and see how we settled in. That was five and a half years ago. So, it looks like it’s going okay.
Yes, I did hear that you would travel from Geelong to attend poetry events. What made getting up in front of that mic worth the small journey each time?
The poetry and spoken word scene is my community, so it was well worth the journey just to be among those people and hear their art and their stories. I think it was important for my mental health to keep performing regularly too. There is some
The ‘aperture’ of an ‘OCDiva’s’ ’appetite’ by Hamish Danks Brown
“Beauty beheld in solitude is even more lethal.” Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke
In mid-December 2016, Amy Bodossian launched her debut collection wide open in the standing room confines of Ferdydurke, a venue located above Tattersalls Lane in the CBD.
It’s a slim ninety-page volume containing two dozen poems, plus illustrations by an Adelaide-born cabaret performer who usurps any stage with such panache escalating to frenzy that I’ve christened her ‘OCDiva’!
The poems hone in on personal matters: the author’s body, mind and soul; the whenever, wherever, with whoever that all comes with outbreaks of love and influxes of sex. This book is not for the prurient and prudish among us. It is intended for a ‘wide open’ readership in print and for a like-minded audience with similar gaping predilections shown when the ‘OCDiva’ herself is on stage.
The overriding theme of this book is that adults are overgrown kids dealing with the alternative facts and fantasies of love lives and that none of us are getting any younger though we can tweak time and play depending on whose place we’re at, through the detouring routes of our boudoir behaviour patterns.
This collection goes full-cycle from a juvenile tryst in ‘Remember that Sunday Afternoon’, to a reflective ‘Reprise’ via a poetic cycle of remembered episodes and personal encounters such as ‘First Date’, ‘Coat Hanger Eyes’, ‘Summer Love’, ‘Phone Sex’ and ‘Over’:
I’m not into dominating / but I do like masturbating / over the thought of you telling me things / you’d never tell anyone else, / how you say you’d like to be punished / which I’m not really into, but I do get wet / over your wounded, he