News: The New Street Spoken Word Safari

2012-09-01 21:27:PM ago by emily.ursuliak

Back on August 15th I found myself in Inglewood for a Spoken Word Safari. I had no idea who I’d meet there: the Facebook event was very mysterious and had blocked guests from seeing who else was going. One thing was for sure - I knew friends Caitlynn Cummings, Aaron Giovannone and Kris Demeanor would be the performers, along with award-winning poet Rosemary Griebel. It sounded like an all-star cast, so an hour and two buses later, there I was standing with a small crowd at St. Vincent’s Church, the meet-up point. 
 
 
There were about eight or ten people kicking around and I expected that this would probably be it, but as we waited, more and more people started to arrive. I’ve only lived here for a year, but I make a point of going to as many literary events as I can and I’d never seen any of these people before. Were they from the spoken word community? Were they Inglewood residents? I still have no idea. But there had to have been upwards of forty or fifty people there when we headed off on our poetic safari. 
           
The safari was a celebration of the New Street area and took us to four different venues. The first stop was the front porch of a beautiful old house where Kris Demeanor read poetry, sang “This Old House”, and performed what I would call a “soundscape” in which he replicated noises from the construction going on next to his house until an unbearable cacophony of noises layered on top of each other were blaring from the speakers.
 
Next Aaron Giovannone read with the river pulling by gently in the background as we all settled onto a grassy knoll to listen. Aaron began by determining that the crowd was more of a cookie-loving audience than a booze-loving one, and then launched into his poems with a dead-pan, deliberately awkward delivery that left us all snorting and laughing.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In a vacant lot tufted with overgrown grass and wild clover we found filling Station’svery own Caitlynn Cummings reading a haunting poem about the woman who used to live on the property, a woman doomed by her rough life-style and bad luck. Caitlynn was also sporting a rather fine yellow blazer which many of us envied that evening.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Finally we were serenaded by Rosemary Griebel on the front steps of her own gorgeously restored historical home. Rosemary’s first poem was a love song to her community that began by calling out to her fellow residents. This became quite literal when she mentioned cyclists just as a pair of them pedaled by. The two cyclists decided to pull over and join the group, and we all absorbed Rosemary’s next few poems with her black and white cat prowling along the porch in the background.
 
 
 
The evening came to a close in Nellie Breene Park, where the New Street Band played in the background as we lined up in front of either the donut or BBQ food trucks that had parked there just for us. Kris, his friend Geoff and I decanted mini bottles of gin into cans of lemonade, and Rosemary left the group several bottles of wine to enjoy. We also had the great pleasure of chatting with event organizer Roberta McDonald, the woman who I think everyone there would agree was responsible for making an evening of magic happen. We stayed until dusk settled and the wine ran out.

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