February 7, 2012

A Weekend of Giant Proportions!

Oh, this past weekend was an amazing one in every way! It kicked off on Saturday evening with a trip to the Walt Whitman Birthplace for the first event in a series of 8 called "Walking with Whitman: Poetry In Performance 2012." This program was put together by Suffolk County's first Poet Laureate George Wallace with the idea of pairing nationally known poets with some of Long Island's local talent.

As I stepped through the door at the Whitman Interpretive Center, my ears were immediately met with the cool jazz sounds of Miles Davis being piped over the PA system. Just beyond the foyer, a table was set up offering a variety of wines, cheeses & crackers, and grapes. It was a lovely atmosphere and the mood was definitely set for the two features: Nathan Peason (a stylish performer from NYC and a former host at the storied Nuyorican Poet Cafe in Manhattan's East Village) and Linda Opyr (the current Nassau County Poet Laureate). Both regaled the audience with a wonderful selection of pieces; it was a beautiful event and it felt good to be listening to live poetry as the boyhood home of Walt Whitman loomed just beyond the window.

After the poetry event had ended, I headed over to a Bar & Grille Called Madison's. I had been invited there to hear a group called the Moonshine Band. They played a good selection of classic rock songs and I was happy to relax at a table and enjoy one of the pub's Gorgonzola Burgers. It was an excellent way to cap off the evening.

On Sunday morning, I would once again visit the Walt Whitman Birthplace, this time for Super Poem Sunday IV! The idea of this event is to generate the exciting vibe of a Super Bowl party with poetry being the focus instead of football. It has it all. Slam contests. Beer, chips, potato salad, chocolate chip cookies, and a six-foot hero. Cheerleaders. The coveted "Most Valuable Poet" award. I was asked to perform for the Halftime Show. I chose to put together a 15-minute "Whitman Sampler." The feeling of performing my dramatic interpretation of Walt Whitman's words in Walt Whitman's Interpretive Center was profound joy. It went over great. Of course, the Halftime show didn't end there. Somehow, I got roped into being part of a spoof based on the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet." I found myself taped up in a bubble-wrap gown with a blond wig on my head. I was to play the role of Juliet. With my handlebar mustache and tattoos, I looked absolutely hideous, but it was all in good fun and the skit was a success. The dialogue, while sounding Shakespearean, was completely ridiculous; for example: "Alas, that is no Juliet, but the strongman from yon carnival!" There was a huge smile on every face in the audience and a chorus of laughter pervading the afternoon air and that's all that really mattered to me. I always look forward to being part of Super Poem Sunday. It gets better every year!

The absolute icing on this weekend's cake was the fact that I got to watch the NY Giants become the champions of 2012 in one of the most thrilling Super Bowl games I've ever seen. Congrats Giants! Woo hoo!

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live by the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus,
his Son, purifies us from all sin."

~1 John 1:5-7