Thursday, October 31, 2013

Art That's ALIVE

I love spoken word poetry.

I mean it. I really love it.

One of my favorites is Daniel Beaty’s “Knock Knock.” Check this out:

I’ve watched it countless times but it never ceases to move me; I find myself jumping to my feet at the end every time, joining those in the audience in giving Mr. Beaty a standing ovation for his awesome, powerful performance, his utterly amazing gift.

So I was glad that my friend Lee Antonia Tobar included me on the list of people she tagged in Facebook to share this clip of another truly amazing performance by another amazing man, Shane Koyczan:

I found myself reacting the same way at the conclusion of Mr. Koyczan’s “Remember How We Forgot.” I lept to my feet, applauding loudly as tears streamed down my face, as if I was among an appreciative audience in some smoky Canadian pub or performance space instead of alone in my living room in my Lansing-area house.

I don’t really know why these artists reduce me to tears. I don’t know why the sight of a real live majestic Tiger at our local zoo makes me cry. I don’t know why the sight of a black kid and a white kid holding hands on the playground or Anita planting flowers in front of our home with one of our daughters or one of our dogs licking my son’s face while he laughs turns my eyeball faucets on but they do. It’s a cross that I bear, I guess, and I’m resigned to it. I’m glad, in fact, that I’m moved or touched so easily, even if it is a little odd and at times downright embarrassing. Better to feel too much than not enough, right?

Katie Makkai’s “Pretty” is another memorable, provocative performance. This clip will be required viewing for my three daughters – and my son:

Lee also shared an outstanding clip of the DC Youth Slam Team – Hannah Halpern, Amina Iro, Reina Privado and Asha Gardner – competing in this year’s Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals in Washington, D.C. I’ll be making sure that my kids see this video of these amazing young women in action:

I’ll close this post with Jill Scott’s “Nothing is for Nothing.” Ms. Scott’s been on my “People I Dig” list for a long time because of her music; she moved up to the top tier when I stumbled upon this clip:

Thanks, Daniel, Shane, Katie, Hannah, Amina, Reina, Asha, Jill and Lee.

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