Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another Year Older, A Few Days Wiser

Digital Version of Between Beauty & Bedlam

CD Version of Between Beauty & Bedlam

Ladies and gents, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian turned thirty this past week. My birthday was a fun, interesting day. It had a good bit of activity, but also a decent period of reflection. I was the recipient of a great deal of love, and I truly FELT it, and that’s been something that I’ve not always been able to do, even though I’m fully aware that at all times of the day, I live in the hearts of numerous people. It was definitely a blessing to be aware of it though and truly in the moment.
I spent a significant part of last week on the road to perform. On Tuesday, I made my way to Nashville with absolutely no expectations on how it would go. Over the past few years, I have been booked for AT LEAST five shows in Nashville, and they all fell through on either the promoter’s or the venue’s side. Since I had some free time though, I decided just to head up on my own accord and check things out.
This particular poetry night took place at Logue’s Black Raven Tavern, which is a horror fan’s utopia. There are all of these classic horror movie posters adorning the walls, and there even was a life-sized Cthulu perched right next to the microphone.

One of the things that I love is being able to sit back and just really immerse myself in everyone else’s works. I love hearing their voices and traveling where they’re taking me to. I imagine I have a huge smile stuck on my face.
When my time at the microphone came, everybody was really open, which was great. I told everyone that night that I was being spoiled, because I got treated to free coffee (which was definitely needed), sold a bit of merch, networked, and even ended up with some pretty tasty free popcorn at the end of the night. I was really glad that I made the decision to get on the road and check out the ‘ville. I’m really interested in seeing what else is going on in the city, too. It’s largely been a mystery on the poetic side of the equation for me for a while.
On Thursday night, I made the drive down to Atlanta for the Urban Grind open-mic. I’m such a fan of the energy there. It’s extraordinarily vibrant, and I was actually fortunate enough to get a SEAT this time around. lol. Again, I was treated to a wonderful array of voices and poems.
Switching gears, I had the opportunity to go on the air with WUTC’s Richard Winham on Wednesday, and we had a fantastic conversation. He played a few tracks from Between Beauty & Bedlam, and we got to converse about how the project came about, etc.
When we were almost done with the interview, during a music break, Richard told me that he enjoys my EP a great deal, but some of the other people who work at the station reviewed the record, and have deemed half of it “inappropriate” to play. That really blew my mind, and I asked him why. This allowed us to patch back in on the air and talk a little bit about the issue, which I really enjoyed. Apparently, the main discrepancy was with my piece Acceptance, which uses the n-word in it just once. The poem is based on a true occurrence in my life where, when I was in my teens, I had a crush on a girl and she liked me, too, but her parents were racist. Her father actually called me a nigger and told me never to call the house again.
I told Richard (and whoever was listening) this and said that I understood how it could make some of the WUTC audience uncomfortable, but it first had to make me feel uncomfortable. It’s rooted in reality. Richard said that there had been an interesting discussion at the station on whether or not to play the piece, and I asked him to please keep in the loop and let me know what decision they come to.
Afterwards, I learned that the other people who reviewed the EP won’t play Night Watch because it’s about loving the survivor of a sexual assault and also won’t play Declaration because it’s (apparently) too sensual, even though there’s nothing that violates the FCC list of words you can’t say on the radio. I respect where they’re coming from as a station, but it was just really surprising. I’m not complaining at all. I knew that making the record that I made was going to be an experience and there would be a good number of conversations that would have to take place to provide context for some things, explain the adventure of bringing it to fruition, etc. This is just one step along the way. Plus, I have a few more interviews lined up with WUTC where I think we’ll have a better opportunity to expound on some of what we got to dialogue about last week, and that, in itself, is a blessing. I’m appreciative of the opportunity.
Well gang, I’ve talked your eyes out enough. Be good, spread love, and don’t be strangers!

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