You know those movies about urban adults existing in a world of intellectual cool and spending all their free time in coffee houses talking about how Kerouac wrote at the same bar in Morocco every day for a year and turning their angst into beat poetry you’re not deep enough to understand? You know the ones. I lived it last night.
Every Monday at Stella’s, this scenario happens and it’s called The Drunken Retort. You will feel your coolness, emotional maturity and white guilt skyrocket after listening to the handful of extremely talented (and sometimes angry) people spout their spoken word. I laughed, I cried and I sat mouth agape in shock. It’s really hard to shock me, but it happened. If I could remember the specifics I’d fill you in but hey, it’s called the drunken retort. Just when you thought Grand Rapids was full of nothing but tan men with rhinestones on their butts (the thought of this just made me roll my eyes so hard I got nauseous) and a penchant for equally tan girls who don’t understand the hilarity of a feminist Taylor Swift twitter account, you’re treated to some passionate people who live, love, hate and holler in the very city you call home. They’re here. And they have a lot to say. If only to increase your street cred, you should check it out. But don’t douche up the place. Don’t ruin it for those of us who long for the urban scenes of the movies at the low, low price of Grand Rapids. If you’re a d-bag, just stay home.
I mean, have you ever even heard “Spoken Word” poetry? It doesn’t even rhyme. The rules are that there are no rules. It’s insane. You are guaranteed to leave thinking you can scribble something as provocative and moving and deliver it seamlessly with a rhythm only matched by Psy. But you can’t. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch hours of a Capella singing competitions on Amazon and then feel certain I can nail that new Rihanna song in my online karaoke community. Which is a thing that exists. And yes, I pay for a membership. Do you see why I need the extra dose of hip? Oops, much like in life, I got distracted by karaoke. Back to the deliciousness of these words. It’s like adjective-porn for your twisted soul.
One of the men running the show is an old friend of mine (from around the way) and he knows that I’m a blogger. For some reason he thought this would translate to ultra-fresh spoken word and he straight up introduced me as if I was just going to pull an evocative masterpiece out of my bra (although…), grab the mic and say stuff that matters. I was surprised and terrified and quickly declined. Would I love to be able to say stuff that matters? Sure! I have stuff that bugs me. But instead of spinning sick spiderwebs of feelings about race, gender inequality, sexuality and/or other very real “in real life” problems for strangers to enjoy and then subsequently relate to, I’d be up there talking about how my thighs don’t rub when I walk anymore because they’re so big they just stay stuck together. And that confuses me because I don’t know whether to be happy that I can go through the summer rash-free or sad because it’s just gross if you picture it (don’t). Really tugs at your heart-strings, eh? Even as I write this I feel pangs of jealousy that I can’t join in the fun. They’re too cool for me. They’re too cool for you. But they’d still love it if we came to listen to them talk about things that matter.
So, whether your thighs rub or not, I highly suggest you get down to Stella’s on Monday nights for The Drunken Retort. I’ll be there, douching it up in the back.