Strap in, folks. This is another one of those posts where I gush about something awesome and basically force you to love it too. Here it goes:
I’ve written about “The Drunken Retort” before, the Monday night open-mic extravaganza that made me feel cool just by association. Well, everything I thought was so amazing about Monday nights has exploded all over the face of Grand Rapids in the form of The Diatribe. They’re seven dudes from around town who decided that GR’s claim to fame, Artprize, could benefit from a good kick in the societal nuts via spoken word poetry. And I think they’re right. These guys have put together the first blind/deaf friendly exhibit in Artprize’s short history in order to prove that art is all-inclusive. Nobody should miss out. And you shouldn’t either. If you don’t already plan to come check out Artprize this year, I demand that you do. It’s a great event for our city in general, but there’s something special happening this year with my friends in the Diatribe (using the word “friends” loosely to give myself more street cred). Come witness history being made.
There’s a different vibe in the air on Monday nights at Stella’s now that Artprize is almost here. The excitement is palpable. It was really breathtaking to witness the shoulder-to-shoulder capacity last night and to literally vibrate with the energy of everyone all together, supporting each other in art. You know it’s good if it makes me write about feelings. (Yuck). Last night, the same poems I had heard so many times before had a renewed vigor, not just for the poets who performed them, but for me as a fan as well. I was swept up in the funnel cloud of dreamers that was the back bar at Stella’s and I wasn’t the only one. With Artprize 2013 will come a revolution. A convocation of like-minded Grand Rapidians who were bursting at the midwestern seams with dissatisfaction, passion, plans, potential and straight-up flow. They figured out how to say what needs to be said and they’re bringing us all along for the ride. I advise you to hop on and grip tight, because…”if The Diatribe doesn’t win Artprize, we riot.”
There are other poets in the city who aren’t in the Diatribe (yet?) who also consistently blow my mind. One in particular, who has me fan-girling out all over the place, is Rachel Gleason. I honestly just had to stop writing for a minute here, because I can’t think of anything to say that will even come close to describing her talent. You have to see it happen in front of your face. She will make you feel feelings (even if you hate feelings) and the break in her vulnerable voice will haunt you for the rest of your middle-class life. All the hair on my legs just grew back even thinking of her performance last night. So if she’s someone the Diatribe let slip through their all-dude fingers, you can only imagine the talent bursting out of their collective scrotum.
You can trust me when I say that if you don’t make it out to see (and vote for) the Diatribe during Artprize this year, your life will be worse. And you’ll probably lose all your hair and get eczema or something. I’m pretty much smitten with the entire idea and I’m not easily impressed (except by gyrating boybands). Rest assured that there is no gyrating, with the notable exception of a drunk Rachel Gleason, and there are no funky fresh choreographed dance moves. Just rhyming thoughts and microphones.
Sure, I may be on the hunt for a new obsession now that the New Kids on the Block summer tour has ended, but why not train that laser-like teenybopper focus on such a disgustingly talented group of local people? Exactly. I knew you’d see it my way.
Live free or Diatribe! Vote 55272 in Artprize this year!