Actual poetry in motion…. with graphics and music to boot, are live onstage this weekend at Mesa Arts Center (MAC). Tomas Stanton, producer of MAC’s Spoken Word Series, a poet, and co-founder of the the local poets’ group Phonetic Spit visited with Examiner yesterday about Friday’s kickoff event and the community-driven, interactive elements the shows will feature.
The first reason to blast over to Friday’s show is Maya Del Valle, the headline poet of the night. Del Valle has been described by the Chicago Sun Times as having “a way with words. Sometimes they seem to flutter and roll off her lips. Other times they burst forth like a comet streaking across a nighttime sky.” Her words, via Def Poetry Jam have been heard on the Broadway stage and HBO alike, and she alone will draw quite a crowd.
By way of introducing many other colorful reasons — in addition to Del Valle and a fusion of dynamic spoken word artists with mixed media and live instrumentation — to check out the program, Stanton said, “Three things I love: storytelling, live music and community.”
“This series works to remove the disconnect between performers and artists” combining all three of his loves, he continued, noting that an outdoor stage will begin creating a “pre-show ambiance of hip hop culture–a block party with DJ music and a good time. The evening is all about communities coming together.” He added that a “local funk and soulful jazz group” performing beforehand will be getting spectators preprared for the poetry to come.
A spoken word artist himself and the show’s emcee, Stanton suggested, “We think it’s important for audience to converse in a social setting. We’re going to create that place.” He described a lively call and response interactive experience with the artists onstage, who will include Del Valle and remarkable Arizona poet performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
After the indoor performance, there’s another band, and an open mic where any and all spoken word poets and audience members can perform. Anyone is invited to do their thing “acapella or with the band playing in the background,” according to Stanton. To keep the evening casual and inviting, extras like a food truck and a cash bar will be on hand.
“Music is the thread that ties the whole evening together,” concluded Stanton who also spends time building the next generation of spoken word artists and poets. He works in Valley school systems and with the arts council, preparing students for the highly acclaimed national Poetry Out Loud competitions that began in 2005.
On November first, the next show in MAC’s series features acclaimed Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni doing her One Drop of Love performance, impressively produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
because art IS a BLAST
because sometimes a quick heads up makes you want to head out