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Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring Upstairs at Duroc

Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring Upstairs at Duroc

Hosted by ERK. Photos by Viola Manfra

You know what they say

about the 16th of May…

Nothing, actually. Not that I know of. But there was a pretty amazing open mic night going on up in Belleville…

Sitting in the special seats this evening were an army of editors from Upstairs at Duroc, one of the most well-known literary magazines in Paris, publishing writers from around the world.

Kate Noakes led us off with two Es and that person you hate. Then Emily Ruck Keene and James Lee performed Louise Glück in unison, bilingual-style.

They might have come from Upstairs but they kindly met us on the ground floor of Culture Rapide. The Upstairs at Duroc editors treated us to readings from the 14th edition of the magazine, on sale now. Readings included a dual performance of two pieces by G.E Schwartz, then Kate N helped Siobhan look for bears (bears are everywhere). Nina was glowing bleu jaune vert, Steve held us all captive, and watch me unravel Barbara rounded up the VIP reading with finesse.

Rebecca then played roley-moley with equal rights…

“I think for men’s rights we should have erotic dancing”

…and Ana was a Spanish force of inspiration with some help from Lorca.

The Bird gave birth under the naughty gaze of Britney Spears before feeding the dragon dog a pear. Nina and her gatecrashers can come back anytime, and Yann brought his mum along to Susanne’s balcony with Team After-Party *fist pump*.

BREAK. Pause. Breathe. And go again!

Jason and Luca were all about the dream, the action. Then our VIP Sue from Upstairs at Duroc responded beautifully with “the story is waiting to be told in any order”. Evans’s songs were composed in blood and water – and I won’t mention the hair anymore.

A first on the PLU stage – and I’m going to hazard a guess that this has never been done on any open mic stage – James Lee‘s Vegan vampire à temps partiel ate (onstage, for real) THREE BANANAS AND AN ECLAIR in under 2 minutes. There was a fourth banana, but Vladimir the barman started looking nervous, and James decided to finish his poem with dignity. I wrote “WOW” on my paper.

Lizzie had to calm us down with some beautiful Ted Hughes. Then Bill Strangmeyer – previous special guest back for more trouble – threw some Xylophones and Zinfandel at us.

Sam was up next with probably another world first: a sonnet on chimps flinging shit. Megan was our adulterous antidote under the winter constellations, and Lauren had some lovely memories of her silken-gray-haired sculptor grandmother.

BREAK No.2 !

Breathe. Drink. And WE’RE OFF AGAIN! Emily shooed the smokers back inside for a THIRD ROUND.

Jason’s boys were back. Tito’s “paroles [étaient] à lui” and Andrea should be performing at the Opéra after that rendition of Dante’s Divine Comedy. He must have a good teacher.

Emily translated Corbière, and Katerina and Melissa also decided to embrace la poésie française.

And that was that. Three whole filled-to-the-brim rounds of reading. What more can a girl ask for? See you next Thursday!

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