PLU Open Mic featuring Fatima Shaik
We feel like the cool kids at school right now, because the PLU open mic was busy busy busy for another week running! So many of you came to share your stories, poetry, theatre and music that we even spotted the rare species of Round Three rear its drunken head…
René aka super sleuth/digital spy was shocking and disturbing, whereas the new guy Frank was a little on the tedious side. Thank goodness for the ghosts. Yann surprised us all with his two poems on the apocalypse, including “A giant dung beetle vs. the Moss Monster”. VIRGIN Jessica took a snapshot of egg sandwiches in New Orleans and VIRGIN Alan, whose name is neither Henry nor Steve, read us a villanelle. Alison overheard a joke in the playground and had “breadcrumbs in her throat”, Anna was a magnificent Cleopatra and the best example of how to deal with drunk hecklers I’ve ever seen (invite him onstage). Zorro showed us why too much Brecht needs a Parental Guidance byline, and featured guest Fatima Shaik kept us enthralled and finished our first round with Thomas: the genius who sat in the graveyard and stank.
As any good boss/source of inspiration must do, sometimes it’s important hand over the reigns to one’s
protegé intern. As such, Emily handed over round 2 to Zorro, who shows great potential and excellent cheekbones.
Interns of the world, break free of your
conventions de stage shackles!
Revolutionary fervour aside, it was truly an honour to be handed the PLU hosting reins for such a phenomenal second round, kicked off by the fantastic Fatima Shaik returning to the stage. Her words dance-stepped us “as if moved by the spirit” into the creole kingdom of Achille Péron, soon to be the latest New Orleans folk hero with his stately dirge for ‘Nawlins past: “Everybody got old, and then dropped dead. What was the point?”
After such an introduction, it was only fitting for Naniso to regale us with his Plane Fears, the Alcoves of Soho, and how “relationships are like IKEA”. Romantic hero look-alike Tristan stepped up next with a ballad, reminding us that “there are hundreds of ways to get through the day” and that we should just hurry up and pick one already! Moe brought us back to the “tree of bone, hill of muscle” of terra firma, with his seasonal October and November poems showing us the quiet beauty of the autumn that was. Boomie then took advantage of our growing melancholy to break both literary convention and our hearts, offering for his final Paris Lit Up performance an Impressionistic reading of War and Peace and his companion novel to Georges Perec’s “A Void”: “EeeEeeeEE”
But heartbreak has one known cure, smooth original RnB stylings, and it was up to Doctor DRnB to administer a funky Spanish number, “Mi Morena Bella” to cure our wounded souls. Finally, to round out the end of such a stellar set, we heard from two amazing women whose words never fail to enchant: Lauren, who “Took a Break” from her novel-in-progress to speak to rivers and “see colours no soul has seen before”; and Rose, who read “I need some dough about the ecstasy of a warm baguette and a and “Hat” about her father’s cherished hat of pseudo-italianness from her blog “Somewhere in Between”.
Anyway, enough of me, I have to get back to photocopying documents in triplicate, getting Emily another coffee, and praying this’ll make my CV shine brighter than the equally cheekboney competition. Here’s the boss lady with the 3rd round wrap-up:
Jordan started our third round with a condescending chuckle and education as rock collecting. VIRGIN Ben also showed his intellectual side, discussing Ars Poetica and Imagism. VIRGIN Nikoleta was torn between practicality or poetry, VIRGIN Emily added to the theory that no-one called Emily writes badly, and Kelly finished the glorious evening with a poem dedicated to her sister. Awww.
photos by Lauren Alexis
(Thursday 11 December, Culture Rapide, Belleville.)
Warm up with PLU Open Mic during these long winter nights. This Thursday we’ve some Cajun spice all the way from Louisiana: our special guest Fatima Shaik!
An expert in the Afro-Creole experience in New Orleans, Fatima Shaik writes fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. The author of four books, she is featured in the anthology N. O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature (2013) and the cover of the Xavier Review (Fall 2012) for the short story “Life is for the Living.”
Publishers Weekly called her debut collection The Mayor of New Orleans: Just Talking Jazz, “The lush and evocative novellas” National Public Radio concurred, “a terrific, charging solo.” The Jazz of Our Street, her children’s illustrated book was “a compact cultural history,” according to Kirkus. “Full of period detail and vivid sensory writing,” Kirkus said about her YALSA nominated novel Melitte.
Shaik’s work has appeared in the Southern Review, Callaloo, Tribes, the New York Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and In These Times, and in the anthologies Breaking Ice, Streetlights and African American Literature.
She attended Xavier University of Louisiana before graduating from the Boston University School of Public Communication and the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is an assistant professor at Saint Peter’s University, and lives in New York City and New Orleans.
Sign up from 8, starting around 8.30.