PLU Open Mic featuring Mallory Guinee
PLU Open Mic packed Culture Rapide with talent and passion last Thursday, featuring Mallory Guinee’s intricately layered indie rock harp and voice interpretations.
Round 1 started with Sue reading two poems inspired by films set in Paris. There was a depiction of Juliette Binoche’s character from Blue, swimming in Pontoise and doing all the things that normal people do, and the other about Kirsten Dunst’s character in Marie Antoinette, which had been written while sipping a jug of chocolat onctueux under a stained glass dome.
Yaël wondered if evolution hadn’t gone maybe a little too far in perfecting the human capacity for anxiety, or as he called it, his ‘Frankenstein’.
Claire read poems in English for a change, wishing to connect with the largely anglo audience. She warmed up with a poem by James Elroy Flecker before diving into one of her own about a lemon tree, about those days where the body is heavy and the head leans toward a fuzzy grave, when angels and demons have stopped fighting inside.
Lara read hilariously bleak horoscopes for writers! By the way, Emily (host Emily) is an Aquarius, René‘s a Taurus, Ursula an Aries, Shannon’s a Gemini, Yaël a cancer (interestingly enough, there was a mention of cancer in his poem), Mallory’s a Leo and Jason a Libra.
Elizabeth, who’d been referred to the Paris Open Mic through a chance acquaintance in New York with PLU staple Kelly, read an open letter to herself following a purposeful decision to ‘turn her life into a shitstorm’. She spoke of rosebuds indifferent to weather, of crumbs getting up.
Emily read a poem about the ground being lava, one-way plane tickets, lovelife metaphors, pointing at elephants in rooms until those rooms become the elephant.
Nick read W.H. Auden’s “Lullaby and, being Nick, read so well that his reading could be, as the poem itself mentioned, a ‘hermit’s sensual ecstasy’.
Cécile read her friend Jean-Luc Despax’s La Progagande du Vrai, about killing the weekly little death before spending nights together.
Featured guest Mallory Guinee took the stage with her impressively large harp and wowed the bar with powerful renditions of Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War”, The National’s “This is the Last Time” and El Vy’s “Careless”.
Mallory brought more magic to open Round 2 with her hypnotically rhythmic plucking, rocking Dessa’s “The Man I Knew”, Ramona Fall’s “Proof” and Lucius’ “Gone Insane”.
Rose reminded us that it was Cinco de Mayo (where Mexico gained independence from the …. French), and also her sister’s birthday, turning the big 4-0. She recorded the room singing happy birthday to her younger sis, before handing everyone in the audience her Doctor of Love cap, crowdsourcing advice on her love life, and more specifically should she accept her lover’s suggestion that they watch porn together.
Procrast taught us that one of the people working in the bar that night was none other than solo, one of the founding members of the French rap crew Assassin. He read a poem that barreled through a relationship through firsts, the first exchange of saliva, the first orgasm and many other firsts, the way it works for ‘loving faithful types with strong principles’.
JamaisLu read a poem instigated by being asked if she was nesting, about human sacrifice and the unconditional love machine, motherhood and the self.
Shannon read an extract from her novel, narrated by the child that always tells the truth and is ignored by her mother as a consequence, being passed up for a visit when the mother comes to Europe, when the mother travels all around the US visiting relatives but can find no time for the truth-telling daughter who lives a stone’s throw away.
Catherine read a lyrical poem about moving from balance to off-balance, words insufficient to describe the passage from wound to wound.
Lorenzo warmed up with a poem by Beckett before moving to a personal poem.
Mallory closed the evening with a blistering a capella version of Minnesota hiphop collective Doomtree’s “The Grand Experiment” and then one last harp piece, a touching interpretation of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme”.
It was late, there would be no third round that night.
Join PLU and friends for an unforgettable evening of words and music on Thursday May 5, with our featured performer the multi-talented Mallory Guinee! Sign-up for the open mic starts at 8, we’ll kick things off around 8.30.
Mallory Guinee is a journalist and musician based in Paris, France. Her writing has been featured by Minneapolis’ 89.3 The Current and she has DJ’d numerous radio shows featuring in turns roots/Americana, indie, and local music. A classically trained harpist and singer, she is currently collaborating with cellist and multi-instrumentalist, Charles Gosme, on a series of indie rock covers and original compositions. She is also the author of music blog, My Head Sounds Like This, where she posts interviews, concert reviews, music playlists, and editorial features including her recent series “Their Head Sounds,” which catalogues the iPod selections of popular musicians.