On a jam-packed Thursday eve, with the oncoming spring in the air, Paris Lit Up Open Mic night was visited by wonderful wordsmith Stephanie Papa, who brought with her a whole host of phenomenal performers!
First up on the stage, King among men Ray Knight gave us the grand truth about his noble lineage, while Anna flexed her multilingual muscles by singing to us in German, the third language she’s performed onstage thus far. Then this round displayed a duo of strong virgins: First, Alix sang to us a bilingual song that came to her in a beer Rien ne sert de dire que je vais mal, and then documentary filmmaker Scott spellbound us with a stalker-iffic story of how “romantic comedies fuck you up”.
PLU pillar Alison shared with us the story of her mother’s life and death for this, her birthday, for which reason this night is dedicated to Alison’s mother. Vale, honoured woman, may our words bring you peace as your daughter’s presence brings us joy.
Once the much-awaited guitar arrived, we handed it back to the virgins, with Owen singing us an honest song about a south american transvestite named Gloria, and Not-Owen…I mean, Sammy played us a smooth Rinse Me Down by Bombay Bicycle Club. After such a musical pair, corduroy-clad Chris came and announced upcoming english-language theatre festival the Montmartre Dionysia: Get in quick before playwright and director sign-ups close! Photographer/DJ/poet/father Christian revealed the harrowing introduction to his upcoming child-loss memoir RSVP, and finally Rosie‘s powerful voice gave us the glory of Skyscraper.
After such a jam-packed first round, we were primed and ready for our featured reader, Stephanie Papa, who presented a list of reasons why your dad is sexier than you in What I should have done, explained which poets not to cite when being fondled by your doctor in Lord Byron, gave us her travel guide to Stockholm’s Junkyard, Brazil’s Ouro Preto, and Lebanon on a map, and finally gave us an insight into maternal psychology through Mums with strollers are blasting.
Round 2 began with the much-awaited Milena with a virgin song fresh from our collective high school angst-stories, and virginMaria who performed a capella to us in Brazilian Portuguese! Mad dog Moe got us all singing to a reworking of 16 tons with Missy’s accompaniment, and then our suave man in the suit Thomas gave a childhood tale of The Grumpet. Ania kept her poetry sweet and safe with absorbent props, before we handed it back to our featured reader.
Patient and poised, our poetic priestess Stephanie Papa performed 3 pairs of perfectly posed poems: Bikini lining and this exact transparent spot about stepping off the diving board of puberty, Things that make me weep about this city about Paris’ problem with ghost piss, Vale do Capão, another enviable travel diary, Blue in Italian is Blue about how kids sometimes know more than we think, Milking about the right way to squeeze an udder, and Purging about ridding oneself of both bed bugs and bad memories in one fell swoop.
The only way to follow such a phenomenal feature had to be with bossa nova & raunchy latin poetry duo Blue Love who gave us indifferent love by Catullus and Simple Roses by Ed himself, while Dolores had translated Argentinian poetry to share along with her originals. Missy came back for more with a tribute to her Gran’s cremation, and Kelly rounded us off with a poem for those who have moved on to pastures new: If you were here
Round 3: Hic Sunt Dragones!
At Paris Lit Up we have a tradition: when the night runs late and the poets won’t we enter Round 3, and the dragons come out to play…
Our first dragon for the evening was Amruta, with an ode To Paris and its “picture perfect flying buttresses”, who was quickly followed by DRNB (we believe the “D” stands for “dragon”) who was sensually honest about Still Thinking About You. French musical dragon duo Francois et Nicholas roared out the Beatles’ classic Come Together. Virgin dragons Charlotte and Nathalie showed us how to Decreate and that The City is Madness and Muse, punctuated with waves of their Calendar Hands. Gore-spattered dark-as-fuck dragon Maxx surged forward to tell us the legend of Hilayil, one of the 28 names of the moon in Arabic. PLU Host-dragons Jason and Emily came up to give us experimental electro-poetry and untitled hypocrisy/engineer boyfriend tales, respectively. Finally, trickster-prophet dragon Hamza unfurled his resplendent wings for his LAST NIGHT IN PARIS and slew The Dictator in us all.
Poetry, prose, music, dance: continuing our weekly Open Mic adventure with an international Parisian writer, Stephanie Papa on Thursday March 19! Sign up is free and open to all, starting at 20h.
Stephanie Papa is a writer and teacher living in Paris, France. She is originally from Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in the Prose Poetry Project and 5×5 magazine, Rumpus, and Cerise Press. She is a Poetry Editor for Her Royal Majesty magazine. She also organizes the Writers on Writing program, a series of readings with international writers in Paris.