A mandala chalk piece by J. Tim Raymond, outside of Rust Belt Books on Allen St. Photo courtesy of Raymond.
Today, I headed out into the Infringement fray at around 5:30. I started my trip with a visit to Sugar City, where Francisco Amaya was preparing to give the latest mini-lecture in his "Dr. Compañero's Magic Lantern Series." This was a 15-minute lecture on the not-so-sweet history of sugar, which managed seemingly against all odds to not be boring at all. That gift, to make the potentially snore-inducing or off-puttingly unorthodox as fascinating to the students as it is to the instructor, Amaya has in abundance. His Infringement project is fascinating partly because of its nature as a hybrid of performance and professorship. I'd highly recommend checking out his next and final Infringement performance, scheduled for Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Rust Belt Books.
After digesting Amaya's talk and waiting for the sugar high to set in, I took an amble down Allen Street, to soak up the sounds of Infringement-sanctioned street buskers and take a quick peek at a sidewalk chalk drawing by J. Tim Raymond, an artist whose mandala chalk paintings (above) have been popping up around town since the start of the festival.
After drinking in the scene for a bit, I headed over to SP@CE 224, a storefront owned and booked by Jose Rodriguez, who runs the web development and design firm JRVisuals out of the same address, to listen to a couple sets of poetry from a pair of local poets of whom I'd never heard. The first, a performance intriguingly dubbed "Generic, disappointing and Redundant: Poetry by Pedro Vincent," was perfomed not by the poet named in the title by a certain Pete (inset) whose last name I did not catch, who was merely the messenger of said poetry.
I couldn't quite tell whether Pete was actually the poet, and he had invented the personage of Pedro Vincent either as a cloak for his own insecurities or as an elaborate piece of staged performance art, or whether his tale about a nomadic pen-pal who sends him overwrought and underthunk poetry was genuine. In any case, the poetry itself (though, yes, somewhat generic and redundant), a compendium of five or so self-questioning, self-conscious nuggets of strange rhymes, was pleasant enough. I think I recognized a certain strain of similarity, though, between the way Pete excused the poems between swings of his Miller tall boy in terms ranging from the foul-mouthed to the merely patronizing, and the self-doubt that the poems themselves seemed to contain.
Next up, Edwin Gomez -- about a 180-degree turn from "Generic, disappointing and redundant" -- delivered an utterly genuine series of poems drawn from his own experiences coming to terms with adulthood. Gomez's poems, confessional occasionally to a fault but sincerely charming nonetheless, were oten spellbinding for their totally unaffected earnestness. I didn't manage to record my favorite of the evening, a poem titled "Hope Dealers" that dealt with Gomez's addiction to Hollywood films, but I did manage to record his final poem. Here's Gomez with one of his little open veins of honesty, titled "This is What I've Learned Since I've Got Older":
Finally, I checked out the first half of a performance of "creator" in the perpetually sweltering back room of Rust Belt. The only thing worth mentioning about that experience was the entryway, which was adorned with this all-too-accurate signage:
And that may be as succinct an encapsulation of the Infringement ethos as I've seen so far this year.
taggedInfringement Festival | Poetry