Everything I said in my Facebook status before the show: “David Bateman more animated than Seth MacFarlane: Philip Cairns more glitter than the red carpet; Lizzie Violet more glam than any after Oscar party; Helen Posno more emotion than any acceptance speech; Duncan Armstrong – well, there’s always a sore loser.” Holds up the following day. Except, unlike the Oscars, there were no losers, sore or others wise, at the Secret Handshake Gallery.
The space is intimate, homey – well, being second floor of a townhouse gives it that homey feel. A poetry salon – with coffee, sandwiches available. Seating a random array of arm chairs, sofas & folding chairs. Always nice to give a reading at spot where people are there just for the reading – not for some bar to sell food & booze.
After getting my videographer in place I opened the show with the bulk of my Brown Betty set – I added two additional pieces and cut one as I was going through the set. Got laughs were expected but the set isn’t all that comic. Bullying isn’t all that funny.
Next up was Lizzie Violet. Not much to add since my last review of her – but she is always an engaging and warm performer. I enjoy her sharp relationship – non-bitter – poetry & the zombie p.o.v. She read a new piece about her Scottish roots – ancestors who fought with axe and sword – much like the heroine of Corpse Flower.
After a short break things resumed with Philip Cairns. I hear Philip regularly at BuDa but don’t recall hearing a full set of his material. He treated us to reflections on winter ‘today everyone looks like a fur trapper,’ changing relationships ‘someone I once had the hots for but now hate the fact that he needs a shave.’ His pieces about New Orleans & Jewelry Box are image heavy and rich with his pleasure of both. He recognizes that jewelry can be ‘substituting for love.’
Helen Posno closed the show with a series of untitled reflections – ‘if I loved you would the snow be whiter’ – repeated use of water, the sea, sun linked the pieces. I enjoyed the coffee passage: ‘I drink my coffee black – I don’t soften my life’ Ending with ‘underneath this punishing ice spring yawns.’
Host David Bateman kept things lively between sets with give aways and fun trivia questions. I sold some chapbooks, got my set recorded for YouTube and also an audio recording for cd release.