PPDT performed at Zozobra, Santa Fe’s version of burning man, which predates burning man by sixty or so years. This festival attracts over 20,000 people. We had an early time slot and would perform for several hundred people with the caveat that if the producers of the festival liked our performance, they would bring us back right before the burn. I made a hodgepodge loop of some Jimi Hendrix guitar solos and scratching and we created a “Burn Him! Burn Him” chant to recite over the loop. The producers loved it, brought us back and we performed in front of the full crowd. It was amazing to look out over the field and see those tens of thousands of faces and feel the energy as they started to chant with us.
As part of this same weekend “Fiesta Days,” which has been held continuously in Santa Fe for 180 or so years, there is a wonderful event called the “Children’s Pet Parade.” About five thousand citizens of Santa line the streets to watch marching bands, civic groups and costumed pet lovers parade. I believe we were the first poetry group to march in the pet parade and I created a poetry/army style chant “How do I love thee, Let me count the ways, One Two...ect.” The crowd went wild as we poet-stepped by reciting, “The Tyger,” and “We Real Cool.” It was a nonstop hour long performance, that covered a couple of miles.
OK, what is a poetry shed? Ever since I saw the Monty Python episode including the obscure bit about “Two Sheds Jackson,” a man famous for owning two sheds, I have wanted my own shed, this year my dream came true. As we were short of classrooms I was given the option of cleaning out an old adobe building on the Desert Academy campus. As I gathered a stage, lights and last to complete the nightclub feel, small round cocktail table, I felt like Mickey Rooney saying “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” I found out about the space on the Friday, before school started and worked all weekend, including making a fused glass “Poetry Shed” sign. I think at least part of our momentum this semester has to do with having a great performance space. Just imagine you are a high school student and you get to go to class in a quarter-size night club!
Tonight, (OCt 7th) we perform a mulit-voiced version of “Howl” at the High Mayhem Festival, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Ginsberg’s first public reading of the poem. Yesterday, while we were rehearsing “Howl” one of the kids said, “This has to be the coolest poem ever.” (Up date: our reading of "Howl" went over gangbusters! and the High Mayhem folks did an great job all weekend)
Next up: I am reading at the Texas Book Festival on Oct 28th, Friday night at Mojo's. A fun gig run like a talk show, with Matthew John Conley, Andy Buck, Amelia Ortiz, and Liz Belile.