This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture

January 23rd, 2010
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This week I went a little outside my usual area of coverage on Examiner. Jazz and Poetry are both art forms that I respect, yet know little about. So, I jumped in and covered a bit of both.
Nearly every venue in town this week has been hosting benefits for charities providing aid and service to Haiti’s Earthquake victims. With so much else going on this week, I only got to cover one of them, L’Union Fait Force at Le Poisson Rouge.
The coolest part of the show was watching the Doctor Lonnie Smith Trio perform with Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Smith (top) is a great showman whose flair added excitement to the show. Hargrove on the horn was wonderful.
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There was plenty more going on: Dance, Haitian drums, a pair of guitarists and the Vijay Iyer Trio, which is actually what drew me to the event. That morning, WNYC announced the event and played some of the Trio’s take on Mystic Brew – better known to those of a ‘certain age’ as the basis of the classic “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest.
The show was fun and eclectic and went late into the night. I was so wiped out, I had to take off before the last set even started, missing hosts Groove Collective perform with Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic.
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On Wednesday, I changed things up a bit with by covering the Mixer Series at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. It’s a monthly series that hosts poets and authors reading their recent work. And first up was Tess Taylor, above, a classmate in college. We hadn’t seen each other in at least the 10 years since graduation, but it was good to catch up, however briefly.
I don’t know the first thing about poetry and I don’t read books nearly as much as I should, but it was a great experience being surrounded by smart people enjoying intelligent things. I really hope to keep going to future Mixers.
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Among the other readers was Steve Geng, who read scenes from his new book, Bop City about Paris during the Algerian war. Just in the 15 minutes he was up there, he touched on themes of terrorism, sex, race, and French culture that fascinated me.
After the jump, more photos from both events…




Haitian Benefit at Le Poisson Rouge:

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Booze and Poetry at January Mixer:

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