Spring Break Event Review Roundup

Just leaving our baby reviews of mid-April events here to show you that we care.

Wednesday 4/12 was the Westwind, UCLA’s Journal of the Arts, Spring Poetry Reading, with the powerful, soft-spoken poems of Randy James, inspiring and hard-researched displacement poems of Alana de Hinojosa, and the politically biting, satirical (and sometimes rhyming) poems of friend-of-indicia Brian Kim Stefans, all in the calm, floral echo of the inner courtyard of UCLA’s Fowler Museum, surrounded by videos and diagrams of contemporary Johannesburg dance movements. What a trip, sad it had to end so soon.

Friday 4/14, we, Marcus and AJ, attended Anna Joy Springer, Douglas Kearney, and Gabrielle Civil’s wild reading/Civil’s book release for “Swallow the Fish” at PRB in Chinatown. The event was exploding over capacity as it began, with an indeterminate amount of listeners craning their ears in from the doorway. All 3 performers started the night by reading loudly over each other from their own work, until a vicious alarm sounded on DK’s phone that sent them into the wings and brought out Janice Lee to make introductions. After this, DK came back to the podium and performed a brief selection work from his 2016 collection “Buck Studies,” including a visceral interpretation of “Protest,” as well as some more theoretical work from “Mess and Mess and.” Anna Joy Springer followed with intergalactic parent-selection pseudo-sci-fi-memoir pieces from an in-progress manuscript, inciting much of the audience to swooning and laughter. Finally, Gabrielle Civil stole the show with her book release, reading and relating interactive anecdotes from “Swallow the Fish” and her life experiences as a black woman in the world of performance art, as well as living up to influences and toying with audience expectations. We were convinced she would eat the goldfish swimming around on the podium, but alas, it was up for adoption. The night was crazy and empowering; we also noticed the trend of writers bringing their own credit card iPhone swipers, which appears to be a boon to the successful selling of books at events. Mental note taken.

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