King’s Barcade was packed, as it has been the previous two years that I’ve read at Spark After Dark, with at least 200 people in the audience. Since I wasn’t going on until next to last, I got to watch the entire first half of the show. I stood along the wall close to the stage. There’s practically no seating so if I’m not in the front row, I don’t get to see very much being shorter than the average burlesque aficionado.
My fellow Living Poetry organizer, Pamela Taylor, was the poetic highlight of the evening. She gave a killer reading of three poems. My favorite was entitled “Rug Burn” and she was also even more beautiful than usual in a little black dress and sparkly tango shoes.
The burlesque was very well done. My favorite act was two girls in clown outfits. They pulled various funny objects from baggy pants including rubber chickens and balloon animals and then got into a water pistol fight and those of us in the front were collateral damage. No one minded since this provided some much needed relief as the air conditioning was unable to keep up with all the body heat in the room.
I missed most of the second half since I was backstage getting ready. I thought it’d be quieter back there so I could go over the poem a couple more times but being backstage is even more distracting than being in the audience though in a very good way. Nudge-nudge.
My act went off without a hitch. I was introduced and then I brought on my visual aides, Purrrl van Dammit and Sara Bloo. I think my reading went well though, I must admit, I was so focused on reading the words that I don’t actually have many memories of those three minutes. I can remember feeling their fingers unbuttoning my shirt and at some point Sara, like a jealous cat, got between me and my book so I had to move it off to the side. I also remember Purrrl struggling to get my shirt off my shoulders so I had to pull my arms back and that interrupted the poem but only briefly. My memory kicks back in as they took the money from my pockets and strutted off stage. The crowd went wild. But I wasn’t done yet so I waited for the cheers to subside, standing there, chest exposed.
Then I flubbed the final stanza. I couldn’t believe it. I’m pretty sure I read everything perfectly with the two beauties rubbing against me but standing there undistracted, I screwed up.
None the less, I had a great time and will remember that evening for as long as this mind functions.