Poetry & Art 2016 presents The Book of Books by Jimmy Jazz with readings by Steve Abee (LA), Kimberly Dark (SD), Rich Ferguson (LA), Shawna Kenney (LA), minerva (LA), Gill Sotu (SD), and Ted Washington (SD) plus People’s Choice Poem Awards
On Saturday, November 5, Poetry & Art Series 2016 presents Jimmy Jazz’s The Book of Books. We have invited Steve Abee, Kimberly Dark, Rich Ferguson, Shawna Kenney, Michael Klam, minerva, Gill Sotu & Ted Washington to perform original work and read selections from The Book of Books by Jimmy Jazz. Mr. Jazz will read randomly chosen selections by the audience from the 627-page book.
People’s Choice Poem Awards will follow the featured readings and performances. DJ Gill Sotu provides music throughout the show. This interactive arts and culture experience will include beverages, snacks and plenty of time to mingle. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Members are free, nonmembers $5 at the door. Bring a snack or beverage to share, and get in free! The event takes place in the San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.
The Book of Books The Book of Books is a project Jimmy Jazz worked on six years. At it’s most basic level it’s a collection of writings about 1300 books he read. It shows how the books you read shape the life you get. A sucker for narrative, Jazz can’t escape the stories. Each book seizes his obsession, pulling him like Gumby into other worlds. He speaks in a Scottish brogue while reading Trainspotting and bangs on the inside glass of the Bell Jar trying to get out alive. People start giving books away, abandoning them at cheap book sales and in alleys, but he takes them into his small apartment like so many feral cats. In The Books in My Life, the infamous author Henry Miller promised to write about every book he ever read, but ended writing about an influential few. Jimmy Jazz goes all the way, snapping a big picture of ‘a reader,’ but also an intimately detailed picture of the inscrutable act of reading. Any big book, like Moby-Dick or Ana Karenina is an imposing edifice. Walking into a room with that white whale of a book in the corner like a giant with a bone to pick can scare the shit out of you. A reader, like a fighter, has to train. You can work the speed bag of these lightning vignettes and punch your heart out against the heavy bag of the world’s most tragic tragedies. The Book of Books is a fight club for readers. It drinks with Bukowski. Sizes up your cunt or cock like Simone de Beauvoir. Smashes every lie. It puts Malcolm X, Howard Zinn, Emma Goldman and Richard Dawkins in your corner. Socrates said the unexamined life wasn’t worth living; but never the examined life was. Jimmy Jazz proves it. If you can read this, you can read anything. If you can read anything, you can change your life. If you can stand up instead of crouch, you can rise against the leviathan of bullshit and fuck shit up. Because shit needs to be fucked up.
Jimmy Jazz is a writer from San Diego. He is author of The Sub, The Cadillac Tramps & House of the Unwed Mother. His newest work is called The Book of Books.
Steve Abee is a Los Angeles-based writer and teacher. Abee is known for writing poetry, short stories, and novels. He often draws on Los Angeles culture for his imagery and inspiration.
Kimberly Dark is a writer, teacher, and storyteller who wants you to remember that we are creating the world even as it creates us. Read and gawk and learn at www.kimberlydark.com, and @kimberlydark on Twitter and Medium.
Rich Ferguson — Pushcart-nominated poet Rich Ferguson has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, T.C. Boyle, Bob Holman, and many other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed on The Tonight Show, at the Redcat Theater in Disney Hall, the New York City International Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, South by Southwest, the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival, and with UK-based poetry collective One Taste. He is also a featured performer in the film, What About Me? (sequel to the double Grammy-nominated film 1 Giant Leap), featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, k.d. lang, Krishna Das, and others. He has studied poetry with Allen Ginsberg and fiction with Aimee Bender and Sid Stebel. In addition, he has been published in the LA TIMES, Opium Magazine, has been widely anthologized, spotlighted on PBS (Egg: The Art Show), and was a winner in Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, LA. His spoken word/music videos have been featured internationally. Ferguson is a poetry editor to the online literary journal, The Nervous Breakdown. His poetry collection 8th & Agony has been published by LA’s Punk Hostage Press, and his debut novel, New Jersey Me, was published by Rare Bird Lit in September, 2016.
minerva — I was born Gail Hawkins in Philadelphia and immediately became old. They nicknamed me “minerva” and I use it small. I’m not the original but we both are warriors who play flute and write poetry.
Shawna Kenney is the author of the award-winning memoir I Was a Teenage Dominatrix (Last Gasp), co-author of Imposters (Mark Batty Publisher), and editor of the anthology Book Lovers: Sexy Stories from Under the Covers (Seal Press). Her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, Vice, Paste, The Rumpus, Bust, Narratively, Ms., theFlorida Review, and more, while her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Michael Klam is a San Diego writer and hosts Poetry & Art at SDAI in Balboa Park.
Gill Sotu is the Artist In Residence at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation commissioned to write/direct two full length plays. Gill wrote and performed all the poetic segments to Melissa Adao’s dance theatre showcase, “Hip-Hop CabHooray!” Which won an award for Outstanding Production at the 2015 Fringe Fest. He has opened for Grammy-nominated legend Sheila E, partnered and performed with the San Diego Symphony, has been commissioned to create numerous poetry pieces for the United Way of San Diego, San Diego’s Fashion Week, and performed the closing number for TEDx San Diego in December 2013. The San Diego community continues to take notice of Gill’s talent and charisma, as he’s been featured on NBC 7’s Art Pulse TV and was named the 2012 & 2013 San Diego Raw Performing Artist of the Year.
Ted Washington is an artist, author, poet and reluctant businessman. He now lives in San Diego, after spending time as an apprentice draftsman for a beer brewery in St. Louis, an Internal Revenue Service employee in Springfield, MO, a retail sales representative in Denver, CO, and temporarily homeless vagabond turned baker on the beaches of Venice, CA. Ted is the founder of Puna Press and the performance group Pruitt Igoe. Pruitt Igoe was awarded a Synergy Foundation grant and performed in Harlem, New York City. Ted Washington won the BRAND 37 purchase award, with the Glendale Library acquiring one of his artworks for their permanent collection.
The People’s Choice Poem Performance Awards – Participants read/perform one poem under three minutes long. Audience members choose (by secret ballot) their favorite poem based on content and performance. Props, artwork, singing, music, dancing, all accompaniment is allowed and anything goes. Top poem performances (the poems that receive the most votes) win $50. Audience members will be encouraged to hoot for their favorites and try to influence the rest of the audience.
Writers/artists who would like to participate in the People’s Choice Poem Performance Awards can get their names in the hat ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 619-957-3264. It is a good idea to sign up early by email or text message as space and time are limited!
Co-sponsor Poetry International is an annual literary journal published by SDSU with Ilya Kaminsky as editor-in-chief. Additional support and sponsorship by San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild and Puna Press.
Please contact host Michael Klam with any questions: 619-957-3264 (cell) or 619-236-0011 (museum).
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