Friday, April 08, 2005

"Blazing Voices" - a hot event in cool Urbana-Champaign

The event "Blazing Voices on the Prairie", featuring myself and New York poet Elliot Torres, was an amazing success at the local coffeehouse Cafe Paradiso in Urbana--mere blocks from the Unit 1 Dorm where I am lodging during my short stay here. A very sweet and gracious emcee, Steve Dorado, hosted an open mic segment, wherein some local young talent showed us some provocative work. The standing-room only crowd, serious (there were at least one hundred people there), was boisterously responsive, keeping the house sizzling.

When Elliott took the stage with his punchy quick jolts to the mindframe, speaking of love and sexual identity politica, the audience was mesmerized. I saw him selling his books, hand over fist, even before he took the mic. That's how excited this audience was.

When I took the stage, it was still packed in the place, and I saw the most beautiful array of brown young brothers and sisters listening intently--yearning for learning--and hollering after each piece. My books and cds also flew out my hands. I was giving stuff away too, and would've autographed my socks if they'd been deemed poetic. A few Chicanas who spoke with me insisted that they would start putting down their thoughts in future poems, and I took this as the highest compliment. Afterwards, we (the party people) headed to a drinking establishment in downtown Champaign. We were all glistening with Raza pride and comaraderie, and engaged in great conversations over Pilsner Urquells and tarty martinis.

Earlier in the day, I had read a profile about a 21-year old Urbana-Champaign woman who'd just won a national female dj competition in L.A., and was scheduled to be spinning at a place called the Barfly tonight. I told some of the others (the party people), and before long we'd migrated from the Boltini Lounge to the Barfly to hear J-Phlip do her thing. We musta been there an hour, slowly pulsating to the handily-managed turntable stylings of the new female star dj from the Midwest. I decided to lubricate with a mint chocolate martini and shared one of my bandilleras with a Chicana student dancing near me. I wanna say that the Barfly is the coolest, most chill dance club I've been to in many a year. The most effortless dancing kept us blissed out as we swung to the rhythms, and Alicia (la Associate Director of the Latina/o Studies Department at UI) seemed so relaxed and happy after all the scurrying we'd done earlier today, doing the radio show at WEFT-FM and setting up the audio equipment for the show at Paradiso.

Grooving at Barfly was icing on the cake of a gradually-peaking day. Stellar day.

1 comment:

kim said...

Tammy Torres Sizzling

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