Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Live Like You Mean It: Video from the Loch Raven Review Reading

We now have video to share from the Loch Raven Review reading. Below is a small sampling from the readers that we were fortunate enough to capture before the camcorder malfunction.

Christopher T. George

Annie Bien

Jim Doss

Dan Cuddy

Also, here are two poems by the Loch Raven Review editors that capture their impressions of the event.

LIVE -- Like You Mean It

I've climbed up on a stage that's
hung with winking Christmas lights
on the third floor of an old warehouse,
a Bacardi rum ad illuminated behind me
through dusty industrial windowpanes
and lights of cars streaming over
a steel-girdered bridge.
It seems everyone's going
somewhere tonight but not here.
How I wish you could be with me;
a certain emptiness inside
as I read to the masses,
or at least to some friends;
it's good to read these words
I've written and fretted over,
reading live, like I mean it.

© 2006 by Christopher T. George

* * * * * *

The Loch Raven Review Reading at the Load of Fun Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Photographs of candy canes regale
the gallery, every shape, size and color,
as the artsy crowd sips Australian Chardonnay
and California Merlot. Our small group
of tattered poets is ushered upstairs
to the third floor where the old warehouse walls
are still being knocked down
to build private studios for artists.
To the right of the stage bathed in red light
a pair of open-air toilets catch our eye,
the old fashion kind with elevated tanks and pull chains.
A heavy metal band screeches
from the rehearsal studio across the street.
A Bacardi billboard leers through the window
urging us to “live like we mean it.”
Twinkling holiday lights adorn the rafters
above the stage like ice cycles
of different colors and flavors.
“Christmas on earth.” It was the dream
of the adolescent Rimbaud to experience
it even for one day, one hour of his life
like on this 6th of October as the roads
dry out after heavy rains, and traffic
rushes across asphalt with horns honking,
sirens wailing. Then from the gathering quiet
the first clear word is spoken.

© 2006 by Jim Doss

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Loch Raven Review Reading at the Load of Fun Gallery

Last night the Loch Raven Review held its first poetry reading on the third floor of the Load of Fun Gallery in downtown Baltimore. On the first floor an art exhibition was going on, what appeared to be a series of photographs of candy canes, at least 50 photos. While the truly artsy crowd stayed downstairs sipping wine and admiring the candy canes, the poets were taking up to the loft where we could hear a heavy metal band rehearsing across the street, and the sirens of the cops and ambulances rushing by.

The old warehouse was perfect setting for this collection of working class poets. In one corner there was a mini-stage to read from, and, perhaps symbolic of the entire evening, several free standing toilets bathed in red light.

The crowd was small, but energetic. Dan Cuddy of Baltimore got the festivities started with his introspective and wise poetry. I followed Dan. Then came Annie Bien, regaled in traditional Chinese dress, who traveled down from NYC for the event and read a number of Buddhist inspired poems. Chris George followed her. Chris read works by contributors Gael Bage, Morgan Lafay and S. Thomas Summers before launching into his own poems. The evening was capped off by the rich baritone of J. S. Lohr entertaining the audience with his humor.

We attempted to capture the entire event on video, but much to my disappointment technical difficulties prevented us from doing so. The battery on the camera malfunctioned halfway through the event. Next time we will come better prepared. Here are some audio excerpts:

powered by ODEO

I want to thank Julie Fisher and the Load of Fun Gallery for hosting the event. And a special thanks to my wife Rhonda for doing the filming.

The Atmosphere

The Stage

A Chair for the Master of Ceremonies

Dan Cuddy

Jim Doss

Annie Bien

Christopher T. George

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sports Fanatic: M&T Stadium and the Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers – Week 4

On Sunday my wife and I had our first opportunity to attend a Ravens game at M&T Stadium in downtown Baltimore. The day could not have been more perfect: 68°, sunshine, moderate humidity. You’d think this was San Diego, not Baltimore.

We entered through the Unitas gate with its brass statue of the great Colts QB. For good luck we touched the statue's shoes which were already polished to a high sheen by the hopeful Raven fans.

The stadium was filled with purple and black, the majority of fans decked out in team jerseys. My favorite jerseys were 00 E.A. Poe and 19 Johnny U, but the predominate names were Ray Lewis and Todd Heap.

While the Ravens found themselves outplayed for most of the game, their offensive line getting pushed around by the San Diego defense, they still managed two short touchdown drives, one at the beginning of the game and one at the end, that proved to be the difference. The Ravens defense was also bullied a bit, but performed well enough in the red zone to only allow a touchdown and two field goals.

This is the second week in a row that the Ravens won a game they should have lost. By all rights the Ravens record should be 2-2 instead of 4-0. But that is what a veteran quarterback like Steve McNair brings to the team. While he is well past his prime, there's enough gas left in the tank and enough savvy to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. He, and their spiritual leader and head cheerleader Ray Lewis, have this team believing in itself again.

The great thing about living in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area is that we have two good teams to root for, and the TV schedules have finally been synchronized so one team doesn’t black out the other.