Rich Mix, 12/09/2015
Queer’Say is an Arts Council England supported, queer spoken word poetry night, presented by radio show Out in South London, and Apples and Snakes, and hosted by comedian, musician, writer and broadcaster Rosie Wilby.
The evening was brilliantly structured, with a relaxed atmosphere, and had a good ratio of performance to interviews to audience Q and A, with a break between each set for audience to top up drinks. The night played host to three incredible and also incredibly different poets; Wilby got straight to the bones of the work in her post-set interviews with them, throwing up loads of interesting discussions around gender, politics, nudity – and everything in between.
We kicked off with poet AJ McKenna, whose softly spoken manner creates a calming space in to which she weaves beautiful imagery with honestly spoken truths from her life. She open-heartedly shares her experiences of gender and prescribed gender roles, often speaking in the third person – her words were a brilliant way to ease in to the evening.
Next up was Ernesto Sarezale, who has an incredibly vivid and unique imagination and takes a risk in sharing that with an audience. However, he is skilled and eloquent in doing so and with sharp humour, delivers the absurdities summoned from the depths of his imagination. From mis-placed belly buttons to invisible (actually invisible) lesbians his set took us on a colourful journey through the inner workings of his mind, culminating in nudity, which apparently he only does after gauging whether or not he thinks the audience can handle it. He also included some fun, and unintimindating audience participation – which I’m always up for.
Dominic Berry launches in to his set with a poem about his mum. And it’s brilliant, he had me hooked from the off. He is an incredibly skilled artist merging the political with personal and vice versa, blurring the lines and articulately, unapologetically sharing his political viewpoints with us – I always have respect for people that do this. His poem about Cameron’s ‘Hard Working Family’ cuts close, and receives a chilling laugh of recognition from the audience. He also performed a couple from his Edinburgh set which was all about video games. The toilet humour didn’t quite work for me, but I appreciate it did for loads of other people in the room. He’s incredibly political, and hugely left wing – and left me questioning, when we make this work, can we make a difference or are we preaching to the converted? Because I want us to be making a difference, and he stirred me to consider how and what more we can do. He offered a really varied set, which was highly enjoyable. He also writes poetry for kids, which is definitely worth checking out, if you work with (or have) children.
All in all it’s a fabulous evening, the next Queer’Say will take place on the 4th November at the Free Word Centre (EC1R 3GA) Follow @OutSthLondon for details.
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