Friday night Black Light Poetry sponsored Spoken Funk. Upon entering the Tower theater music and the tone of the evening was set by Armen Nalbandian Trio with special guest Eva Scow and Nino Moschella. And wow what an amazing set! It was so much fun to watch these super talented musicians jam out together. it wasn’t a free form jazz but a compilation of the voices in music being brought together to harmonize. beautiful.

Then came Brutha Gimel spinning and getting the crowd into a mood. He announced the emcee for the evening after giving a poem of his own. The poetry used in Def Jam is not your normal Cat, Rat, Dog, Fog kinda stuff but it’s amazing imagery created withwords and sounds that completely mixes together with the poet and audience. Sometimes even brings in a little ad-lib or improv. Amazing to participate in.

Poetri was the emcee and he was so full of energy. He was full of love for Fresno and really pumped up the crowd. He got us all into the show and made us participate with him. It was a lot of fun to watch him run around and play games (yes, people were brought up to the stage and played games). he was a perfect ringmaster for his motley crew of performers.

Dwayne Perkinswas up first and (the Fresno audience was not in full force, GRRR) immediately termed up the “Little Crowd that Could”. We were not 800 mighty but we gave a bunch of love. He was hilarious, and really worked well with the crowd. It was a lot of fun to hear his stories from New York and how they compare to Los Angeles. The economy and relationships were also on his chopping block as he weaved through his routine with comic ease.  

Sekou (Tha Misfit)was our first poet. He had performed for President Obama a few weeks ago and was still pumped from that performance. He talked about love and learning from the children in his 5th grade classroom. He used imagery and words that gave me goose bumps. It was so entirely moving that words seem inadequate to describe the art that was on stage.

Joey Wells was the next comic (you see the pattern) and he was great! Weaving in and out of familiar situations and even busting some dance moves. He was very interactive with the audience and used things that happened that night in the other acts or with Poetri, it was great!

At first glance Steven Connell looks like your average guy that probably a bit nerdy. And then he gets on stage and wows you with his words. He was extremely amazing with his poems about music, spirituality and love. He talked about driving in a car with his girl and listening to a cd that was the soundtrack for the date. A verse of a song that needed to be rewound a few times to catchthe amazing lyrics. Finding a higher place in listening and connecting to music. He also had a great bit with creative hallmark card greetings. Very talented.

Our final comedian was Fresno born Ron G. He was great! Absolutely connected with the crowd because we know how Fresno is. It was funny to watch his reactions to the audience’s interactions. He talked about being lactose intolerant and the perils of being a college student eating at your parents house and realizing there’s no toilet paper. He had some great bits about females and the crazy psycho ones to look out for. His facial expressions and imitations were spot on. It was hilarious.

Amazing things happen in Fresno, and most of the time Fresnans miss the bus. I have to applaud Black Light Poetry for putting on this event, which was small in numbers but hugely successful. If you’re down in the Hollywood area on a Sunday night, check out Spoken Funk where Poetri and the gang hang out to chill and is also the longest running open mic as well.

Happy Monday!