By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Mark Flanigan co-founded Over-the-Rhine gallery Volk/c.s.p.i. in 2000 and curated a spoken word series there that featured performances from Aralee Strange and Jim Palmarini.
Last year, Flanigan enlisted Strange, Michael Crossley and Nathan Singer for a literary supplement for an alternative mag that Flanigan was editing.
So, when Flanigan was asked to put together a spoken-word entry for InterMedia, "I awoke one day with the realization that I suddenly knew a good number of amazing people" who, to Flanigan's mind, are as good at poetry performance as anyone you'll find anywhere.
The quintet is on stage together for the first time for Spoken Word/Broken Word at 9 p.m. Friday at the Performance Space in the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art.
"Perform" is the operative word, says Flanigan. Spoken word is poetry that is intended to be listened to and watched live on stage (and not merely read on a page). Some performers concentrate on the voice, focusing their energy on meaning, putting their entire energy into the beats and flow of the words. Others incorporate movement.
"A quality program has the potential to have an impact not unlike a night at the theater when you walk out with your head spinning a little and your days have a sudden and strange clarity. Chiropractics for the mind or soul."
Flanigan has been a spoken- word performer in Cincinnati for 15 years. It's a scene, he says, that "ebbs and flows." At the moment, it's on the "ebb" side, he judges, partly because, as usual, there's no money and partly because there's no control over the quality.
He likes the idea of occasional special event nights, like the one for InterMedia. "There is an audience," he says. "Last time I had a show in the InterMedia series, I stepped out for some fresh air and saw pieces of paper taped to the outside of each door. Once I was outside, I could read them. They said 'SOLD OUT.' "
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