Buffalo is so beautiful in spring. The sun shining, lilacs in the air, life in bloom, people out in full force.
Earlier this month I rode my trike from porch to porch seeing live music and one of my favorite new traditions, Porchfest. Riding around with my friend Chelsea Lee Jones and a case of PBR was one of our last and most special memories we had together. Forever I dedicate every dance to her. She loved Buffalo and our incredible art scene passionately.
This year, I checked the schedule to see that the band Surviving Friday was playing. Lyricist Benjamin Brindise is an amazing local talent, so I had to check out the show.
Not gonna lie, I am a bit of a fangirl. When I read his words, even in Facebook status form, I hear it in my head as if he were saying them aloud. His voice truly resonates in work. I came across him at a burlesque and poetry event put on by miss MC Vendetta at the Gypsy Parlor. His poem “F*ck Unrequited Love!” and on-point delivery blew my damn mind. This is the kind of stuff I want to support! He is a teaching artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center. Plus he was wearing a cat DJ lightning shirt and a Bills hat while singing to the neighborhood kids on a porch—unstoppable. I was super happy that I caught that show.
The spoken word scene in Buffalo is absolutely incredible. There is an exciting event coming up at Sugar City called “There Will Be No Haikus Here” on Saturday, May 28, 7-10pm, featuring poets Marquis Burton, Brandon Williamson, Tom Dreitlein, Benjamin Brindise, Justin Karcher, and Lissa Roads. Also featured is work by visual artists Sara Reimer, Bianca McGraw, and the goddess Tara Sasiadek, one of my greatest local influences. There will also be acoustic music by Tyler Bagwell and Ryan Howze. Sugar City is an incredible DIY art space that welcomes all ages, supports all artists, sells delicious soda pop, houses the coolest zine collection in town, and is a safe place for creative exploration and idea explosions. They give a stage to the absurd, the different, the revolutionaries of our time and place.
I asked Benjamin Brindise a few questions about this show:
Why is this show different from others done here in the past?
The previous shows we’ve done have been by the numbers. Either it’s a slam, so a competition which has a preset structure and rules, or a showcase, which gives more room for creativity, but is still mainly focused on a poet coming on and off stage. This show, “There Will Be No Haikus Here,” is an attempt to break these structures to create less of a curation of traditional spoken word and more an immersive experience that blurs the lines between music, poetry, and visual art.
Are you excited to be on the forefront of spoken word?
Having been on the national stage, I can’t really feel like I am, because there are 20-plus years behind me of people doing great things in spoken word. Here in Buffalo this push has been more of a resurgence than anything else. There was a good scene here back in ’08, and we’re trying to get it back to that point. I feel lucky to be in a place where I can help build that foundation again.
I am honored to be part of the Buffalo creative arts scene. Things happen here that I am convinced happen nowhere else, the beautiful and strange, mind-blowing collaborative efforts that you honestly just have to experience to understand. As part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, I have seen this merging of live art, spoken word, dance, burlesque, vaudeville, music, and pure ecstatic passion happen before in events like the annual Wham Bam Thank You Slam.
Spread the art and open your minds. Challenge and innovate. We are a city of the underground, the gritty, realistic freedom. Buffalo is a rust-coated mecca of true artistic achievement and possibility. Finally the arts are all being connected into one lovely amalgamation of beauty. I am thrilled to see what’s next!
THERE WILL BE NO HAIKUS HERE
Saturday, May 28 / 7-10pm
1239 Niagara Street