My eardrums, liver and other assorted organs are still recovering from the Best of Orlando party. In the meantime, here are suggestions for what you could be doing this week.
Recite some poetry
It's been a year since I attended one of Broken Speech's frequent poetry competitions (Live Active Cultures, July 10, 2008), but the Thursday, July 23, mega-event might get me back in my beatnik beret. The Showdown in O-Town at the Cameo Theatre is being billed (with a smidge of poetic license) as the "greatest poetic smackdown ever." Mighty Mike McGee, "the only poet to hold the individual National Poetry Slam and World Poetry Slam titles," will warm up the crowd before the main event. Orlando's delegation to the 2009 National Poetry Slam (Shawn Welcome, Curtis Meyer, Ronin, MyVerse, Alex Ruiz) faces off against three other talented teams in a four-way verbal battle royale. (Disclosure: Team Payback includes OW staffer Trevor Fraser.)
If that isn't enough verse for you, visit Will's Pub at 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, for the first Speakeasy Toast-Off. The concept, which host Tod Caviness proudly ripped off from traveling poet Christian Drake, involves improvising pre-imbibing aphorisms of the "May you be in heaven half an hour before … yada yada" variety. Contestants will be evaluated by a panel of "celebrity" judges: radio host Katie Ball (newly installed at ArtBeat on WUCF-FM), performer-blogger—BOO winner Mark Baratelli and bartender Jenn Harton. Admission is free but drinks are not.
Get your party on
GOAT may have gone to graze greener pastures (Live Active Cultures, July 16) but the Cameo Theatre on Colonial Drive is still a viable venue. The latest event gracing the space next to the former Cruises Only building is Expanse, an "invitation only" party for "entertainers and people in the entertainment industry" being presented by Transforming Productions Saturday, July 25. This is the company's first event in town, and "dancers, fire spinners, glow spinners, B-boys, magicians, and other artists" are promised. There's a long list of DJs (Kounterakt, J Double, Orlo, Mishin) who will spin "the freshest dance music from Europe," body painting and a full liquor bar.
Sounds like the ingredients for a good time, but the new Transforming Productions (from longtime Bob Carr technician Larry Rayburn) is an unknown quantity. The VIP bottle service says they are aiming upscale, but their typo-riddled website makes one wonder if they're ready for prime time. The "invitation only" thing is particularly silly; anyone can buy admission for $8 at TFormPro.com, so it's mostly a gimmick to excuse under-advertising. Still, I'm intrigued by their plans for "multiple stages for scheduled acts and spontaneous performances from people in the crowd" and I'm interested to see how the party plays out.
Watch Feldman eat
If you weren't at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach last weekend (and let's face it, you weren't) then, like me, you missed the latest performance art project perpetrated — I mean presented — by Brian Feldman, Orlando's one-man avant-garde movement.
The ACA is an underappreciated cultural gem: a sanctuary where artists can live and work in a distraction-free environment. Feldman's performance, titled 24 Hour Jump, was a preshow for the final presentation from the 134th ACA residency session, which concluded July 19. During the session, electro-acoustic musician Mark Applebaum, multimedia designer Carole Kim and playwright-monologian Heather Woodbury led a community of hand-selected associate artists, culminating in InsideOut, a presentation of works-in-progress.
Like the title suggests, Feldman's prelude involved him jumping up and down for a solid day. He's done the repetitive leaping before, but instead of a ladder and airbag, his protection this time was a single pillow. Think hopping in place isn't all that hard? Try it for a solid hour. Brian's latest method of masochism was directly inspired by Jumpista, a satirical art mockumentary made at ACA a decade ago. The film (available on YouTube) featured Italian artist Enrico Corte as an arrogant artiste enraged that bastardi Americans had copied and commercialized his deeply spiritual jumping-in-place motif. Feldman took the short's funniest sequence, where Corte falls asleep 10 hours into a 24-hour jumping marathon, and turned it into reality.
Corte jumped "to escape the fascism of gravity"; assuming he's still on earth, Feldman's next effort will involve escaping the fascism of animal-derived food. Brian Feldman Eats Everything off the Menu at Loving Hut resulted from the super-friendly seitan-slingers winning the Patron's Pick for Favorite Food Vendor at last May's Fringe festival. Loving Hut's prize is to play host for Feldman's Saturday, July 25, 10-hour (11 a.m.-9 p.m.) attempt to ingest one of everything they so deliciously prepare.
The question isn't whether he'll make it; if he could choke down all those vegan hot dogs at his Fourth of July performance at Dandelion, he can eat anything. The question is whether that much exposure to Loving Hut's Supreme Master TV mind-control (another BOO winner) will leave him somewhere between somnambulist and Scientologist.firstname.lastname@example.org