What a weekend! Where do I start! Friday, I found myself listening to Bob Schneider, at a show in Austin, called "Unplugged at the Grove," which was free. My cousin, Lisa LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Bob Schneider. He was pretty good! I had a lot of fun, even though it was too crowded to get in. People brought their blankets, and sat on the grass on the side of the venue, and others were dancing on the sidewalk. After the concert started, I thought "Who would want to be in that crowd, where you can't even move." I watched the concert from the perfect spot!
Then I was asked to be a volunteer for the Austin International Poetry Festival, which was A-MAZING!!!! I saw some amazing poets, who came in from all of the U.S., Australia, India and the rest of the world. I'm sure I'm missing several countries. But holy hell, the talent was worth the price of volunteering, and getting to know some very talented poets!
Suzy Q (from Colorado), Candy Royalle, (from Australia), Viplob Pratik and ________(from India) (will fill in, in a bit).
One of the venues that AIPF was held at was Nature's Wonders, a store that sells various kinds of stones (i.e. quartz, granite, opal, agate, etc.). For those of you who have never been to this store, it is a site to see. I've never been, and I've lived here on and off, for about 5 years. I absolutely loved this store, and the lady working there, said she bought all of her Christmas gifts for her kids there. I plan to go back to buy a wind chime there, made out of some of the types of stones. It is BEAUTIFUL, and only $18. This was Friday and Saturday.
Also on Friday and Saturday, there were many poets holding workshops on who to write better poetry. I wasn't able to make it to any, since I was volunteering. I did, however see a lot of poets who are already very smart in the art of poetry, who I would take lessons from any day. The workshops were held at Austin Community College, and on Saturday, all of the guests of the fest were given breakfast, as a thank you from ACC. I think we are the ones who should be grateful, as ACC had a great venue for us to use. Saturday night, there was a poetry slam, and the best of the best competed, making it extremely difficult for Allen Small to win, but he did it, and he did some incredible poems!
We then headed over to Strange Brew for an ALL NIGHTER--of poetry, that is. Hosted by Thom World Poet, who resides in Austin (but is from Australia, too), this was an amazing night! I met new poets (new to me) like Michael Cesares, and many others. I fell asleep for a couple seconds (CHEATER!), and at the end of the night, we took a photo of all the survivors, who made it through the night. What an inspiration!
Sunday was the best day of the festival, ending at Kick Butt Coffee, and holy hell there was some great, great talent. Poets kept walking in and out and as they walked in, every single time, my eyeballs would almost pop out to see who would be coming up to the stage. The best (in my opinion, anyway), was Candy Royalle. She asked me who my favorite was and seemed surprised that I said she was, and I told her that everyone else is living in Austin, so I could see them whenever I wanted. She found that funny. :P
So if you live in Austin, come here me "get on the mic," as we say. I can feel myself becoming stronger in my poetry, and I'm grateful that the people who I started with, are the ones that are still around, give or take a few (Gabrielle Bouliane, who passed away from cancer), and the rest are looking down on me, watching me grow into an AMAZING poet, like those of my mentors. So definitely check out the poetry scene, even if you're not in Austin. After all, they ARE worldwide!
And if you're in Austin, and you'd like to volunteer with AIPF, get in contact with me or someone in the poetry scene. It's a great opportunity, and you can put it on your resume! :)