This past Friday was the first Music + Poetry + Art event of 2016. The night showcased an eclectic grouping of local artists, musicians, and poets.
The Music + Poetry + Art events have been bringing their eclectic artistic environment to the Kansas City Blues and Jazz District since 2007. This sense of community is apparent in all aspects of the Music + Poetry + Art show. The walls are filled with beautiful and interesting art, the poets and musicians perform pieces about experiences from their lives in this Midwest setting.
Approaching the gallery one could hear the music streaming out. People were standing outside meeting friends, smoking and talking about the music and art, and catching a breath from the warmth and sound inside. The mood of the night was an interesting mix of industrial and folksy art and sound. The tables were full of people enjoying conversation and their liquor of choice they brought to the BYOB event.
Thomas Cobian, the Neon Warrior, offered his space for the event. His art work was mainly comprised of neon lighting pieces, other electrical based art and surrealist paintings. The neon art was especially eye catching. It brightly shown from the glass front of the building, along the walls and ceilings, all the way to the back of the accommodating space where several larger pieces glowed throughout the night. Cobian uses his gallery space to provide local artists with a venue to exhibit their work as well.
The opening act was the River Cow Orchestra. The trio of men had a played smooth jazz compositions that blended jazz, rock and bluegrass. The following acts, Street Corner Choir and Rick Malsick, each had sounds that felt in keeping with the night’s tone. Street Corner Choir had an upbeat sound and interesting lyrics. Malsick closed with his country blues blend.
Pat Lawson, Phyllis Becker, Willian Courtois and Jen Harris read poetry. Lawson and Beck read first for the night and decided to combine their readings. Each would read two or three poems then turn the mic over to the other. They ended their reading by singing a lyrical poem about the frustrations of living with an unruly cat. The event made for a great space for artists to try things differently than the standard procedure. Maryfrances Wagner, who organized the poets for the event, said this about the considerations for the event:
“From performance to slam to literary to mainstream, we want to mix it up and show a little of everything,” Wagner said. “People love that variety.”
Just as the acts and art were varied, so were the people that attended.
“We have great diversity,” Wagner said. “Age diversity, LBGT, race diversity, I think that is one of our strengths. There are even kids here.”
Donations from the event went to The Writers Place of Kansas City. Rick Malsick, MC as well as performing poet summed up the charity of the event.
“We do this every three months for the Writers Place,” Malsick said. “Since we’ve been doing this we’ve raised over $1000.” The next Music + Poetry + Art event will be April 29 at the Downtown Neon Gallery. Like the event on Facebook for updates about the event or check the Writer’s Place website calendar page.