My Adventure began with the bus in Orange County, at 2pm, and my arrival at the Barnes & Noble, in Encino, at 530pm.
With an hour before sign-up for Open-Mic, and the time to find a seat for the event at 7pm, I wandered around the store.
This Open Mic apparently occurs once a month, and is a long time, and very popular, event among Los Angeles County published, and non-published, poets, comedians, and wanna-be comedians, and creative writers, with a more Prose bent, and hosted by Ron Dvorkin.
Ron Dvorkin is the father of a very talented and, some say, visionary poet, named Douglas Dvorkin, who tragically passed away at the age of 20.
Doing a search I found this poem on the long running Cobalt Poets Group on Yahoo, in Aug. 2002:
I highly recommend to come out
and check out all the events
hosted by the honorable
Ron Dvorkin ...
A talented host in the West Valley
He lost to the storm his son
Since then he donated his time and money
To poetry his son loved so much
Every second Saturday
He would lend you his sensitive ear
He would make your writing day
Be worth your while my dear
The tragedy of loosing an only son
Was never going away reality of his
He saw his son in every poet
Who came to share his or her piece
The young Doug Dvorkin died in 1997, at the age of 20, and the writing he produced in his all too short, and troubled life, affected his Father deeply, it seems.
There is this story, from Oct.1998, the year Ron appears to have begun a late life career as not just a promoter of his sons writing, but, eventually, the creative writing efforts of anyone, and everyone, who has set pen to paper, or words on a computer keyboard, and has the courage to step before a microphone, and share their vision of poetry, fiction, and humor, with an audience of fellow lovers of writing, and poetry, who would maybe be critical, but still very supportive of their efforts:
A story like this one raises questions that may be better addressed in a philosophy class than a newspaper column. Why do people write poetry? What compels the human species to create art of any form?
Part of the purpose, Constantine suggests, may simply be the declaration of "I am here." The answer seems all the more poignant because Ron Dvorkin says his son, even as a young child, seemed "lost."
It seems fair, then, to think of Ron Dvorkin as on a journey of discovery as he reads and promotes his son's work. "It's just something I feel compelled to do," he says.
Read the whole story from the LA Times: Readings Are Link to a Young Poet's Heart
When I notice the sign-in sheet advised that, this being a Family Venue, one should chose their words wisely, I asked the old man with the clipboard, who turned out to be Ron, if two words in one of my poems, Pee, and Turd, would be appropriate. ;-D
He started laughing, and said, "Well, as long as you don't mean to literally present them."
I laughed, and told him, with a re-assuring pat on the shoulder, that all would make sense in the end, don't worry. ;-D
Over 60 people were in the audience, for this over two hour event, mostly gray haired white folks, with 2 African-American men, a half dozen folks in their 20's and 30's, and a couple of people in their teens.
Quite a few people signed up for the Open Mic portion of the proceedings.
As for my language concerns...I needn't have concerned my pretty little head. ;-D
Let's just say that in a couple of cases the question of wisely chosen words for a venue like this, could be debated, um, hee, hee. ;-D
Ron took these developements good naturedly, though, and those few poems, stories, and jokes, in question, WERE worth the hearing, in my view.
The Featured Poet was Ellyn Maybe, a poet, and author who, for more than a decade has lived up to Writer’s Digest's naming her "one of ten poets to watch in the new millennium."
Her new Website (She's also on MySpace and Facebook) has a quote that describes her as "a poet, an enigma, the “love child of Jack Kerouac and Gracie Allen", and an integral part of the L.A. poetry scene."
About the Gracie Allen comparison...After seeing, and hearing, her, in person, I could not agree more. ;-D
She is a small, bouncy, giggly, and exciteable young woman whose sense of humor shows through, with abundance, in her poems, thus giving me encouragement with the humorous, and off-beat, nature of many of my own pieces. (The X, below, shows her sitting in the audience as I took the stage.)
This 8 minute YouTube Clip, from June, gives you a flavor for what it's like to listen to her, and the first 4min 10sec. are the same as what I heard last night, and "Being an Artist" is a powerful, amusing, and thought-provoking piece.
The other poets, comedians, and short piece readers, were a mixed lot, all very interesting in the choices of what they shared, and one man had the last name Goldcock...No really, that's his birth name!
We each had 6 minutes to do our thing, and a grand time was had by all.
Anyway, Ron butchered my first name a couple of times in introducing me, asking me the 2nd time about the last name, and then settling on calling me Kirt K., and saying "Here's Kirt K., to tell us how to say his name!"
I laughed, and took center stage...saying to the audience, as I tipped my hat, "Hello, Class! My name is Kiril Kundurazief, and online I am known as the Mad Macedonian, but (Pointing to my T-shirt, and its slogan of "I'm strange, maybe even crazy, but there's never a dull moment!") my friends just call me "Mad""
I told them that I'd been sharing my Musings of a Mad Macedonian, via poetry, fiction, and other thoughts, online, for 7 years, but that this was the first time I'd taken a chance to read at an Open Mic.
The audience, responding reassuringly, and quite enthusiastically amused, I proceeded to read my 2 poems:
While both poems were very well received I was most particularly pleased with the reaction to "Dandy".
The audience laughed, and expressed surprise, in all the right places, and gave me a gratifyingly nice round of applause after I was done with each poem.
The reaction of Ron was funny, and very complimentary, as he invited me to return in the future.
Along the lines of...
"You read us a poem about a Weed!?
It was very good, though!"
I was so caught up in the success of my 6 minutes in the spotlight that I may not have the quote exactly right. ;-D
After the event, when I told him of how I felt my fears as a writer held me back in my creative journey, and how this event would help me begin to overcome concerns of sharing my writings in such a public venue, he again told me that I did very well up there in the spotlight, and that I should strive to write every day, and he told me of an online resource where I could find info on other Open Mics.
The link seems to be broken, but I think I have a lead to where I can learn more.
Next, it was time to celebrate, and I knew just the place!
The reading got out around 930pm and, due to the vagaries of late night Bus and Metro Train scheduling, it was not until 115am that I arrived at Pinks, the 70 yr. old, Family Owned, Hot Dog and Burger institution at La Brea and Melrose, in Los Angeles/Hollywood. ;-D
As usual...the line was clear around the building.
This was my 1st time here, and the arrow shows you where, just out of the frame, I took my place in line. ;-D
It was 230am by the time I was able to place my order of Turkey Dog, Turkey Burger, Coal Slaw, and 3 small cans of Coke. ;-D
Both the Hot Dog, and the Burger lived up to their well deserved reputations, and the Cole Slaw was also delicious.
Well worth the wait in line. ;-D
I finished my late dinner by 330am, and caught the 1st of 2 busses to downtown LA where, afteran hour wait across from the LA Public library, I caught the 1st of 3 busses home, at 5am, getting home by almost 730am.
All in all, my experience at the Open Mic made me feel like a Million Bucks!
Of, Course this feeling was only helped along by my later finding a "Million Dollar Bill" in the LA Weekly Newspaper Machine at Hollywood and Highland, hee, hee! ;-D
Like when I spoke at the Riverside Bicycle Club meeting, back at the beginning of the year, I felt a combination of nervousness, and calm, yet felt relaxed, and just a little confident in my own ability to at least not make a complete ass of myself in front of an audience.
Afterwards I regretted all these years of not being able to find time to attend such venues before, as concern over whether I could actually stand up before an audience and do it, and how I might be received, combined with a work schedule that seems to always have me working on nights when the few venues I know of, close to me, hold their weekly, and monthly events.
I am going to try to find more opportunities like this one in the future.
If you are interested in my other poems, short stories, song parodies, humor, and creative writing exercizes, then I invite you to explore my Archive Category called Poetry, Short Stories, and More, spread the word, and comment to your hearts content, as I am always looking for feedback. ;-D