the first ever ever ever asinine poetry reading and literary contest
The first ever asinine poetry reading took place at Pete's Candy Store, October 11, 2001. With our founder Houghton Piker traveling around the country (fulfilling his lifelong dream of having a bowel movement in every state), it fell upon my meager shoulders to emcee.
I arrived early and within 60 seconds Nora the bartender recommended I get therapy. I saw this as a good omen.
Who know what's going with our PR department?! Still, we drew a decent crowd — more than four, but less than 50 thousand. I read first, droning poems by Richard Cairo, Houghton Piker, the beautiful V.S. Frimmit (who did not attend), and Daniel Sciarra. As a coda at the end of almost every poem, J.C. blew a giddy note out his recorder at about the end of each piece, give or take a few seconds. Armed with a digital camera, ern modern photographed the event and heckled on occasion.
Before the audience completely dozed off, J.C. handed out the ballots for the contest. The contest rules were to send in unpublished poems, 1,000 words maximum, regarding, about, concerning, dealing with, kinda mentioning celebrities, famous people, public figures, politicos, stars, has-beens, wannabes, etc. All entries had to be asinine! The site received a good amount of entries — more than five, but less than 50. These were whittled down by Piker and myself to the seven presented at the reading.
Exceptional volunteers read each piece. The audience was asked to rate the poems on the very literary scale of 1 through 10, 1 being the epitome of hogwash and 10 being an example of unmitigated genius. Each poem was read twice, so that it could be fully ingested. Kudos and much thanks to all the readers for having the cojones to get on stage.
Sort of at the same time, Tim Hall, the man Pravda dubbed ''the Tom Jones of asinine poetry'' read his work and the works of others, including E.M.B., i am water (who was away lecturing in Vienna), Joanne Hixson, and Raul Chuletas (who does not exist, really).
Hall's incredible energy kept the event moving — and covered my ass when I had to go to the bar's backyard and tally up the points. It took a while to find a lit spot where my solar energy calculator (it takes a smart man to bring a light-sensitive device to a bar) would work, but I did and, with J.C.'s kind help, totalled up the scores.
The winners are as follows:
FIRST PLACE ($50):
"The Night I Carried Kristofferson's Bag" by Casey
SECOND PLACE ($25):
"Were that I Could Be Half as Famous*" by Tim Hall
THIRD PLACE ($15):
"And Then They Stopped Calling*" by Chris Feild
Those deserving honorable mention include:
"Why I Should Be Nicole Kidman's Publicist*" by Stephen Du Marais
"Jon Bon Jovi Is Waiting" by Catty Marlboro
"The Plunge" by Pure Eval
"Now If I Were Burt Reynolds*" by Fred Byrnes
"Bob and Woody*" by
"Lucy Lucy*" by V.S. Frimmit
"The Video Music Awards*" by Richard A. Plenty
Thank you to everyone who attended and especially those who read. Thanks all to Andy McDowell of Pete's Candy Store for the space and for the mpetus for this event.