Eileen Myles reading
7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6
UA Poetry Center
1508 E. Helen St.
It's time to challenge the mainstream notion that poetry is all dandelions and deep longing. In fact, some of it includes witty irreverence, Bronx accents and plenty of fuck-yous.
Eileen Myles has earned her title as "the rock star of poetry" by proving that very point.
"She's very intelligent, very irreverent," says Tenney Nathanson, the project director for Poetry in Action, the writers' collective which is bringing her to town. "She's a wonderful experimental writer."
In photographs, Myles is often posed on sidewalks and in alleyways; she has graying shoulder-length hair and wears flannels and jeans. Her flippancy toward social norms shines through in her writing.
In "My Treat," from her book Cool for You, Myles intricately describes a scene of drunken sex between two strangers. From the perspective of the female, she mocks the man's penis and boorish behavior throughout. Everything to be measured is belittled.
In her poem marking the death of famed author Robert Lowell, "On the Death of Robert Lowell," she proves to be something other than the mourning archetype.
"Oh, I don't give a shit. He was an old white-haired man, insensate beyond belief," she says in the spoken version of the poem. "The famous, as we know, are nuts. Take Robert Lowell, the old white haired coot. Fucking dead."
Myles has published several books of poetry and prose. The tour that is bringing her to Tucson is in support of a recently released book of essays, The Importance of Being Iceland.
The event is also sponsored by the UA Poetry Center. Admission is a suggested donation of $5, or $3 for students. —N.M.
Bobby Keys and the George Howard Band in concert
9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2
Nimbus Bistro and Brewery
6464 E. Tanque Verde Road
4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3
3306 N. First Ave.
The new Nimbus Bistro and Brewery will be bringing in rocker Bobby Keys to sax up Friday night. The next day, he'll highlight a dinner show at the Boondocks Lounge.
Way back when, Keys would have been pulling into Tucson in a bus with groups like the Rolling Stones and the Eric Clapton band. He's a pro who has spent his life devoted to music.
Now in his older years, Keys says he hasn't been getting out to play much away from his home base near Nashville, Tenn. However, he says he's now ready to start doing road gigs again—and he's targeting the Southwest.
"I go where the music is," Keys says. "The musicians I've met in Tucson have been world-class. In Nashville, there are 3 million guitar players and 10 million song writers."
On his way to Tucson, Keys stopped off in Santa Fe, N.M., to play a couple of shows. He says that, to this day, he prefers hitting the highway when he can.
"I'm an old road dog, man," Keys says.
Keys is coming to Tucson thanks to our very own George Howard. Howard and Keys met up last year to play a show, and Keys has since been calling Howard to complain about the hard music market in Nashville; he's having trouble getting gigs, Howard says.
Given the supportive nature of Tucson, Howard says he has been trying to get Keys to consider a move out West. Keys says that's a possibility and cites Tucson's climate: It's perfect for flying radio-controlled airplanes, Keys says. He's an enthusiast.
Admission to the shows is $10 at the door. —N.M.
Small Potatoes in concert
7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge
3445 N. Dodge Blvd.
7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3
Abounding Grace Sanctuary
2450 S. Kolb Road
When a passion for Celtic music and a flare for blues and jazz come together, you get ... creative indecision?
That's what folk duo Small Potatoes (smallpotatoesmusic.com) says. The husband-and-wife musicians, Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning, forged their unlikely musical union in the early 1990s. They both bring impressive instrumental and musical backgrounds to their performances, "and we just try to meet in the middle," Prezioso says.
The musical styles that Small Potatoes blend into their work allows for an entertaining folk experience. The Chicago-based duo both play the guitar and sing, while incorporating percussion and wind instruments. Prezioso says the folk genre allows more variety to play into their style, but they also perform country, blues, swing and even Irish music.
Small Potatoes have played everywhere from larger folk festival venues to tiny coffee shops. They're returning to Tucson after being absent for a few years, but Prezioso says they love the Old Pueblo.
"It's always a pleasure to come to town," he says. In fact, his favorite place for coffee is Raging Sage on Campbell Avenue; he says he'll be stopping by.
While here, Small Potatoes will play two shows at two different venues. On Friday, Green Fire Music will host them at the F.O.P Lodge. Tickets are $10 at the door. Saturday, the Live Acoustic Venue Association will host them at the Abounding Grace Sanctuary. Tickets, again, are $10 at the door. —A.P.
Sister Spit: The Next Generation
8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2
UA Gallagher Theater
1308 E. University Blvd.
Back in the '90s, Sister Spit took their spoken-word, feminist and queer-poetry slams out on the road, rock-star style. Van and everything.
Now, a new wave of ladies is hitting the road.
Sister Spit: The Next Generation is a group of women who are writers, poets, performance artists or all of the above. The idea to collectively tell stories through different artistic mediums came about in San Francisco during weekly open-mic poetry slams and fiction readings.
One of the original women to tour, Beth Lisick, will be returning for the Next Generation shows. She's an author and describes some of her work as comedic memoirs.
"When we first started, it was radical to have queer women driving to town, showing up at bars and art galleries, and reading from their experiences," says Lisick.
She says times are different now: It's not so radical anymore, but it's still fun to tell stories.
A first-timer this year is cartoonist Ariel Schrag, who was invited to be a part of the show. Schrag writes for film and television as well; one of her books, Potential, is being developed into a movie, and she wrote for the television series The L Word for two seasons. At Friday night's show, she will share a short comic she wrote, with images of the comic projected behind her as she reads it.
"My stuff is humorous," says Schrag.
Beyond Lisick and Schrag, numerous other women will perform their work as well. It really will be like a rock concert—just with spoken word instead of music. Schrag wants attendees to be prepared for an eclectic evening.
Admission is free. —A.P.