I went to Da Poetry Lounge, LA’s Tuesday Night Special, last night for the first time…EVER.
It was an hilarious, powerful, ridiculous, moving, and extra’d out tomfoolery fest. And I enjoyed every minute of it!
We arrived an hour early to find ourselves relatively close to the start of the line. As soon as I entered the blackbox theater, I felt apart of something. When the host got on the mic and cursed at the audience, I identified that “something” as the dysfunctional LA artist community, which is fine because perfect families aren’t real.
The crowd was racially, swaggily, and stylistically diverse. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it . It was so much more.
I was highly upset after being told that I’d be kicked out if I was seen using my phone. As a 20 year old college senior, I felt stripped of my “grown woman” rights to jot notes of thought provoking lines into my iPhone, but I made do writing in my journal …in the dark.
DPL is celebrating their 14th anniversary this month [HAPPY BIRTHDAY!] so the night was full of random recollections from humble beginnings and too many inside jokes that, at times, weren’t that comedic, but I was happy for them. I still am. The founder, “Poetry,” greeted everyone in line before the doors opened and even asked me if I was a poet and if I planned on “spittin’ somethin.” I didn’t end up sharing my poetry, and for good reason. Most of the poets who made it on the list didn’t get the chance to go up because the first half (which lasted late until 11pm) was saturated with OG DPL Poets and Slam Teams (shoutout to San Diego. Yall KILLED it), who were randomly called to the stage for old times’ sake.
I laughed, almost cried, and was inspired to write. There were some things that I would change if I ran a city-wide poetry lounge, but I don’t run one yet, so I’ll spare the world from my suggestions. I appreciate Da Poetry Lounge for existing.
I CANNOT conclude this review without mentioning Queen Sheba. Her introduction as “the definition of a strong Black woman” had me a little too anxious to see what she was about and as soon as she graced the stage, I understood. In the gangsterest set I’ve ever seen, this tatted, natural headed woman told her story of childhood abandonment, adoption, and White hippie parents. She defined “woman” in a poem that probably went over everyone’s head and she sung “Time After Time” with no shame. Yes, she sang the whole song. After reading a powerful short story, “Offbeat Itis,” from her published book, Long Story Short: From Foster Care to Fame, she scorned the crowd for not clapping hard enough for her “genius.” I was in such awe, my hands simply couldn’t respond in time. I’m assuming everyone else was just as stunned. Genius doesn’t even begin to describe her experience. But I’ll stop there…
Last night revived my belief that there really is an art lifestyle that I’m missing out on in LA. It is now my duty to find it and become it.
Da Poetry Lounge is a MUST for every Lost Angelino and all visitors (Hey, Heather!) Check out their website: http://www.dapoetrylounge.com/
Get there no later than an hour early if you want a decent seat or if you have a large group!