The Moaning Pipe Cabaret – Ukazoo Books – June 3rd 2010
Reviewed by M. S. Sanders
City dwellers will find Ukazoo Books quick and easy to get to and everyone will appreciate the ample parking. Ukazoo is spacious and airy with a huge selection of new and used books to peruse while waiting for the show or while decompressing afterwards.
Once you arrive, hang a right at the front counter, grab a cuppa joe, sprawl in a stuffed seat and warm your poetic bones by a hearth literally made of books while enjoying some of the areas best and most eclectic talents.
The night I attended, the crowd was uncharacteristically small, but not surprisingly so; suburbia’s dwellers like to enjoy the warm weather as much as their urban neighbors do, so sidewalk cafes and backyard patios were probably drawing the big crowds that evening.
The Moaning Pipe Cabaret has been going strong for two years now and has enjoyed many a packed night while hosting such talents as Cliff Lynn, Rocky Jones and Jesse Breite, to name a few. They may be concentrating their bi-monthly schedule down to one monthly event, but don’t quote me on that. Check The Moaning Pipe Cabaret Facebook group page for updates and details.
On with the show…
L. Douglas St. Ours, the featured poet, read with a flowing narrative style that blended the home-spun immediacy of Garrison Keillor with a mellowed Spalding Grey. His seemingly autonomous and animated hands drew the landscapes of his stories in the air, making one feel as if an oral history of personal Americana was being shared around the campfire.
Richard D. Simone shared two pieces that belied his subdued exterior. The first, a sultry poem of seduction likened to the landing and inevitable scaling of a fish. The second, a short and macabre tale that drew the audience into the tortured psyche of a man unable to deal with what he found to be the inexcusable existence of a past love. Luckily, his bizarre relationship with his roommate, an inexplicable incarnation of Edgar Alan Poe, revealed to him the perfect, gothic-horror solution to his troubles.
Dave Kiefaber’s short story about a quick-witted, yet woefully unattractive presidential candidate, offered a unique, comedic and cleverly crafted character study of a man who embraces his superficial flaws, turning them to his favor as an underdog who willfully pursues his dark-horse status as the one common thread that will ingratiate him to the public. In an ironic twist, his presidential bid seems to hang in the balance when confronted by one of the most outrageous questions ever posed to a candidate in any press conference, debate or town hall meeting.
Marie Abate, as always, delivered beautiful work. Her piece about Matisse’s muse was particularly engaging; not simply placing the listener in the studio with the painter and his model, but using the color and tone of words to paint the beauty and desire that defines the love of art and the art of love. The delicacy and precision of Marie’s poetry is like the human dermis itself; flexible, soft and yielding to the touch, yet encasing a coursing lifeblood that is scalding in its passion, anger and sorrow.
I of course did my usual dog and pony show, but that’s for someone else to review.
My only complaint; no poetry from the amazingly talented Angela Horner! Oh, well. Admittedly, I was late and perhaps I missed it. Luckily I saw her featured performance with Marie Abate at the Hamilton Gallery. What’s that? You missed that show? Well get out from beneath that rock you’ve been hiding under and get your butt to Ukazoo. You only go around once, after all.
The Moaning Pipe Cabaret takes place on the 3rd Thursday of every month at Ukazoo Books on 730 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204. Sign up for the open mic is at 6:15 pm and the show begins at 6:30. This event is free and open to the public.
M. S. Sanders is the host and organizer of !SPEAK YOUR PIECE!, a weekly featured poet / open mic literary event that takes place every Wednesday at Singer’s Bar & Restaurant in the heart of Mt. Vernon. He has hosted and organized scores of literary and multimedia events and has won two “Baltimore’s Best” awards from the City Paper for his literary events and publications. He won 1st place in the City Paper’s 8th annual poetry contest and was awarded an individual artist’s grant for poetry by the Maryland State Arts Council. He has been a featured performer at dozens of events and venues including Artscape, The Maryland Institute College of Art and the WHFS Festival at RFK Stadium. His work has appeared in the Shattered Wig Review, The Pearl, Art In Progress and numerous other publications.