Yesterday morning, I woke up to this in my inbox:
There are few things that I’m okay with seeing on my computer screen before I’ve properly woken up and had my morning cup of tea, but this is definitely one of them.
For those of you who don’t know, Evita is among the tribe of Lindy Hop instructors that teach and perform internationally, and who I would quite simply refer to as a Lindy celebritiy. Her and Michael came to Vancouver back in January for Rhythm City Mess Around, one of the city’s bigger Lindy events, along with Remy Kouakoua Kouame, Jessica Lennartson, and Mikey Pedroza. It was at the RCMA Saturday night cabaret where I had possibly one of my best performances of Scrap Metal to date (perfect venue & sound, exact audience the poem was written for, and amazing energy to build on), and Evita approached me after to buy a chapbook. Fast forward to one morning in late June, and I suddenly find myself on a phone call from Beverly, Massachusettes where Evita’s just finished track placements for Beantown Camp and has an exciting idea for the event’s Sunday night show.
She explained that the finale of the show will be a tribute to Frankie Manning (one of the founders of Lindy Hop), in that all the dancers involved want to communicate to the audience how they inspire one another, the way Frankie inspired them, and they ultimately want to inspire the world. From the Beantown website:
In tribute to Frankie Manning and in celebration of his 100th birthday this year, Beantown Camp 2014 will be dedicated to Frankie and all that he gave us. Frankie was an incredibly special person and we were honored to have him be a part of Beantown for many years. We are grateful that so many people got to meet him, take class with him, hear his stories and Shim Sham with him. We’ll always cherish all of the wonderful times and remember his warmth, spirit and that infectious big laugh. Frankie really could light up a room as he spread joy everywhere he went. As we keep Frankie in our hearts, we’ll endeavor to carry on his legacy as best we can.
Evita said Scrap Metal, a poem about falling in love with a dancer and what it means to be audience when someone steps onto a stage and does what they were put on this earth to do, was a perfect tie-in to Frankie’s memory. She asked if she could use the final segment of the poem in the finale. I was more than happy to oblige; one of my dance heroes was sharing how my writing inspired them, I was probably visible from space with the amount I was glowing.
I forwarded her a few voice memos of how I read the section she had in mind, along with a typed version for her to memorize. We ended the conversation talking about how she wants to do something bigger with the poem, something involving more time and collaboration with the Syncopated Dance Company her and Michael run back in New York City. I shared how Lola Frost interpreted the piece in her Longform Burlesque act back in November, collaborating with DJ K-Tel, voice-over recordings, multi-media projections and silk displays, and Evita buzzed.
In short, I’ve had a good couple days. If anything, it’s things like this that give me more incentive to return to spoken word full-force. I shall keep you all posted on that front.
P.S. If you’re looking for print copies of Scrap Metal, they can be found in my newest chapbook Torches. I’ll be doing a new batch of Torches mid-July, so send me a message on the Contact page and I’ll put in a pre-order for you! In the meantime, you can find my performance of it with Francis Arevalo and a small cameo by Lola here.