The night was a warm glow. The mood was soft, the venue low-lit like a candle-filled bedroom. Local blues man Lucky Peterson provided the soundtrack on the piano; he played soft jazz with a creative infusion of something nearing the blues. Free chocolate-covered strawberries and wine heightened the intimate mood, and everyone was relaxed and loose by the time the poets took the stage.
They were all there, in the Blue Room at the Southside on Lamar lofts, for "Blue Mondays," an evolving art show that happens on the first Monday of every month. Every Monday is a different theme, and every Monday draws a unique crowd. Yesterday's theme: "Sex in D City."
Like Dallas artists, the Blue Room is a concoction of the old and the new, tradition and experimentation. Old pillars support the antiquated ceiling that is simultaneously draped with modern-chic chandeliers. Dallas artists old and young are mirrored in the classic Sears building: gripping steadfast roots, as true to Texas as humidity and Armadillos, but as risky and modern as the flashing lights on the Dallas skyline.
On this Monday, the group of Texas poets practiced a sensual form of poetry, one that embodied their roots while at the same time distanced them from conservative tradition. The performances were celebrations of love, sex under the influence of love, sexual expression unshackled by the "L" word, and erotic explorations of sensual hunger. Cynthia Jackson, the first poet, saturated the dry tongues with her poem "Like Honey".
The poets were accompanied by burlesque dancer Keisha carter, who provided visual representations of the poetry. The thing that impressed most was the performance aspect of each piece. Rather than standing at the microphone and delivering evocative language in a dead pan voice, the poets were fully animated. They added heavy breathing, yearning arms that grasped at the ghosts of past lovers, and bedroom voices full of pleasure and climax. Each poem was more like theater than the sometimes snooty poetic atmosphere.
The night was about sex, love and acceptance. The poets were welcoming and approachable, witty and sensual. Liz Mikel, the engaging and funny organizer and host, said there will be more Blue Mondays to come.
"My first Blue Monday was in March of 2010," she said. "I get to do it when I am in town ... The first one I did was called 'Simply Etta,' a show dedicated to the music and life of Etta James. I have done one on Della Reese; I have done a celebration of Burt Bacharach called 'Basking in Bacharach'. It's always different themes and music that we love."
And why this one? Why sex?
"It's very creative," she said of sex. "The more creative, the better it is!"
That in mind, here's some sex advice from the poets:
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"Stop being a prude and stop being afraid of your sexuality. Sex is good. Sex is even better you're doing it right."
"Sex in a nursing home is great sex because nobody has any teeth."
"Why are women so concerned with being like Barbie? Ken didn't have a dick"
"If you're happy fuckin' and you're fat, then do it!"