A night at BAX

A Gift for the Sultan withstood its first audience test last night, at the first in the new Brooklyn Arts Exchange X-Readings series. Series host Bill Coffel, jovial, portly and bearded, was arrayed in full battle-attire: belt and suspenders and baseball cap. (You can never be too careful around wordslingers.) Readers/performers included Alexandra van de Kamp, whose vivid word-portraits made paintings appear in the air; her husband, whose name I didn't catch, with a story-in-progress about committing adultery and not enjoying it very much; bushy-haired Jero, who performed "Semantics," a biting poem about phony sex talk and phony war-on-terror talk; and Bill Coffel himself, who read from his new novel about Americans behaving badly in Mexico. Bill also played recordings of Alan Ginsburg performing "Sunflowers" and "Howl" -- good to hear, though they made the event run a tad late. It was a small crowd (me and my posse of four accounted for a quarter of us), comfortable size for trying out new material. Thanks, Bill, for creating this proving ground. Next event in the series will be February 22. You can reach him at X-Readings. For more about A Gift for the Sultan, check the Archive for entry for 1/18.

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