Monday, December 31, 2012

Hair Clubs

A writing friend, Stephanie Hammer @ Magically Real, recently informed me about the "Hair Club for Poets," held monthly near her home in Los Angeles. On December 22 she was a "featured stylist." Writing friends Robert Hoffman and Yi Shun Lai were also present for the occasion.

Photo by Yi Shun Lai
Here Stephanie is, reading at the event (in a hair salon, naturally enough, with Poe's ravens adorning the mirrors). I found this write-up of the gig at Downey Arts Coalition.

"Hair Club for Poets / Reading with Scissors is a monthly poetry series curated by John Brantingham and Roy Anthony Shabla, sponsored by the Downey Arts Coalition and the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, and hosted by Number 34, Barber to the Star. Each month includes one or two featured poets and an open mic, a featured artist, and grooming tips. Come for the culture, return for a coif!"
Lovely. It seems to me poets get short shrift in our society, so I'm always glad to learn of a new poetry venue. And it strikes me that the idea of a "club of poets" is about as random as the idea of a Hair Club for Men, which, now that I've brought it up, got me intribued. Snooping around, I discovered that belonging to such a club has its consequences. Apparently, if you're in the Hair Club for Men, your wig is glued to your scalp. Says one clubber: "I felt both taken advantage of, ugly, and just plain screwed." Read more of this horror story and others here.

The Hair Club for Poets/ Reading with Scissors, on the other hand, is edgy, fun, artsy in the best sense, and messing around with your head in ways not destined to prey on your insecurities. Instead, it invites you to the transcendent. Fittingly, it was Edgar Allan Poe who wrote: “To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”