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Seattle Spit brings capacity crowd to Wildrose
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Seattle Spit brings capacity crowd to Wildrose

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle Spit
January 14
Wildrose


On January 14, a capacity crowd filled the Wildrose to witness the first Seattle Spit of 2010. The night of spoken word, comedy, and open-mic performances was a hit. Queerbo art-hearts spat rhythmic words from a small black stage with a single microphone, with Pike St. visible through the windows. The scene was Capitol Hill organic.

"Seattle Spit is designed to foster and encourage grassroots Queer community through spoken word, creativity and conversation," Broch Bender, who co-produced the show with Marita Isabel, told SGN. "Events like this one are important for community-building in a supportive, friendly, Queer environment. The show is free and real - live people show up and get to know each other. Get off the internet and get in a real live room, folks!"

The Thursday-night show was hosted by Seattle poet-turned-comedian Carol Maki, known for her routines at Laugh's Comedy Spot in Kirkland and Seattle Comedy Underground. Maki told the audience that her conversion from poet to comedian was easy once she figured out that "the same topics that make people cry can also make them laugh." Maki had the audience in stitches as she regaled us, with a Midwestern accent, with stories of growing up Lesbian in Michigan. Perhaps her best revelation of the night was when she proclaimed, "The invention of the automatic-flush toilet has ruined public sex." As a poet, she read as her alter ego. Maki described how, during the midnight hour, the librarian inside her dies and a woman on the prowl comes alive.

"Desire," she said, "is a martial art."

The featured performer for the show, Cedar Adison Smith, read spoken-word with a melodic voice that hypnotized the senses; by the time he was through, you felt as relaxed as you are enlightened. Seconds into his first piece, it was easy to see why Seattle Spit producers chose him as the feature artist. In his poem Sometimes, he takes you along for the different scenarios of a tryst between lovers, from a quick caress on the street to a romp between the sheets. More beautiful than erotic, the poem was well-received by the audience.

Cedar Adison Smith also read an excerpt from his memoir. The piece was very touching and captivated the audience. With all eyes on him, he retold a scene from childhood when he was she, growing up as a "trailer-trash Tranny."

"I'd never had a heart-to-heart talk with my mother," he said. "How was I supposed to tell her about my gender betrayal?"

For his last piece, Both, Cedar demanded, "Don't call me both. & Pink for girls, blue for boys - who came up with that shit, anyway?" Cedar told SGN the poem is about not allowing himself to be trapped into other people's version of gender identity. "I am not both," he said. "I am not one or the other - I am just other."

"Seattle Spit is very important because the show gives Queers of any shape, flavor, and color a place to speak out in a safe place," Cedar told SGN. "If you want to hear some amazing words, come here."

The open-mic portion of the show saw many participants. The rules are simple: if you want to shine on the mic, you can read one piece only, up to five minutes long. Some exceptions are made for short poems, one minute or less. Seattle Spit producers say the work must be original, however any form is welcome - song, spoken-word, performance art, stand-up, rap, or speech. Musical instruments are okay if used to support the performer's voice as the main performance.

The January 14 show was not the first Seattle Spit. In fact, the event has entertained Seattle audiences since 2002. "Spit was brought to Seattle by Anna Bergman. Anna was active with 'Sister Spit' in San Francisco, where she lived for many years before returning to Seattle," Bender told SGN. "Anna produced the show until 2003, and I've had a hand in producing the event since then with the help of some very fun and talented co-producers and emcees."

Bender says Seattle Spit has always been designed to encourage and support Queer writers and activists. "We feature one or two featured artists a month, followed by open mic. We like to feature folks whom we've seen up at the open mic a few times," he said, "and people in the community whom we know would enjoy being featured."

The point of Seattle Spit, he said, is to shine a light on individuals in the community who have something to say that people might like to hear.

"Over the years, Seattle Spit has morphed into different styles," Bender said. "In the early years, it was more of a see-and-be-seen event. The vibe is different now. It is much more supportive and open to all. People listen to what each other have to say and then they talk about it. Yay community building! Yay people in a room sharing ideas and opinions!"

The Wildrose has graciously hosted the event since the beginning. Seattle Spit is generally held on the second Thursday of the month at 8:30 p.m. The next show is Thursday, March 11. You can find out more about the event by becoming a fan of Seattle Spit on Facebook.

"I am grateful to be a part of the community-building revolution in this town," said Bender. "Come to Seattle Spit and say hi!"

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