published Friday, July 1st, 2011

Music, poetry share a night at local brewery

  • photo
    Slam poet Christian Collier, above, and blues guitarist Mark "Porkchop" Holder founded Strange Bedfellows, a combination of improv, poetry and music.
    Contributed Photo

While they rank with pickles and ice cream or Spider-Man and Broadway musicals on the list of unexpected pairings, music and poetry aren’t generally found in the same place.

Last December, local slam poet Christian Collier and blues guitarist Mark “Porkchop” Holder founded Strange Bedfellows, an event that combined the two art forms with a healthy amount of improvisation.

Collaborations generally occur on the spot, Collier said.

“It’s interesting to see these performers ... venture out of their element and do something that’s happening right before your eyes,” he said. “I don’t want to equate it to free jazz, but it’s interesting to see something born in the moment.

“The quality of it is most surprising. Most of the stuff that comes out, you wouldn’t believe it was discussed five to 10 minutes before someone gets on the stage, if at all.”

Saturday will mark the fourth Strange Bedfellows event, all of which have been held at Moccasin Bend Brewing Co.

The three-hour set will feature 20- to 30-minute performances by at least seven artists representing a mix of local spoken-word poets and musicians.

Poets who will perform include Jayce Stock and L-Poole. Musicians slated to play include classical guitarist Hara Paper. Both Collier and Holder will also be performing.

The last Strange Bedfellows, held on April 2, saw a drop in attendance, but generally, the event attracts about 70 people, Collier said.

In addition to offering a forum for improvised artistic collaboration, Collier said Strange Bedfellows was also intended to help build a creative community in St. Elmo.

“We wanted to do something in the heart of ... that scene, because they don’t have a whole lot of things going on, creatively, over there,” he said. “We wanted to reach out to St. Elmo and to those kids who have to venture out to JJ’s Bohemia or elsewhere to check things out.”

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