Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Taste of the Atlantic! is poetry for the masses

Gringo Choir to present poetry slam at the Liberty

Express Staff Writer

From left, the Gringo Choir poets are Carrie Rudzinski, Steve Subrizi, Carlos Williams and Max Kessler, who will perform at the Liberty Theatre from Nov. 19-20. Photo by

Great poets rely on an economy of words to present thoughts and ideas. In the 21st century, poetry is more than just a few lines and paragraphs of detailed thought. It has evolved into a new form of entertainment known as slam poetry. And it's a lot more than just telling a poem on stage.

Wood River High School graduate Max Kessler will bring The Gringo Choir to the Liberty Theatre in Hailey to present "A Taste of the Atlantic!" to the Wood River Valley. The Gringo Choir will give two performances, on Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under. The show contains adult subject matter and is appropriate for ages 15 and above. Tickets are available at the Liberty Theatre box office.

The Gringo Choir is a troupe that formed at Boston's Emerson College in 2008 for a collegiate competition slam poetry team. The choir members—Carrie Rudzinski, Steve Subrizi, Carlos Williams and Kessler—won a collegiate northeast slam contest in February 2008 and the team went to the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., that same year. The foursome made it to the semi-finals of the competition.

"It shocked everyone," Kessler said. "Emerson was a much smaller school than other places that we were competing against, such as the University of Wisconsin."

Rudzinski won for best female poet in the competition and the team was recognized for its unique style.

"Hanging out and writing poems together allowed us to become close friends," Kessler said. "We were known as The Gringo Choir at Emerson College and that ended up getting us booked us a troupe."

He said "A Taste of the Atlantic!" is a parody of an old traveling medicine show. The Atlantic Ocean metaphor is reflective of the Boston poetry scene.

"It's art, music and comedy," Maxwell said. "The show was designed as a last hurrah for the four of us."

Maxwell said it's a serious performance piece that was a dream of his. He wrote it in a playwriting class and included other writers' poems and prose to create a vaudeville show in a variety show format. The show has been performed 10 times across the country and will end in Hailey.

"It's like a spoken word version of the Muppet Show," Maxwell said. "We trick people into coming to a poetry show and they like it."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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