Posts Tagged ‘street performer’

Why Perform: Revolutionary ConTEXTing Haiku

March 16, 2014

What if you perform,/
not for attention or fame,/
but to spread your joy?

The Reason For Red Pillows During Improv Street Poetry: Revolutionary ConTEXTing Poem

August 9, 2010

During Vashon’s First Friday Art Walk, it’s not uncommon to see street musicians and artists on the city streets, busking for money from passers-by. Vashon Island has a unique, creative character (including bumperstickers that read: “Keep Vashon Poetic” and “Keep Vashon Weird”).
CyranoWriter David Kuhns street performance poetry at Vashon Island (WA) 1st Friday Art WalkDuring the August, 2010 First Friday Art Walk, I decided Vashon would be a great place to try “improv street performance poetry”, so, tip hat, red pillow, and signs in hand, I set up on a street corner and proceeded to spend two hours busking … doing street poetry. Usually the poems started with “Because this is Vashon/I can stand on the street/and invent funny rhymes/about the people I meet.” And then I’d go on to comment about the day, what they were doing, how they were dressed, etc.
The best responses came from families with children — they seemed to laugh the loudest when my Dr. Seussian poetry “hit home”.
And someone asked me about why I stood on a red pillow. There was no reason, really, (other than to say “Here is where the poet stands”), so I thought I’d make one up!

Red pillows/
protect feet/
when improv words flow/
from my mouth/
2 the street./
Unlike rhymes from fingertips,/
noise of lips/
can thud.


Sharing Unreasonableness Through Improv Street Performance Poetry: Revolutionary ConTEXTing Poetry

August 6, 2010

I want 2 share/
my unreasonableness./
What will I dare?/
U’ll never guess!/

I’ll stand on the corner/
of a town’s Main Street/
and improv poetry/
for people I meet!

Study in Forgiveness: FireWORDs Improv Poetry by CyranoWriter Dave Kuhns — Event Thoughts

July 5, 2010

CyranoWriter David Kuhns Study in Forgiveness - FireWORDS Improv PoetryStudy in Forgiveness: FireWORDS Improv Poetry – Overview:
I was invited by Seattle poet and curator A. K. Mimi Allin to be part of Studies in Forgiveness – Aurora Avenue, July 3, 2010, sponsored by King County’s 4Culture.
Here’s my explanation:
Poet David Kuhns / Presents a Study in Forgiveness – FireWORDS

FireWORDS Improv Poetry is part of Studies in Forgiveness because:
• Improv poetry is unforgiving
• Once Improv poetry is uttered (or IM’d), you can’t correct it.
• Once you’ve spoken it, you can’t take it back.
• You can only correct it (gain “forgiveness”) by changing directions.
• If something doesn’t work, in life or in Improv poetry, you can’t keep going the same way.
• You must, somehow, change what you are doing to make it “work”.

I invited people to participate by suggesting (Fire!) Words at me – especially words about forgiveness — which I then used to create improvisational poetry.
Study in Forgiveness - International Fountain at Seattle Center - CyranoWriter / David Kuhns —- Day of the Event
For all the performance experience I have, this type of Improv Poetry made me nervous. During the gathering of performers before the event, we were invited to touch the water of the International Fountain in the Seattle Center, sort of as part of a preparatory cleansing (at least that’s how I saw it). Since my hair was wind-blown from the early morning drive in, I decided to stick my head into the fountain and get my hair wet. Surprisingly, that goofiness allowed me to relax and take control of my fears about performing Improv poetry in a public venue.Study in Forgiveness - FireWORDS Improv Poet David Kuhns<
The venue – McCaw Hall Promenade
I was selected to be the third stop on the route, at the McCaw Hall Promenade. I was depending on the water to be flowing, and planned on taking my shoes off and standing on a red seat cushion (like a PFD). But the water was shut off, so I took a swig of a fellow poet’s water, swallowed a bit, and spewed the rest on the ground. Water is symbolic of cleansing and, thus, forgiveness.

The Improv Poetry Performance
I stood on the red “PFD” and gave my explanation of how Improv poetry works (see above). Then I invited the “audience” to give me words, which I then crafted Improv poems out of. Some of the words included “Rabbit”, “Incongruent”, … and others I don’t remember.
If I had to do it over again, I would probably select my own words, because not knowing the direction the audience was going to go made it much more difficult than I thought.Reflection of Improv Poet David Kuhns / CyranoWriter - A Study in Forgiveness: FireWORDS Improv Poetry
During the performance, I noticed my own reflection in the windows I was facing, and made up a poem about that. That moment gave me the confidence I needed to continue “going.”
Toward the end of the performance, a woman pushing a stroller walked by. I made up a humorous poem asking her to join us and, when she didn’t, continued with the poem about her and her children. Shortly after that a middle-aged couple walked by, she wearing a hat, he holding a raincoat. So I poetically commented on them, wondered if they were tourists (they weren’t), and continued making up a poem about them as they walked away.Improv Poet CyranoWriter / David Kuhns performs a Study in Forgiveness: FireWORDS at McCaw Hall, standing on a PFD

The last poem was about a complex word — I don’t remember what it was. And as the poem went on, I realized I was “stuck”, and I couldn’t finish it. So I finished the poem by commenting on how that is like asking for forgiveness, trying to change and “repent”… sometimes you just can’t do it at that moment.
Since a “study” is to discover something about what you are doing, I learned the following:
–I like performing to larger groups of strangers better than small groups of poets I know
–I like situational improv poetry that I can control. In other words, I can comment on what is happening, who I see, where I am, rather than having people throw out words at me.
–I think I’m pretty good at playing with words, but sometimes the rhymes sound a little Seussian and juvenile.Study in Forgiveness: FireWORDS Improv Poetry by Poet CyranoWriter David Kuhns, at McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, July 3, 2010

The final “aha” is quite logical: I’d make certain I video taped all of the performance, not because I’m vain, but because sometimes really good poems come out, and if you don’t capture them… they are gone.
Photos courtesty of A.K. Mimi Allin, the Poetess at Greenlake