Alright listen up. The thought of poetry at The Fringe Festival makes me grow a big rubbery one. Being poetically inclined, it was hard for me to write that. But it’s true. Live poetry is an acquired taste. A taste that few acquire, in fact. But UK spoken word bruiser Jem Rolls is no ordinary poet and he delivers nothing approaching a cliched reading. No microphone. He spits (unintentionally). He attacks his material with a damn-near religious fervour. In my books, Jem Rolls is a true spoken word artist. He publishes no books, offers no recordings of his work, operates no website, authors no blog. In the true spirit of jazz (although, to call him a ‘jazz poet’ would be a mistake), his poems and commentaries exist only in the air and only for the time that an audience is present. If you have any poetic or spoken word inkling at all, you owe it to yourself to see and hear Mr. Jem Rolls in concert at this year’s Fringe Theatre Festival down in Old Strathcona. Here is the skinny:
A spoken word performance that will kick your ass and make you leave your spouse.
Every night during The Fringe – August 17 to 26.
B-Scene Studios (BYOV “B”) 8212 – 104 Street (basement).
P.S. I’ll be back with my regular city content later this week. – M.G.
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?