Poetry legend: Horowitz
Francesca Beard, a Malaysian born poet, delivered an electrifying performance. She doesn't yell to be heard (which is something some slam poets are guilty of) but her words, uttered with precision and cutting humor, is what makes the listener sit up straight, and lean in. Trying to inject a bit of hip-hop into the well-heeled audience, Charlie Dark started his set by looping music and playing various instruments. Although he didn't altogether deliver a successful performance, some of his themes - the death of hip-hop, and the demise of B-Boys - were interesting enough.
The troubadour of the night was playwright, actor, and poet Steven Berkoff, dressed in red-checkered trousers, and a belt tied over his black tee. Berkoff performed a humorous and seething piece about a Times reporter's shooting of a baboon last year because he wanted to see how it would feel to kill someone. The reporter, Berkoff says is like, "a pigeon picking through fresh laid turds / earning a living through mankind's stink... seeking to destroy what you cannot create". Uttered with Dr. Seuss-like annunciations, Berkoff managed to be playful and scathing at the same time.
Horovitz, who has shared the stage with Allen Ginsberg, thrilled the crowd with readings about a fish with Woody Allen-esque hypochondriac tendencies. With his famous kazoo-style horn in tow, which looked like a cross between a handmade bong and a beer bottle, he looked much younger than his 75 years. Accompanied by his William Blake Klezmatrix band, Horovitz also jammed and sung the night away. If only we could be half that spritely when we're his age.
By Abby Chau
Voice of Freedom is at Rich Mix till Saturday. Hit up the website for info on what's on.