Poetry performance a powerful, racy seduction

Two up-and-coming slam poets from Minneapolis, Minn., Alice Shindelar and Ezra Stead, captivated the few dozen students who ventured through gloomy weather to the KnightSpot last Thursday.

College Union & Activities sponsored the event and senior Ingamar Ramirez, a member of Geneseo Slam Poets, organized it. Geneseo Slam Poets is a student group for aspiring spoken word artists and poets. Fans of Emily Dickinson and Wu Tang Clan alike would have enjoyed the show, which offered a mixture of poetry, hip-hop and musings about "going to college in small town USA." The night kicked off with a love poem performed by Shindelar. It was soon clear that this would not be appropriate material for a romantic Hallmark card.

Shindelar, who described herself as a "professional poet, filmmaker, screenwriter [and] tease," seduced the audience with a passionate performance more akin to a striptease than a conventional poetry reading. Her suggestive shrugs and sighs, however, were not the most memorable part of the night; rather, her powerfully spoken words laced with feminist undertones made the biggest impression on her listeners.

Shindelar, who was awarded a VERVE Spoken Word Grant by Intermedia Arts this year, decided to use her prize money to go on a nationwide tour with Stead, her friend and Midwestern compatriot. Living out of a white van the duo has affectionately deemed "the rape-mobile," the two friends and hopeful screenwriters are visiting college campuses and other venues on the way to their ultimate destination: Los Angeles, Ca.

Stead joined Shindelar on stage midway through the evening. The two performed a spoken word duet, "Geek," that poked fun at their shared fanaticism for movies. After warning the crowd that "bad poetry never gets you laid," Stead launched into his own act, recounting memorable one-night stands, favorite uncles and police brutality with a style alternating between sarcastic humor and sobering sincerity.

The final act of the evening brought the two poets back together; The poem, "Campaign," is included in Shindelar's book Aroma of Another Country. In their performance, they earnestly pleaded with the crowd to let go of its inhibitions: "Ladies! The people need to watch you masturbate!" they called.

If you missed the duo, poetry act The Night Kite Revival hits the KnightSpot on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 9:30 p.m.