On Wednesday night I was one of the featured headliners at the Magnet’s monthly Smack Dab open mic event, along with Daniel Redman. Magnet just celebrated it’s ninth year as the place where gay men connect in the Castro. It’s a place of community in every sense of the word, and Smack Dab is Kirk Read’s and Larry Bob Robert’s way of having one night a month where the men of that community get to share their voices and experiences with everyone.
It was an open mic in the truest sense– we really got to hear such a variety of voices and styles–true stories about first time fisting experiences, men who have lost their lovers to AIDS and other diseases, spoken word poetry, even a sweet young girl new to SF with a haunting voice and a ukelele whose style reminded me a lot of Joanna Newsom. Every piece felt so genuine, and like Kirk said, we should be thanking these men for talking so openly about their experiences, especially those experiences in the 70s and 80s when so many voices were silenced.
It was such a treat to see how well Kirk and Larry Bob played off each other–Kirk wasn’t named best performer by SF Weekly for nothing–and also to hear Daniel’s acapella renditions of Walt Whitman’s poetry. Daniel’s voice is unique and hypnotic, and he’s a true original.
In the spirit of the night, I read a new piece, “Testament,” which isn’t in the collection but I felt was somehow apropos for the evening.Thanks again to all my friends who showed up in support. It was a great way to end my trip to SF!