Saturday, September 8, 2007

Peter Carlaftes Electrifies the Cornelia St. Reading

There was a feeling in the air before the poetry reading yesterday that something fantastic was about to happen. And it did, as Peter Carlaftes electrified the audience with a reading featuring six incredible, mostly unpublished poems that bridged the themes of NYC street life with the desire to create.

Features for this reporter included "Ambling," which deals with the idea of meeting the "successful" version of yourself on the street, replete with polyester suit, good job, fantastic family, and a name tag which, in Carlaftes' case, read "Hello, I'm Peter Carlfates." Oddly, this poem is based on a TRUE incident!--Carlaftes, apparently being set up by a buddy who thought it would be funny (it was, in the poem!). But can you imagine? We all have periods of doubt in life during which we wonder about whether or not changing one decision or another would have led you in a different more socially redeeming direction. But to actually see the manisfestation of the "successful" you in the flesh? What a trip! Carlaftes made the most of the incident, getting across the shock and the post-revelation joy in tightly worded prose poetry that the crowd obviously enjoyed.

And for me, this wasn't even the ultimate highlight of the show.

That came late into the set with the rare public reading of the masterful modern day Greek tragedy "The Diner after the Bar Closes"--a series of verses inspired by classic Greek drama, retelling the story of a man in a madcap search for happiness and love in a bouquet of oddball adventures in some of the numerous 24 hour Greek diners of Manhattan. Oddly, most of the diners mentioned in the poem have now been shuttered. However, despite the societal shifts brought on by the Internet and the post 9-11 world, the search for love remains, as ever, an endlessly fascinating foible full of intrique, heartache, heroics and--occasionally--the purest form of beauty.

I left the reading feeling like the world had changed, or rather, my way of looking at it had.

And this is good.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Peter Carlaftes Rocks Cornelia Street This Friday

Even though summer may be essentially over, we got Mr. Sunshine himself--the great NYC (and Three Rooms Press) poet Peter Carlaftes--featured at Cornelia Street's Son of Pony reading this Friday, which will be hosted by the ever-grateful and enthusiastic poet hostess, Kathi Georges. It's guaranteed to be a raucous and wonderful reading, so come early to catch a good seat and groove on the ever-inviting vibes of the basement at Cornelia Street Cafe.

Here's the details:

What: Son of Pony Poetry Reading at Cornelia Street, featuring poet Peter Carlaftes. PLUS NYCs greatest open reading series, which warmly welcomes YOU.

When: Friday, September 7, 2007, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (doors open 5:45)

Cost: $7 (which includes a glass of wine or a beer)

Where: Cornelia Street Cafe, 28 Cornelia Street (between W. 4th St. and Bleecker, just off 7th Ave.)


Who is dis guy, Peter Carlaftes? Peter Carlaftes is a Bronx-born Greek-Italian poet, playwright, actor and director. Five collections of his poetry have been published including Nightclub Confidential, The Bar Essentials, Sheer Bardom, I Canto Cantos and Drive-by Brooding. Nine of his plays have been staged, to critical acclaim, among them Anity, Frontier-A-Go-Go, Spin-Dry and Closure. He recently performed Off-Broadway in "Ashtrays for Vodka" and his own Dueling Karaoke to rave reviews. Along the way to becoming a writer, Carlaftes performed as a stand-up comic and taught improv courses in his native New York, laid bricks, cracked safes, sold cable and tended bar, acquiring a unique ability to blend classic themes with tragi-comic street reality throughout the body of his creative work.

Is he any good?
You better believe it. Carlaftes is the real deal. He'll have you laughing one second, crying the next and all the while feeling the power of his work in its terse descriptions of the good, bad of ugly of the streets of The City. Prepare to be electrified!

Can I read in the open reading?
Yes you can! All you do is arrive early, and put your name on the list. You are allowed to read up to 2 short poems (3 minutes maximum). The number of people allowed to read is limited, so if you really want to read be sure to arrive before 6. Doors open at 5:45 pm).

What if I don't want to read?
While we encourage people to read at Son of Pony, we also encourage lots of people to just come enjoy the show. The variety is truly amazing! The place has launched the careers of such famed poets and musicians as Suzanne Vega, Poez, Eve Ensler and more. Something about hearing the work read at Cornelia Street gets you charged up and excited about life. I recommend it highly! You never know who will show up.

Do they have food?
Do they ever! The food at Cornelia Street is fantastic. Check out the menu in advance if you like! I'm drooling just thinking about it.*