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Patti Smith Started My Heart Again

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - View Comments

I’ve just finished downtown fixture and prolific rock and roll poet Patti Smith’s latest, Just Kids. I expected a full autobiography and, in a way, it is, but what’s really special is that it’s an incredible love story for the tomes. Smith shows us what love looks like in all stages, even when her partner, the famous Robert Mapplethorpe, admitted he was gay and eventually died from AIDS. Robert and Patti are always one—a string the weaves through them and that glows when either is in need of the other.

I’ve been a huge Patti Smith fan for a while. I learned her through her music. Her 1975 album, Horses, is one of the best albums of the century. Her voice has a girl-like-Leonard Cohen-mixed-with-Tom Waits ramble and her sound is simple. But what really shine are her words. Once I discovered this, I jumped into her poetry.

I consider myself a poet and have been writing seriously for over ten years. Until yesterday, however, I hadn’t written a poem in almost a full year when I wrote one daily. My website grew static, no one had visited. It was dark and dull—perhaps a relic from Victorian England. Poetry is part of my soul and I felt I were dying, suffocating with lack of creativity.

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The Moth: Storytelling Crack

By Jennifer Blevins on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - View Comments

The Moth podcasts are storytelling crack. I have a new addiction. Oh, and it’s so delicious. I just can’t seem to get enough. Each fix is only temporary and leaves me wanting more. But thankfully this addiction is free and doesn’t harm my body in any way. And it’s so simple, you’d never guess: The Moth podcasts. See, I spend a lot of time on trains. And while I am a voracious reader, I had the misfortune of inheriting severe motion sickness from my grandmother. Just like Granny, if I try to read more than a page or two while on a moving vehicle I break out in a cold sweat and feel like I’m about to hurl. So I’m left with hours and hours on trains with nothing to do but to listen to my iPod. Well, recently a dear friend of mine recommended that I download The Moth podcasts. And this dear friend opened me up to a whole new world of awesomeness. The Moth is kind of like a drug. Storytelling crack. Yes, The Moth is storytelling crack. And I urge you to partake. Read more »

True Story: I Have Faith In Visible Theatre

By Jennifer Blevins on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - View Comments

Visible Theatre's True Story Project: Faith Good storytelling is timeless and transformative. For me, nothing beats just sitting down and hearing a damn good story. True, sometimes it’s cool to see random stuff blown up while mutants battle it out on a big movie screen. And sometimes it’s cool to play with fancy electronic gadgets that simulate reality while I avoid my own reality. And sometimes it’s cool to use those fancy electronic gadgets to blow up virtual mutants of my very own. But if you tell me an engaging story with fascinating characters, if you pull me into lives that help me forget (and better understand) my own, and if you get me emotionally invested in the outcome…I am putty in your hands. But is the art of old-fashioned, sitting-around-a-campfire storytelling dead? Can individuals with interesting stories sit on a stage and engage an entire bitter, jaded, New York City audience? Oh hells yeah. I witnessed such a feat when I attended Visible Theatre’s True Story Project: Faith last weekend. So afterwards I did a little digging to try to find out how they managed to keep me entertained without blowing up a single mutant. Read more »