A love letter to the Spilljoy Ensemble

On Sunday night I went to see The Spilljoy Ensemble, a group of four of the most talented spoken word artists to ever team up and tour the country in a four door sedan.

Jon and Shira at breakfast, they really do love each other this much

Jon and Shira at breakfast, they really do love each other this much

They are Shira Erlichman, Jon Sands, Ken Arkind and my good friend and team mate Danny Sherrard. I’m such a geeking-out fan of Shira Erlichman that when Danny called and asked if they could all stay with me and Roberto (Roberto is my next door neighbor) at Youngstown, I got a little too excited. As I write this, Shira is still sleeping on my sofa bed. I bet her dreams are brilliant.

Me and Danny before coffee

Me and Danny before coffee

Since seeing the show, I feel the same way about all the poets in Spilljoy. Ken Arkind is someone I have seen on finals stage at NPS, but often in the context of group pieces. Getting to experience his solo work was an incredible treat. He did a poem to Los Angeles that I’m going to be thinking about for a long time. He is a stand-out talent.

Jon Sands did a feature at the slam last year. I enjoyed his set then but this show was just a better context for his work. He really shined as part of an ensemble. His serious poems hit a complex emotional pitch and funny poems were really funny. My favorite was about a girl he loved/loves. “You are a shadow I cast on the bodies of other girls.” (I may be misquoting that!)

Danny, oh Danny. Danny is a not a rising star, he is a star shooting in reverse. He’s so magical on stage and I bet he is a bucket seat full of fun to tour with! He did the best reading of “Burger Master” I’ve seen. That poem does Seattle proud.

Shira opened the show by sitting in the audience with what looked like a toy accordion. He played chords and dedicated the show to people like, “the parade foot stompers,” “the air lassoers,” etc. I’m not doing it justice but it was a brilliant way to make us all present in the performance. Shira did her poem written from the perspective of a piano in an insane asylum. I suspect that everything Shira touches turns gets a shade more interesting.

After the show we all came back to Youngstown and talked and ate and spontaneously danced and dedicated songs to each other and laughed and finally had a poetry cypher to cap off the night. Sara Brickman and Shira came back to my room and we stayed up for 2 more hours just like kids at a slumber party who were supposed to be sleeping. I finally lay down saying, “I’m not going to sleep, I’m just crawling into bed,” and dozed off unwillingly.

The next day I proposed marriage to the entire ensemble via text message. They all accepted. Sorry world, they’re taken.

If you missed their show, they are doing a show at UW this Thursday. See their link at the top of this blog.

Tomorrow at the slam, come see our feature from NYC Jive Poetic!


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