(Photo By IAM-IKAN)
Every Tuesday night, Club Nostalgia holds an open mic event called Poetry Unplugged. It features various local Milwaukee poets, with a few singers and other talents thrown in on occasion. Doors open at around 8pm and those interested in performing sign up at the door. Performances start around 10pm. In between time there is an open kitchen that serves delicious smelling food and a bar with prompt and friendly service. Additionally, there is music provided by infamous local deejay, DJ Mr. Martin. He alternates with beloved and well known local live band Cigarette Break. The event is hosted by Kwabena Nixon and usually centers around a theme or message.
This past Tuesday (2/7) was no different. Doors opened at 8pm and poets and lovers of poetry alike, ushered in to enjoy the event. DJ Mr. Martin started off spinning a variety of cuts including some Hip-Hop. A little while later, Cigarette Break took over and did some jamming of their own. They played a variety of sounds too, most impressive were hits by artists like Trey Songz and Kanye West. A little after 10pm, Kwabena hopped on stage and got things going. He engaged the audience from the start with some call and response, humor, and charm. From there he began to bring up the performers for the night. The message for the night was “build and not destroy.” One by one the poets took the stage and delighted the audience with a wide variety of pieces. Topics covered included: sex, a woman’s worth, society, and more. Some poets came with fierce and passionate deliveries while others kept things light hearted and comical.
One of the more notable poets of the evening was the newest member of the Blaqlizt Entertainment family, Treena Burtin. Treena was first introduced to readers via her charity work. As mentioned in the previous post, performing poetry is one of Treena’s many interests/talents. Treena’s poem fell more on the serious side as she called attention to the tragic state that today’s youth are in. She had a smooth delivery and laid back demeanor. Her opening was clever and grabbed the audience’s attention right away. She even got a “rewind.” In the world of poetry, that is the ultimate display of endearment for standout lines or an entire poem. As Treena’s poem continued on she spoke sentiments that the audience agreed with and could relate to. She began to wrap up her poem with a call for solutions to help better society and the youth. She ended her piece on a strong note with infamous words from the late Gil Scott-Heron. The audience showered Treena with strong applause as she left the stage, a few people even gave her a standing ovation. And she deserved every bit of it, her poem was certainly one of the best of the night. Catch Treena’s performance below.
A few more poets followed Treena’s reading and a couple of singers too. Also, there were some entertaining intermissions in between all of the poetry. One included a sing along to the late Biggie Smalls classic hit “One More Chance” led by Kwabena. Another stand out moment was led by DJ Mr. Martin. Apparently, Martin does a weekly poll of top five things. This week’s poll was top five song intros. Meaning intros that come on and cause instant recognition and reaction. He got so many results that he actually played about thirteen of the top responses instead of five. Which was fine with the audience because each song allowed them to groove and reminisce. Some of the songs that made the cut included: “Deja Vu” by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, “Back That Azz Up” by Juvenile, “Simon Says” by Pharoahe Monch, etc. The night ended with a touching moment dedicated to the late Don Cornelius and his hit music based show Soul Train. Afterwards, people made their rounds and exited the club.
**My Two Cents: This was my first time attending a live poetry event of any kind. I found it inspiring. Some of the poets had an amazing way with words and presentation. Also, the atmosphere was very welcoming and friendly. Everybody showed respect and love to all of the performers. That is a beautiful thing. I definitely suggest attending a Poetry Unplugged event at least once if you have some free time. It is truly an enjoyable way to spend a Tuesday night. Check the above provided link for more info. Congrats to those involved with Poetry Unplugged is in order too. They are being given the opportunity to take the event on the road. The group will be going to Oshkosh, Chicago, and are working on a Dallas, TX show. And an official Blaqlizt welcome goes out to Miss Treena Burtin! She is a fine poet and addition to the team. -MinM