THE SAVANNAH REPORT: I'm back from Savannah and my reading at The Sentient Bean, hosted by the always supportive Kodac Harrison. I left around 1 p.m. on Thursday and set a land speed record of three hours and 17 minutes getting to the coast from Atlanta. Yeah, I was speeding, but the roads were deserted and it was smooth sailing.

I checked into the Days Inn on Bay Street, which is the first hotel I ever stayed in when my parents took me to Savannah back in the mid-80s. It's exactly the same, which is both comforting and a bit scary. They gave me a "smoking room," which still reeked of the last occupant, but luckily the windows opened and the extractor fan in the bathroom worked. The hotel was full (Veteran's Day maybe?), so I was stuck with the room. I chilled for a couple of hours figuring out what to read. I decided to go with all new material, some of which is on the HalfLife Crisis CD.

The drive over to The Sentient Bean was easy. I know Savannah like the back of my hand, so I arrived early to check out the lay of the land, so to speak. The Bean is on the north end of Forsyth Park at 13 Park Avenue. It's a beautifully restored building. Big high ceilings, comfy chairs, a nice stage set up and one of the best lattes I've ever tasted. I was concerned that the crowd was going to be tiny, but after Kodac arrived the people started coming in and we had a big room full of folks by the time we started at 8 p.m. Kodac talked about his trip to Europe (he arrived from Germany the day before and then drove to I know he was jetlagged) and performed some of his classics. We had a few folks read at the open mic and then I did my feature.

The crowd looked to be half populated by kids from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and some locals who had heard about the reading. Kodac said he had heard the reading mentioned on the local radio station, which was cool. I think some of the folks were shocked by the poems, esp. "Sex In My Parents' House," which always makes mouths drop because of its frankness. I'm always curious to watch people's faces when they first realize I'm gay...when I drop a line in one of my pieces that gives it away (as if they couldn't tell already...but hey, some heteros have no clue). At this reading, there was a girl sitting near the front who exchanged a look with her friends when she finally picked up the white courtesy phone. It was a, "oh my god he's a homo" look. I can spot those a mile away. However, she and her table were polite and they dropped money in the tip jar, so I can't rag them to much. Kodac said it was one of the best readings I've ever given. Thanks, Kodac.

My favorite person of the evening was Fatima (hey girl!), who performed and won the slam that came after my featured set. She was opinionated and sassy and has a good future as a performance poet if she keeps working on the material and getting out to every open mic and slam she can find. She connects with the audience...whether it be shock or delight, she gets them straight away. Keep at it, Fatima.

After the reading, I went to a late dinner with Kodac and his friend Nancy at Vinnie Van GoghGoghs, this funky pizza place in the City Market. We sat there until almost midnight hearing about Kodac's adventures in Prague and Germany. It was a beautiful, warm evening and we sat outside and there was lots of people on the streets. This is what I love so much about Savannah. It's European and coastal and there is a good vibe. It's still one of my favorite places to vacation.

If you don't have plans tomorrow night, come out to the Java Monkey Speaks Slam. Kodac and Ayo are hosting and the special guest is Ethan Gilsdorf. I've been challenged to participate in the slam and hell...I just might.


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