Readings in a Party

Beat-Style Performance Enlivens Lit Scene

  • This is Happening Whether You Like it or Not

The party unapologetically proclaims “This is Happening Whether You Like it or Not,” but you probably will. The second installment of the reading series and multi-disciplinary celebration is going on Thursday July 5 at Armatta in St-Henri.

“Lots of new generation writers I know prefer to do readings in a party atmosphere where they have to demand attention from the crowd,” said event organizer Ashley Opheim. “And where they can kind of jive with whatever energy is being thrown at them.”

The evening will feature readings by Concordia students and recent graduates as well as showcasing some local bands; Arbutus artist Devon Welsh A.K.A. Majical Cloudz will be headlining.

“Their set is very intimate and unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Opheim. “Devon Welsh has an insanely powerful stage presence. He is very sincere, very intense.”

This is no sombre, stereotypical night of coordinated readings. Opheim is working to take down the barrier between author and audience, This is Happening is a party instead of a stuffy appreciation of the written word.

“[It’s] a little bit of a throwback to the beat poets perhaps. That casualness, that realness,” Opheim said.

She added that heckling is encouraged and that the atmosphere will be one where the reader has to deliver their work in a way which demands the audience’s attention–competing with casual conversation.

“Ideally people are intoxicated or under the influence,” she said. Attendees won’t know what to expect of the night, which Opheim stresses will develop organically through the words and music.

“I’m excited and inspired by uncertainty and spontaneity and I think that it’s something that should be embraced. This world is full of uncertainty right now, why not celebrate it?”

With the previous incarnation taking place in a Mile End loft and future events possibly in the gazebo on Mount Royal, this time the beat-style reading will be in St-Henri. Armatta is a space which focuses on projections, video art, and performances.

The organizers chose it for the vibe which they felt suited the evening – plenty of nooks to hang out in.

“The event as a whole is a celebration of human expression,” said Opheim. “I don’t want to pigeonhole it into being anything. It is what it is, whether you like it or not.”

THIS IS HAPPENING WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: CH∆PTER TWO :: THE NEW SENSITIVISTS / July 5 / Armatta (3255 St. Jacques St.) / 9 p.m. / $5

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