Monday, March 25, 2013

This was going to be a short post about my experience of YouAreHere 14-24 March 2013.

YouAreHere versus the Australian Public Service

YouAreHere 2013 has ended, and for me closes with leaving the Australian Public Service. This presents simultaneous emotions, tensions, and options.
Me at Woodford Folk Festival in 2008/09 by Asher Floyd
The Public Service has been at once liberator, providing steady income; and safety net, providing a reason to not push in certain directions. It has also given some unbelievable highs, interesting situations, invaluable experiences and personal interactions, but the law of diminishing returns has kicked in.
Joel Barcham and me
at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
And while I have left the office and will not be back it is still providing a limited lifeline allowing me to traverse tracts of the United States via train, explore parts of the United Kingdom, and hike across the north of Spain, perform poetry, and then finally resign.
Me, Joel and Bela Farkas
at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere

Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! versus YouAreHere

Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! feels like it has ended for me, and ended on the most massive high; one that I could not have planned or imagined.

Things started strong in the Phoenix with Kabo performing The Night They Set Canberra on Fire to an audience that was intensely honest and vocal in appreciation of a poem first performed at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! in 2011.
Raphael Kabo
at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
Hadley returned to take us through a beautifully comforting set of poems. 
Hadley returns to Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit!
on 20 March 2013 #1
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
That had all three of my favourite Hadley poems, including rickety planes and flying-goggles, cabbage wings, orbiting love, and free range. And Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! yawped in approval.
Hadley returns to Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit!
on 20 March 2013 #2
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
Amelia performed feature poems combining writing and performance that Catullus would have explained using salt but cannot be satisfactorily translated by me into English, particularly Parentheses.    
Amelia Filmer-Sankey
at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
The crowd went everywhere they wanted to go. Including with mystery act Fuzzsucker who clearly split the audience for or against (and what is the point if a poetry slam if it isn’t forcing a decision from someone). The audience demonstrated this division in the most frankly loving way, with an unplugging of Fuzzsucker leading to a feature set dance party with the band.
Fuzzsucker at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
And because nothing is perfect there was the absence of one of those people who made BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! what it is, Amanda Coghlan, but to me that BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! can continue first with Hadley absent, and with Amanda absent, well then I expect Joel and Adam will know next month what they need to do and everyone will remind them of what they forget – POETRY SLAM! – and it will continue without me.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission and Joel
at Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! on 20 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere

YouAreHere versus The Tragic Troubadours

The Tragic Troubadours held a workshop for everyone in the middle food court of the Canberra Centre, a place that has produced many of our poems. Some people turned up.
The Tragic Troubadours at the middle food court
of the Canberra Centre on 14 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
I am particularly stoked that Adam Thomas’ photo of this event ended up as the cover photo to YouAreHere’s facebook page during the festival

The Troubadours then went into the bus interchange for a full week to perform poems, with veterans Skip and Bela beside new recruits Florny and Arrin. And I think the variety and the passion of the performers meant we met the warmest of receptions and reactions that exceeded anything I could have hoped for from people waiting for buses, especially on the rainy days.
Interchange poetry - Tragic Troubadours
from YouAreHere On Vimeo

Page versus Stage versus YouAreHere

I ran Page vs Stage with Paul Magee and Tim Kent, and was invaluably helped by Joel Barcham. Page vs Stage was an experiment and became, despite my best efforts, a sincere exploration of the creativity of both the Sydney-based Tim Kent who was exceptional and honest, and Paul Magee whose enthusiasm and joy for poetry and performing and listening to it totally contradicts the cliché that someone in a university may try to own poetry in some white tower somewhere.
Page vs Stage: The You Are Here Combat Edition
from You Are Here On Vimeo.

YouAreHere versus the writer-in-residence

Thanks to David Finnigan I got to be the YouAreHere writer-in-residence and write about the creativity of people, including a script-writer, a punk rock cook in two parts – I and II, an experimental musician, two zine makers who are zine fair organisers, a CSIRO scientist, and a few musicians over breakfast — but with so many options missed I still feel chances went wasted.
Doubting Thomas
at Australia 2050 on 17 March 2013
by Adam Thomas for YouAreHere
And really, Festival Breakfast, you should have tried to make at least one of those. They were the best opportunities the festival offers for anyone to daily access all levels of YouAreHere, from the art it creates, to the artists making it, to the festival curators and producers putting it all together.

YouAreHere versus The End

Throughout all that I have made connections, missed others, was quite often confused, fell in and out of love, broke hearts, had mine broken, changed sex to rent submarines (green ones) and managed to yell and be a dinosaur gangster on the streets of the Canberra. I am pretty sure all that happened.

Toward finally; one thing I learned from listening to Tim Kent and Paul Magee was that the multiplicity of voice in art, the making of sense from voices in other peoples’ art, the presenting of art to others, in whatever form, and being ecstatic when someone else finds something there, whatever voice it is they find, is the driver for some other people and one I share.

And finally, whoever you are reading this; if you have got this far I would probably fall for you if we hung out. Or I already have.
Me, Arrin Chapman, Bela Farkas
and a person waiting for a bus
with The Tragic Troubadours
at Civic Bus Interchange on 21 March 2013
by Sarah Walker for YouAreHere
Andrew Galan — YouAreHere 2013 writer-in-residence

All photos by the YouAreHere 2013 Festival Photographers Sarah Walker or Adam Thomas; check out all the photos at YouAreHere Canberra’s Photostream. All videos by YouAreHere 2013 Festival Film-maker’s Erica Hull and Shane Parsons; check out all the videos at the YouAreHere Canberra Vimeo page.

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