Follow Up to Shanghai Voices Reading
by Ryan Thorpe
This last Wednesday night we had an amazing second Shanghai Voices with four very different readers, but I enjoyed all of them in their own ways. David Tait was first, and with his dry humor and mix of the personal and the political, the blunt truth blended with apt metaphors, won over the crowd. His poem dedicated to the health of Boris Johnson particularly won me over.
Lily Wu did not read as much as recite her first piece, which was a modern adaptation of Peony Pavillian and how the line between life and death can be mirrored in the line between love and loneliness. Her second piece, which is soon to be a play in Suzhou, features the workshop trying (and at times suceeding) in giving advice about writing as the individual members of the writing workshop struggle with life in and out of their writing. I personally was a big fan of that awesome professor character. 🙂
Max Yu kicked off the second half of Shanghai Voices, and he blew the doors off that room with his fast, high-energy reading that carved itself into the audience rather than simply leaving an impression. Without using any microphone he filled that room with tales of traveling to China, drifting in and out of love, discovering and quesitoning his identity, and learning that at times, grave markers also look like nipples. His poems about identity hit hard as he peeled back the layers of identity to look how it functioned, a painful process that everyone knows but few are brave enough to articulate.
The reading concluded with the musical stylings of Chad Higgenbottom who strummed his way through three pieces on both guitar and ukelale. My favorite was his comic piece on the uke about evangelicals in a nightclub. I’ve never heard grinding described quite so awkwardly or seeing a door fee akin to an offering plate donation.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out. Thank you many times to our amazing readers who did so well and brought a little joy and reflection in these times of recovery.
Look forward to seeing all of you at the next Shanghai Voices!
Special thanks to Michele Farley for the amazing photos.
Thank you to Loft 1900 for hosting us!