On Saturday I emceed the Word is Art Stage at the Columbus Arts Festival. All day. For seven hours. It was fabulous.
Sixteen poets read during the afternoon (there was one no show) all of them did quality sets that had the crowd either pausing to hear a poem, or stopping to sit and hear more than one. If I write about everyone, I'd be here all day!
Took a few pictures that you can see here.
The return of Arts Fest to the riverfront was a great success. There were good sized crowds on Saturday and Sunday. I was not there for Friday, when it was cold and damp.
Thursday night, I checked out the site of the stage.
It was a prime spot at a major entrance point to the festival. There was constant foot traffic, and great people watching. Although I did not get to see Art Shark, I did manage to run into someone on Saturday who was having just as good a hair day as I was.
It's not every day I get to see the Mayor of Columbus. Michael Coleman is a very good man, and better sport.
Did not have much time to see the festival, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. The poets were all wonderful to work with, and I thank them for giving me introductions as my improv skills were inconsistent. I apologize again for mispronouncing names.
My favorite thing of the weekend was seeing Nancy Kangas. She brought a prop with her. At first I thought it was a storage file for her poetry, which would have been awesome. Turns out, she was using it as a rim shot during a series of short poems. Which had me giggling the whole set.
Last year, her set was cut short my a massive wind storm. This year, she got to complete it, and brought out the sun!
Emceeing was hard. Seven hours of anything is an endurance test, I think I passed. I thank Scott Woods for working with me, Lamar Jordan for always being available, and Kevin, our sound man all weekend.
The slam was fun, and loose. Alexis, Walli myself and Brandon took part. There were also police horses involved. I had to yell at Walli to remove himself from a woman and get to the stage. Scott kept saying I owned the festival. Brandon won the slam.
I was tired at the end of the night. Woke up the next morning with a headache than went all the way down my body.
Back to the festival. Scott left early. Lamar was not really interested in emceeing (shy kid), so I ended up taking the stage again.
The folks at Wild Goose Creative were excellent. They really pulled the crowd to seats with some very entertaining storytelling. Passersby would stop, watch for a good length of time, smiling the whole while. Such extraordinary talent in the Columbus scene.
That's Andy Anderson.
The whole afternoon went well, despite an incident in which a young girl was hit in the head by a display sign. First aid was called, but none was required. There was also a lost child incident on Saturday that was quickly resolved with a happy reunion. I wore SPF 50 so there was no sunburn.
Really, a great Arts Festival weekend. Everyone did a fantastic job. Two more people I do want to name are Shana Scott, who coordinated everything and worked with us on the Word is Art Stage and Festival Director Scott Huntley. We had a photo shoot in the fountain, he rolled up his pant legs, took off his shoes and went into the fountain, dragging us in with him. He is the type of boss I would go to the wall for, needless to say, I went into the fountain, shoes on.
I also want to thank Greg Bartram of for taking this picture of me that does not suck.
He did some great work all weekend. You can see some of it here.
And how can I leave out Johan Santana, pitching the first no hitter in Mets history on Friday night? Been waiting for this to happen a good chunk of my life and I'm glad it was Santana. After being out all of last season and most of the year before with a shoulder injury, it was great to seem him cap off this comeback season. Came home Friday night to a flurry of email asking me if I was watching. By the time I got home, the game was over. I do not care that I missed it live, it happened! And I got to see the highlights. Go Mets!
I also cannot omit the efforts of the Writers' Block Poetry Slam team, who won the Rustbelt Slam this weekend. Big congratulations to Vernell, Hanif, Izetta, Louise and Gina for bringing the belt home!