I’m a fan of combining the contrasting: Cottage cheese and French dressing, unexpected, yet delicious; plaid and floral-print, if they share a palette, why not? Sarah Palin and erudite discourse … well, some things just don’t mix. Others, however, beg to unite. For example, comedy and poetry, a union masterminded by Fyodor Sakhnovski and Mojdeh Stoakley (pictured), the brains behind Words That Kill, a monthly poetry/comedy/performance mash-up. The event is just one of the many exhibitions produced by Sakhnovski and Stoakley’s collective/company, Lethal Poetry. With WTK’s third season launch party set for Thursday, Jan 20th, Sakhnovski spoke to Our Town about his event’s aim and inception.
Our Town What inspired you to combine comedy and poetry?
Fyodor Sakhnovski Bringing more than one creative community together always seems to enhance and excite the experience. Comedians and poets live in separate worlds, and people who may be really into comedy might not even experience [Chicago’s] rich poetry community. Many may have prejudice against the other form of expression, so it's a chance to expose artists to one another.
OT Any memorable past performances?
FS Comedian Scott Derenger performed with us several times, but during the first was blown away by performance poetry, so much so that he forgot his own set. It was really funny and kinda precious. I guess he hadn't been to a performance poetry show before, and thought he was booked to perform at some boring monotone reading. We were also one of the last stages where the late Kent Foreman performed after a long hiatus from the Chicago scene.
OT Why make Words That Kill an all ages event?
FS Historically Chicago is a 21+ city. There are a lot of talented youth who need a place to express themselves and learn, but the best is when some 17 year old can teach a 50-year-old how it's done! Age doesn't define talent - but if you nurture it when it's beginning it will only get better.
OT Tell us about your new space.
FS creative lounge CHICAGO is a particularly beautiful gallery. We’re most excited [that] it's in the heart of Wicker Park, a neighborhood which has an history of nurturing the spoken word community.
OT What can we expect from your next shows?
FS This month is a rapid fire retrospective of several of the best performers from our previous seasons, [including] Marty McConnell, HBO Def Poet, Emily Lake and others. Then we'll dive into our main showcase section with our "super feature" Amy David, who has represented Green Mill in 3 National Poetry Slams! Also, Keith Ecker, co-host of Essay Fiesta - another charitable literary event. There will be refreshments for the guests, free wine (for those 21+), and DJ Limbs will be spinning all night! In February [look forward to] poets and comedians lamenting strange, or entangled relationships! This is not a Valentine's love celebration.
Catch Words that Kill Thursday, Jan 20th and every third Thursday of the month at creative lounge CHICAGO. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 or free with canned goods donation.
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez