Take a break from small talk. On Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., Will Gibson and Billy Tuggle go big with spoken word poetry at the Arcata Playhouse ($12, $10 students, seniors and members). The two are also running a free workshop at 4 p.m. Gibson, whose bio states he was "born from a good idea and a bottle of bourbon," comes to the microphone with a bold intimacy that usually takes most of a bottle to achieve, whispering and shouting about falling in love, getting busted and being a father. Tuggle, aka Karma Threesixty, is a Chicago vocalist, poet and hip-hop culturalist who declares sweetly that "every poet is a sacrificial poet." His engrossing poems about subway tagging and police brutality remind you how smart and moving slam can be. Humboldt County's poetry collective A Reason to Listen, DJ Goldilocks and live art from Matt Beard will be expressing themselves as well.
On Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., poet and novelist Kim Addonizio brings her wise and wisecracking voice from the Bay Area to the College of the Redwoods Theatre ($5 donation). With Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement award, this is not her first open mic, folks. Her poems about love and loss inhabit the cities, streets, seedy rooms, fragile bodies and wily imaginations that we inhabit, and they speak the way we might speak to one another — with force and honesty — should we decide to cut the crap.
— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill