I’ve spent quite a bit of time at Area 23 lately. Last Sunday I attended a free women’s self-defense course, led by a Free State Project early mover who also happens to be a black belt and tae kwon do instructor. He brought along two coworkers and a lot of protective gear, and let all the students have at it with hands, feet and knees. Fun!
Immediately afterwards, the Manchester Community Grange held its bi-weekly meeting in another room of Area 23. Great progress has been made on the greenhouse at New Horizons; in fact, some spinach has already been harvested.
On Wednesday I went back to Area 23 for part two of the excellent encryption class I attended two weeks earlier. Another full two+ hours of material was delivered, including discussion of the apprehension of the Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts. I went straight from there to Murphy’s Taproom to meet other Porcupines for the free weekly stand-up comedy show.
Last night it was BACK to Area 23 for an Informal U course on… makeup application. A professional esthetician who teaches at a beauty school brought loads of makeup and supplies and provided instruction in how to make oneself beautiful… or at least, less prone to shattering mirrors. I had a feeling that makeup application is not my forte when, after examining the results of each student, she proclaimed “Excellent… good… perfect…. Um, Sandy, I’ll work with you in a bit…” Derp. In any case, I certainly left the room looking better than when I entered it, and got to take home assorted brushes, swabs and other beautifying instruments.
Immediately after the makeup class was an event called “Artsy Fartsy”. There have been several of these held previously in Manchester, but this was the first time I was in town for one. The idea is that attendees demonstrate their creative talents for one another in whatever manner they choose: spoken word, poetry recitation, singing, playing an instrument…. I considered what I could offer in the way of creative talents, but since I’m woefully out of practice on assorted musical instruments, assure you that you do NOT want to hear me sing, and thought that dark, angst-filled poetry would be a downer, I decided to read one of my blog posts from a blog I maintained several years ago.
Prior to the performances, a sizable crowd of at least fifty people gathered to chat, drink and enjoy menu options of Chicken Curry, Spinach (Saag) served with Basmati Rice and Baked Penne Pasta with Ricotta and meat sauce. Beer, wine and cocktails were also available, with donated proceeds going to support Area 23.
The first performer of the evening was a talented musician who played the ukulele and sang. After that came a woman reciting poetry. Then, not necessarily in order and this may not be a complete list as I wasn’t taking notes, came… a gentleman singing ribald sea chanteys; poetry-themed poetry (how meta is that?) accompanied by plastic bucket bongo; a beautiful recitation of a Walt Whitman poem, accompanied by a raunchy joke (the same woman did both); a capella singing; live reenactment of stalker email sent to a female podcaster; reading of a poignant short story; an autobiographical essay; some R-rated anecdotes from a gay bar; more poetry; an autobiographical tale of adventures in the dive bars of New Orleans; a stand-up comedy routing; a slideshow; and live painting (as in, a woman was actually painting on an easel on stage while other performances were going on; the finished product, entitled “Bitch with a Gun”, was auctioned off. I bid, but sadly didn’t win.) My own contribution was well-received by the friendly crowd, (which is a good thing because I was so nervous I thought I might puke) and several people made complimentary remarks to me afterwards. The whole evening was filmed for posterity. All in all, it was a lot of fun, and free! Outside it was snowing and cold, but inside, a rowdy crowd of Porcupines and friends warmed each other hearts by creating their own entertainment.
If you’d like to read the piece I performed, you can find it in the next entry, friday jones’ diary. If you’d like to watch the video of me performing it… send cash. Lots and lots of cash. Or Bitcoin. That’ll work too.