More than 40 people gathered at the Shaky Alibi coffee house last Thursday for the inaugural GUYS READING POEMS open mic poetry night. The event was sparked by the feature film of the same title and director Hunter Lee Hughes was on hand to explain why it’s important for the film to evolve into a movement that can serve the needs of everyday people to express themselves through poetry. Seventeen readers performed throughout the night, some reading original work and others interpreting classic poetry. The monthly event will resume in 2017 on Thursday, January 5th at 7 p.m., once more at Shaky Alibi (7401 Beverly Boulevard). To get on the roster of performers, text “rsvp” to (424)34-POEMS and follow the prompts.
Here’s the full text of the speech from Mr. Hughes as he launched GUYS READING POEMS (open mic edition):
“For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Hunter Lee Hughes, and I directed a film called GUYS READING POEMS. It’s about a little boy who creatively uses poetry to survive being locked in a box by his own mother. Sometimes, the only solution to a heartbreaking problem is creative expression.
And really, deep down, aren’t we all heartbroken, just a little?
So at some point, I realized that GUYS READING POEMS wasn’t just a movie, a credit on IMDb, a calling card for my next Hollywood deal. GUYS READING POEMS is an idea. An old idea – nothing new about it, in fact. But you know, they say that everything old is new again. Maybe the time is right for boys, young men, guys, for everyone really – to look for solutions in old poetry books rather than video games, to give voice to their heartbreak with a pen rather than alcohol or drugs or guns. Because the terrain of poetry – joy, heartbreak, romance, inspiration – that terrain is what the good life is all about, even if the road to get there is so much harder than advertised.
I’m a lucky man. I have an incredibly satisfying career, terrific creative collaborators, many of them are here tonight, a great family and a wonderful love in my life. It was so hard to get to this moment, but I’m living the good life. And, in part, I got here through making the movie “Guys Reading Poems.” And now, it’s my duty to give the idea of GUYS READING POEMS to all of you. For whatever that is worth.
You may hear things tonight that you don’t like – it’s like those blu ray director’s commentaries where they say, ‘All opinions expressed here are the views of the artist alone.’ I don’t control who reads or what they say. In America and here at Shaky Alibi, we have free speech. But it’s my genuine hope that something you hear tonight might be a puzzle piece, a clue, a window into the good life through the joy, heartbreak, romance and inspiration of poetry.
To see the entire album of photos from the evening on Facebook, please click here.
To see some of the photos on Instagram, click here.