I thought we were going to a poetry reading.
I’ve never actually been to a poetry reading before. I sometimes wear the “hipster hat” online in addition to the many other hats I wear but the most I know about poetry readings is that people joke about snapping your fingers in lieu of clapping politely. And that you wear hipster clothes and sip coffee or cheap wine.
I figured I could do both of those quite well while people-watching and having a good time. Therefore, I put together what can only be described as a “hipster-wannabe outfit”, consisting of brown boots, my only pair of skinny jeans, a v-neck shirt and a camo-green jacket. I’m a social chameleon, y’all.
The group of us stopped for dinner first and had a few drinks. I didn’t worry since I figured I was going to be amusing myself in my head anyway. So by the time we arrived, I had a pretty good little buzz.
The first curveball of the evening hit me when we arrived at the venue. I was expecting a small, intimate place with low lighting, oil lamps on the tables and a small stage with only a stool and a microphone stand. The ACTUAL venue was the Museum of Contemporary Art.
We walked in and I felt immediately under-dressed. There was a long table full of hors d’oeuvres and most of the people mingling in the lobby were wearing either cocktail attire or nice clothes. I leaned over to one of my friends and whispered “Do you feel a little…out of place?”
“Yeah, I wish I’d worn a dress or something,” she whispered back.
Undeterred, we found the bar and ordered another drink. If we were going to look like riff-raff we might as well act the part.
Note: Do not Google “drunk hipster”. Just trust me.
Finally, people started filtering into a small auditorium where a stage had been set up with a desk and chair on the far left and a large projection screen center stage.
The show was a live performance by Al Letson of “State of the Re:Union”, which is an NPR show highlighting the struggles and triumphs of communities across the country. It was absolutely serious, passionate and thought-provoking. Normally, I would be interested in this kind of thing because I love positivity and stories about people coming together to make the world a better place.
However, I was absolutely unprepared for this and not in the correct frame of mind to appreciate any of it. I felt terrible, y’all. This guy is doing a great thing by highlighting these stories and bringing attention to communities that deserve it. He does a ton of legwork for each show and genuinely loves what he’s doing.
I felt like an ass.
It turned out okay though, because after the show we met up with Al and we were mostly sobered up enough to engage him and ask questions about the show and what he was doing. He’s a great guy and I envy him being able to talk to so many interesting and passionate people. His show is definitely worth checking out. But know what you’re getting into before you start slamming beers.