"The hardest working man in poetry...
When it comes to the Open Mike, C.C. Arshagra wrote the bible."
THE JEFF ROBINSON TRIO POETRY JAM is a renowned American Venue. It is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious poetry gigs in the county (There are far-far too few).
The JR3 Poetry Jams is now dedcades into a life without any apparent end; the weekly 'Live Poetry & Jazz' venue events are living on. The JR3's Jam, has been joined from day-one by the one and only dedicated bassist and (Bottom-of-this-world-you-call-home) friend and being, Blake Newman.
"C.C Arshagra is a Boston poet and songwriter, one on the best in the Nation."
Jack Shea was a a poet, educator and Indy producer and director of the Documentary art/film 'Who Owns Jack Kerouac"
"I do not know anyone who has done more for the Open Mike than C.C. Arshagra."
Jack Powers is the founder and original Host of foremost and longest running weekly Open Microphone Poetry Reading in the United States of America.
"I have known C. C. Arshagra the better part of a generation and have witnessed his poems -- his children -- grow and blossom in skill, in kindness, in magnanimity. He is truly a romantic optimist whose work should be known and read."
"Finally, I met a writer, C.C. Arshagra, who passed around a photograph of a poem he'd written at a construction site the day after 9-11 (Boston). Composed on a 12-foot-high sheet of plywood, the poem, entitled "Love is Not Afraid," mystified those that encountered it who felt they could do nothing.
Well, Arshagra did something. He stood in as the perfect representative for all those writers who wrote poetry in the days that followed 9-11 (or who unearthed poems and shared them with others in an act that can only be described as collective mourning)."
See Photo of work in Original Art Gallery here on this site.
"We need to be as compassionate towards others and ourselves as Arshagra is toward those who approach the Open Mike."
Richard Wilhelm Poet and Art Journalist reviewed C.C. Arshagra's "The Open Mike Poems (A chapbook series) is said to be the first work on it's kind in The Open Microphone's cultural history" Here he has documented the public art form the public art form in poetry form.
Reviewed in Ibbetson Street Press
C.C. Arshagra's experimental Live music composition Art-band project
The project of art making goes live in a variety of setting: Art Rooms, Salon House Parties: Galleries, and Jams at Open venues. Check out the spectrum of creative results.
Funk Physics YouTube Page (Some videos require those of age to click past Adult Content Warning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wKXmw-aVo0&index=2&list=PLerbzVXT4On1raB79kB5f-Ff2tcdqwrG6
From YouTube page CulturalCommunicationArts.
As artist, videographer, text animator, producer, director, and as archivist of art, activism, cultural happenings, events and venue concepts ... these creation fall under the life-work heading of CulturalCommunicationArts
Like the Facebook page HERE
Subscribe to the YouTube Channel HERE
LOVE IS NOT AFRAID 8 ' x 12" House paints on Plywood September (13/14) 2001 C.C. Arshagra
1. Alms for the poet - a theatrical short
2. Complete Naked Honesty
3. And We Remain
4. Glass Made of Sand Told by Time
5. You alone thought gratitude could be forgotten
This seemed to be the week for eclecticism. Not only was there a lot of stylistic crossover in music over the weekend, but the local musicians played in a variety pf repertoires.
X Y Eli band held their CD release party. on Saturday night at Scarlet O'Hara's. There was more than just music on the bill. Starting the some was Boston poet C.C. Arshagra. Three members of the band backed Arshagra while he delivered a set from th4 third bbok of his Open Mike series called "What Manner of Character." "When Gas Mask the poet walked in to the reading, all heads would suddenly turn/The word sprayer, hate maker and poetic fumigator/ He always set a flurry of panicking whispers/Most of them suggesting he call 911" exclaimed Arshagra.
Rapper Knotty Head-----or as X Y Eli called him "a lyrical stylist"-----joined the band, sometimes as front man and otherwise backup singer. The steamy, passionate blues of Redhouse's guitar combined with the showmanship of X Y Eli made a spectacular expression. The group performed songs from their CD Come Into My World, a mix of Louisiana blues, rhythm andbles, rock, and rap. All the lyrics and music are written by X Y Eli except for the the lyrics of "I Got A," which was written by Arshagra. That is one of the best songs on the CD, with the union of the two different mediums-----poetry and music----making it all the sweeter. Adding to the sound is the bass of Dave Kinney and percussion of Brian Marcus.
A few covers were included like "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations and "It's Your Thing. Do What You Want To Do" of the Isley Brothers fame, which got the party Started right.
November 8, 1997
Volume 22 Number 55
C.C. Arshagra sits on futon couch at the Phoenix Coffeehouse in Cambridge with a guitar resting on his lap, trembling.
"The first time i did this was at T.T. the Bears, the Stone Soup Poets. I was shaking" says Arshagra. "I still shake."
Arshagra, dressed all in black and wearing a worn top hat and wire-frame glsses over a trimmed beard, is about to take the stage at the coffeehouse'd Sunday openmike. He's a poet, but he's borrowed a guitar from the singer-songwriter sitting next to him so he can accompany himself.
His first open mike was a Y.T.'s years ago. "I thought I was good," say the 39-ear-old poet, who supports himslf bu driving horse carriage in Boston. " But I've come a long way since then. Open mike has been my school. If you become a regular, you're challenged to write something new each week."
Arshagra is more than a regular. He's a self-described "open mike junkie." From the Phoenix, he'll head up Massachusetts Avenue to the Lizard Lounge to perform again, this time backed by Jeff Robinson Trio at what Robinson likes to call a "poetry jam." Often, Arshagra admits, he performs up to five times each week.
Dozens of open mikes and open jams luring aspiring, practicing, and secret artists on stage around Boston nearly every night of the week. If your a poet, actor, dancer, musician, or comic, you can try out the spotlight and develope your skills. Open mikes and open jams often act as the threshold between a living-room performer and going pro.
Ask Steve Watt, who sits in with his banjo and mandolin at the bluegrass picking party the Geoff Bartley hosts Tuesday nights at Cambridge's Cantab Lounge. "If we didn't have this, people would be playing in their living rooms," say the 53-year-old Watt, a software engineer. His true Life Bluegrass band occasionally gets featured at the picking party. "They'd have less, and they'd be less likely to be playing out."
Most open mike events highlight feature performers. They provide polished, professional performances that draw an audience beyond would-be musicians and poets who have signed up for the open mike. They're good role models for the amateurs in the house.
CHEAP NIGHT OUT
Clubs usually hold open mikes and open jams on off nights, such as Sundays and Mondays. The events come with ready-made audience and no-cost acts. Even the featured performer often gets paid when the hat is passed, or with a free dinner. The low-budget entertainment trickles down to the audience: Covers vary from zero to $10, but usually don't go over $5. If you have a hankering to perform, show up a half-hour before show time and sign up.
Every open mike has it's own style. On this Sunday at the Phoenix Coffeehouse, as Arshagra strums his borrowed guitar and recites his lyrics about rhinos turning to stone, the lights are up throughout the house. Coffee drinkers chat in the back. other poets and singers loll about on sofas, waiting for their turn on stage, applauding heartily after each performance.
Across the street at the Dance Complex, actors, singers, and dancers at the weekly improve workshop Gardening at Night might wrestling on the floor, engaged in a movement warmup called Contact Improv. Here, if you straggle in to sit on the bleachers and watch, you be invited to join in, as Studio One at the dance Complex becomes a giant playroom for adults. This is also one open mike event where constructive criticism is built into the format after each performance.
Singer Dinah Steward has been coming to Gardening at Night for about six months. "I'm terrified of improv, " says Steward who is 26 and pursuing a career in music. Still, virtually every week since she's been coming, Steward has stood up and improvised a song. her incantatory style is at once commanding and vulnerable. lately, Gardening at Night facilitators have urged her to improv with dancers, or to sing poems that others have brought in.
the experience has transformed her. "I'm starting to go to open mikes around town," Steward says. "This has helped me redevelop a totally new craft doing music. I feel so much more brave. The people and the set-up here - it's so comfortable and safe and everybody wants to be here."
CHEERS and JEERS
Many open mikes are as supportive as gardening at night, where audience is made up of mostly sympathetic performers. Open poetry readings have a reputation for warmth as well. Comedy open mikes, however, are only for the strong of heart.
"some people, their friends tell them they're funny, so they come in and go on stage, and find sometimes it's not like in their living room," says Vinny Favorito, who runs the Wednesday open mike a Nick's Comedy Stop in Boston.
Stand-up comedians are perhaps the first thing you think of when you hear "open mike." Comics hoping to be the next Jay Leno or Kevin Meaney -- who both got their start at Boston Club -- better be patient. Favorito says he's booked a coupe of months in advance. If you're eager to wait, stop by Jacques's amateur talent night on Wednesdays. Comics, poets, and singers have all been known to take the stage with more regular drag queens, who make up more than half of of the performers each week.
Unlike comedy, open music jams are first come, first served, Arrive early, sign up, and sit in for two or three songs. As who comedy, though, audience at music jams have high expectations. Blake Newman, 30, who now makes his living as a bassist for the Jeff Robinson Trio, used to sit in on blues jams at Wally's when he was a student at Berklee.
"It was tough," Blake Newman remembers. " People could get booed off the stage. That doesn't happen in poetry. When the poet's finished, everybody realizes it's scary to be up there: it's a risk. "
Wally's, the venerable jazz and blues club on Mass Ave. in the South End, holds open jams every night .. Latin music, jazz, and blues, fusion, and blues, The place gets packed, and in the heat of the grove, musicians have been known to make their way through the crowd, out onto the sidewalk, and back again without missing a beat.
CATCH AN AGENT"S EAR
If you're a musician who is new in town, the jams are the best place to hook up with other musicians and begin to find paying gigs. Who knows -- maybe your style on blues guitar with catch the ear of a booking agent in the audience.
"I had a saxophone player stop me and say "I need some work,'" recalls Jeff Robinson, 33. "I said, " Well, go down to Wally's,"
Over at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, where music and spoken word mix, the scene is dark and smoky. The smooth jazz playing behind each poet gives the evening a distinctive beat feel. Te crowd gets behind Jamarhl Carlton Crawford, humming and nodding and crooning "amen" as he swings through his fully edgy, rap-infused rhythms.
Ultimately, it's the energy the performer and audience." says performance poet Michael McIntosh, 38, who has made a career out of coaching budding performers. "It's this whole trauma/epiphany that i go through. It's so important to have a space to do something important, and have people to witness it. It's terrifying and delightful. It's the thing I do that makes me feel most like I'm alive."
At the end of Arshagra's set at the Phoenix Coffehouse, he returns the borrowed guitar and settles down at a table behind an empty coffee cup. Listeners have shaken his hand and told him they liked his work. The shakes are over -- until two hours later, when he goes on at the Lizard Lounge.
"Each venue has it's own richness, is its own microcosm of the open mike culture, " Arshagra reflects. "Open Mike culture is part of Americana. More people should go, as both listeners and readers.
They should come and go up for the first time," he says smiling. Go ahead. Do it. Be scared."
is a freelance writer
A 100% creative fluke of wonder
MIDDLE EAST CROWD IN EXPANSIVE MOOD
by ROBIN VAUGHAN
It's the end of the night at Friday's installment of the WBCN Rock'n'Roll Rumble at the Middle East Up-stairs. The Big Bad Bollocks, led by mutton chopped, Northern English Artist and lyric poet John Allen, have just won their preliminary night with a pounding round of wild, beer soaked folk-punk, seemingly informed by the Pogues and "Braveheart. "
The effusive crowd moves into the front bar. The usual tangle of stalled traffic forms in the aisle beside the wall ---- known as "Joseph's table" It is prime Middle East real Estate, in the gracious company of co-owner and resident host Joseph Sater. Joseph hopes to see the bottleneck pattern of customers and kitchen traffic, thanks to the forthcoming annexation of the Indian restaurant next door (Between the Middle East's restaurant room and the corner bar/dining room).
In the tradition of the other 4 room at the Middle East (familiarly known as "upstairs" "downstairs" "bakery) the new dining room (now undergoing renovations) has yet to take on a new name of it's own. " I' don't know>" said Mr. Slater says with a shrug. "Maybe we'll just call it the "middle'... or the 'Middle middle.' "
At the next two-seater booth along the wall, other riddles of the universe are pondered. A succession of bar customers volunteer to sit down opposite Cambridge poet C.C. Arshagra and his video camera to answer the question "What is the difference between life and a work of art?" Eventually Arshagra, who video tapes poetry reading for Public Access television, the foot will be used as filler between segments in a three-hour block he's preparing for the internet channel Boston Band-width.
"The idea just popped into my head as I was sitting here." say the poet. "I asked a few people and then those people were telling their friends and before you knew it, people started waiting in line" to be interviewed. Their answers range from earnest diagnoses of their personal lives and artwork to more spontaneous physical reactions (two young women indicate that life and art meet in their tattoos, which they display on camera with proud howls.).
At another moment, a Middle East regular with a strong resemblance to Hoss Cartwright from "Bonanza" plants himself in the little booth and insists through the have of many beers that no matter what he is asked he will answer with complete honesty. he begins by introducing himself by name, height, age, and religious affiliation, then digs into some abstract philosophy vaguely related to the question. His buddy listens in from the aisle. Meanwhile" he says "this guy can't find his house."
The Nations Oldest news paper) covers C.C. Arshagra's New 2-tier (organically thought out social redesigned hybrid of a free speech / Open Microphone venue Concept.; namely: TheHumanRoom & TheOpenVoice written by Susie Davidson
The Open Mike Poems
A 3 Part Chapbook Series
C.C. ARSHAGRA'S OPEN MIKE POEMS
BY Richard Wilhelm
The Open Mike Poems by C.C Arshagra.
Vol. 1 Scared Sacred, 1998, 1999;
Vol. 2. Death of an Ego ,1998, 1999;
Vol. 3. What Manner of Character, 1999.
Press22 Cambridge, MA
C.C. Arshagra's Open Mike Poems form a three-volume chapbook about the process of creating and reading poetry. The poems explore both subjectively and objectively the thoughts and feelings that accompany the experience of reading in public and also what motivates one to do so. Arshagra's poems retain their clarity despite sometimes shifting perspectives. These poems take the reader inside, outside, and all around a thing or experience and then allow one to experience the process of experiencing.
What comes through most in these poems is the compassion in which they are grounded. These poems tell us that however risky or scary the process of reading( or, for that matter, writing) poetry can seem to the ego-self, the making of art is a damn important affair. The Many and diverse voices not only deserve to be heard, they need to be heard. And we need to be as compassionate toward others and ourselves as Arshagra is towards those who approach the open mike, as in Open Mile #17 (from Vol.2) :
Another new name
was called up to the mike
The bloody, driven sounds
of angry nails were heard
of the stage floor and the mike stand
It was hard here
and at times seemed impossible to see
Even harder to go on listening
to somebody being
one who is performing his
Covers The Boston Poetry Awards
April (National Poetry Month) 2000
CAMBRIDGE CENTER FOR ADULT EDUACTION
From Hip Hop to Homer
From experience I know that morning is not a good time for poets. For the mst part they are nocturnal creatures of 3 am epiphanies, captors of creative rumination, denizens of dark haunts. On Saturday morning, March 11, at the Cambridge Center For Adult Education, they gathered to gether in the venerable Bratle Theater in Cambridge to read, smooze, and kibbitz. Present were an eclectic group of poets: slammers, performerance artist, gay and lesbian bards, hip hoppers, and beats, a veritable mosaic of players on the poetry sceene. The show, hosted by Michael brown of Cantab Lounge fame, wasa provocative and always entertaining showcase of veteran and spanking new talent.
C.C. Arshagra (wearing his signature top hat) the author of the a series of chapbooks entitled Open Mike Poems and the video producer for Stone Soup Poets, Started the festivities. One of his poems, "Walker", charted the course of the poet on the journey of life, walking the road with all its pitfall and expected and unexpected beauty. Billy Barnum, one of the more veteran readers, appeared like an elderly sprite. His words sprinkled out of his mouth like ethereal stardust. Richard Cambridge, the host of Richard Cambridge's Poets Theater at Club Passim, read a powerful piece concerning the devastating effects that the end of rent control has waged on the citizenry of Cambridge. This was a very interesting perspective considering the man works as a real estate agent! C.D. Collins, a musician, massage therapist, poet and novelist, gave a country favor to this urban venue, with an affecting poem about her parents and her changing relationship with them. A number of Afro-American poets, notably Michael Ladd, Reggie Gibson, and "Boogie Man" provided poetry that sucker punched even the apathetic members of the audience. Ladd read a brilliant piece about his trip on ... hire van from the mean streets of the brox to the rarefied environment of Cambridge. In a highly skilled rendition of his poem, he related his amazement and anger around the striking dichotomy between these two areas. Of course no poetry festival would be complete without Founder of Stone Soup Poets, Jack Powers. He deliverd his poem with a sence of urgency and hifh emotion. He left the stage quickly, as he was in the middle of his bread run for a North End bakery. At sixty-something, he still displays the youthful energy and innocence of a much younger man. There were also representatives of the gay and lesbian poetry scene, such as Ren Jender a scholar of sarcasm who infused her biting wit into a loose structure. Brother Blue, the master storyteller, took off his shoes and claimed we are all on holy ground. I think most of the audience believed his as well they should. There were also fine performances by Elizabeth McKim, Cathy Salmons (a key organizer of the festival) and a host of others. All told it was a memorable start to the event.
During the afternoon i attended a workshop, moderated by C.C. Arshagra, entitled 'Building the Poetry Community. C.C. posed a question to this assembled cabal of Poets: "What is the main problem dividing the Poetry Community today? Soon it was evident that the Poetry Community had soon real issues. Powers, the elder statesman of the event, took a stand against what he saw as an increasing stratification of the poetry scene. He railed agaist what he saw as an increasing preoccupation with the bottom line or business aspect of the milieu. he felt that fojs on the circut are forgetting the art of poetry, and the "act of love" that poetry is. Others, like Michael Brown and Jeff Robinson of the Lizard Lounge, talked about the necessity of keeping an eye on the business end of things, because that's what keeps venues growing and thriving. At times the discussions were rather heated. The creator of the Amazon Slam (a lesbian group) proposed that people create there own venue. She told the audience that although men were not allowed to read at her venue, they could be in the audience. Some people felt that this was an indication of the ghettoization of the poetry scene. There was a call for a comming together of communities, rather than divisions based on artificial borders of sexuality, race, and gender. All inall, this discussion may have been the start of a healing process. From what i heard, many of the panelists hope to collaborate on future projects, including Tim Mason (Club Passim) and Michael Holley.
On Sunday, the highlight of the poetry festival, the award ceremony, capped off this weekend. Comedian and Sixty Minutes commentator Jimmy Tingle presented Lifetime Achievement Awards Jack Powers, Brother Blue, Diana De-Hovanessian (president of the New England Poetry Club), Liz McKim (Co-founder of poets in the Schools) and Billy Barnum. Tingle used the gaffes he made to good effect, often having the audience in riots of laughter. As Der-Hovanessian told me before the ceremony "This is what it's all about, a celebration of the oral tradition, the roots of poetry.
FREELANCE WRITER - Doug Holder
Massachusetts' Journal of the Streets
The North American
Street Newspaper Association
Cover Story: The Genetic Bill of Rights Painting Series by C,C. Arshagra and Mariam Muradian with full printed interview with the artist about the series and its journey to manifestation Written by
A London based fine art's Internet publication spotlight's American artist C.C. Arshagra in their Monthly artist' Interview
The Fool I am https://sinisterguru.com/2012/09/06/the-fool-i-am/
Femficatio Perspectives Sept 5th 2012
Interview C.C. Arshagra is speaking ... https://sinisterguru.com/2012/09/05/femficatio-perspectives-ccarshagra/
Femficatio is now online relaunched
See: SINISTER GURU
In 1997 C.C Arshagra is one of the first of only a few hundred authors on earth to be personally interviewed by Amazon.com in their earliest years of existence as one of the world wide web's first to succeed online companies. He was interviewed by a stranger who simply approached him at the bar when at a Stone Soup Poetry reading. it was only later that C.C. recalled the encounter when it was discovered online. The accuracy was remarkably actuate to memory. Arshagra recalls felling truly respected to the letter.
AMAZON.COM: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
C.C. A; I was about 24 years old at the time. My life just came to a natural crest. It fell upon my mind that i did not have a "life goal" (In other words) There was no one thing that i planed on doing with my life. No one-thing that was (to be) about what i would do with my life before it came to an end.
The year that followed was filled with, excitement, creative experiences. Writing was one of the key forms of express i touched on. As a result of this exploration of self. I reached the voice of a dream being born "I am going to write one classic ' novel for all ages, before i die.
The fifteen years that followed brought my life into this reality of being a living (self-taught0 poet. And so: hear i am." Write now."
AMAZON.com: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on your writing?
C.C. A.: I love the "Open Mike Culture" of poetry readings. Listening to others (as well myself) who breathe alive the spoken words they've written.
it is their living success and walking failures that often fall and get up again as the pages of alive keep turning the book of life. This is what I read, and this is what has the strongest influence on ...
AMAZON.com: Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter, or computer)? Do you have a favorite location or time of day (or night0 for writing? What do you avoid--or seek!--distractions?
C.C. A.: -1) There is nothing mundane about the details of writing (if i may say so: in my own humble opinion.) 1b) hours? "As many as I can." -2) First draft by hand. From the 2nd draft (and on) usually on the computer. -3) -Home is where the pen moves. 4.) Avoid? See? I'd rather you ask why so i love so this rare passage of moment to moment life.
AMAZON.com: Do you meet your reader at book signings, conventions, or similar events? Do you interact with your readers electronically through e-mail or other online forums?
C.C. A.: 1) Yes. 2) Now I do. But I must a-d-dmit it's very- very knew: I just recently joined the internet for the first time (This August 1997)
AMAZON.com: When and how did you get started on the Net? Do you read any newsgroups such as rec.arts.books and rec.arts.sf.written, mailing lists, or other on-line forums? Do you use the net for research--or is it just another time sink?Are you able to communicate with other writers or people you work with over the Net?
C.C. A.: Still learning. Hope i always will be. will you email?
The footer reads:
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(the doc print out that survived all these years actually spelled amazon
A Femficatio Film © 2013
Producer - Kamaria Muntu
Editor Charlee Martin
based on the
Spoken Mind Poem:
You Believe ~ 2013 C.C. Arshagra