The latest Late Night event sponsored Student Involvement was the Caroline Rothstein and The Mayhem Poets performance in the Night Owl Cafe last Thursday, Feb 20.
“I enjoyed the openness of the poems,” Chelsea Harris, member of Student Involvement, said after the show. She continued, “We saw a brief performance by them at a conference and we decided that we wanted to bring them to Keene.”
When asked what part of the show she was most excited about, Harris’ answer was, “The audience participation during The Mayhem Poets.”
Kelly Welch, another member of Student Involvement, said, “I loved the show—definitely want to try and bring them back for a repeat performance.”
“I like being exposed to new things and I had never been to a professional poetry show before,” Welch said.
A Keene State College student attending the event, Hannah Gawrys said, “I loved the group poetry, and the professional performers.”
The four performers were Caroline Rothstein, Mikumari, Scott Raven and Mason Granger. The show started by the two groups settling the order of performing by flipping a coin with what Mason dubbed, “The Thumb of Destiny” which was an audience member’s thumb.
Rothstein won the toss and started the show off with her poem titled, “How to Have the Best Orgasm of Your Life,” about her old job as a waitress and taking chances with a guy she met during her shift. When she ended the poem she said, “Remember it’s about making choices, and taking chances.”
Rothstein also performed a racial profiling poem about adverse racism, another titled simply “The Slut,” and even a poem about unrequited love.
According to carolinerothstein.com, Rothstein lives in New York and is a body empowerment activist, performer and award-winning writer. Her one-woman play “Faith” was part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage 2012 Festival as well as the 2012 Planet Connections Theatre Festival.
Also according to the site, Rothstein has a B.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School. As a resource person of The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) since 2000, she speaks about her struggle to recovery in order to support patients and loved ones suffering with eating disorders.
In 2008 she began a “Body Empowerment” webcast on YouTube and blog on Tumblr.
She posts new videos on the first and third Monday of each month, and the blog includes person works from Rothstein and links to related work by others who are trying to help promote healthy eating.
During a later act, The Mayhem Poets switched performing between themselves and as a group. One poem they all did was a single word poem. Mikumari, Granger and Raven took turns saying one word and having the others continue the sentence. The flow of the poems demonstrated how the performance has grown since its beginnings in 2000 at Rutgers University.
Mikumari said, “Someone told me poems were about people saying deep, romantic and cool words.” So to be deep Mikumari said, “If a fly lost its wings would it be called a hop?” And to act cool he decided to, “Say cool shit like air conditioning, or polar bear flatulence.”
The Mayhem Poets have been featured on the Today Show and ABC News, and in 2006 they won the Microsoft Idea Wins Challenge and received 100 thousand dollars, according to their website. The point behind the Mayhem Poets is to reshape how poetry is viewed by society.
In New York City they provide opportunities for aspiring poets with their program Slam Chops which helps educate the young performers, according to Mayhempoets.com.
Granger brought up an application that is due to be released on March 20 called ‘Slamfind’ which will allow people to look up different poetry events and post videos of them for others to come and enjoy the show. This was the Mayhem Poets second time performing at KSC and the three Mayhem Poets said they, “enjoyed performing for everyone.”
Nicholas Martin can be contacted at email@example.com