Hearse Verse

"Day of the Dead Beats" has become autumn tradition for local poetry aficionados

Oct 30, 2002 at 4:00 am
It seems that Paul Thiel's "Day of the Dead Beats" readings have something in common with KISS concert tours: Both events are billed as the last ever, but invariably the old men can't stay away for long.

That's good, though, because Thiel's annual celebration of Beatnik scribblings, like a KISS concert, is full of fire and bombast and leaves you on a high. For the first time, the Halloween poetry reading will take place at the Focal Point, and Thiel promises to bring plenty of cheap wine to lubricate the proceedings.

Local poets including Michael Castro, "Poet Laureate of Soulard" Uncle Bill Green, Ann Haubrich, Marvin Hohman, Kevin McCameron, Tom "Papa" Ray, Lennie Smith, Brett Underwood, poetry-slam queen Elizabeth Vega, Agnes Wilcox and the man in the brown hat, Hari Sky Campbell, will read the works of such Beatnik authors as Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Charles "Hank" Bukowski, Diane DiPrima, Gregory Corso, Denise Levertov and Rochelle Owens in a festive atmosphere.

Also new this year, San Diego political-satire musicians the Prince Myshkins play funny songs set to klezmer and folk melodies to start the evening. The guitar-and-accordion duo's 2000 debut CD, Shiny Round Object, sold out its first pressing "in just three months of nonstop lack of promotion," according to the band's Web site. The pair is known for their matching outfits of white shirts, bow ties and bowlers, which have brought Waiting for Godot to mind for more than one reviewer.

The Beat poets and admirers in attendance will probably perform a spirited group reading of Ginsberg's "Howl," and maybe Castro will whip out his own Beat gem, "The Man Who Looked Into Coltrane's Horn" ("The mean streets leaned in, hairy with hippies, skittish with speed freaks, pulsing with poor Puerto Ricans.")

The events will be broadcast on both KDHX (88.1 FM) and the DHTV network on cable at a later date.