By Bailey Tennery
Red curtains were draped along the walls of the Siren’s Song Tavern. A live artist painted on a blank easel. Fold up chairs were set up, but there weren’t enough chairs to seat everyone who came to listen to the brave people who went up to the microphone to share what they had prepared .On Feb. 2, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., Therese FitzMaurice and Vanessa Vrtiak hosted a poetry slam night in downtown Eureka to connect the community .This month’s theme was love in all its many forms.
DJ Goldylocks’ real name id Jay Collins, 29. Collins spun records throughout the night. Before DJing he worked for a pirate radio station. Goldylocks was his alias name. The name originated from his best friend’s younger brother. Collins used to go to the Accident Gallery where the poetry slam used to be held. He loved going, but wanted to do more.
“I’ve known Vanessa since childhood we grew up in Mckinleyville together,” Collins said. “When she came back from Santa Fe, I told her I wanted to DJ for her.”
Not all speakers who performed read poetry. There was a political rant, a scripted theater performance, a music solo, and one short story about a robot learning to love.
Erin Eckis, 25, is a Humboldt state graduate. Currently she works as care a taker for disabled adults. Eckis tries to go to these events as much as she can.
“I learn something about myself when I listen,” said Eckis. “Spoken word moves something inside of me.”
A local filmmaker Eileen Mcgee ,65, arrived early to the Tavern to set up her video camera. Each participant who went up to speak was filmed.
“People share, we can all relate,” said Mcgee. “This provides a political forum to put on television.”
Mcgee puts the footage on a website called Archive.org. The site is a community based nonprofit. Mcgee has been filming for more than 10 years. She has been filming poetry slams going on 5 years.
Co-host Vanessa Vrtiak an inmate program coordinator in Eureka created a friendly and welcoming environment. Vrtiak mixed profanity into her speeches when holding the mic in her hand.
“I have no filter, no one will remember this,” said Vrtiak as she laughed. Mcgee sitting behind her camera waves a hand to gets Vrtiak’s attention then quietly she pointed to the video camera.
“The camera will remember, and so will you I guess,” said Vrtiak.