I’ve been on a [tag]poetry journey[/tag] most of my life. From the first time I labored to arrange words on paper I have set one foot before the next on the path to a greater understanding of the Universe I live in, and the Universe within. I don’t always know where the words come from, but I touch them as they pass through. This personal journey is also universal. I’ve shot my arrows, shed my metaphoric clothes and censored my inner censor, on stages small and large in never-ending transformations. Now I share my path with a man who is my partner, and has arrived at the same destination from a different starting point altogether. We are the same, but different.
We are different, but the same. We are in symmetry, and what has evolved from our partnership is a family, is Listen & Be Heard Arts, Culture & Entertainment Magazine, is Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf?. A woman walked into our unique caf? in downtown Vallejo a few weeks ago and said to me “we are all so grateful for everything you are doing for our community.” She was talking about the stage that hundreds of performers have made their own for a few minutes or hours, and the magazine that has shed light on an arts community that was being largely ignored on this side of the Bay Bridge. I just want to set the record straight. We are not doing anything for anyone. We are just doing what needs to be done. We aren’t trying to manufacture stars, or be anyone’s fan club. We are just functioning in a position that we created for ourselves and other creators to use as a tool for communication and outreach to larger audiences. We didn’t arrive here because we sat down and analyzed the market. We’ve both already been traveling along detours and byways for a long time. We each passed the point of no return years ago. It’s been a journey taken one step at a time. Now we travel together.
But why have we been working so hard to shed light on Vallejo? The simple answer is that this is where we live. I won’t try to get into why the world is the way it is, but our mission was and is simple. We are busy creating. We need to spread the word about our creations so that we can make meaningful connections with people. We saw what needed to be done and got to work creating the venue, and getting the message out to people from Oakland to Vacaville looking for alternatives. We had no time to step into the spotlight ourselves. But you can’t change a tiger’s stripes and you can’t keep a wild horse if he never gets to run. The next leg of the journey is to come full circle back to where it all began, the microphone, the spotlight, the stage.
Poetry brought Tony and I together. At the time I was the producer of Listen & Be Heard Open Mic, a transplant from New York City. The open mic has always been a way for me to work on my craft in front of an audience from week to week, no matter if I had bookings or publishers. The open mic was and is my weekly date with the weaving of words and music. Every Thursday night I arrived at the appointed time at Rafael’s and shared what I had to offer at the start of the night. When Tony showed up and got on the mic, it was very apparent that he was the master of the microphone. It was the beginning of a new journey for both of us that has brought us to a new place today. The inspirations on scraps of paper, the poetry written in the heart, the late night third round experimentations with rhythm and sound during the Friday open mics at the Caf?, the poetry intermissions during Jazz Saturdays, even the occasional impromptu improvisations on comedy night have brought us to a place where we want to polish what we have already created and offer something entirely new, a musical poetic journey.
In the last year, we have been the only venue in Vallejo that has offered the highest quality of Jazz on a weekly basis. We have done this because we share an appreciation for live music, and most especially for our unique American art form that is Jazz. One of the bands we have featured on several occasions is led by a Vallejo local, Johnny Ramos, who originally came to us as one of Julie Brand’s All Stars. Forming his own combination, Johnny and the “B” Goods, they have blended standards and funk, ballads and beats into the perfect balance of celebration and contemplation. The poetry intermission began to blend with the jazz program when some late night spontaneous improvisational accompaniments happened, that will now be solidified into some more formal arrangements. So what used to be Martha doing her unique thing, and Tony doing his unique thing will now be Martha and Tony in poetic symmetry, balancing each other’s extremes, complementing each other’s voices, open to improvisation, but with a structure that will lead you along a highway constructed of melody and rhyme, rhythm and the mysteries of time.
We hope that you will join us when we get together with Johnny and the “B” Goods for five consecutive Saturdays in October and November, ready to take you back to the ancient art of poetry put to music, and forward on a journey through the ever-expanding universe.
Wishing each of you Peace and Poetry
Martha Cinader Mims
[tag]A Musical Poetic Journey[/tag]
featuring Martha & Tony Mims
with Johnny & the ?B? Goods
October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11
[tag]Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf?[/tag]
818 Marin Street, Downtown Vallejo 94590