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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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If you were to do any artistic performance for people what would it be? If you also wrote it what would it be about?

Would you do standup comedy? Sing? What might you write jokes about, or songs about? Or act? What might you write a scene about?

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    Feb 23 2013: Nobody will possibly invite me or pay for my artistic performance. But if they did, I would read poetry.
    I already wrote some, and they are about small moments and feelings of life in pain and joy with profound connections inside. They are private but if loved, they would travel and sit inside your hearts leaving enough space for everything in the world. They will claim nothing but serendipity.
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      Feb 26 2013: Pabitra, here in the United States, we have "open mikes," mikes meaning microphones, for example in coffeehouses, people sign up in advance and then perform whatever they wish, whether reading poetry, singing song, or other performance. They don't get paid, but they do get to perform. Apparently you don't have "open mikes" in India?
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        Feb 27 2013: Hi Greg! No I don't think we have 'open mikes' like you described in India. That's an interesting thing. In India there are places like Montmartre, where people gather to enjoy free and spontaneous expressions of art, like painting, singing, recital etc. But these places, despite being vibrant, are crowdy. I have never thought of performing there. I did recite poetry when I used to do theater, but that's not my own poetry either.
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          Mar 10 2013: Pabitra, apparently "crowdy" is bad? In what way?
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        Mar 10 2013: In a way that it's not an audience really. Poetry requires minute attention and a crowd is not supposed to pay that.
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          Mar 12 2013: wonder if it could be an interesting challenge to try to get a crowd interested in poetry of small, minute moments? I'm sure it could be done if one were a good enough performer. One doesn't have to read for that long, ten minutes or so.

          I think it's real gratifying to perform for an audience, that you get something you can't get any other way.
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        Mar 14 2013: In your part of the world there is a tradition of speaking poetry and Sarah Kay's name comes to mind. Or may be Suheir Hammad. Both featured in TED. But they had an audience not a crowd. Morever, both Sarah's and Suheir's poetry are like pamphlets, powerful messages. I am very doubtful if very personal, fine and dark poetry can ever pull a crowd into an audience. Can you imagine Cohen performing in a crowd?
        I remember to have performed reciting (not reading) a piece from my own poetry in theater, where I acted in a role of a convict going to be hanged next day. It was intense and very personal. But again the mood helped and it was a good audience, not a crowd.
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          Mar 14 2013: I bet I could do it Pabitra. Probably one would have to perform in a more dramatic, actorly way, making one's voice higher and then lower volume, taking some dramatic pauses, making dramatic eye contact then dropping one's gaze, actions that would grab the crowd's attention. As I say, there is something gratifying about performance, something you can't get anywhere else.
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        Mar 15 2013: I am happy for you. I absolutely understand the challenge and the gratification. My wife is a professional actor and theater artist (I did theater for 10 years myself). The smell of spirit, rustle of costumes, the lines, the intensity of the emotions and the anticipation when the lights came on and the the stage was taken are all too familiar for me. I still remember the darkness that was where people waited as I was lost in theatrical space.
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          Mar 15 2013: Well, you understand that I was talking about how one could read intense, intellectual poetry to a boisterous crowd and keep their attention?

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