Update! The time of YOU BELONG EVERYWHERE screening has been changed
“You are a poet, invited on tour by a popular rock band. Europe!! There will be large audiences. They might be drunk. They might get loud. They might not understand English. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime…. Now what?” (From the press release for You Belong Everywhere.)
If you are Derrick C. Brown — electrifying performance poet, former 82nd Airborne Paratrooper, President of Write Bloody Publishing, and one of America’s top five poets according to National Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith — you invite your friend, documentary and commercial filmmaker Stephen Latty (Drums Inside Your Chest) to document your career-defining tour opening for Cold War Kids.
Smart choice. The result, You Belong Everywhere, is a compelling, dynamic, you’ll-laugh-and-cry, rock ‘n roll poetry concert film.
And just in time to celebrate National Poetry Month!
There will also be a Q&A with Derrick and Stephen after the Echo Park Film Center screening of You Belong Everywhere. After reading the artists’ immensely entertaining interview below, conducted by email during the hustle and bustle of the tour, you’ll want to see You Belong Everywhere and ask them more questions yourself.
Hilarity may ensue.
Ms. Go Go: Stephen, you’ve written that “It is a really interesting time for poetry. Young poets are starting to be able to make a living as poets – not as musicians, or screenwriters, or greeting card writers, or insurance salesmen, but as poets.” Derrick, do you agree and if so, why do the two of you think poetry is becoming a viable way to make a living?
Stephen Latty: When I first met Derrick, he was in his early thirties working at a small production company making Sunday school videos for kids – very weird and very funny Sunday school videos. The strangeness he brought to it was fantastic…gigantic hot dog men in space talking about God and telling bible stories with dead fish.
Stuff like that. He was definitely pushing the envelope in that medium, which I didn’t even know was possible. Anyway, the job seemed pretty ideal – I think it paid okay and he was able to take off for months at a time to do poetry shows around the country. So when he quit that job, I had a feeling poetry was becoming something much more sustainable for him, otherwise I think he’d still be doing it. There’s nothing like slightly warping children’s minds. I should mention that Derrick introduced me to other poets who also make a living writing and touring as poets – Beau Sia, Mindy Nettifee, Mike McGee, Buddy Wakefield…those are just the people I know pretty well as friends. The list Derrick could give would be a lot longer. The only reason it seems to me that poetry is becoming a viable way to make a living is that I see these poets doing it. I admire them all. I believe in that fight to make a living doing what you want to do.
Derrick C. Brown: It is not as viable as advertising for cruise ships, prestidigitation or even mowing lawns. But it is more possible than ever to use the rock and roll model to hit the road, sell t-shirts off your fancy website, offer to perform weddings, work with orchestra’s etc. It all depends how disciplined and organized an artist can be.
MGG: What did you think was going to be the biggest challenge about making YBE and what actually was the biggest challenge?