For those that missed seeing the first Encyclopedia Show: Volume I: BEARS, here’s a sample of things that happened without you: a live bear wrangle, platters of free bear claws, Petaluma Vale playing the harp music of gods, poets teaching us about the Bernstein Bears and feminism revival,
and witnessing a Care Bear rip out a heart and eat it on stage.
The Encyclopedia Show is a variety show, originated in Chicago, that hosts various local artists and performers to present a piece of art based on a monthly theme. Meanwhile, “The Fact-Checker” (played by Jade Sylvan as Jack-Van-Sly) argues the truth against untruths brought out to the audience, and is antagonized by a slew of eclectic hosts. The hosts at Somerville include: Aimee Rose Ranger, Kevin Spak, Jack-Van-Sly, Chef Bro, and Steve Subrizi, the screw-up intern.
Before this month’s show, I tracked down the show’s producer, Simone Beaubien (the SlamMaster of Boston Poetry at the Cantab Lounge, performance poet, EMT, champion NPS organizer, and soup aficionado) about her role.
Why did now seem like a good time to bring the Encyclopedia Show to Somerville?
With lots of folks around who are looking for new ways to create performance poetry outside of slam, this seemed like a great time for the Encyclopedia Show: a great convergence of listening audience and creating artists.
Many see this event as a community unifying experience; not just for the local artists, but also for the people living with the Greater Boston area to gains accessible means of art. Why is this important for you?
I’ll try to just speak to one aspect of the show, which is our multi-genre approach. I experience the Boston-area art scene as a really divided series of groups, and
I’d like to think that access to The Encyclopedia Show helps create dialogue between different types of artists.
As an artist, that kind of experience is vital to me in terms of being inspired and developing as a writer and performer.
Who’s your host-to-host dynamic on the show?
My favorite host-to-host dynamic has got to be Chef Bro and the Intern. Oz (Omoizele Okoawo) and Steve (Subrizi) are good friends off stage, although their work is very dissimilar. Watching the two of them interact within the thematic construct of the show is really fun and satisfying, both personally and artistically.
This month’s installment, THE MOON, went off without a hitch, showcasing a slew of talented writers, poets, singers, and comedians. New audience members were delighted again at the show’s format, saying things like:
“I love the format, how the hosts stay in character even off-stage.”
Returning audience members fought over the moon-pies.
“I love bringing new audience members in and seeing them gain a connection to these characters as the show’s continuity builds, or realize their favorite hosts is that large dark roast customer that’s been coming in for years.”
RECAP: MOON TRUTHS/WHAT WE LEARNED THIS MONTH:
The Apollo 11 landing was NOT (really) a hoax.
Moon-snails drill holes through shells to eat, which was demonstrated on stage with a water bottle and drill.
If you can’t see the Man in the Moon, you will die alone.
To “shoot the moon” is to take unnecessary risks that are worth it if you try.
Moon pies are deliciously paired with whiskey.
An electric violin can mimic the changing sounds of tides.
STEVE is going to the moon.
The Michael J. Epstein Lunarial Spaceship band now makes you see the moon as the one that got away for forever, (thanks).
When unsure about faith in something, defer to Kevin Spak’s poem about the impossibility of moon-landing, 1969:
“If it’s true, like most truths, it’s sad and complicated.”
The next Encyclopedia Show’s date is set for Monday, November 19. The theme: (The Visual Spectrum of) COLORS. Baked food TBD and delicious.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA SHOW SOMERVILLE: COLORS