Sixth Annual Philomenian

By Mary Getlein

The Sixth Annual Philomenian was a big success this year. You would think that after all this time, people wouldn’t be as interested in Philomene Long’s poetry, but they are. The room at Beyond Baroque, where the event took place, was filled with ardent lovers of everything Philomene.

Jim Smith was the MC, and he was wearing a neon orange Hawaiian shirt, which was so bright and neon that it looked like it would glow in the dark. Jim himself made a joke about it, saying that if the lights went out, we could always follow his shirt out of the room.

The readers were Suzy Williams, who sang a Philomene poem and a John Thomas poem. Pegarty Long, Philomene’s twin sister, read five of Philomene’s poems. There was a five-minute video, “The Making of the Irish Vampire,” in which Philomene was the main actress. The movie short was funny and it showed them all goofing around between filming.

Karl Abrams read a Stuart Z. Perkoff poem about Philomene, and a Philomene poem about Stuart Z. Perkoff. Jim Smith read a prose piece about Jack Keroac written by John Thomas. Suzy Williams finished with a poem by John Thomas, describing a day trip to the mountains.

They then showed the film “The Beats: An Existential Comedy,” a film made by Philomene Long. We saw some rare footage of various poets and artists in the Beat scene. They included interviews with many poets, including Felinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Shirley Clarke, Jack Hirschman, Grocho Marx, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Frank T. Rios, Aya Rose, John Thomas, Uiva and historic footage of Venice.

There was a funny scene when Stuart Perkoff was on the Groucho Marx Show, and Groucho asked Stuart what he did for a living. Stuart answered “I’m a poet, a painter, a sculptor and a philosopher.” Groucho leans forward and says: “Sooo – you’re out of work?”. This got a big laugh from the audience.

The audience was composed of many local poets and entertainers – and a good time was had by all. There was a great turn-out for Philomene’s poetry again.