the e-poets network Videotheque


Real Talk Live

Real Talk Live evolved as a show from dinner table banter at a home where poets resided, visited, and frequently dished about the poetry they witnessed. The phrase "real talk" emerged in popular language about 2009, when the household came together. Then, as R. Kelly used it in a recording, the expression took on other meanings which the housemates rolled into comedy, criticism, and new performance material of their own. The video of the show from 2010-Sep-17 illustrates the origins of the phrase in the house's vernacular better than can be put in print here. The video solidifies the meaning of "Real Talk Live" outside of pop music and urban slang.

Roger Bonair Agard opens an evening of Real Talk Live, 2010
Roger Bonair Agard opens an evening of Real Talk Live.

documentation video:
show - 2010-Sep-17

More than a statement on candor and causing a direct effect on local writing, Real Talk Live is a venue where writers commune with fellow writers, where poets try out new verse before their peers and a lively social ambience prevails. The Real Talk Live readings are not for the faint of heart or delicate of ear. Instead, attendees engage bohemian life in full force, and hear it speak directly from its conscience. And while the venue encourages new writers to try out their work on the mic, experienced writers participate as well. Thus Real Talk Live is a cross-roads for all kinds of writers and writing tactics... emerging, polished and studied, experimental, and evolving. The experience is rooted in slam, as the MCs and housemates form a core constituency of slam poetry organizations in Chicago. But the program consciously embarks on more diverse forms of poetry aloud.

The video here captures only some of the Real Talk Live experience. Seeing such a show on video is rather like watching a professional baseball game on television: the viewer sees and understands the action, but the significance of the events is muted because the medium only minutely approximates the live experience. So to get the full grasp of such a literary event, one has to see it in person. Attendance and participation is the real fulfillment of such an event, because it makes the artistic events social, and the social events become personal.

- Kurt Heintz, 2012