Daniel M. Nester read last night at Barb's (or Barbay's; I donno how to make accent marks).
I've seen a handful of Daniel's readings for Part II of his God Save My Queen opus, and the reading last night was the best to date.
Dan does a better job in God Save My Queen II, I think, of fusing the Queen stuff with the personal stuff, and last night's reading reflected that cohesion. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand the emotional complexity of, say, Freddie Mercury's solo work (other times, of course, it smacks us in the face, like with Freddie's death. Now that I know Dan, thinking about Freddie's death chokes me up. Didn't before.)
Last night, though, Dan's deeply personal relationship with Queen was transmitted to the audience with startling clarity. I found myself alternately laughing from funny stuff and exhaling breath from emotional gut punches in places where I might've drifted off a bit during previous readings.
I was, of course, trying to remember a lot of very specific examples and, of course, I forgot most of them. "One Vision" was juxtaposed with some of the anecdotal stuff in a way that made it seem like a musical composition itself. The reading as a whole seemed composed (in a good way), it was smooth very easy to follow. There was one poem ("Don't Try So Hard") that I particularly liked, and at dinner later Dan said he thought of it as a Shafer sort of poem. Totally clickin'!
And Ben Murphy kicked the show off, playing "Lap of the Gods" and "I'm in Love with My Car" solo and acoustic. He was standing up and not wearing a hat, and he rocked. I hadn't heard "Lap of the Gods" before, and I think that Ben might've added something to it that might not've been there before. "I'm in Love with My Car" is not the sort of song you'd expect to hear solo-ly and acoustically, but Ben banged it out; he made it rock.
My apologies to the other readers. I had to go watch Game 7 of the NLCS. And that's all I'm going to say about the goddamned Astros. Wish I'd stayed at the reading...