A Collision of Art, Music, and Words
Bart Sullivan, 03-26-2019

Emcee for the evening, Ace Epps, seated in front of the Nick Paparone Trio.

On Thursday, February 28th, The Cashmere Cricket hosted Collide: Cuyahoga Falls’ spoken word, music, and art show. Comprised of 6 speakers, musical entertainment from the Nick Paparone Trio, and live painting by local artist Amy Mothersbaugh—the product of which was auctioned off during the evening—Collide: Cuyahoga Falls took attendees on a journey through the lives of Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, and Cleveland writers,].

Guided by Emcee Ace Epps, the packed room of over 70 attendees heard multiple types of writing. Jason Harris read his documentary poems, describing current ecological issues such as the melting of the polar ice caps, followed by Steve Brightman, with selections from his 2015 chapbook History, Too, is a Simple Machine. Meanwhile, Sophie Franchi’s casual discussions of life in her work felt very in tune with Barbara Marie Minney’s longer work about living as a transwoman, both showing the variety of life and styles local poets have. Also featured in the lineup was Cuyahoga Falls fiction James Lloyd Davis, who read from a recent short story, transporting listeners to the sea.

The show also included “Wet Ink” participation, for which the show’s emcee passed out notepads and encouraged audience members to write their own poem with a certain topic in mind: “If I could start over.” Participants were then asked to recite their work on stage near the end of the show. “Writing a poem on the spot was fun and easier than I thought,” audience member and “Wet Ink” participant Jim Pecchio said. “I just got into the moment and wrote what I was feeling.”

Collide, a Cuyahoga Falls-centric arts and culture organization, helps support and promote local artists while working to enrich the arts and culture of the city by bringing in more artists and organizing events. Made up of thirteen members, the group is currently working with Western Reserve Hospital on multiple projects, including the PNC Penney Project (in conjunction with PNC Bank), as well as future curation projects at City Hall and the hospital. The organization is also represented on the city’s Public Art Master Plan Committee.

This show has also shown that Cuyahoga Falls is interested in more art-centric programming downtown. “We were so pleased to see a packed room of people enjoying the spoken word, musical performance and live art being created,” Collide co-founder Matt Weiss remarked. “We really enjoyed the ‘Wet Ink’ portion of the evening when attendees were able to go up and read their poetry.” Based on this night’s reception, hopefully this type of programming will become more regular.

For more information about Collide: Cuyahoga Falls and future events, visit https://www.facebook.com/CollideCF

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