Culture and a show


Poets from all around, like Maury Thomas, come to The Barbershop on Florence Ave., on Feb. 25, to read some of their poems. “I write to understand,” Thomas said.

Gustavo Ramirez, Opinions Editor

Gathered at the Barber Shop at 9204 Florence Ave to spread some culture, poets from all around Los Angeles gathered to recite poetry and grow from one another’s critiques. The works ranged from humorous and abstract to melancholic and mournful. Artists shared their inspirations and goals, and others brandished their works and hoped to sell copies of their poems.

Outside of the barbershop, local artist Kevin Gardner painted abstract art that followed the emotions of various poets. In total, he was able to create three paintings; interestingly, each painting depicted different emotions even though some authors recited their pieces again.

“I like painting,” Gardner said. “I enjoy feeling their words course through me, you know? Every one of my paintings is different because each poet evokes a different emotion—and that’s the beauty of art. The way it can be so open.”

Garner was not the only one to share that sentiment. Prose has often been praised for its poignant charge; the way in which an author can infuse emotions and meanings into vignettes and stanzas has long been appealing to writers.

“Poetry is something beyond words,” curator Anthony Shabla said. “That’s why I hold these events—so that people can open themselves to the art and power of words, and so that they can be moved by it. Not only that, but we can probably inspire some future poet by holding these gatherings. We’re all local, and there’s no pressure here.”

Although the main goal of the Hair Club for Poets/Reading With Scissors group is to bring culture and art to a “culturally deprived wasteland,” another goal is to gather enough residents to have a local group of likeminded and artistically motivated people that will support and protect the arts. The group agrees that the arts are essential to the health and survival of the human soul. As a project of the Downey Arts Coalition, it holds this priority high.

“I personally love doing this and will continue to come to these events, especially considering I was a feature,” participant Adrienne Silva said, “but, it shouldn’t just be us—we need to go out and reach the community, or else our efforts will be for naught.”

The Hair Club for Poets/Reading With Scissors group is very small, with about 15 members. The club is free and nonexclusive, and holds events every fourth Saturday of every month. As another chapter in Downey’s strive for the arts, the small coterie of poets and artists will go down as something positive and inherently beneficial.