Friday, April 07, 2017

La Bloga's Michael Sedano Takes to the Podium at the Homestead Museum

Melinda Palacio

Michael Sedano

In a fun twist of roles, I had the pleasure of listening to Michael Sedano read from his work. He is usually the eye behind the camera, waiting to capture the perfect picture of a reader. He's been documenting my literary readings for several years and his portraits documenting poets and writers over the past couple of decades are archived at USC. He also coaches writers on how to read their own work. The photographs show a master, comfortable in front of the audience for Take a Detour from Route 66: Taos to L.A., a wonderful program put together by Karen Cordova and Andrea Watson of 3 Taos Press. Read more about the show on La Bloga's March post by none other than Michael Sedano.

Michael Sedano at the Homestead Museum

Michael read from his one-act play "The Feral Child of Temple City: A Horror Narrative in One Act. The dramatic and, yes, horrifying elements to the story are the first surprise. The entire show was a surprise because not everyone read work about the road, diners, or cars, stereotypical icons of Route 66. In fact, Sedano's story could be set anywhere. Lucky for the audience, it is set in Temple City on Route 66. The second surprise, which shouldn't come as a surprise at all, given the fact that Michael has offered coaching to writers on how to read their own work at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, is how well he read, projecting and addressing both sides of the bifurcated audience.

Sedano Makes the Lectern Disappear 

Although my photographs, all taken on my iPhone, do not adjust well for the tricky backlighting, you can see how Michael kept his eyes off the page and on his audience. He used his facial expression and hands for dramatic emphasis, although he could have read the piece keeping his nose to lectern and it still would have held the audience's attention. Another favor he offered to the audience was a copy of the one-act play. I'm not sure if everyone received a copy, but I was fortunate to have been gifted one by the author. The nice thing about hearing a piece that's longer than a poem, is it gave me the opportunity to take several photographs and absorb the content of the writing (not an easy task). I have renewed respect for Michael who attends a vast number of performances, takes professional photographs with his camera, and then writes very thoughtfully about the works. I was especially moved by Andrea Watson's Frida dream poem, "The Poem in Which Frida Khalo Commandeers My Car and We Drive Like Bandits to L.A." The title says it all, a great poem. You had to have been there. I was so mesmerized by the poem that I did not take any pictures of Andrea reading it. I now understand why my husband Steve sometimes fails to take photos of my while I'm reading. Even though he's heard all of my poems read aloud a million times, he still gets caught up in my performance of them. I finally understand this phenomenon. As Michael said in his La Bloga post and write-up of the show, I hope this Detour to Route 66 becomes an annual spring offering.

Michael reads the dramatic conclusion to "The Feral Child of Temple City" by Michael Sedano

Andrea L. Watson and Madelyn Garner Read after Michael Sedano.

La Bloga in the House: Melinda Palacio and Michael Sedano


msedano said...

what a pleasant surprise, Melinda! thank you for excellent critique of the speaker's performance. and the biggest treat is seeing myself from the audience's perspective through a lens. totally cool.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the lucky authors who's benefitted from Sedano's grueling(!) lessons on public readings of your work. I survived and am better for it. If he ever offers, take him up on a free, or not, lesson; well worth it.