Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996
From: Jordan Davis (jdavis@PANIX.COM)
Subject: Colby 20, Zedd 3 (65)
Colby 20, Zedd 3 (65) at Poetry City, 7 p.m. 10/24.
Time: C (25 mins), Z (33 mins)
Spoken-word diva Todd Colby and sardonic red-head Nick Zedd read work at Poetry City last Thursday. Colby, a part-time rock star whose animated delivery included waving his hands and his head from side to side, kept a consistent one laugh-to-poem ratio over a set of twenty poems, garnering four rounds of applause for what he referred to as 'my crazy poems' ("Twins", "Big Boy", "Hot Pig" and "Bull By the Horns"). New Yorkers fondly remember Colby as the fair-haired one who got Books and Co to stock contemporary poetry down among the fiction, and there were references to a certain landscape of poetry throughout his work, which tends toward the user-hostile surreal ("angels driving forklifts across meats", "where angels have migraines", "the tiger who became butter", "meat is glamorous", "Metal Sweats Mahogany Dogs"). Colby removed his sweater early on, performing in a light blue short sleeve shirt, silver watch, blue jeans, and brown shoes.
There was a brief intermission, and then Anna Malmude introduced Nick Zedd. Filmmaker Zedd, author of _Bleed Part One_ (Hanuman, come back!), read three chapters of a new prose work, apparently an autobiographical novel. The narrative as it stood consisted of episodes in bars, cabs, beds and grocery stores. Zedd clocked an amazing 65 laughs. Much of the Zedd-effect comes from the apparent contradictions -- dyed-red hair, surly expression, brusque affect, clear prose, and a nasty-but-sweet sense of humor. Like a punk version of Saturday Night Live's Norm MacDonald, or an unsaleable Sandra Bernhard, Zedd records the total obvious stupidity of one kind of everyday life in New York. Some lines: "I've tried screwing girls in toilets before and it always feels desperate", "Isabel insisted on laughing at me at precise intervals", "Harrisburg, PA, where he'd been publishing a fanzine called NO FUTURE for the last five years", "'This is an Olympic Condom,' I announced", and "'It's turkey bacon, you fucked up!' 'If you want, I can go back and get bacon with fat on it.'" Zedd performed in a dark blue paramilitary jacket, black jeans, and pointy black boots. He delivered his prose looking down at the lectern, occasionally pausing (at odd moments) to look up at the audience. The reading concluded shortly after Zedd recounted walking out on a recent poetry reading.
In the audience were regulars Dug Rothschild, Karl Parker, Steve Malmude and Anselm Berrigan, and visiting poets Seph Rodney and Brenda Coultas.