The “Slumber Party Tour” at Bowery Poetry with Sabrina Benaim and Clementine von Radics
BY MAYA GEORGI
There were laughs, drinks, mention of boobs, and lots of cathartic moments -- all the essentials for a great slumber party. On Monday, January 21st, the eager crowd at Bowery Poetry experienced a lively performance from contemporary poets Sabrina Benaim and Clementine von Radics for their collaborative tour, the “Slumber Party Tour.” Even with drastically low temperatures in New York, the Bowery Poetry felt warm as votive candles lit all the white-clothed tables and both poets made it seem as if every audience member was a close friend.
The treat of the night for fans was definitely the confessional, raw poetry being delivered in a way that filled the room with a nearly unnameable spirit, but one that rang of a shared resilience. However, director of Bowery Poetry and the night’s announcer, Mason Granger, revealed the real treat: Benaim and von Radics plan for reciting their B-sides, or rather, the popular pieces they don’t usually perform on stage. Both Benaim and von Radics gained a quick following online from a Button Poetry video and a distinct Tumblr presence. Their success in the last few years has given them the opportunity to turn their passion of writing poetry into full careers.
Von Radics kicked off the show with their powerful manner and bare feet on stage. Though it was mostly the “B-sides,” von Radics knew they had to perform their well-known poem, “Mouthful of Forevers.” At one point, they stopped and explained the order of the set was to start with happy poems and go deeper into the ones that were more emotionally dark. Even though von Radics bared her soul in a moving recitation of their poem, “Patron Saint of Manic Depressives,” they also shared a beautiful, exclusive poem from their upcoming book, In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive.
Before Benaim took the stage for her solo performance, von Radics joined her to recite an iconic performance of spoken-word poet, Andrea Gibson’s “Maybe I Need You.” The two admitted this tribute referenced a moment they had on tour which inspired them to tattoo lines from this poem on each other.
Once Benaim took the stage, her vibrant and comedic manner was strong. She recited new poems and contrasted her setlist from von Radics by starting with sad poems and then moving onto happier ones. Even amongst her incredibly emotive pieces, Benaim was able to throw in jokes throughout her set. This did not take away from her compelling performance, but rather strengthened the connection both poets had created with the audience. Just like von Radics, Benaim still recited her most known piece, “Explaining My Depression to My Mother, a Conversation” from her best-selling book Depression and Other Magic Tricks.
Though the spoken-word and contemporary poet world knows of both Benaim’s and von Radics’ outstanding talent, the truth of their success is greatly displayed at their shows. Their confessional and honest poetry delivered in such an outward way has hit home with several people, creating instant fans. These fans idolize the beauty of their poetry because they are able to see reflections of their own human experiences written down in it. This was seen in every moment of appreciation throughout the night: the avid Q&A portion, the line for pictures and book signings during intermission, and the expressions of gratitude at the end of the night.
It seems like Benaim and von Radics accomplished the goal of the “Slumber Party Tour” within their first leg: make the audience and fans feel open and comfortable throughout the night, as if they were at a sleepover with friends.
You can buy tickets for the next leg of the “Slumber Party Tour” on your local venue’s website!
Lead Image Credit: Maya Georgi / BLENDED