Picture of Herschel Silverman:




Beat Poet Herschel Silverman, Cosmic Spelunker Theater

At Out of the Blue Sept. 20


The Out of the Blue Gallery continues its effort to merge poetry and performance in a new location on Sept. 20, with an appearance by Herschel Silverman and the Cosmic Spelunker Theater.


Silverman, a longtime Beat/jazz poet and New Jersey confectionary purveyor, began a decades-long correspondence with Allen Ginsberg in 1957, who described him as “the candy store emperor of Bayonne who dreams of telling the truth” in the poem "Television Was a Baby Crawling Toward That Death Chamber."


"His sincerity and the pleasure his life's taken in the poetry world,” Ginsberg wrote in “Homage to Hersch,” “encourage us all to realize that poetry does serve humankind well in giving pleasure and empowerment to people of sensitive spirit, domestic folk." Silverman received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant to compile a book of the correspondence of the two writers.


Though family obligations hindered his joining up with the nomadic Beats, Silverman published 20 collections of poetry, some of which are housed at the Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin and the Library of the University of Chicago. In addition, hundreds of his poems appear in literary journals including Long Shot, Alpha Beat, the Journal of New Jersey Poets’ 20th Anniversary Issue and the Kerouac Connection. He also edited the Beehive Magazine of Contemporary Poetry; his latest book, “Lift Off,” was published by Waterow Books and Long Shot Productions. The inspiration for Jonathan London’s book “The Candystore Man,” his work has been translated into German and Japanese.


Silverman has devoted himself to poetry since retiring. “My original hobby,” he said, "has now become a full time activity with enough breaks to enjoy and give support to my children and grandchildren."


Preceding Silverman will be performance troupe Cosmic Spelunker Theater, who will premiere their latest show, “Cosmic Spelunker’s Give and Take.” It is certain to be a bountiful feast of sensory impression.


“Cosmic Spelunker Theater would be innovative to any artistic venue,” said Out of the Blue manager Deborah Priestly, who hosts her own Saturday evening poetry series at the gallery. “Their show is clever and entertaining. For example, at one of their two past performances in this venue, they flung paper airplanes at all angles of the room, which in turn, tempted all of the audience to toss them right back.”


Spelunker and local poet and performance artist Ian Thal, who shares the stage with longstanding Boston mime presence William J. (“Billy”) Barnum and performance artist/mime James Van Looy, noted, “We consider Out of the Blue to be our home venue and are looking forward to being part of their first month in the new space.”


Thal, who reviews poetry for Ibbetson Street Press and Boston’s Jewish Advocate, has published his work in such magazines as Poesy, Ibbetson Street Press, and Crooked River Press, and will be in the forthcoming P&Q Press book Subway Anthology.


Barnum, who studied mime with Etienne Decroux and Samuel Avital, has shared the stage with George C. Scott, Dustin Hoffman, Spaulding Gray, and Paul Benedict, and has danced with the Boston Ballet. He won the Anne Bradstreet award for Lifetime Achievement in poetry at the 2000 Cambridge Poetry Awards.


Van Looy, who performed and taught with the Mirage Mime Company through much of the 1980s, has lead poetry workshops in homeless shelters and readings in prisons. Currently, he leads the Labyrinth Workshop which emphasizes mime, meditation, and writing.


“Through reading Hersch’s work and attending his last area appearance,” said Thal, “all three of us in the Cosmic Spelunker Theater have become fans; we’re quite excited to perform with him.”


The Out of the Blue Art Gallery moved to 106 Prospect St. on Sept. 1, taking over the space formerly occupied by the Weston Gallery. It is accessible to the Central Square T-stop. There will be a $5 suggested donation for this show.


For information, contact Out of the Blue Art Gallery by calling 617-354-5287, emailing OOTB@att.net or visiting http://outoftheblueartgallery.com. For information on Cosmic Spelunker Theater, please call 617-524-2111 or email thal@gis.net.