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by Natalie McGeehan
Guest performers included folk poet Alix Olson who has preformed twice on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and Maya Chinchilla, director of “Made in Brazil Dreams at Work,” a film showcased in this year’s Girl Fest Film Festival.

In this intimate setting the energy level of the audience was high for each performance. This was the kind of night when there was a synergy shared between the performers and the audience. The poets fed off the audience’s energy and their performances showed it.

Many of the poems tackled topics such as love, loss, betrayal, body image, and personal political convictions.

Although a predominantly female event, the guys were more than welcome to attend and perform so long as they agreed to one rule–“Ladies First,” Geissler insisted.

One young man performed a piece titled “The Poem My Ex Would Have Wrote About Me.”
Another young man, Chad from the Big Island, was faced with the situation most performers fear most. In the middle of his performance he lost his place and openly admitted, “I am choking up here.”

He quickly consulted notes written on his hand, while the encouraging audience began rooting and chanting “Go Chad, Go Chad.” Luckily he found his place and continued his performance.

Maya Chinchilla talked about her body image. In her performance she preached that her curvaceous body came from her Latin heritage and that she is very proud to be a plus-size gal. The audience cheered her on.

Not all the pieces were lighthearted. One young lady performed a piece in which she described being violated by a male friend.

She said that Girl Fest had given her the strength to perform at this year’s event.

A very animated Alix Olsen, who bears a striking a resemblance to actress Lily Taylor, wore a black T-shirt with Army green lettering “On a mission.”

She was on a roll with her poem that expressed her personal political convictions. In closing she said, “That is why I am a radical feminist.”

That had the crowd jumping up out of their seats and cheering.

Geissler said, “Girl Fest is a grassroot’s movement in the direction of peace. Women speak and teach. Women have much to say. Women’s opinions and values are important, and we share them through art and education. That’s why I’m involved.”

When asked her goal for the event Geissler said, “I hope that one more woman finds her voice and the courage to use it.”

For more information about GirlFest visit www.girlfest.org.


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