REVIEW: Kelly Clarkson at Verizon Theatre on Friday

The seats were filled up to the nosebleeds last night at Kelly Clarkson’s show at Verizon Theatre. Clearly, North Texas loves the Burleson native and very likely, the show was sold out. Or that’s what the frustrated guy outside screamed to the scalper.  The crowd was sick with adoration — and I learned why. Clarkson is not so much a star as much as she is a genuine and personable talent. It’s hard not to appreciate her.

From behind a scrim flashing headlines of KC, she warms the audience with “Dark Side” from her latest album Stronger. It was a moody piece and offered a tepid opening, but she soon came center stage to rock out with “Behind These Hazel Eyes” that amplified the already high energy into the stratosphere. She finished her troika of an opening with a surprisingly early “Since U Been Gone.”

Clarkson was in great vocal shape and her band could rock the shit out her songs taking them from mere pop radio hits to arena-sounding levels. But it was after her first three songs that I saw the magic of Clarkson. She really is the girl next door with her aw shucks sassy and fun demeanor. Every little comment she made about being home resulted in deafening roars and she punctuated her homegrown flavor with a thick “kuntry” accent. Giving a shout to her friends and family in the audience was just a uproarious for the rest of venue. Clarkson was without any doubt, the homecoming queen for the night.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay poets to be featured at SMU Lit Fest

Rick Barot and C. Dale Young have been announced as two of the eight writers scheduled for the SMU Literary Festival 2011.  The event will be held March 24–26 on the school’s campus.

Barot’s last book, 2009′s Want, was a collection of poetry Lambda Literary reviewer Brent Calderwood described as an “impressive collection.” And the excerpt he includes in the review is also kinda hot.

In “Theories of the Invisible,” Barot collages pithy, lush observations about art with the fleshly beauty of a man with whom the speaker shared a summer house. In pondering the nipple of a Greek sculpture, Barot notes the “deliberate / chiseling accorded even to the brailled / texture surrounding the stiff eraser-like tip” as well as “the prerogative no of the youth something I can only imagine, / no worked into the cold sinew, the utterly / soft cock.” In this way, Barot intimates that the speaker’s adoration for his summer housemate was also unrequited.

Young’s Torn is slated for a Spring release and perhaps right in time for the festival. He was a finalist for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award in poetry. And if that’s not enough, the guy is also a practicing physician and educator. He recently posted on his blog that Lambda Literary listed Torn as one of the “23 Highly Anticipated Books of 2011.”

The book is described on his site as an “earnest investigations into the human, depicted as both spiritual being and a process, as “the soul and its attendant concerns” and as a device that “requires charge, small / electrical impulses / racing through our bodies.” What Young tells and shows us, what his poems let us hear, does not aim to reassure or soothe. These are poems written from “white and yellow scraps / covered with words and words and more words— // I may never find the right words to describe this.”

Now you know.

—  Rich Lopez