– by Kira Omernik
Lit Hop felt like a trip into a parallel universe, like a pub crawl minus the obvious booziness. Part of Noted Festival, it was a three-part event, complete with literary-themed activities. It moved from The Record Store, through Civic and to Lonsdale St Roasters and finished at The Hamlet. Walking through the city streets, organisers dressed in doctors’ outfits were handing out fake prescriptions filled with “cures for normality” and there were fragments of poetry written across the concrete. The walk from place to place was filled with colorful surprises.
Inside The Record Store, brightly colored boxes and shapes were piled on the stage, creating an interesting atmosphere. The stage also had a white backdrop, giving the performances an open mic feel. However, the rest of the room was brightly lit with fluorescent light, emphasizing every possible distraction in the room and taking focus away from the performance.
Both remarkable writers with insightful and humorous stories to tell, Patrick Lenton and Emma Jones were first to read their work. The crowd laughed freely to Lenton’s imaginative story and animated performance. Jones’ poignant story about her sexual awakening was raw and honest. To complete this slice of the Lit Hop, enigmatic performance poet Beige Brown appeared, gloriously swathed in her namesake color to perform with her classically fierce energy. She shook off each magnificent layer of brown to reveal the little person beneath.
Moving on to the next part of the event, the group, mildly confused, followed the organisers into Garema Place with a charmed optimism where they were stopped by a small woman reciting a poem. The woman then asked each member of the audience to talk to someone they didn’t know and to tell them a story using only their bodies. For some it was a fun, enriching experience; for others, it may have been quite uncomfortable.
When the party finally arrived at Lonsdale St Roasters, the air was bitingly cold and the group anxious to begin. Soon the little outdoor porch was warm with laughter and shouting as unique literary games started to unfold. A panel of noteworthy writers, led by a loud comedic host, launched into raucous rounds of Wanker Bingo, in which panel members attempted to gain “pretentiousness points’” by using excessively pretentious language. This was followed by a game of charades. By the second round, the audience had won. Full of good humour and (free) hot food, the party was back on the road for the last time.
The last stop was The Hamlet, a tiny concrete box which the large group unfortunately struggled to fit into. The panellists and performers were thrown together in a potluck of other-worldly versions of Twister, Scrabble, and Erotic Memorisation. The eccentric host for this leg of the event (Raphael Kabo) effectively incorporated the literary theme, using a fake Russian accent to entertain the crowd and, most of all, annoy everyone to the point of exhaustion.
Lit Hop was a resounding success, fuelled by the young and restless of Canberra’s literary past, present and future.
(Photo credit: Yasmin Masri)
Kira is a coastal export living in Canberra. She writes everything from critical essays to purple poetry and spends most of her time laughing. She currently writes articles for university of Canberra’s Curiuex magazine, as well as writing and singing songs to her dog Hazard. Kira explores all the colourful facets of being in your twenties and faking it till you make it through her blog, articles and notes stuck on her friends walls. You can find her blog here: http://wurdss.weebly.com/1/post/2014/09/the-cheshire-trees.html