Tuned In: Tuesdays with DJ Seduce

Poetry, art and music make Tuesdays at the Paper Heart inspirational

 by Heather Wells
 published on Thursday, April 14, 2005

Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Miguel Ivery, known as DJ Seduce, spins every Tuesday night at the Paper Heart in downtown Phoenix, where a new band is featured every week and guests are welcome to participate in an open-mic session.

"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. The poetry is about to begin. Is everybody in? Is everybody in?"

DJ Seduce spins a record and the host announces the night is beginning.

"I'm so glad you're here and not sitting at home watching TV," the host tells the crowd.

It's a Tuesday night at the Paper Heart Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Candles and dim, red lighting illuminate the spacious room where the diverse crowd of hip-looking 21-year-olds and middle-aged men come together to sit on plush black and leopard-print couches and line the bar.

Tonight, it's all about Paint, the brainchild of DJ Seduce, aka Miguel Ivery.

Ivery thought up Paint about two years ago while at the First Friday art walk in downtown Phoenix.

"I had never seen that form of poetry before," he says. "So then I walked into the Paper Heart Gallery and thought it would be a great place to do something like that -- it's right in the heart of Phoenix. So I pitched the idea."

Paint, a night of music, art and spoken expression, is now in its eighth month as a Tuesday regular at Paper Heart, attracting diverse crowds of dozens of locals.

"There's a lot to do. It's not just a boring poetry night," says Ivery, who has a teddy bear-like quality about him. "It's a night of open minds and conscience speaking."

The night starts off with spoken expression. Anyone can get on stage during this open mic portion of the night. The spoken expressionists, all of whom vary in age and race, don't follow any set form or style -- stories are mixed in with haikus, Eminem-style flowetry, poems and even music.

"Haikus have to be in 5, 7, 5 format," says one man in his 30s. "But there are no limits to how long the title can be."

He goes on to read haikus about everything from driving southbound on the 101 to waiting until his wife puts her earplugs in to tell her that he loves her, all of which end up being shorter than their titles.

He's followed by a woman who goes up to the stage and tells the crowd that she has some stories for them. She shares the last part of her three-part "DUI trilogy," a humorous look into jail life, followed by sarcastic story of Internet dating.

"They're just telling you what's on their mind," Ivery says. "Nobody is judging anybody on stage."

That's what people in the crowd say they like about the night.

Danny Mele, a self-proclaimed "deep thinker," says he goes to the event every Tuesday to read his poetry on spiritual and new age topics.

"The whole atmosphere is relaxed and calm," says Mele, who is wearing a shirt that reads "Sexxxy." "My poetry can be kind of out there, but you don't have to feel timid or afraid to get on stage. It has a relaxed vibe."

The varied expressionists are followed by a band, which is different every Tuesday. Types of bands that play include experimental, hip-hop, funk and jazz. This is usually followed by more spoken expression, and on some nights, live art, in which artists create work on the spot.

Each Tuesday night differs in some aspect, but that fits perfectly into what Ivery says he's trying to do.

Diversity is something important to Ivery. His background, being half black and half Mexican, is something the 26-year-old says has helped him have a different view of the world.

"My parents taught me to be culturally aware," he says. "Everybody's created equal. Why can't you accept me for me, and I'll accept you for you?"

Ivery, a student at Scottsdale Community College and president of Diverse-Fi Music -- an artist management, development and promotions company -- says he's trying to spread that mindset throughout the area.

"If you look deeper, you can find people who are just trying to make a difference," he says. "I'm one of those people."

He wants people to break out of the cookie-cutter image and thought process that he says plagues most of the city.

"We're the fifth-biggest city in the country, but we don't have any culture," he says. "There's no diversity. Everybody's hyped up on MTV. Sometimes, people can be shallow. I try to open up people's minds."

Paint gets started around 8 p.m. with Ivery spinning until about 9 p.m., when the open mic starts up. The night usually runs until around midnight. Admission to Paint is $3. For more information, go to www.paintfusion.com.

"If you want to see something different, come check it out," Ivery says. "It's a chance to get away from Tempe, and be culturally inspired and aware."

Reach the reported at heather.wells@asu.edu.

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