By Terrah Baker
The Last Saturday of the month is no longer just another day in the weekend, thanks to the collaboration of local artists, performers and a great space right in downtown Fayetteville. It actually began as an extension of Fayetteville Word Wars, several events hosted by local slam poets — a competition where writers perform original poetry.
The idea of Last Saturday is to put on a true variety show with Word Wars being only one part of a much larger show. Each month, Last Saturday will see the Underground transformed in order to host four to five performers of all kinds; from singers, musicians, burlesque performers, experimental dancers, beatboxers and more, with the hopes of bringing in even more variety in the future (think magicians, contortionists and anything that can solidly entertain, local slam poet Hughes said).
The desire to put on a regular, monthly show led Hughes to join forces with Fayetteville Underground’s new Gallery Manager Samantha Sigmon. While Sigmon is working to transform the Underground into a pillar in community collaboration, Hughes saw the potential in the open, intimate space.
Hughes approached the Underground who already had a monthly program on the First Thursday of every month when new art installations are introduced and the community gathers on the square for art, food, music and drink. But they did have the last Saturday of the month open, along with an interest in expanding their appeal to a wider audience — so the variety show was born.
“The hope is for maximum artistic overlap: someone comes for one of the performers, and sees another performer they might have had no interest in before, but now they’re exposed to that,” Hughes said.
The Word War will always be a part of the show, with an audience favorite going home with a $50 cash prize. The only consistent rule is each performer must perform twice and each performance must be under three minutes, and whatever it is must be original work. But the Word Wars isn’t meant for just poetry. Like the show, variety is key. It’s open to anyone who has a talent that uses the written and verbal word, and requires no props, costumes or music other than what you can make with your body.
Also, Last Saturday will serve as a farewell to visiting art exhibits for the Underground, and as gallery goers last chance to view the installment.
The show will take place every Last Saturday of the month (except for December) at the Fayetteville Underground at 101 W. Mountain St. starting at 7:30 p.m. and ending about 9:30 p.m., so the audience can still have time to catch the large shows around town after being exposed to small-time, original performers in an intimate setting. The show is completely free and audience members are encouraged to buy merchandise or donate to keep the show going.
Houston and Sigmon are still looking for performers, the more fringe and unusual the better. Those interested can contact Houston at houstonRH7@gmail.com or look up Fayetteville Word Wars on Facebook.