Vigilo (Latin for "I am awake") is the brainchild of former Kansas Citian Brandon Brown, a 22-year-old student at San Francisco State University, and his former Paseo Academy classmate Tara Blaine, now a "writer extraordinaire" (that's what her business cards say) for Hallmark. The two friends have mounted free public readings before, but this time they chose a venue "that wasn't a coffeeshop or a bookstore," Blaine says. "We wanted something edgier."
With its rough-hewn floor and soaring ceiling, the Ape House (a nickname for Gorilla Theatre's rehearsal space that has stuck through at least two different venues) should be edgy enough for the scheduled readers. "This will not be some stuffy, academic reading," Brown says. "But it's not a poetry slam either." Brown will read his sonnets ("And not Shakespeare-style sonnets," he notes witheringly), and Blaine will read her new stuff ("But mostly I'll be hostessing the event"). The real celebrity, however, will be visiting poet Hugh Fox from Michigan, who'll read from his newest book, Angel of Death.
"It's very dark, depressing stuff," Fox tells the Pitch. The poems were inspired by his prostate surgery, which has affected his sex life with his third wife. "It's made it much more tentative, you know." The author of 73 published books, the 68-year-old Fox is one of the country's best-known transvestite poets. His alter ego, who can't make it to the reading, is the equally poetic Connie.
Hugh and Connie have separate wardrobes -- Connie wears more black than Hugh does -- and it's not unusual for Hugh's wife and Connie to go out for coffee together, even though, Fox says, their outings confuse the neighbors. But the audience for Words, Words, Words won't be confused, Fox says. "Connie is staying home that night."