Everything Must Go!
Lyric Avenue will host its Finale Showcase, “Everything Must Go,” Friday, Sep. 19 at the Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St.
The Marquee: Lyric Avenue, Richmond poetry- and performance-based variety show and troupe who entertains with comedy and culture to open up tough topics like race, religion, relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, politics, and more. Lyric Avenue doesn’t stop at making you think and laugh. They get involved in community outreach programs affecting schools, churches, and Richmond’s neighborhoods.
Lyric Avenue Show? “Showtime at the Apollo” meets “Def Comedy” and chills out with “Saturday Night Live”
Then and Now: Began with audiences of 50. This season, each of its events has drawn audiences greater than 1000.
Sound easy? Lyric Avenue’s success represents comprehensive goal-setting, budgeting, coordinated marketing and promotion, training, and superlative talent, all maintained over an extended period of time.
The Overture: In 2002 best friends, Craig Watson and Dontronn Goode started writing poetry. They soon went looking for a venue to perform, and a community to network with artists, entrepreneurs, and others. They discovered there wasn’t a one-stop organization realizing their vision, so they formed a business partnership called 2 Tyght Entertainment, a reference to their long friendship and writing styles. That summer, 2 Tyght began promoting an event called “Candlelight Poetry Night.”
Back to the Streets: Unfortunately, their early effort didn’t draw much attention. The pair refused to see it as ultimate failure. Instead, they used the experience as a lesson that they needed to learn more about marketing and promotion. They took a break, studied successful promotions, changed their name to Lyric Avenue, and formed a Limited Liability Corporation.
Avenue Begins: Lyric Avenue debuted May 18, 2003 at a Shockoe Bottom club. Local artists began to sign on. By December, Lyric Avenue had a firm cast of fifteen artists, including poets, comedians, dancers, actors, and vocalists. Over the next four years, Lyric Avenue made venue changes to accommodate growing audiences. All the while, they aimed to find one venue they could base their creative happenings with a family feel.
Home on the Boulevard: In the winter of 2007, Lyric Avenue found a home for its 5th Season at the Historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown.
Paying the Bills: Craig works as the Administrator of the Historic Fifth Street Baptist Church while Tron works as a Contract Security Officer for Knight Protective Services. They personally invest to make Lyric Avenue successful in the Richmond market.
Overheard: “There is really and truly nothing else like this in Richmond, or maybe anywhere else for that matter. I feel compelled to say once again Lyric Avenue is from right here in our city, Richmond!” Audience Member
“Lyric Avenue offers the Richmond community the opportunity to really be involved in the coming together of the different sectors of the community,” says actor and MC Marlon Gooden.
Iman Shabazz, Artistic Director says, “A lot of people are ashamed to present what they write to the public. We make sure we give them a family atmosphere where they’re able to do that. We build character, we build confidence.”
Dyore Strother has been host for five years. “It involves making sure that the audience is well-adjusted to the poets, the comedians, the artists that come onstage, making sure everyone is having a good time, always making sure that the audience is involved with what we’re doing and staying interactive with them. We’ve done all kinds of shows and we’ve always been able to reach the audience. I try to make sure everything I say can be translated from young to old.”
Antoine Scott says, “I’ve been involved with Lyric Avenue now about four years. I went to an open mic when I started out doing comedy. I went to a show with them one day and just kind of tore the house down. We’ve been together ever since, with the Lyric Avenue family.”
Season Finale: Comedian Antoine Scott puts it into perspective: “It offers so much, because you get so much in one show. You get poetry, you’re getting comedians. You’re getting singers, you’re getting everything. You’re getting skits, you’re getting fried chicken, you’re getting party meat, you’re getting soup, you’re getting cottage cheese, you’re getting vegetable tray, you’re getting sodas and popcorn, you’re getting a new pair of shoes from Pic ‘n’ Pay!”
Lyric Avenue Poets
“Imagine our world with no drug addicts, no drive-bys, a world with no static. Brothers chilling on the stoop, no sin in hand, giving power to the 5-0-1, a friend to the man. Black-on-black crime, that never happened, and the gunshots that you hear, that’s just a family topic for a young black man coming into his own, thinking of leaving home, not in a box or a neat rack. His mother’s head held high, she’s constantly bragging.”
Felicia “Transition” Winston
“We are poets; designated deliverers of divine dissertation demolishing decadence one day at a time until time is decimated. But as long as we are poets, time is a record player, scratched, right there between this and that, so peace just comes back and comes back and comes back.”
“So I love you. I love you like you can understand being loved by a woman whose pain used to run so deep and still came out of it able to understand what it means to love unconditionally. I love you.”