Spoken word. OK, some uninitiated folk, some folk who watch parodies of the same on Mad TV or Def Comedy Jam or perhaps see it performed badly at some coffee bar will snicker. But the Graffiti Verite documentary Random Static: The Iridescent Equations of Spoken Word illustrates and expounds on the singlar thesis that this art form is indeed bon mots. Poetry. Subject to the discipline and devotion of craft. Indeed, the only additional element is the performance mode of the poet. Performance implies a primary purpose of "for the people," rather than serving a brooding ego or exorcise personal demons.
Directed by filmmaker Bob Bryan, the focus here on the craft, rather than the personal quirks of poets Natalie Patterson, Poetri, Sekou tha misfit, Hunter Lee Hughes, Vejea Jennings, Common Ground, Bridget Gray, Mollie Angelheart, J. Walker, Nick Lopez, Tim'm T. West, Rachel Kann, The Lindz and Eric Haber. Yes, their personalities and inspirations shine through, but the essence of craft is what Bryan captures, honestly and admirably. Craft in the poets sharing their philosophies on why they do what they: "People do not listen. They only hear static, the noise." Or how humor, irony become allegory for deeper problems, such as a jaded ode to the south's own caloric noose on the black man: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
If you don't know anything about spoken word but the HBO versions, or think you know something about poetry but wish to know more, check out Bob Bryan's Random Urban Static--and learn, understand what's been there all along. Devotion. With music by Nebula One, produced by Loida Bryan, Miles Bryan and Nicholas Bryan.