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Arts Agenda - Power surge

Electrical outage doesn't stop bluemilk

With a newly refocused mission, new nonprofit status and a new, deep-pocketed anonymous donor, the guys at bluemilk are generating a lot of energy these days. So much, it seems, that even a little thing like a lack of electricity can't get in the way of their unique artistic vision.

Two weeks ago, an electrical fire outside the Midtown art gallery/creative potpourri pot led to a lingering power outage inside the building. When electricity wasn't restored in time for the Thursday night Acoustic Slam & Jam, bluemilk co-founders Chris Kowalski and Chris Hansen opted to host the event anyway, relying on candlelight in the gallery's back courtyard and borrowing electricity from a neighbor.

This week, bluemilk kicks off a new literary series, a replacement of sorts for its popular Slam City spoken word poetry nights. The Poets & Storytellers Competition sticks to the basic rules of a traditional poetry slam, in which performers are rated by a team of judges picked randomly from the audience. However, the contest takes a more laid-back approach than slams. Performers get to use props, play instruments or wear costumes — basically anything goes, so long as it adds to the narrative.

"We're hoping to generate the kind of vibe that the Yin Yang Cafe had going with their live music/poetry events," Hansen says.

A portion of the money raised at the competition will go to the Dwight E. Humphries Memorial Poetry Prize and will be used to publish a definitive collection of the late Atlanta poet's work.

The Poets & Storytellers Competition takes place April 25 at 8 p.m. at bluemilk, 1123 Spring St. $5. 404-815-6991. www.bluemilk.net.??



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