Vancouver songwriter Michael Averill and writer Bill Arnott (from left) are among the performers at 15 Minutes of Infamy’s first event of the 2019-20 season. (Photos courtesy Kale Beaudry/Michael Averill)

‘15 Minutes of Infamy’ spoken word series resumes for 2019-20 season

Upcoming event features poets, storytellers and songwriters

Nanaimo’s WordStorm Society for the Arts is resuming its 15 Minutes of Infamy Spoken word series with a program featuring diversity of genre and geography.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18 15 Minutes of Infamy returns to the Green Olive for its 2019-20 season debut.

The event will be hosted by Vancouver poet, songwriter and author Bill Arnott and includes performances by Vancouver singer/songwriter Michael Averill, Nanaimo spoken word artist Nicole Potvin, Qualicum Beach storyteller Susan Warner and Port Alberni poet Winter Darbey.

“This particular evening is going to have a lot of variety to it, which is what we’re looking for,” said Ian Cognito, WordStorm assistant artistic director. “Because we think of 15 Minutes of Infamy almost like a wordcraft variety show. So this one really hits all the marks for that.”

It’s been about two years since Arnott last performed at 15 Minutes of Infamy but he is a periodic attendee of Nanaimo spoken word events and was at the Federation of B.C. Writers Spring Writes Festival in Nanaimo in May. He said the Island has “an amazing, supportive, vibrant scene.”

Arnott said the host’s job is to keep the show moving and “brag about the rest of the folks that fill that room.”

“So, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, I like to consider myself like the Ringo Starr of the event,” he said. “So, surrounding myself with great talent; I can offer up a fun singalong. The host really is there to introduce the rest of the talent.”

Averill is winding down a seven-year walking tour of Canada. In the next year he’ll visit Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and release an album. His last 15 Minutes of Infamy performance was with Arnott two years ago and he said he enjoyed the experience.

“I like the variety of it and for myself, a lot of my shows there’s a large storytelling component, too…” Averill said. “I think it’s always good to mix and match and inter-pollinate artistic forms.”

Arnott said he’ll be performing some spoken word, poetry and original songs. He said his varied repertoire should complement the rest of the artists.

“What I love about this event is the pace is nice and quick and dynamic and with these mixed-media performances there’s absolutely no time for anyone to get bored,” he said. “It’s fun, the pace is lovely, it’s engaging and truly collaborative.

WHAT’S ON … 15 Minutes of Infamy takes place at the Green Olive, 150 Skinner St., on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 7 to 9:15 p.m. $5 cover at the door.

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