Burying the Evidence
7:30 p.m. Aug. 26
1515 Broadway, Detroit
It’s ironic that Blair’s three brothers used to listen to Village People records. After all, he’s the gay one, he says. “I hadn’t thought about that in years,” laughs the Detroit poet and singer-songwriter.
Blair, a National Poetry Slam Champion, grew up on a vast mix of musical genres, including country, gospel, rock, pop and jazz. But during the time Blair was jamming out to Kiss and Queen, he wasn’t out.
“I think that staying in the closet, burying that evidence about yourself on a daily basis, can deform your character,” he says. “It deprives you of the pleasure of being your authentic self. Of course, the catch is that closeted people believe that staying in the closet is protection from the anti-gay bigotry of the outside world, but it’s just not true.”
In high school, he decided to tell some friends, but “I was not out to most people,” he says.
It’s the feeling of isolation, along with queer community and racism, that are often brushed under the rug, and which Blair hopes to bring to the surface on his one-man show “Burying the Evidence.”
“I write about lots of things I find it hard to express in everyday conversation, or even in everyday language,” Blair says. “Sometimes it’s just easier to say it in a heightened way; to make the point you really want to make by using art.”
In one piece he exposes Stonewall and alludes to its social transformation through time. “I feel like it’s become a big party, which is fine in a sense, but we have to tell the truth about what it really was, what was going on then and how it affected our lives all these years later,” he says.
Gay black poet Carl Phillips inspired Blair for his new spoken word project. “He writes a lot about dominance and submission in these kind of classical poetic ways and it just rocks my world,” Blair says. “I’ve never seen that done before. It’s a way of expressing truth that I love.”