“Don’t:Touch” - dadalog is describing poetry nights in Minsk

December 18, in Minsk, in the Lo-Fi Social Club space, the 31st (as it is written on the poster) was held, and the 39th (according to the cteator) the poetry nights “Don’t:Touch” (bel. Не:Трогай). We went there and even talked to Valera Pshenichny who arranged all this.

Don’t:Touch is a community that holds events of various formats in Minsk, but is mainly known for their poetry nights. The first poetry night was in 2016 and since then “Don’t:Touch” has occupied an important place in the literature life of the city. This is one of the most popular poetry shows where you can accidentally meet a girl from your university and find out that she is a legend of the Minsk underground, and also listen to poems from authors of varying degrees of fame and level of writing. For example, at different times on “Don’t:Touch” Andrei Khadanovich and the organizer of another poetic show, Andrei Shkilenok were performed.

How does it look like?

You can check the timeline out in advance if you go to the event group. Announcements of all participants appear about a week before the event. This time, a rapper, a music band and six poets performed at a poetry night, there were the soloist of the NAKED MANASH band Fedor Zhivalevsky, Valera himself and the Brahun and Podbrechich duet among them. They didn’t only read poetry, but also showed a short film. Film is not on the internet yet, but they promise to post it soon.

At the break, we asked the organizer of the event, Valera Pshenichny, a few questions.

Anastasia: This is your thirty-first night, not counting slam and other events. Why do you think people in the 21st century are interested in listening to poetry?

     Valera: Actually, it is thirty-ninth. People come because, firstly, I call them, and secondly, a poetry night is a universal format of the event. It is not a concert or an exhibition, but something that you come to, because you know that there will be wonderful people with whom you can talk, and you can see what is happening on the stage. This is a format that oblige you to nothing. I went to many events. Some seem too boring, some - too fun, poetry nights are the golden mean.

A: I’ve been at about 15 nights, but are there people who visited them all?

     V: Many of the speakers. There are people who come every night, even I didn’t visit them all. There are a lot of them, this is our community. Now we are creating our own place: we’ve rented a space and doing renovation there now. It’s gonna be a rehearsal base and a place for events, including night ones. We want to organize them often, almost every day. We have not only poetry evenings, but also film screenings and much more. In general, we create the epicenter of the underground comunity. If anyone wants to join and help, we will be really happy.

A: Since 2016 and till recently, poetry nights “Don’t:Touch” took place in the “Oxygen” art space. What has changed together with the space?

     V: Now we can gather more people, last time two hundred people have come. The sound was not really great, but people come here not for that. In the last place it was necessary to pay money for rent, but we don’t want to charge money for entry. We don’t want to make money on it.

 

Lo-Fi Customs Club is a very atmospheric space. I liked it when I came here for the first time. There is a big space, you can call more people. And they also give us the opportunity to make events free. Basically, Lo-Fi is super. I know what I'm talking about, with various events we visited more than ten spaces in Minsk.

A: A typical visitor of a poetry visitor - who is it?

     V: I want to say something about philology faculty, because I’m from there. Typical visitor is a guy who was kicked out of the philology faculty. He is into contemporary art, and maybe he is tagging on the wall right now (someone is really tagging. - Ed.). I follow the statistics of the audience, and by the way, we have equal numbers of guys and girls. This is a person who wants to go somewhere, visits relax.by on Friday, but finds nothing for himself there and realizes that the best choice is a poetry night. I can say for sure that our listeners are very sincere people. I know everyone, I adore everyone, I love everyone.

 

In fact, we formed our own comunity a few years ago. Poetry nights in Minsk are much better than in St. Petersburg and anywhere else. I was in the evenings in St. Petersburg, and they do quit poorly. We strive for the level at which the guys did in the bar “DK” five years ago, and they did very cool. Then a new poetry wave was formed in Minsk.

A: Which night is your favorite and why?

     V: There were so many, they are in my head as in a kaleidoscope. We do nights for three and a half years! It is difficult to name the best, but, probably, it is the 29th, the last in “Oxygen”. There, the guy came in a strange suit and stripped naked while reading a poem. It was so cool!

A: Ryhor Shabek. Why is he not reading anymore, by the way?

     V: Yes! Basically, he was super. He is gonna perfom at the next event.

A: Which visitor do you especially remember and what did he do?

     V: Once at the festival “Don’t:Touch” Yagen Zmushka came as a visitor - the head of the  MUTNAEVOKA band - and performed.

 

I remember most of the audience, for me they are all memorable, because I am familiar with everyone. Most likely, they come here to get acquainted. People just go out and talk, all in the same vibe.

A: The best performance on “Don’t:Touch” in your opinion?

     V: At one of the first events we had a band that no one surpassed in music - rozovoje ghetto. They were super cool. There was a girl in a ninja costume who was crawling on the floor, playing the piano for children and singing coolly. It just blew the brain!

I like it when people give all the best to speaking. The duet just had a performance, and I really liked it because people gave it all. I like to see the existence. There was a speech by Sasha Singer, he broke three of his own phones on a slam and didn’t read a single poem. He just talked and smashed phones, and that was cool. I really enjoyed this performance. Perhaps the most memorable.