Local poet to grace the stage at Life Is Beautiful
Las Vegas native Adrian Parker, known on the stage as Audeo Piouz, is making Life Is Beautiful history. A graduate of Rancho High, a twice published author and the father of four, Parker currently stands in a category all his own. At a festival where the shared passion of music, art and inspiring others collide, the Life Is Beautiful speaker series has added an unexpected layer to the festival: spoken word poetry.
Raised on the historic Westside, Parker said it was the struggles of everyday life that encouraged him to write. “But journal entries are just ways to vent. Life is what helped me find my voice,” he explained.
Having completed over 3,000 live performances, consisting of more than 100 different poems, Parker is no stranger to the mic. He has been speaking publicly since the age of 3, due to growing up in church where his father was a preacher, said Parker. He has been writing poetry for 25 years and performing spoken word since the early 2000s.
Parker first performed spoken word at the Poet’s Corner, a nonprofit, open mic at the West Las Vegas Arts Center, where he was a regular there. In October 2002 he performed a poem he wrote called “America the Beautiful.” With that poem, he stopped being politically correct and was honest, and that changed the way he wrote.
Using his platform as a way to address matters close to his heart, Parker speaks on topics ranging from civil rights and war to homelessness and poverty. Fellow poet China Hudson described Parker as passionate, stating it’s the only word that comes to mind when she thinks of him.
He has a passion for his craft, family and his people,
Parker said some of his greatest influences include Langston Hughes, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Marcus Garvey and his grandfather Ivra Baldwin. “In my eyes, he defined what it means to be a man,” expressed Parker of his late grandfather. “He never tolerated disrespect.”
Parker explained it was his refusal to take on a school assignment in the seventh grade that introduced him to poetry. “I was given a list of American writers and none of them looked like me. Even at the age of 12, I wasn’t OK with that,” he shared. Parker’s teacher told him to go find a poet who looked like him. He found Hughes. After reading his poetry, Parker was hooked.
It was that seed, planted over 25 years ago, that led Parker on a pilgrimage—a journey that includes Life Is Beautiful. How did Parker get invited to perform at the festival? He was in the right place at the right time.
In February, Parker was given the opportunity to perform for a local company. Unknown to him, Life Is Beautiful curators were in the audience. After a powerful performance that led to a standing ovation, Parker was approached with the opportunity to possibly perform at the festival. In the months that followed, a few conversations and meetings with festival curators sealed the deal.
Not only will Parker be the first local poet to perform at the festival, he’ll also be the first local African-American poet to perform.
Evelyn Sabino, one of the curators of the Life Is Beautiful speaker series, explained, “In an effort to showcase the culture within Las Vegas, it was very important to us to have locals like Adrian because it showcases that this a person who lives here, who contributes to the community and is not someone you think of when you think about Las Vegas.”
The theme for this year’s speaker series is transformation: self, local and global. With Parker’s style of spoken word being described as vintage, the Harlem Renaissance and passion personified, he and Sabino feel like he’s the perfect fit.
With all of the excitement buzzing around the festival, you would think that Parker would be overwhelmed with excitement about the opportunity to share the stage with so many major talents, such as hip-hop performer J. Cole, soul singer Leon Bridges and poet Carlos Andres Gomez.
“At first I didn’t know how to feel,” shared Parker. “Then as time progressed … I kind of knew why I had no feeling at all. I’m not excited because I feel like this is the most important job I’ve ever had. I’m honored, no doubt, but I’m more ready than anything.”
What Is Art?
By Adrian Parker
What is art?
Art is that creative impulse that arouses an
Emotional response that comes from this unknown
Place on the inside of you
Art is beauty in the eye of the beholder
Art is the many methods of expressions
Manifested though abstract perception
Art is that line of intention drawn to
Artificially manipulate our sensibility offering a
Different way to re-engage the very inception of what is
Art is life
It always starts as the translation of blind vision
As the mind gives its interpretation of
What the soul molds into form
Through intuition it reveals the appeal within to
Capture time in increments of moments not minutes
Because art offers a freedom that will always be found
In the midst of chaos
Art is neither wrong or right
Sometimes it comes from a dark place to offer light
Art is love
Art is a way of life