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Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 12.11.02

"his mind a seductive train
sleeping cars all shadowy
he is a stranger you trust with your life
he will let you sleep
he will let you dream
there will be no apology..."

(Everyday Angels, Pt. 1 by D. Dinsmore, Everyday Angels & Other Near Death Experiences, En Theos Press, 2002)

He is an angel... everyday angel. And she is, too. She is Danika Dinsmore. She has an impressive poetic biography, but is hard to define, almost impossible. She doesn't like being confined to only one realm. She speaks softly as she flies... flies all over the road, in traffic, among everyday angels and near death experiences, like poetry.

Last week, she landed here, in this City of Angels. How appropriate! Danika, who currently lives in Seattle and will soon be moving to Vancouver, made a rare appearance at three different poetic locations in the Southland: Thousand Oaks, Orange county, and Ventura. All over the road... just like the title of her spoken word CD. I had the privilege to hear her perform at Zoe's Cafe in Ventura last Sunday.

Hadn't I met Danika under different circumstances the very first time I met her (but I had), and hadn't I experienced her warmth and unpretentiousness first-hand (as I had), I would be shaking in my boots getting up on that stage at Zoe's and attempting to introduce her to Ventura audiences. Danika holds an MFA from the Naropa University Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She is one of the founders of the "3:15 Experiment," and the Northwest Spoken Word Lab (SPLAB). She produced two years worth of the Seattle Poetry Festival. She won the Washington Poets Association Award for Performance Poetry... And the list goes on and on. But what strikes me about Danika is not her awards and accomplishments, not the high-visibility positions she held. What strikes me most is her unpretentious mix of strength and vulnerability, honesty, and mystery, and belief that we belong to everything and everything belongs within us.

All of that spilled from her lips that night in Ventura. And even more was shining through her whole being. With the wonderful accompaniment by Soheil Majd on electric bass, Danika opened with a poem written as part of the "3:15 Experiment" and feeding on Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," a poem that begins with death (of a tooth in a dentist's chair) and ends with death in the celluloid world of Tarantino's film. Written at 3:15 a.m. (as the rules of the 3:15 Experiment require), the poem overflows with bluesy overtones, a mixture of inevitability and absurdity of it all. And that's where the journey began, leading us into love through the Zodiac and elements, getting us knee-deep in "traffic" (title of Danika's first book of poetry) as we "avoided wooly worms" squirming and sprawled "all over the road," and suddenly stopped face to face with "Everyday Angels." Yes, Danika believes in angels for she is one of them. She meets them in most unusual places and at most unexpected times, captures the glow of their halos in her poetry, and shares it so effortlessly with her audiences. She speaks about conversations that feel like "Drawing Blood" with the same openness and sincerity as when she reveals her capricious inner child who has "no relationship with dogs," or describes herself as a "nature call girl," and "BADASS-Biker-Bitch-for-Buddha" in "Road Warrior."

There is no one word, or even one appropriate way I can describe Danika. One just has to experience her personally. In the meantime, we can all feast on her words... And if you missed getting her latest book while she was here, contact En Theos Press (www.entheospress.com) for a copy of your own.

The rest of the evening at Zoe's was a perfect counterpart and at the same time a perfect extension of this love affair with time zones. The gracious hostess, Gwendolyn Alley, and her mother, Suzanne Lawrence, performed a short play about the Christmases past. To be more precise, it was a living history lesson about Ventura at Christmas time 1905, written by Ms. Lawrence for the Speaker's Bureau of the Ventura County Museum of History and Art. This one-act history lesson featured the impressions of a California visitor named Adelaide Paquette, an "unmarried lady of means," who came from Kansas City, Kansas to visit her brother's family in Ventura, and found "little of what she expected, and more than she bargained for." The presentation was complete with period costumes, and it took us back in time, setting a somewhat nostalgic tone for the evening.

Following the living history segment and the feature by Danika Dinsmore was the open mic, a Spoken Word Sundays at Zoe's tradition. The readers included yours truly, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Epics" Doris Vernen, Raphael Vidrio with "The Tale of a Good Samurai," John Gentry with "Dime Novel," Gwendolyn Alley with a "3:15 Experiment" poem about Santa Claus, Barry Miller telling us about his adventure at a nudist ranch, Cindy Dickson speaking about a misspelled love note on an overpass "On the heartless 101 freeway," Theophilus Jamal - a film maker from Illinois - who taught us how to properly pronounce his name, and read a journal entry dated November 28th, Marsha de la O with a poem about profoundly experiencing the Northridge earthquake, Phil Taggert "Alive in a new millenium" (part 5), and the unavoidable avalanche named Gauvin with a tale about living in grandma Dahlia's house on Clean Street where "westside folk don't belong on the east side."

The evening wound down nicely at Gwendolyn's house with a non-partylike party in Danika's honor, and your reporter rode off into the night warior-like...


Start her in neutral, girls

and uh, and uh, and uh...

and she is in the express lane channeling quiet mind, her dust behind,
and 600 cc's of spiritual power.

In-line 4


The six syllable chant of compassion VROOM
The four cylinder chant of combustion VROOM VROOM
The mantra of acceleration. If only I could ride in lotus position."

(from "Road Warrior" by Danika Dinsmore, Everyday Angels & Other Near Death Experiences, En Theos Press, 2002)

Wayman Barnes 12.8.02
Congrats to Poetri for getting his mug in the current issue of Time magazine. Very cool. Yay!

Wayman Barnes 12.8.02
Check out some of this poetry from Riverside: http://www.epicentermagazine.org .

Frankie Drayus 12.5.02
The Mastery of the Master Class

When I went to Beyond Baroque to see Suzanne Lummis' Master Class read their poetry, I was mostly going to see Greg Ennis, my compadre from the Napa Valley Writer's Conference this past summer. Any expectations I had about the evening were entirely surpassed. I was pleased and surprised to see Jawanza Dumisani as one of the student-poets. I've been running into Jawanza everywhere lately, including at his December feature for the Valley Contemporary Poets at The Cobalt. On this particular evening in Venice, his Detroit poems sang with truth both in his voice and in their content. He has a sense of "place" far beyond any physical place; his work is anchored deep in memory. Of course it was wonderful to see Greg Ennis, partly because I enjoy his work, and partly because he never reads in public and he really should find the time. (lecture over, Greg) When Robert Peake stepped into the spotlight, I knew something important was about to happen. And then he spoke of seduction and I, too, was seduced by his muse. He spoke of "letting go of what is beautiful but not essential..." Robert and all of the other readers that night spoke with great admiration for Suzanne Lummis as a teacher and gave specific examples of what they had learned regarding craft, discipline, and inspiration. Suzanne just beamed, quietly, and continued to cut quite a figure in her black leather boots with the red leather toes. It is an interesting dichotomy - her brash physical confidence combined with genuine humility. I like this woman *and* her work. Teaching - good, relevant, transformative teaching - is a sadly under-appreciated art. Other (likewise amazing) readers were: Jay Adler, David Eadington, and Kathleen Taylor, whose "Prayer for an Ex-Husband" was not exactly for the man's well-being. Be on the lookout for these poets. I expect you'll be hearing more from them soon.

Yosh 12.5.02
supernatural darkness

what you see,
is only a little piece of what stands before you.

and there isnt much of a way to looker deeper,
without talking.

for years now, we have discussed things with our eyes,
forgetting that there is more than lies on top,
afraid of everything that digs underneath the shell of a body.

we want bodies to be what we perceive them as
and when a mind speaks we listen in hope it corresponds with our ideal.

when we are disappointed or overly impressed,
we shift our attention of focus to what fuels us on,
forgetting the former qualifications of what was so important.

I want to be heard while I am quiet.
accepting the hollow-light stares and radiant cool eyes
reflecting the tattered subjects of fancy and disdain

all the while knowing who I am,
and wondering if they will ever have the courage to ask.

©2002 by Yosh

Knowledge 12.4.02
Knowledge posting:Soundbites from Bridget's spot 'Tempest'.First time reader Mona blew us away'America.You calling another country terrorist is like a street whore calling another promiscuous....the history of another continent erased...your tax dollars sanctioned displacement...you're like a sick tree whose core is poisoned at the root...the West is merely where I reside on a physical plane...I'm not bound by your flag'.Gia Scott Heron'I told Kris Kringle I was single.I told him I wanted a man placed under a tree just for me'.Besskepp'If I could rewind time I'd ask white ladies why they lock their car windows when I walk by'.C-Bone'An early morning cup of tea with a splash of Hennessy...it was not my intention top leave every pussy in the room moist.Blame it on the power of the tongue....he wrote this missive with a cerebellum full of gin.The gin told him'Tell the truth and shame the devil'...looking through life scarred is hard.Seiku'I've got a team of Girl Scouts out on the streets to help me move units...no progress without suffering...oppression keeps you at your best.'Bridget'I have found that the Earth sschool teaches more than any college.Knowledge signing off.

Wayman Barnes 12.4.02
Double D and the Two Idiots

The Two Idiots (Ben Trigg & Steve Ramirez) run one of the best readings in town (Actually, it is OUT of town - in Orange, to be more exact.) Not only do they bring in a consistently large audience (50+, mostly nonreaders, believe it or not.), but they also bring in the great features (This week was the marvelous Danika Dinsmore and the incandescent Dina Hardy). 'Nuff said. Go!!!

The Poets:
Lil' Bob - The Leonids; Anti-Narc
Howard Yosha - In Memory of Uncle Jack; To Doreen ...; Conversation with Inspiration
Anna Marie - You; Untitled; Go Girl
Elizabeth Iannaci - Just to Feel Human (James Tate); From Three Apartment Buildings on Palm Drive
Danika Dinsmore - "I like it when the banana is still slightly green ..."; Why I Don't Slam; "I also sometimes sing the body electric; Everyday Angels; Let Go Poet
Brendan Constantine - "The two blind men ..."; Richard
Dina Hardy - Eve, a Lament (Lynne Thompson); Virginia Woolf's Walking Stick; Riding a Rollercoaster with Edvard Munch Warhol's Woman Suicide in 35 Lines(?); Baking Bread with Giorgia O'Keefe; Bacchus; The Metamorphosis of a Stranger; The Day Fred Holme Died; Grocery Shopping with Roy Lichtenstein
Zainab Outlaw - The Missed; Untitled; Beef
Aaron Roberts - I remember Paradise; Feline Futilism
Dan Rubiano - Vines; Dark Shines Kerri(?) - Untitled; Untitled
Nacho - 9.11; You Know It's Love
Merideth Lascoco - Barroom
Wayman Barnes - Jesus & the Two Older Women
Jaimes Pallacio - Thinking about Mongolia
Frankie Drayus - The Subtext of Skin
Crystal - "The unwanted birthday card ..."
Erin Montino - Poem for Savannah
Charles - "Things in my life are wicked right now ..."
Zeb - "I want a shower so hot ..."
Cora Outlaw - PCH Doesn't Exist in the East

Two Idiots Peddling Poetry
Wednesdays at 8
One drink minimum
Ugly Mug Caffe
261 North Gassell Ave.

JC 12.2.02

The first Sunday open reading at Beyond Baroque featured two outstanding area poets: Lynne Thompson and Larry Colker. Larry's appearance was originally going to coincide with the publication of his new chapbook, What The Lizard Knows , but unfortunately it was not ready in time for the reading. When available, however, grab a copy as soon as you can -- his work is consistently well-crafted and insightful, and is very high on my personal poetry pantheon. (That might very well win "worst alliteration." Oops, I did it again.) Highlights from his set included "What Is Unknown," "Referent Madness," "Sanctuary," and "The Caterpillars." Lynne's set included such standouts as "Eclipse," "Meditation On A Thursday," and "When You Speak To A Mysterious Piano." Her recently-published chapbook, We Arrive By Accumulation , is highly recommended. Her poem about Eve which appears in the Invisible Plane collection is incredible as well -- that book is one of my favorites this year.

The open reading drew some amazing talent as well. T.J. Paolino did an incredible piece titled "Goats" about veterans in a nursing home. Tiffany Harris read a poem about donuts...yes, donuts. (I think I gained five pounds just listening to it.) Mark Rhodes did an impressive piece called "Divine Wind" that started with a death poem written by a kamikaze pilot (which, by the way, means "divine wind" in Japanese -- I learned SOMETHING in school, y'know). Cathy Smith shared "If Asked Why I Read," which was sweetly clever. Melissa Fisher blew me away with an intense piece called "Hysterectomy" -- not, of course, that I can imagine a light, cheerful piece called "Hysterectomy." (In all seriousness, though, it was raw, visceral, and impressive.) Beth read a new piece called "Heart Like Prayer Wheel" which had some great images: "using calipers to measure infinitesimal levels / tracing this mobius trip." Ivan got roars from the crowd for two hilarious poems, one about the secession of Quebec (written in French, bien sûr!), and one allegedly channeled from Thomas Jefferson about President Dubya. Lee Sloca read some imagined poetry personal ads...a very interesting idea indeed. (Must...resist...urge...to...mention...LitRave...bio...page...)

Readers: Annette Robinson, T.J. Paolino, Steve Baratta, Tiffany Harris, Mark Rhodes, Leilani Squire, Danny Boy, Cathy Smith, Melissa Fisher, Alex M. Frankel, Larry Colker, Lynne Thompson, Beth, John Casey, Julie, Ivan, Lee Sloca, Rick Weinberger, Ray Lanthier.

Upcoming appearances for the features: Larry is the host of the weekly Redondo Poets reading at Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach. More information on upcoming features and directions to the venue can be found at www.redondopoets.com. Lynne will be appearing at the Venice Public Library reading (hosted by Sarah Maclay) on Saturday, December 7 at 2 PM. (Larry will also be featuring at the Venice reading on January 18.)

Oh yeah -- if you have any ideas for new adjectives or action verbs to make my reviews more interesting, please drop me a line. I don't want to bore anyone out there by using "amazing" or "interesting" more than is healthy.

JC 12.1.02


Thanks to Christmas shopping mayhem in Santa Monica, I arrived ten minutes late for the Rapp Saloon reading. (Given how bad the parking structures were, I may walk to Santa Monica next time. Sheesh.) Although it was a holiday weekend and there was no feature on this particular night, Rapp still managed to draw a decent crowd of open-mike poets. Pete Justus did a strong new poem (VERY new -- some of the cited events were barely days old) called "The New American Dream." Buddha Hat (I have no idea if his stage name is one word or two, and I'm also assuming that it IS a stage name, not a real name) did an interesting piece reflecting on haves and have-nots -- no title announced, but "Mad Privileges" is my best guess, since that phrase was repeated a few times. Manuel and Baby Girl Kane both dropped some amazing performances -- if you missed them, my apologies, since I'm not anywhere near eloquent enough to describe them. (Perhaps more to the point, I'm writing this after midnight. Feel free to complain to the LitRave higher-ups that I'm not earning my salary. And that my attitude sucks. You're probably right.)

Readers (after I finally got there): Eric Haber, Ed Houston, Ray Lanthier, Michael Zeltser, Barry Miller, Pete Justus, Dana Snow, Michael, Buddha Hat, Manuel, Baby Girl Kane, John Casey, Mani Suri (host).

Upcoming features: Ed Houston (12/6), Gary Justice (12/13).

JC 12.1.02

While visiting my family in San Diego for Thanksgiving, I had a chance to sneak out to one of the biggest weekly readings in San Diego, Poetic Brew at Claire De Lune in the Hillcrest district. My first impression? The room is HUGE! Claire De Lune has two levels, a ton of couches, chairs, and tables, and an arsenal of speakers for the PA system. My second impression? Where the heck do I sit? Even on a relatively slow night (according to the regulars), the place was fairly packed throughout the reading. Host Marc Kockinos has been running things for the past five years, but still brings an infectious energy and enthusiasm to the three-hour reading which always kept things lively. (He is also a fine poet in his own right -- "Market Street Slow Dance" was impressive.)

The vibe from the crowd was very supportive -- first-time readers got an extra helping of applause and encouragement to come back. Styles ranged from some slam-type poetry to more reflective work, even a few a capella singers, but most of the readers were young and very performance-oriented. Some of them have banded together into "groups" to sponsor events and go to readings. (The one group name which stuck in my mind was "Goat Song Conspiracy" -- easily a half-dozen of their members performed.) The feature on this particular Tuesday was Joe Milosch, a long-time San Diego poet and event organizer who seemed to have quite a few fans in the audience. Highlights: the first open reader, Salim, dropped a great piece about an imagined discussion with Coltrane: "What do you play? I play the night." Chris Van Oy did a good piece called "Stray Bullets." An INCREDIBLY talented (and cute) singer named Mia killed everyone with her amazing voice -- I recognized "Nature Boy," though not the other song. Finally, the last poet of the night, Kenton, did an amazing piece contrasting hip-hop and classic poetry -- definitely a poet to watch.

Readers: Salim, Christopher Clark, Kevin Sitz, Sophie, Mark Kockinos, Michelle, Joe Milosch (feature), Amara, Sunflower DuBois, Liz, Cornbread, Gloria, Notorious M.I.G., Scotch, Phil, Chris Van Oy, Jack Lee Bailey, Jesse, Mia, Kelly Parish, John Casey, Rudy G., Kenton. (Apologies for any misspellings.)

Upcoming features: Nafeesa Monroe (12/3), holiday-themed readings for the rest of the month.

JC 11.29.02

Jeffrey McDaniel appeared in a late-night Saturday reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice to share some of his recent work, primarily from his new book The Splinter Factory . Jeff, who teaches at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, performed with incredible intensity throughout the hour-plus feature despite fighting off jet lag from the trip out to the West Coast. Poems read from the new book included "Supreme Courtesans," "When a man hasn't been kissed," "Problems," "The Jeffrey McDaniel Show," "The Passion Tree," "The Wild Cousin of Potpourri," "The Archipelago of Kisses," "The First Straw," "What Year was Heaven Desegragated?," "The Everlasting Staircase," "The Foxhole Manifesto," and "The arsonist stood up in court and said" (actually read in two versions, one not printed in the book). In addition to the new poetry (and a handful of older pieces), Jeff read two long selections from a fiction-in-progress which were every bit as funny and scathingly insightful as his poetry -- the crowd responded strongly to both of them.

On a personal note, I have read The Splinter Factory over ten times since I bought it a few weeks ago. If you have a few spare dollars in your poetry budget, it should be on the top of your must-buy list. If you don't HAVE a poetry budget, you might even consider skipping a meal or two -- it's that good, and in my case, it's been far more sustaining than any sandwich I've had in months.

Knowledge 11.25.02

Knowledge posting:the Hot Spot had an improv troupe this Saturday.If anyone feels that isn't poetry they should have seen the hoe-down I requested at the end.Freestyling frenzy.THe subject given to them was octopii and they handled it.Blind Monkey International is the name of the troupe.Soundbites from Green Thursday...Bronwyn'I want to be that one red apple in your tree of greens, that one ripe cherry in your field of dreams'.El Cid is becoming my favorite poet.He's a riot.He got his poem cut at the Lounge and got cut at Green with 15 seconds to go.I asked him for the restof it later.Sample'Do not cry out for I will use your tears as a lubricant when inserting my gun into your holster'>on guy with long hair crouched on the ground, covering the mike with his hair and repeated 'All the people are stupid(2x)that's why I like spending time with you'.Yin ti El Cid's yang.short and sweet.Big Al'Having shit ain't worth shit unless you have soeone to share it with',Jeff'I spent my rent on a map and a tent',Buddhahat'Every day I buy a piece of my death for 5 ones', poet whose name I didn't get'You're masturbating your ego's as you step to the mike.It ain't got tobe all about he/she, a hard dick and a wet pussy...I'll be shooting off like Spiderman when you get me to my climax', Moth'Junk is worse like sucking off a dildo.If you do it wrong then nobody knows, but if you do it right it's like 'so'',Nicklee'We're all scavengers in this life, clinging on to any shred of happiness we can find'Knowledge signing off.

JC 11.24.02

Eventually, I will get around to reviewing the Valley Contempory Poets reading at Portrait of a Bookstore featuring Ellyn Maybe and Elena Karina Byrne. First, however, I need to do a little ranting about Southern California freeways. Please fasten your seat belts.

Poetry reading at 7:00 PM in Studio City. I leave my apartment in Redondo Beach at 5:45 PM. The trip is on the order of 30 miles or so -- not a problem, and the last time I went to that particular venue, I got there WAY too early. This time, however, I got there around 7:20 PM, walkng in just as Elizabeth Iannaci was finishing the introductions for the reading. (Only serendipity kept me from missing half of the open.) For the mathematically-inclined among you, today's word problem is to calculate my average speed in miles per hour. The missing piece of information is that I parked a five-minute walk from the bookstore. (The answer appears right-side up at the bottom of this review since there is no < UPSIDE-DOWN > < /UPSIDE-DOWN > HTML tag the last time I checked.)

Forget queuing theory, or group psychology, or population density -- I have a better explanation about why driving on Southern California freeways is so damn difficult: PEOPLE ARE STUPID. If you want to drive your fifteen-year-old minivan 20 MPH under the speed limit, be my guest -- just stay out of the left lane, willya? Someday, medical science will explain how exhaust fumes activate a left-pulling magnet in certain susceptible drivers and then those people will have an excuse. There is also pioneering research to be done into why having a bumper sticker or other item indicating religious affiliation on your vehicle makes you utterly oblivious to surrounding traffic. Personally, if I thought I was already saved, I'd drive like a maniac -- what do you have to lose, right? This is also a good opportunity for me to announce my candidacy for some political office from which I can write legislation banning SUVs, old El Caminos which can only make it up the Sepulveda Pass in second gear, and deathwish motorcycle drivers. Until then...for all of my friends in between Point A and Point B last Saturday night, I just want you to know that I wrote down ALL of your license plate numbers, and I'm coming for each and EVERY one of you. Be very afraid. I already know you can't drive fast enough to get away.

Oh yeah, the poetry reading was great. Ellyn read several pieces from her terrific new book, "Walking Barefoot In The Glassblower's Museum." As usual, she was bubbly, funny, and poignant -- favorites included "Kingdom Of String" (gotta love the Bob Dylan references!), "Being An Artist," and "Myth." The other feature, Elena, was introduced by an impromptu interview from VCP co-director Richard Modiano. She has a mile-long resume of publications and awards and a dense, polished new book called "The Flammable Bird" which was the centerpiece of her set. (Actually, come to think of it, it would have been cool to see her resume and the two Tebot Bach resumes from the previous night battle it out in a cage match.) Highlights included several poems from an upcoming collection, "Masque," and "Porcelain" from her current book.

Readers: Elizabeth Iannaci, Anita Solomon, Carla Henry, Paul Koenig ("Handel's Buttered Muffins" was terrific!), Ellyn Maybe, Elena Karina Byrne, Larry Jaffe (who read some pieces produced by his "Poets For Peace" project...and hey, aren't I clever for working in some alliteration), John Casey, Larry Colker (ALWAYS wonderful to hear...and speaking of which, he is co-featuring with Lynne Thompson at Beyond Baroque on December 1, which should be a stellar reading).

(Answer: With the given five-minute walking time, that means that John spend 90 minutes driving roughly 30 miles. 90 minutes = 1.5 hours, and 30 miles divided by 1.5 hours equals approximately 20 MPH. On FREEWAYS? I'm moving to Canada.)

JC 11.23.02

Tebot Bach hosted their monthly reading at the (formerly) Fidelity National Bank in Huntington Beach for the last time in 2002...and, as it turns out, FOREVER. The bank recently decided to change their policy allowing the public to use the community room, leaving this reading homeless to start 2003 unless an alternate venue in that area can be found. If you have suggestions or connections, drop me an e-mail at the address listed on the "Hello" page and I will forward the information to them, or get in touch with them through their website, www.tebotbach.org .

Despite this bad news, the reading was typically distinguished. Each of the features, Jeanette Clough and Rebecca Seiferle, was preceded by an impressive resume of awards and recognitions: Pushcart Prize nominee (both). Pushcart Prize winner (Rebecca). Pulitzer Prize nominee (Rebecca). Jeanette read several selections from her latest book, "Cantatas" (published by Tebot Bach Press). Highlights included three persona poems about Eve, "Hair" (comprised of six short poems), and a wonderful piece called "Discovery." Rebecca's latest book, "Bitters," is FABULOUS -- having just read it on my latest trip, I can give it an enthusiastic recommendation. Standout pieces included "Bat In A Jar," "Bell's Palsy," "Great Circle," and "Comparative Religion." My favorite piece, though, was "What We Need Words For," a poem written about her young son who was in attendance. Not only was he incredibly attentive to all of the readers throughout the night...he was missing the debut night of the new Harry Potter movie to support Mom!

The open reading featured some strong performances as well. Michael Paul read a Tony Hoagland poem, "Sweet Ruin," to kick off the evening. (This gets mentioned since Tony Hoagland is an awe-inspiring poet. Buy his stuff.) Mel Bernstein read two hilarious (and insightful) pieces, one called "ADD," and the other (title not recorded by your apologetic scribe) an imagined interaction between himself and Charles Bukowski at a poetry reading. Jaimes Palacio read three new poems, including one dedicated to RAC on the occasion of her wedding. Mike Sprake made a rare appearance and impressed with "Birds Of Paradise Lost." Daniel McGinn read an amazing poem called "The Sleep Of Brautigan." (By the way -- Daniel McGinn and Paul Suntup will be co-featuring to support their new book, "The Shape Of Her Back," in Costa Mesa on Tuesday, December 3. The reading will also feature Derrick Brown and John Rodriguez as musical guests, so this is NOT to be missed. Check the poetry calendar for time and address information...and buy their book. I've read it five times already, and it gets better every time.)

Readers: Michael Paul, John Casey, Liz Gonzalez, Marcia Cohee, Andre Jacobs, Mel Bernstein, Jeanette Clough, Rebecca Seiferle, Jaimes Palacio, Teri, Mike Sprake, Daniel McGinn, Jim Sandford.

Upcoming features: No reading in December (holiday break). Check their website for information about the January reading.

Knowledge 11.22.02
Knowledge posting:The Hot Spot was cooking. Two main features.Beth did 30 minutes and Annie did 15.Soundbites.Bronwyn'I want to sink into you and seep out of your pores...I have teetered on the verge of insanity', Ravic did a piece about the ocean'Many times she has consoled...from a distance one cannot help but be captivated by her beauty...what can compare to being surrounded by her?',Beth'Lee Strasberg...Marilyn studying at his behest was a gold star in his balding crown...I wish I'd had coffee with Kerouac in a diner in the middle of somewhere...I wish I'd been in a Paris cafe smoking through the birth of Cubism...punk assed white boy dripping words like a truth infusion...'Annie'I've been on the drug of negativity and it's been trying to control my creativity...I want those hands that will wipe my tears and those hands that will calm my fears...I want those hands that will hold me for an hour while our spirits just flower'.Kelly and Jasmine also read that night.Knowledge signing off

Wayman Barnes 11.22.02
Happy Birthday #2 to the Rapp Saloon. Way to go guys!

Wayman Barnes 11.18.02
Congrats Poetri! On the great review in the NY TIMES! Give my regards, Man.

Knowledge 11.14.02
Knowledge posting:Poetry lounge soundbites'I am wind though faster and harder to catch''These niggers couldn't spit up something nice if they swallowed a gold chain''Bridget 'My spirit's been heavy lately but it seems the more I share the lighter it gets''I have shitted lightning and farted thunder'Big Al got the lights blacked out onn him for saying that he dumbed down his vocabulary for the Lounge crowd.He said he called a girl irascible and cantankerous and she thought he was complimenting her.Dufflyn had the Pig Slam Monday and Slim was the winner.He did'Woman is a powerful word' and got a better tscore than the last time he slammed it there.The Sacramento slam team was there but only one of them dropped lyrics. A piece about AIDS.They performed at Bridget's spot on sunday and at Gaknew's on Friday and the Lounge on Tuesday.Cool name.Supercaliflowlinguistics'Knowledge signing off

Knowledge 11.12.02
friday at gaknew's spot.he had the Sacramento slam team.The t-shirt said 'Mahogany' so maybe that was his name.Speaking about gangster rap he said'The devil's presence in this audio ignorance..I'm trying to reach brothers who recite audio ignorance like scripture...we out of shape when it comes to mental aerobics'.Verbally toxic i invited down'gouge my eyes and hide them from my notebooks...jesus, it seems that demons keep feeding off me...I write so that i can open up locks to zones that i've not been'.Kaia'We are not going to sacrifice anyone for your war'She spoke against the cutting off of the clit which Christianity, Buddhism and Islam have done. The reason giving for doing it was that it would grow long.She said 'Good then you can suck my shit too!'Yo, I'm really missing your pussy'This unromantic phrase gotr a sister crazed'.

Wayman Barnes 11.11.02
Moonday #3

Alice Pero, the woman with the funky shoes (See Green Goes to Culver City), has started a poetry reading of her own. It is once a month in Santa Monica. And we don't mean the part of Santa Monica that already has a gazillion poetry readings. We're talking about the fancy part of Santa Monica! On Montana Bvd!!! Where all the poets live in big, big homes and drive around in fancy, fancy cars - Okay, this is probably not true, but we can pretend can't we? It feels great to go to a poetry reading and imagine that ever poet is a millionare. Try it.

The Poets:
Alice Pero - Transparent Drunk
Anne Silver - Dad's Debri is Defunct; Sea of Peace; "Throw away your lingerie ..."
Keith - "You don't smell of barrooms ..."; "keep the time for me ..."
Judith Searle - Penis Envy; Naming It
Jerry Hicks - Look No Further; Classified Intimacy; What I do
Frankie Drayus - What is Breathing Us; Rapunzel
RG Cantaloupo - I Ate All the Cookies; Einstein; On Turtle Island; Passage; Heaven; The Angels; "Drifting along on a song somewhere ..."; Want; We Did What We Could; The Art of Naming
Lynne Thompson - She Asks the Poem to Dance; Constancy; Eve, a lament; I Can Tell You It's Over in Fourteen Lines; Eclipse; In the Time of (?); Passages
Alice Pero - Conception
John Casey - Karl-Marx-Haus
Victor Vargas Iraqi War Photo; In the Beginning
Lily Lebazon - "Life can be wonderful ..."
Marcielle - The Civilian, the Siege; Inner Cafe; When I Used to Drive the Fast Lane
Daniel - "In Fields of Green ..."
Wayman Barnes - Jesus & the Two Older Women
Alice Pero - Weather House

Second Monday of the month, 7:30
Seattle's Best
1015 Montana Ave
(between 10th & 11th)
Santa Monica

JC 11.7.02
(subtitled, "The Night Of The Five Hats")

Since Charlotte O'Brien beat me to the punch on reviewing Michelle Daugherty's feature at the Rapp Saloon, this may be a waste of your time. Still, since I took notes and haven't filled my quota of fawning this week...I'm going to write my own review anyway. So there.

An outstanding night of poetry usually requires two things: a talented feature, and a strong open reading. Michelle was personally responsible for BOTH of those aspects last Friday night at the Rapp Saloon. In addition to reading some emotionally charged pieces from her new chapbook, "A Prism From Coal," she drew an accomplished crowd of friends and fellow poets who raised the level of performance in the room to that "you should have been there" level which is so rare to find. Michelle has a talent for crafting imagery which leaves you shaking your head in amazement at the insight required to invent a particular phrase. Standout pieces included "God Bless America," "Flat Beer," "Declaration of Metro Pride," and "The Writing of My Will." As Charlotte said, the chapbook is outstanding -- pick up a copy the next time you see her.

The open reading had just as many highlights, starting with the ADORABLE not-quite-four Mia O'Brien who read some Halloween poetry ("Ghosts" and "Pumpkin"). (If she's that good at that young age...I might as well retire now.) The just-as-adorable Charlotte O'Brien made a rare appearance and performed a new piece called "Australia" which pushes her writing to a new level...not only is she an amazing performer, but now she's writing pantoums. (Never mind -- I am DEFINITELY retiring.) Wayman Barnes killed everyone with his classic "Jesus and the Two Older Women" (and was nice enough to resurrect the crowd afterwards). Neil Aitken, who consistently impresses the hell out of me, did an obligatory Canadian poem ("Counting Winters In Los Angeles") and also a newer piece called "Wheelbarrow" which snuck in a clever William Carlos Willams reference. ("No poetry but in things." -WCW) Jim Bolt did a timely poem about voting -- "you'll get a free sticker." Michael Zeltser, Danielle Ezra, and Yelena Zeltser sang "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" to their friend Michelle -- Michelle blushed, and Mia danced in her lap. Marie Lecrivain joined the suicide kitty pact -- I finally got to hear her take on that title.

Oh yeah, the "five hats" thing. For some reason, there was a lot of headgear in the crowd, none of them identical. Just random trivia.

Readers: Mia O'Brien, Carol, John B. (wicker cowboy hat), Charlotte O'Brien, John Casey (black baseball hat), Jim Bolt, Michelle Daugherty, Pete Justus, Neil Aitken, Michael Zeltser/Danielle Ezra/Yelena Zeltser, Michael (solo), Gary Justice (small gray fedora), Wayman Barnes, Bill Schwartzman, Marie Lecrivain, Gene Silver (large black fedora), Mani Suri (turban).

Upcoming features: Terry McCarty (11/8), Will Webster (11/15), John Harris (11/22).

Knowledge 11.4.02
knowlege posting:Jorge was my feature saturday and I got two rappers to 15 minutes each alsoand also a guy called Jeff who heard about us from Midnight Special.thanks to the referrer.He was a trip.I'll quote him at length as he traded his chapbook for one of my tapes.Jorge'I was programmed for jail...whenever I close my eyes I see demons.....since birth I've been searching for a piece of peace...how can you see my people and give a fuck about endangered species...I wanna get a ghetto kid that was born with a wooden spoon in his mouth and feed him knowledge...despite life's difficulties I was beaten but never defeated...burn my body and smoke my ashes and exhale me into the wind so that I may be one with my Creator...I loved you before I ever knew you existed...I've been served, never protected by the LAPD...not even eternal flames can scare me 'cos I'm already in hell...I remember writing a letter to Santa Claus but Santa missed my house this year'MC Kyle'Our relationship is like your vagina, it's tight'. Jeff Cottrill talked about the Big Man bouncing girls off his bed onto his cock like tiddlywinks.He was a riot.Knowledge signing off.