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Frankie Drayus 2.23.02
Hundreds of people showed up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Sunday to hear Philip Levine and Richard Garcia and it was still almost raining and practically first thing in the morning (which is 12:30 pm) and it even cost money and still the people kept coming, nearly filling Ahmanson Theatre (which is quite large) - all this just for poetry.

And people say LA has no culture.

People were swooning. It was like Rudy Valentino spoken into the air. Laurel Ann Bogen said she thought Philip Levine was "the best goddamn poet in the United States." Not a bad introduction. And yeah, he won a Pulitzer, but I liked him because he said he couldn't get a visa for Manhattan because he's from Detroit by way of Fresno and that's why he has to live in Brooklyn. And because he's seventy-something years old and he gives me hope for what my later years might be like excepting the fact that he's a man and I'm not. And Richard Garcia, well, may the dogs keep barking in your poems and the femme fatales with pearl-handled pistols strapped under their garter belts - may they pour your dream-martinis tall and strong. Long live Los Angeles and the writers who love it.

Wayman Barnes 2.22.02
Birthday Bash

2001 has been widely referred to as one of the worst years ever. That might be true for most, but for us here at LitRave it has been a very, very good year. We would like to send out a heart felt smooch to all of you who have made it so special: smooch smoochity smooch smooch smoochity!!!

Wayman Barnes 2.22.02
Thought I should mention that everyone's favorite June Melby (we won't even discuss the other one) has a new chapbook out, Tub Toys. Check it out. And/or visit her website: http://www.junemelby.com

Wayman Barnes 2.22.02
Drunken patron: "Hey, if I wanted to listen to this shit, I'd go to church!"

Our poetry host, John Gardiner: "I'm sick of this! I may be an old man, but when this reading is done, I will meet you outside, take off these glasses, and show you the other side of a poet!!!"

Lawdy lawdy lawd, ain't that often when you see a poetry reading nearly turn into a bar brawl. Then again, ain't too many readings held in a pool hall (The Laguna Beach Brewing Company, actually), but that is where the aptly named Pale Ale Poets hold their monthly get together. A groovy bunch to be sure, they even publish chapbooks of their featured poets (extremely cool, in my opinion), these poets won't be pushed around. Especially, by an inebriated gaggle of pool playin' twentysomethings. Be on your best behavior.

The poets: John Gardiner, MC Bruce, Cassandra Hill, Christine E., Katja Giritsky, June Melby, Paul Caanan, Frankie Drayus, Wayman Barnes, Greg Whipple, Steve Ramirez, Rick, and Luscious Lou.

Pale Ale Poets
Third Thursday of each month
Laguna Beach Brewing Company
422 Pacific Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach

The Exorcist 2.21.02
Post from the Exorcist. On Friday I took a break from Midnight Special and went to a club I was invited to on Broadway called '217'. They'd just started doing jazz poetry there. Each poet was accompanied by a bassist and percussionist. There were 8 poets in all. I caught the end of Midnight and heard about 7 poets. Peggy was the feature Saturday at Mia's and she acquitted herself admirably. Towards the end she did 'Twin Verse' a piece on the Twin Towers. Tuesday at the Lounge was a slam. R-A-C and Jasmine and Mark Schaeffer were calibration poets. The crowd erupted in laughter when Bowerbird came in on Schaeffer's piece. They probably thought it was spontaneous. In the second half one poet went for about 7 minutes ranting about the Jerry Springer show. His catch phrase was 'Off Springer'. He said the show made him want to vomit. He ended by saying he was down with Montel. Him and one slam entrant 'Black Titanium' lost about 4 to 5 points for time. Contestants for the slam including myself were Frank, Damon, Poetri, Steve Connell, Mike Cirrelli, Rachel, Fairfax Steve, Gimel, Jose, Patrick, Buddy Wakefield and Black Titanium who has his own CD. Frank did a great piece about women and undeservedly got a 6.5 from one judge. An 8.6 he got was more accurate. Damon did his 'If I was God' poem.'If I was God I'd sit in church and heckle the pastors. I never said that''If I was God I'd walk up to atheists and say "Hi. I'm God"'. Scores ranged from 7.1 to 9.4. Poetri did a funny piece about a kid singing his way out of shoplifting and stealing a Milky Bar and a black man singing his way out of a ticket from a racist cop and getting the cop so emotional he writes himself a ticket.'I need to learn how to sing' he kept saying so he too could get out of trouble spots. Scores went from 8.3 to 9.8. He didn't get through to the second round which is unusual for Poetri. In about 13 slams I've only seen it twice. Steve Connell got to the third round. He did 'When it's on it's fucking on... we need new chords, new progressions, new notes' He did the poem where he decided to invent his own vocabulary. Yupemadig. For him it meant revolution. The ultimate rebellion. He decided to abolish common usage words and invent his own. At the end he said 'yupemadig.. no need for translation. He got all 9's in the first round. Mike Cirrelli got to the third round too. Rachel blew my mind. She started her poem while she walked down to the stage. Never saw that before in a slam. The poem is hard to explain. Like the mind trip at the end of 2001. Something about piercing her nipples with Saturn's rings, backflipping through the Milky Way. No longer using clocks but stars to tell time. When she walked down she said she didn't need the mike because she had sufficient electricity in her. She won the slam with her poem about her breasts. 'My nipples may be 32A cups but they're perky!' She said her boyfriend was in the car with her singing along to Billy Joel's 'Just the way you are' and then telling her he wished her breasts were larger'. She ended with 'My body, my breasts'. She always gets a tight score for that poem. Gimel was tight 'No need for sheet music in prison because my cell already provides bars'. Loose quote. Jose did a poem about a party with all his relatives. Buddy Wakefield's poem required a strong stomach. If you like your poetry raw here's some of it loosely quoted. He said his aunt was schizophrenic and killed the family cat for some weird reason and made a niece or daughter eat her own shit because she kept having accidents. Buddy gets pretty manic when he performs but he's always entertaining. Buddy also made it to the final round. Unsaen could have been in the final round but he lost half a point for going over time. Buddy narrowly beat Steve by one decimal point for third place. Exorcist signing off.

John Kilroy 2.20.02
As a regular LitRave.com ‘viewer,' I made sure to catch Wayman Barnes last night as the featured poet at the Ugly Mug coffeehouse in Orange. He cooked! It was one of those performances where a 'wannabe' in the audience says to himself, “Man, I wish I could do that.” Wayman's humor can make you forget how deft he is in human observation, and how hard he seeks the profound in the most daft situations.

Wayman had a truly remarkable way of bringing an audience of distant strangers into some sort of communal happiness. 10 minutes into Wayman's performance, people glowed, they were so goddamned happy.

I don't remember seeing everybody in the room, at the Ugly Mug, line up to congratulate the featured reader immediately following the performance like they did with Wayman.

Bonus round: Frankie Drayus accompanied Wayman on his trip south, and performed two poems. Knocked me out again. Serious, grab-you-by-the-collar-and-shake-you stuff. Dug it, and dug it.

Seeing them both in one night is epic. Like seeing something that should go down in L.A. lit history. It's so cool to say I saw it.

And Big Congrats on one year in biz!

John Kilroy — LitRave.com viewer/BigFan

Wayman Barnes 2.20.02
Orange in Orange

There are some people you meet who are nice. And there are other people who go beyond nice. They invent new ways of being nice. They are superheroes of nice. Uber-nice. Supernally nice. Nicety nice. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nice. I, of course, am talking about Steve Ramirez & Ben Trigg - the nicest guys in poetry.

Their reading, Two Idiots Peddling Poetry, is every Wednesday down in Orange (which is not as far as you think, just avoid the 405) and well worth the drive. It's consistently well attended. The poetry is top notch. The sound system is excellent. And for those of you who are prone to do features, they record the performances on CD. That way you have a professional quality keepsake of your performance. Pretty cool, hunh?

Like I said, nice guys.

The Poets: Ben Trigg, Zainab Outlaw, Howard Yosha, John Kilroy, Angel Perales, Lil' Bob, Matt Schultz, Frankie Drayus, and Rebecca.

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

Jenny Gabrielle 3.17.01
New York

Within the vibration of humanity
bloodpulse under my face
Inside the edifice
of age
The starburst of commerce
The collision of engines and hearts
An endless party - the bars of every nation
emptied out into the
criss crossing of streets,
into the wide concrete aisles-
where glances hang open without promise
If I had dreamed a city it would be you
If I must merge with the grey rigor
of traffic
let it be your
unruly, ungilded masses
your rude rough angry
scream of joy
lost in the throat of
a drowning world

Jenny Gabrielle 2.19.02
Collidial Knot

Puppy Love

Crows wings inside your back
under glass
inside breathing

like these walls
as they bent
as I came

white light
brushed it's fur
over me

you smelled so good
like milk fed
child dreams

Time could take all
your beauty
and still leave me wet
with your softest heart


Arched into eternity
come crashing
into the walls of
you, face, brain

I drifted in a desert
of shards
all the bubbles in my mouth
the candy glass hurt
I'm hurting like a child
as if you were
my mother
and I came
from the rough tangle
around your cock


somewhere between
you and me
and me younger
and sleep and awake
before the drug
there is
something as
raw as sunlight,

that is older than
I know

Wayman Barnes 2.18.02
San Pedro, Finally

As those of you who read these forum pages religiously know, I have had an unrequited love for San Pedro poetry readings. Thru thick and thin I have continued to go there in the hopes of someday having my feelings reciprocated. Well, fond readers, that moment has arrived!

Last night he went to the Sacred Grounds … and there was an actual poetry reading with poets and everything! No longer would he have to sit and stew over a sacred cow and make idle threats to the ghost of Bukowski, this time he'd get to actually listen to other readers and, joy of joys, get to perform for them. And, best of all, they give the poets as much stage time as they want! Hot dog! Shangri-La!! The boy has found a home!!!

The Poets: Gary J., Stephen G., Doug, Jordan, Frankie Drayus, Charlotte O'Brien, Wayman Barnes, Daniel, & Desiree.

Mondays at 8:00
Sacred Grounds
399 W. 6th St.
San Pedro

The Exorcist 2.14.02
Post fom the Exorcist. I went to HBO Soul Poetry on Thursday instead of my usual spot Green. There was a $500 poetry contest. I phoned to find out how it works and was told that from all the people that signed up names would be drawn. I got there and approximately 60 people signed up. I saw the fantastic four that would be the ones to beat. Thea, Bridget, Seiku and Jerry Quickley. 5 peoples names were said initially. I didn't know any of them but all of the poems had a strong black theme. The audience was predominantly black so I felt being there I was doing my part for Black History month and planned to do a poem on that tip if my name was called. When more names were read I was shocked to hear Bridget then Seiku then Jerry Quickley called and that's when I knew that HBO was playing favorites. No matter how you slice it and dice it only 15 out of 60 poets could read that night so we all had a 1 in 4 chance of reading if they had done a drawing. At the Lounge you see names drawn out of a hat. No such thing here. Just a host saying the names he wanted. Yeah, I'm bitter. Wasted my time going there. Me and 45 other poets that didn't get a fair shake. They will have this again on the 22nd so you've been warned poets. You don't see names drawn out of a hat so don't be fooled. One poet that read had a 'Too black, too strong' theme and another one had a great poem about the seedy side of New York. Friday at Midnight Special was quite posssibly the best night I've had there. One of the poets performed the craziest antics I'd ever seen in a poetry reading. He was doing an anti-Bush piece. 'I had no corporate relations with Enron.' He hopped like a bunny and did karate kicks down the aisle repeating 'Hai-ya, Taliban.' He started the piece talking in a weird voice and then a demonic voice and I figured the Exorcist was going to have to get busy. One poet said that when he was walking along minding his own business somebody rolled down the window in his car and yelled out 'fuck you, you fucking beatnik!' and then drove off. One poet later doing a poem about road rage said at one point that he rolled down his window and yelled 'fuck you, you fucking beatnik'. It was great how he thought to pick up from the other poet and pretend to be the verbalizer. Kurt said 'when your reality becomes illusion you're considered insane but when your illusion becomes your reality you're considered a poet. Kurt made a book of 100 of his poems three months ago. Very professionally produced. In the 8 or 9 years he's been doing poetry he has written over 3,000 poems. That puts the P in 'prolific' and the T in 'terrific' if you ask me. Approximately one a day. One female poet did a great piece about the sheer boredom of working a nine to five. She got some digs in about the evils of secondhand smoke and at one point she started to bleat like a lamb. Lee Sloka did his 'poetry junkie' poem. Dana put down haiku again. 5 syllables, then 7, then 5 because they worked out scientifically that that amount in that order would induce sleep. He did a haiku putting down haiku and jokingly lost it later when somebody did a haiku. Saturday at Mia's Wayman did a poem about getting an acting role in Hollywood in a b-movie that left him disillusioned. I think Patrick is the name of the feature. Nathaniel did a poem about his high blood pressure. Nathaniel is a hoot. At the end of his poem he inserted a flashing object in his mouth. I recognized it as something I used to wear as an earpiece. He said 'This is what high blood pressure does to you.' Tuesday at the Lounge one poet almost got some people crying with his dedication to his dead mother. It was very emotional. C-Bone rapped over his CD. Macho and his Tunnel Rat friend performed individually. The last line in Macho's rap loosely quoted 'Step to me, I wish you would'. Seiku was tight doing a poem I'd heard before. Jerry Quickley did the poem about getting a woman before he gets a dog so he doesn't get too close to the dog. Spoke about the ex that slammed the door when she left him and shouted 'I bet you're going to put that in a poem, huh.' Gina did 'Somewhere there's a poem'. Nafeesa did 'September 18th'. Gevon was going to do something new but a friend of his requested 'father was prepared to make the poem but wouldn't stick around to edit it.' Slim did 'Master Pop Money'. Unsaen did the sequel to 'Listen to the rhythm that I'm spi-i-itting'. Poetri did a funny poem about chatting up a fine black female cop who wasn't having any of it. Damon did a cool poem praising women or a specific woman, I couldn't tell. R-A-C kept making comments so he turned his back on her and recited to the people in back. I only ever saw Seiku do that before and what Damon did next which was to continue reciting to the people on the side. That just about covers it. Exorcist signing off.

Wayman Barnes 12.13.02
The South Beach Café is, without a doubt, the craziest poetry open mic you will ever attend. More than any other reading I've ever been to, this one captures the spirit of its location - the Venice Boardwalk at night. Which should tell you everything you need to know. Go soon. Bring some friends. It's a wild time. And you will have lots of stories to share. Guaranteed!

Tuesday Night Open Mic
Of Wordspeek, Movement & Sounds
The South Beach Café
#2 Rose Ave. (at Ocean Front Walk)

Wayman Barnes 2.12.02
Ventura Road Trip IV

Can you tell that we love the Ventura poetry scene? It seems obvious to us, since we keep going back - either to Abednego's or Zoey's or one of the special readings they always seem to be having up there. Partly, it's because it makes us feel hip. There is an entire scene that none of our fellow LA poets know about. They've never heard of Roe, Doris, Gwendolyn, Pete, Gauvin, etc. etc. etc.

So if you want to be as cool as we, hop in your car and drive up to see in that town set by the sea a bit of Ventura poetry.

… sorry.

Tuesdays at 7:15
Abednago's Bookstore
21160 E. Thompson Blvd.

Zoey's Cafe
451 E. Main Street (in the 'El Jardin' courtyard) - Ventura
(805) 652-1137
for more information call: (805) 672-1756

Mike the Poet 2.11.02
Poetry4daSouL is held at the Showtime SportsgriLL in Long Beach..

On Sunday, February 15th the lineup was intimate & explosive..

Omari, PhilHarmonic, yours truly the Poet & Ladyvette..

The Showtime Sportsgrill is an old steak house with tasty BB-Q & bar with those old leather booths you can only find in joints built decades ago... The night was special for the Poet 'cuz his sister & father were there.. Pops told the poet that during the 60's the poet's mom & pops used to live in this part of Strong Beach.. They used to eat in this same spot damn near 35 years ago... Now in 2002 this old space holds a weekly poetry event -- Poetry4daSouL... the hosts Gregg & Yvette are a magnanimous couple that specialize in making you feel at home.. The crowd was warm & the hot spoken word made it warmer..

PhilHarmonic opened up the night with "love made me question destiny".. Phil rocked a couple of medleys weaving between poetry & song.. He then started his new joint "the beat goes on.." Ladyvette joined him with a beautifully sung chorus throughout the piece & the poet kicked a verse towards the end of the piece.. "Beats, beat, beats, all i'm hearin are beats, the beatbox, the beat don't stop, the new beat generation, pops, rocks & locks to jungle, drum & bass, hip hop... the room approached euphoria as Ladyvette sang," the beat goes on & the beat goes on & the beat goes on.."

by this point the intimate crowd was smilin & rockin... Omari jumped up & brought his usual soulfull lyrics... He did one poem about the mixed emotions one can have towards their lover... the piece was great 'cuz he expressed the range of feelings of a relationship... one brilliant moment was his line about how sometimes his girl makes him feel like he has Touretts syndrome & then he cussed spastically, making everybody laugh...Omari coupled sensitivity with comedy to give a richly textured performance... He did three poems in the first set..

Up next came the poet... Rockin' pieces like "lookin for a human in the age of telecommunication" & "your a grand old flag", The poet addressed contemporary issues like technology & America's new found patriotism.. Then as a celebration of his Long Beach roots the poet did a special remix of "I am alive in Los Angeles" but with a Long Beach twist.. PhilHarmonic & Ladyvette joined in & everybody was smilin'... The poet ended his set with one more group piece.. "steppin' out tonight" this infectious joint will keep Ladyvette in your head singing "steppin' out, steppin' out, steppin' out tonight.. we're steppin' out tonight.." In between Ladyvette's singing, PhilHarmonic & the poet kick verses about LA's club culture.. the joint is always a showstopper...

A lady named Katrina did a couple of thoughtful poems & then Phil, Omari & the poet did a quick round robin... There was never more than 25 people in the joint the whole time, but the explosive poetics were so alive that everyone in attendance will never forget the night.. These conditions made it even more special...

Poetry4daSouL is destined to give Long Beach one more great evening of weekly spoken word... GreGG & Yvette treat the poets very well.. Between their energy & the rooms setting the event has a refreshing warmth & lack of competitive energy... At poetry4daSouL it's all about poetry... If your lookin for something new roll down to the LBC..

Express yo' self
poetry & open-mic

Showtime Sports Grill
535 W. Willow St.(710 S., Exit Willow East,go over bridge,located just before 2nd light on left side)

Sundays 6-9
$5.00 at the door
featured poets....7p


Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 2.11.02
I don't like to use curse words but... damn!!!!

Damn, what a big slam! The Big Damn Poetry Slam in Long Beach that is. The Slam Mistress and Slaminatrix, Mindy Nettifee, pulled off a perfect one again. First, there were great open mic readers. Then, there was the feature, Daniel McGinn. And then, there was the slam. And not just any old slam mind you, but a really big damn poetry Slam with a capital "S" (which, by the way, should have been on the chests of all participating poets). The Magnificent Seven who battled it out neck-to-neck were: R-A-C, Deborah Adler-Brown, Rachel Kann, Pojo Joe, Big Poppa E, Buddy Wakefield, and yours truly BD (that would be me). The slam was so hot that the mic kept making sizzling sounds each time a poet would touch it (literally). In the end, it came down to Rachel and Buddy, and Wakefield the Wonderful pulled off a 0.2 point victory with 88.8 over Rachel's 88.6. Wowie!!! Big Poppa E placed third, Pojo Joe was fourth, yours truly took fifth place followed by Deborah in sixth and R-A-C in seventh. Talking about R-A-C, I have to mention that today she competed as part of a tandem. See, her baby boy is due to be born in six weeks, and this was his first official BDPS competition. Just you wait until he grows up! He'll be winning poetry slams all over the place. But before that time comes, make sure to go down to Long Beach on any given Sunday afternoon and support Big Damn Poetry Slam. The venue is hot and the hosts are friendly. And if you also buy an official BDPS T-shirt, Mindy and Paul will love you even more.

The Big Damn Poetry Slam
Blue Cafe (upstairs)
Long Beach Promenade
Every Sunday at 3:30 p.m.