About Us


Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 11.21.01
Da Lounge Is Da Bomb
Starting Rumors

Rumor has it that Da Poetry Lounge is the hottest spoken word venue in town.

Rumor also has it that poetry slams are gaining in popularity. And another rumor has it that Taalam Acy is one of the hottest slam poets in the U.S. and probably the world. Now, what do you get when you combine Da Lounge, a slam and Taalam? An absolutely off-the-hook show, of course. And that's exactly what happened last night at the Greenway Court Theater in Hollywood. Poets were slamming for the two November spots in the finals for the Hollywood/Miracle Mile slam team, and apart from almost the entire Los Angeles 2001 slam team entering competition, there were poets from the 2001 Long Beach team, Oakland team, and of course - there was Taalam who defies all categories. Even the calibration poets were hot (Rafi and Elsie, Thea, Besskepp, Spiffy)!

In the first round, competing poets were: LitRave's own not-so-bashful dragon, Frank, Gimel, Justin, Poetri (with a vivid presentation of his behind-the-wheel personality), Sekou (professing his hate for beige Jeep Cherokees), R-A-C, Slim (promising to go "pop" this year), Babu, Christopher Jerico, Mike Sorelli, Omari, Taalam (who was the only one to score a perfect 30 in this round), Steve, Macho, and Shihan. The magnificent 8 to make the second round were: Shihan, Steve, Taalam, Omari, Mike Sorelli, Slim, R-A-C, and Sekou. Needless to say, competition for the 4 spots in the final round was tighter than tight, and after all was said and done, those spots went to Taalam, Sekou, Shihan and R-A-C. Now, something interesting happened... Taalam and Sekou were tied for the first place with a perfect score of 60 each. And, as that was not enough, Shihan and R-A-C were tied for the third place. Official rules of Da Lounge poetry slam advance only 2 poets into the grand slam, but this time slam masters bent the rule. Since all four poets were absolutely amazing, they decided to advance them all to the grand slam. Now, the lineup looks like this: In-Q, Jovan, Gina, Gaknew, Taalam, Sekou, Shihan and R-A-C. So, if you are bent on joining this stellar company, better shimmy down to Da Lounge next month for the December slam. Even if you don't win, you won't regret being there 'cause Da Lounge is da best! And rumor has it that Taalam is moving from his native New Jersey to Los Angeles. At least, I tried to put that idea in his head...

Having a slamtastic time in Hollywood and raving for LitRave,

Marissa Suri 11.21.01
I guess in order to know what my husband is up to I will need to check in on litrave.com. The trip sounded a lot more exciting in your version than what Mani told me. Take Care-Marissa

Wayman Barnes 11.18.01
Ventura Road Trip II

This wasn't just a roadtrip, it was an honest to goodness raid. I don't think those Venturians knew what to make of all the LA poets just showing up out of the blue and taking over their open mic. We certainly had fun. And we will definitely be back. With even more people. Ha Ha!

Highlights of the trip:
1. Everyone who is supposed to meet at Wayman's house is late. Very late. And very, very late.
2. Mani Suri gets in an argument with an asshole over a parking space and loses. The always mature Wayman rubs grape jelly on the guys windshield.
3. All the girls ride with Mani Suri. The rest of the guys stew in Wayman's car. Wayman considers rubbing grape jelly on Mani's windshield.
4. Wayman nearly runs over an entire family of tourists, who are illegally crossing the road.
5. Mani Suri is a fast driving motherfucker. Leaves Wayman and the boys behind somewhere in Malibu. Wayman, feeling that his manhood is being tested, breaks many laws and speed limits to catch up.
6. Somehow, he beats Mani Suri there and feels manly. Although, no one else notices or cares.
7. We find Zoey's. Which is a lovely place. One of the classiest looking poetry venues we have ever seen. The place is packed.
8. Phil Taggart gets things rolling with his intros, but is temporarily blinded when Wayman, who is sitting in the front row, takes his photo.
9. The features, David Oliviera & Marsha de la O, both wow the crowd with top notch readings. Wayman was especially enamored by Miss de la O, who had a voice that sounded like a martini tastes - sexy with a bite.
10. Lloyd (aka Sirios), used to going to hip hop poetry events, doesn't know that academic poetry audiences don't shout, "What!?!" and snap their fingers in the air when they like what is being said. It is funny to see the reaction of some of the poets on stage.
11. Unfortunately, the official litrave camera goes on the fritz, so Wayman makes a mad dash through downtown Ventura looking for camera (unsuccessfully) and misses most of the beginning open readers. Fortunately, since most LA poets sign at the bottom of the list, he gets to see all the litravers perform.
12. Thaine, who is becoming a performance artist before our very eyes, does a sad piece about "shaving." Shrep shrep shrep.
13. The beautiful and bountiful Charlotte O'Brien does a wonderful piece about motherhood called, "Milk."
14. Frankie Orange Superstar then wows everyone with her razzilin' dazzilin' pizzazz. Gettin' brighter and brighter, baby.
15. Mani Suri reads "The Writer's Block." The man looks like a poet. Acts like a poet. Talks like a poet. But, we now all know, he is actually a frustrated race car driver.
16. Lloyd brings out some hip hop poetry. I imagine for some of the people in the room it is the first time they have heard something like this. They seem to really "dig" it.
17. Atom Balm is a cabaret star! And I mean old school cabaret. The dangerous kind. Like back in 30s Berlin. The kind people still write books about seventy years later. So watch out!
18. Wayman Barnes tries to win the hearts of all the pretty women in the room by doing a piece about cannibalism. It doesn't work.
19. Kwame James (sometimes known as Q) actually wins the hearts of all the pretty women in the room by doing a piece about a goddess. Wayman takes notes.
20. Someone decides that we haven't had enough poetry, so we head back to Hollywood for Chromosome X.
21. All the girls hop into Wayman's car and he takes off like a fast motherfucker, leaving Mani and the boys behind. They stew in Mani's car. He considers rubbing grape jelly all over Wayman's windshield.

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

Wayman Barnes 11.18.01
Mama Mia!(literally)

There is a new venue on Saturday nights to fill your weekend poetry needs. It is Mia in Santa Monica. Hosted by Charlotte O'Brien and filled with all kinds of crazy goings on. This one is going to be a big one, so go soon. You definitely want to be able to say, I remember it when ..."

Tanner's Coffee
Behind the Santa Monica Mall on Colorado between 2nd and 4th, opposite Sears
Every Saturday night 7:30pm.

Wayman Barnes 11.17.01
Neil Aitken will soon be ruling the world.

Fridays at 8pm
Rapp Saloon
1436 2nd St. (in the Youth Hostel), Santa Monica

Leslie Moore 11.17.01
Hi LitRavers! Go see the Harry Potter movie I thought it was great. You can quote me on that.

Wayman Barnes 11.16.01
Green is packing the house once again, ya. Be sure to bring light clothing 'cus you are going to be getting very chummy with a lot of warm people. And go with your best poetry, 'cus the bar is being raised and raised and raised.

4342 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City

Cerebro 11.15.01
Mutants located. Steve Ramirez, Ben Trigg, aka Two Idiots Peddling Poetry. BEWARE!!! Might be evil mutants. Features were Angela Boyce & Emily Kagan. Very good. Potential X-Men.

Ugly Mug
Wednesday at 8
261 N. Glassel, Orange

Wayman Barnes 11.12.01
11/11 for 9/11

The poets:
1. Members of the LA Search and Rescue reading W.H. Auden
2. Jenoyne Adams
3. Sharon Smith Knight
4. Michael Datcher
5. Jim Natal
6. Carmen Vega
7. Larry Jaffe
8. Jennifer Dobs reading Carol Muske
9. Virginia Anderson
10. Chris Beauvais
11. Henry Morro
12. Jeanettte Morro
13. Russell Salamon
14. Carine Topal
15. Don "Kingfisher" Campbell
16. Mary Rakow
17. Alice Perot
18. Austin Strauss
19. Suzanne Lummis
20. Jerry Quickley
21. Leslie Monsour
22. Lewis MacAdams
23. Frankie Drayus
24. Wayman Barnes
25. Mani Suri
26. Sherman Pearl
27. James Ragan
28. Eloise Klein Healy
29. Imani Tolliver

The reason:
A marathon reading of Los Angeles poets to raise money for relief efforts in NYC.

Wayman Barnes 11.11.01
The Co-lab:ORATION Collaboration

A couple of weeks ago, Rachel Kann - the Hardest Working Woman in Poetry - asked us why we never raid her shows and we were like, "Giiiirl, we are already planning on being there on the 11th!" Which was true.

Then she said, "That's so dope. I love you guys." Which was true. Rachel loves everyone.

And, of course, everyone loves Rachel. Which is why Co-lab:ORATION is one of the dopest shows you'll ever see, because poets, spoken word artistes, guitarists, DJs, drummers, and dancers from all over LA drop in to show her their love and create some one of a kind collaborations.

She also books great features, for instance: ANGELA BOYCE, JACK SHAFER & CIRELLI!!! As Rachel put it, "Holy moly, that is a dope ass show!" Which is true.

So go! go! go!

Once a month at
The Knitting Factory
7021 Hollywood Blvd
(at Sycamore, 1 blk E. of La Brea)
10 pm SUPER sharp (open mic sign up at 9:30)
$5(no drink minimum, all ages) www.inspirachel.com

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 11.11.01
Alive and Kicking at the Edge of the World

There are theatre festivals all around the world, and there is The Edge of The World Theatre Festival. And The Edge of The World Theatre Festival had a spoken word event last night for the first time in its history. And the event took place in (downtown) Los Angeles. And we were ALIVE IN LOS ANGELES!!! Very much alive...

Thanks to Chris Dewan (the "daddy" of The Edge of The World Festival), Rachel Kann (our gacious hostess for the evening), and Mike Sonksen (the original "Alive in Los Angeles" poet from the Underground), Los Angeles showed to the (edge of the) world that spoken word is very much alive here and kicking some serious butt. (Pardon my French!) The theme of the evening was - what else but - "Alive in Los Angeles," and for those who don't know, "Alive in Los Angeles" is an ever-growing poem originally created by Mike Sonksen. When he first performed it on stage, Philip Martin joined in, and that's how the legend of a group poetry piece began. Judging by the performance last night, this act has turned into an all-out poetic orgy for all I know. It all started by Musing Mike (Sonksen), then PhilHarmonic (Martin) created some harmony, followed by a not so Bashful Dragon (yes, yours truly), Jiving Jordan (Erlich), Best-of-the-best Besskepp, Big-word Brandon (Backhous), Marvellous Mindy (Nettifee), Ground-shattering Gaknew, Rapturous Rachel (Kann), Brilliant Bridget (Gray), Inimitable Ismael, Smooth-rhyming Slim, and You'll-never-forget-her Yvette, only to return back to Mike for the final words. Needless to say, by the time the piece ended, half of the audience were on their feet. Way to start a poetic theatre first (alive) in Los Angeles!

The night continued with a few open mic readers, and then we smoothly sailed through the virtual maze of featured poets: Angela Boyce from Sacramento; LA's own Pocho Joe; Rebecca Gray; Michael Cirelli from Oakland, currently domiciled in Los Angeles; absolutely amazing L.A. poetry diva, Nikki Skies; Phil(Harmonic) Martin with the little help from his friends, Mike and Yvette; Jeff Trancher from San Jose; San Francisco "pocket Amazon," Emily Kagan currently "on assignment" in San Diego; this time without a mic and under bright lights, Besskepp; Long Beach slaminatrix, Mindy Nettifee; Leimert Park goddess, Jaha Zainabu; unavoidable and inimitable Ratpack Slim; Riverside's best and brightest, Mark Gonzales; sweet-faced and big-worded Snowplow; brilliant and beautiful Bridget Gray; imam-imitating Ismael; the Windy City's long-winded Rob Neil; and of course, the girl with big a$$ words herself, Rachel Kann.

Then, five more poets tried their luck on the open mic, and then everybody spilled out into the rainy and early Los Angeles morning. Ain't life great?!?!? Oh, and I almost forgot... I'm alive in Los Angeles!!! I'm alive in Los Angeles!!!

Wayman Barnes 11.11.01
"Mia" has arrived!!!

Charlotte O'Brien and company have started a new open mic to fill your Saturday night poetry needs. Grab your friends (and grab your friends' friends) and help them fill this place up. If you're lucky, there is dancing and singing after the reading. Always a plus in my book.

TANNER'S COFFEE (at the back of the Santa Monica Mall, opposite Sears)
Every Saturday night 6-9pm.
No fee, no competition, bring whatever you want to read.

Wayman Barnes 11.10.01
For those of you missing the recently killed Killer Poetry, the Laguna Poets is for you. Serious poets in an intimate reading. The poets were: the host (I can't remember his name. Sorry), Gillian, Edith Eugene Guy, Me, Marcia Cohee, Eliza, and the feature from up north (No, we don't mean Ventura) Will Webster. Everyone did a great job. I had a lot of fun. Go support them! And be sure to take the PCH on the way back. Very relaxing and you will probably have a poem (or two) worked out in your head by the time you get back home.

The Laguna Poets
Wells Fargo Bank (third floor)
260 Ocean Ave., Laguna

Leslie Moore 11.10.01
Hi LitRavers. There is going to be a complete reading of Moby Dick on Venice Beach. It's at the breakwater at the end of Windward Ave on 11/17 & 11/18 from 7am - 10pm.

Wayman Barnes 11.9.01
The old gang at Brain Candy is still going strong, corrupting children with beats and verse. Go support

Coffee Gallery Backstage
Thursdays at 8pm
2029 N. Lake, Altadena

Wayman Barnes 11.7.01
World Stage

No bullshit. The World Stage is one of the best poetry venues in LA!

Of course, you probably already know that. They are only one of the most respected venues anywhere and have been around forever. But in case you didn't, here is the lowdown ...

They begin at 7:30 with a poetry workshop. Then from 8:30 to 9 is the feature (always great). And after that is the open mic.

Go check it out. If you love great poetry, the World Stage is the place for you.

The World Stage
Wednesdays at 7:30
4344 Degnan
Leimert Park

Wayman Barnes 11.7.01
The Adebnago poetry reading is still kicking ass! Very nice people, great poetry, and well attended. And they haven't heard your poems a million times. Worth the drive.

Adebnago Bookstore
21160 E. Thompson