What Time is It?

10/27/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

Like a full solar eclipse or the coronation of a king or the birth of the savior, times like these are rare. Here at the Literary Cafe, this time, this once in a lifetime time, we call WHITE TIME. It is our Poetry Series sometimes extravaganza, some time academy, sometime orgy, sometime bacchanalia, Fourth Anniversary. Amazingly, the two over-drinking, lackluster, irresponsible lechers known as Steve and Nick, managed to not only create, but maintain the premier poetry series in northeast Ohio going for four years. It's like college, but with less beer. Nobody thought we could graduate, but we did.

To commemorate this auspicious event on Thursday November 12 at 9:30pm, we can get no less than two of the best poets in the vast small press country, THE David Smith and Scott (Kid Mingo) Wannberg.

A lifelong resident of the city of angels, Scott Wannberg moved to Florence, Oregon in 2008. A member of the legendary group of traveling poets known as the Carma Bums, Wannberg has read his poetry all over North America. He is the author of a number of books, including Mr. Mumps, Juice The Musical!, Amnesia Motel, Equal Opportunity Sledgehammer and many more. His most recent collection titled Strange Movie Full of Death was published by Viggo Mortensen?s Percival Press Summer 2009. Wannberg?s worked was also included in the wildly popular Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Thundersmouth Press.

In a rare return engagement at the Lit Cafe, David Smith A.K.A. Handsome Duke Deal A.K.A. THE David Smith is Mountain View California?s true king of the jews. In the 1980?s he was the publisher of Ouija Madness Press and Ouija Madness Magazine. He is the author of Closer to Jesus and with Scott Wannberg, Rockets Redglare, Greenpanda Press, 2006. His most recent collection White Time was published by Offbeat Pulp Press Summer 2009. Smith?s work has appeared in a number of respected literary journals both online and in print including Killpoet and Off Beat Pulp.

There can never be a better time to come to the Lit Cafe but on this Fourth Anniversary. Thursday November 12 at 9:30pm promises to be a Time extraordinary. Magic is in the air and it isn't just flatulence. You cannot miss the alchemy that David and Scott bring to a room together. I'm not even asking anymore, I'm demanding it and you'll thank me. The Literary Cafe is located at 1031 Literary Road in the timeless Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

A Star Burned Out?

10/21/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: personal, humor, rant, About me

Hey, I've meant to post about my movie career. What? you say? Yup, I have been been in a couple of indy shorts over the years. The first was done by Dord period. I have the DVD but not online. But here is the most recent. Remember don't blink or may miss me.

Dave Berry's 5th place effort for the "official" Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video. He was ripped off. Should have been at least 3rd. (I'm at the end).

Bad, Boisterious, but Not Banned

10/04/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

There is a repressive force in our Tremont midst. They are deceptive; wearing the guise of progressiveness, nodding in agreement to our creative ideas. They act our friends, but then it is they that try to slam the BAN! But, poetry lovers, we are not with resources ourselves. this past week was National Banned Book Week, and, if you were like me, I reread sections of some favorites that have been on censorship lists, such as:

  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Lolita
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • The Great Gatsby
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Naked Lunch
  • Look Homeward, Angel
  • The War of the Worlds

I like to have a nice cocktail while reading this "seditious" stuff. Sundays are my best day to sit, relax, read, and sip....but I can't in Tremont! The ancestors of this nefarious group of idea police shackled our public meeting houses, our community gathering, our forums for uninhibited inebriated debate generations ago. So now, in the 21st century, our freedom to enjoy a refreshing drink stronger than a beer is still dictated by fat old white guys that have been dead for ages and buried in mausoleums made of the bones of the oppressed, built with sweat of immigrants, and held together with blood of the minority....the forced sober minority.

Friends, we can do two things to fix these injustices. First celebrate Tremont Time by voting November 3rd for Sunday Liquor Sales in Cleve 3N and Cleve 3O, both on and off premises. Yes, it is now Tremont's Turn for economic growth. Read those yellow signs you see around the neighborhood. Second, come to the Literary Cafe Thursday October 8 at 9:30 pm to see two poets that probably should be banned for good but different reasons, from Kansas City, Kansas Jacob Johanson and Tremont's pride Allisun Hovater.

Jacob Johanson is a whole lotta Mexican with a penchant for bringing the most undesirable, uncouth, disgusting, kind of people fromall over the country to sleepy little midwestern cities. Yes, I am talking about underground small press poets and the city that straddles a river and two states, Kansas City. Twice now he had pulled off Unregulated Word Poetry Festival and the city fathers are still looking for a Swedish kid. He is also the literary editor for Off Beat Press and works nights so he can squeeze the Charmin in peace. He is known to paint, disappear, and get his poems inserted into a ton of zines and anthologies like the Beards, Zygote in My Coffee, and Kill Poet. He has just got a chapbook that has sumtin to do with swallows published by Rose of Sharon Press. It is said that a ride in his car can provide miraculous healings to the digestive tract. As an Anarchist, poetic prophet (not profit), and faith healer, anything he does, says or writes should probably be banned.

Allisun Hovater is an icon of Tremont. You can't miss her as she sashays across the neighborhood. She is sometimes referred to as the Princess of Tremont, which she so deserves. She has studied poetry at through the Lit Cafe Open Mic correspondence course and is our most recognized graduate. She has organized a reading series at the Visible Voice Bookstore, curated art shows at Doubting Thomas Art Gallery, and has been published in Hotel Poems: the Poets of Cleveland by Charlotte Man. Allisun has read in Akron, Lakewood, and Cleveland and was a memorable part of the Tainted Zygote in my City Poetry Festival last fall. She also throws some kickass theme parties and brunches at the Chateau Ghetto. An aristocrat in a working class neighborhood, she bound to find revolutionists trying to ban her existence.

There you have it.Get radical and listen to what some don't want you to hear. Read something that some don't want you to read. Drink something that some don't want you to drink. Two preachers of freedom just trying to share some fun at the Literary Cafe, located at 1031 Literary Road in the Blue Law Hell that is Tremont in Cleveland. Pretend it's Sunday and have a shot of whiskey while giving City Hall the finger.

Vote Yes for Sunday liquor Sales in Tremont. Vote Quickly Vote Often.

Encore for Arts and Culture

09/11/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, About me

I'm a last minute fill in at The Eleventh Annual Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival in Lincoln Park-Starkweather and West 14th Street this Saturday in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood. A reprise of my blockbuster performance of last year.

So come down at 11:45am tomorrow (Saturday September 15) and hear me do what I do. I promise to read new material and it's only 15 minutes of your life. Besides the weather is supposed to be good. The artists are fabulous. The food is delicious. What could hurt?

Eight Years Without My Friends

09/11/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: personal, humor, rant

You would think that with the abuse of everyday living, I would be be smarter and not self-abuse myself with birthday hi-jinx and Lit Cafe Poetry Nite extremism, especially this time of year, every year. I always get the message too late that no matter how my head feels, how much my stomach is quesy, it is nothing compared to the heaviness of my heart on 9/11.

Again, I remember my lost friends, Glen Wall and Dennis Buckley, dear chums of my youth, companions during difficult adolescent years, teammates, and drinking buddies. I toast your memory and promise to to be better to myself and others in the coming year.

PEACE. (please)

Can Never Tell at the Lit Cafe

09/06/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

Predictable is never used when describing the Literary Cafe Poetry Reading Series. No matter who is featured, who is hosting, what else may be going on that evening, just as you settle in for an expected poetic ride.....BAM! Something happens. Maybe audience participation in an audio tapestry, group Jager shot orgies, Tremont chicken visits, some spontaneous nudity, or a pillow fight. Who knows, except for Nostradamus. So come and see our two features, both known for their gentle demeanor, thought provoking verse, and stable behavior. Except at the Lit Cafe on Thursday September 10, who knows?

Sammy Greenspan lurks in corners of fine cafes, either surfing poetry porn or writing some. An explorer of workshops throughout Ohio, she now runs the new Cleveland contingent of the Puddinghouse Press workshop. She has been published in Whiskey Island and other on-line zines and has discovered the pleasure of reading aloud at the Jawbone Festival and Insights Cafe poetry series. This change in attitude may have precipitated the shoring of her gray braids for the shorter cool hipchick look, or the other way around.

Many times has our other feature reader, Brian Taylor been mistaken for the DC comics superhero, The Flash. What with his ever-present bicyclist cap and penchant to appear and disappear at large gatherings in a moment. Armed with a camera, he either is a secret agent for a shadow government keeping tabs on hipsters, hippies, and sub-militants; or that is actually a poorly disguised deathray that sucks the life force out by stealing bits of the soul. Long time resident of the Cleveland poetry scene, Brian is accepted at every venue, of every genre, at every geographic region. Of course, that maybe from the fear instilled by the undefeated Haiku Deathmatch Grand champion.

Nothing promised, both nothing gained unless you come to the Literary Cafe Thursday September 10 at 9:30pm. You may be surprised. The Literary Cafe is located at 1031 Literary Road in the surprising Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

The Great Liquor Disaster

08/20/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: personal, humor, rant, About me

While I was out in Kansas City for the Unregulated Word: The Holy Spectacular Poetry Festival, weather seemed to take my place in Cleveland with rumbling thunders and crashing blasts. As you can see below, a shelf in the apartment couldn't take the vibrations and dropped its load.

Look closely and you'll notice that it was my liquor shelf with broken glass everywhere, and not just from my entire wine glass collection. The rum is gone.

Yup that's what is left of my Laphroaig single malt.[sniff]. I'm gonna miss that. It was still a quarter full.[sniff]

Poet Hunter

08/11/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

I have just returned from an adventure. In order to find the finest poets for the Literary Café Poetry series, sometimes I must venture into the deepest, darkest recesses of our continent. Only the most exotic and talented poets can stand up to Cleveland’s standards and they have to be even more special if they are to stand side by side with one of our own in the Coliseum of words. Yes, to find a worthy partner for Lou Suarez, I battled tropical heat, slapped bugs that slapped back, had to devour wild pork ribs with a side of brisket. And then, while following the treacherous river Missouri, I found the goal of my safari. There a scantily clad native of the tribe CAN-zuhss Seetee was twirling a hula-hoop like a six foot pixie. From the tribe council I found that she was called Kateekaboom, which meant “she who can recite poetry.” She agreed to come to Cleveland this Thursday, August 13 at 9:30pm.

Katie Kaboom is like a modern day Tarzan. She goes by her aristocratic name Kathryn Erlinger when she is civilization. Katie just recently graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City with a degree in English, but is still selling booze at a liquor store when she is not writing, reading, or making stuff. She has been published in Off Beat Pulp, Zygote In My Coffee, and has a chapbook entitled "Explosive Devices for Girls". This is her second visit to Cleveland in that she was a feature at the Zygote in my City poetry festival show last November. She was a member of the now defunct poet group, the Beards (don’t ask).

Meeting the “Kaboom” is the courageous Lou Suarez. For 30 years, until he retired in June 2006, Lou taught writing and philosophy at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio. His native grounds were right here in Canton, Ohio and he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at Kent State University with further graduate work at Ohio State in linguistics and education and at Cleveland State University in philosophy. In 1995, Lou was named Ohio Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Day Association and has won several poetry prizes and twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Lou has published a book, Ask (Mid-list Press, 2004) and three chapbooks, Losses of Moment (Kent State University Press, 1995), The Grape Painter (Frost Heaves Press, 2001), and On U.S. 6 to Providence (Red Mountain Review, 2006). He is currently completing a second book manuscript, tentatively titled Traveler.

Come down to the Literary Café this Thursday August 13 at 9:30pm to hear these two strikingly different examples of mid-American verse as we parade the wild and exotic and the civilized and sophisticated in a match made by a slightly insane poetry organizer. The Literary Café is located at 1031 Literary Road in the jungle neighborhood of Tremont in Cleveland.

Warm and Cool Summer Poetry

07/04/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

Cleveland summers are more confusing than San Francisco's, but without the hills, Alcatraz (unless you include Mansfield), or sourdough bread in earshot of seal honking. Of course, we got Jimmy Dimora during a pasta feast. But the weather in July is a wonderful mixed bag, something for everyone. It's cold, it's hot. It's cloudy, it's sunny. It's breezy, it's sultry. And that's all in one day. Usually we bitch, but we stay because if we don't like it, it will change eventually. The summer weather reflects ourselves. We are warm and cool, man. Dig it, hipsters. For Thursday, July 9 at 9:30pm at the Literary Cafe, we have poets that represent just this. The cool, slick underground sounds of Robert Frazier and the warmhearted, let-it-out-baby voicifications of Azalea Tidwell.

Azalea Tidwell popped into my consciousness at Nick and my Lix and Kix gig last February. Her warmth and command shook me right out of my complacency and into her vision of the world. Originally from Gary, Indiana, my understanding is that she never moonwalked with Michael Jackson. I have seen her work on Poetry.com and has a style that spans traditional, hip-hop, and slam with imagery and metaphor. Azalea (AZ-U-R)published a book last year titled My Poetic Exhibition.

Robert Fraser is the lead man of the poetry/eclectic band Hobo Monk. HB played at the Zygote in My City Festival where I was feature and they blew my mind with Frasier's verbal frolic. His first Book: Poems for the Short-Term Memory was published in 2007, by Cornerstone Books. It highlights the ridiculousness of modern life in our Monetary society, and the search for something more meaningful and real. Other than writing, Robert claims he works like everyone else and studys the Native American ways of living off the land. How cool is that?

Whatever the weather, rain or shine, sun or moon, hot or cold come to the Literary Cafe for some summer spectacular changes that will thrill and calm you. The Literary Cafe is located at 1031 Literary Road in the tepid neighborhood of Tremont in Cleveland.

Lit Cafe Poetry Time is Meaningless

06/08/09 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry, Literary Cafe

A case study: Establish a unique area surrounded by organically raised art. Keep it isolated from mainstream of traffic, both physical and ideological. Yet cultivate a warm welcoming cozy atmosphere where all are greeted with a smile or a handshake, or sometimes a hug. Use non-MSM means to spread the word about this unusual nexus of circumstance, and then invite poets and poetry-lovers to meet at a time and on a day that ”normal” taxpaying people would avoid. Add a small stage, a lightly amplified microphone, and reasonably priced adult beverages. Observe the chaos and succumb to the overwhelming drive to join in.

Results: The experiment is a long duration study with multiple sites and has the unusual characteristic of having started well before it was planned. It well may have stumbled in a time vortex where start and finish has not meaning. In other words, the experiment may be timeless, but that is speculation and remains to be proved by mathematical eggheads. All we have to go on are the results and the results feed into the establishment of the next round of conditions, forming a kind of feed forward loop which may contribute to the aforementioned time paradigm… but again this is the stuff that makes egg salad out of those eggheads. The two latest results of this phenomenon are Nikki Robinson of Kent, Ohio and Louis Daher of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They will set the stage (if in fact they have not already), fulfilling the next stage, by filling the stage at the three and a half year run of this ongoing experiment called the Literary Café Reading Extravaganza.

Nikki Robinson sprang forth from 10 years of endearing and nurturing experiment located in Kent, Ohio, with sprinklings of North Carolinian Smokey Mountains during various seasons. Originally from Akron, she and her partner Deb are slaves to Bill the Greyhound which is maybe why she drinks Irish whiskey. Nikki has been rewarded the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Scholarship Prize, has been published in Luna Negra and Akron Life and Leisure Magazine as part of their photo and poetry series. She has written the chapbook “The Slop of Giving In,” and her latest, “The Melt of Letting Go,” has recently been released by P2B Press. Armed with a BA is English from Kent State, she teaches at a high school on the east side of Cleveland when she isn’t kayaking on the Cuyahoga River in Kent or sitting along its banks talking with blue herons.

Louis Daher is one of the special ones. He is the mastermind and one of the originals in the design and implementation of the sociological study that has shatter accepted perception in the theater of time. He has made the annual open mic poetry reading night at Jewel Heart Summer retreats one the highlights for the spiritually motivated. He has sat down on picnic tables to talk poetry with Alan Ginsburg during these retreats and is a direct lineage in my poetic education from the old Greats. His passion is never wavering even as lightning from the heavens strikes trees to fall on his car (and only his car on a crowded parked street). He has traveled from Michigan and back in a single day, just read a couple poems for one of my organized readings. Louis, over the nearly 8 years that I have listened to him, never once failed to extract a tear from my eye. We are honored to have him at the Literary Café

The Time Warp starts, as it always does (or did or will do) at 9:30pm, this Thursday June 11. The Literary Café is located at 1031 Literary Road in the Eternal Tremont Neighborhood of Cleveland.

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