Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The 2nd Annual Lit Crawl LA: NoHo!

2014 Lit Crawl

LAPS Director of Outreach, Victor Sotomayor and Elysie with the LA Public Library mobile Library!

An amazing thing happened last night. 
I attended the second annual 2014 Lit Crawl in the North Hollywood Arts District where writers, comedians, authors, poets and musicians gathered in 30 different spots (all within walking distance) and shared their literary work to an attending multitude that came to be wowed by writers and poets right in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. (If you'd like to follow my footsteps, check this website for these and all thirty locations: litcrawl.org/la/
Jason Brain rocking his poetry at A Night with a NoHo Beat!
First Stop: Avenue 50 Studio's Poesía Para La Gente. (Map 30)
A presentation of poetry (y poesía también), spoken word and slam featuring Karineh Mahdessian, Sophia Rivera, Elsie Vega, Ramona Pilar, Xochitl Julisa Bermejo, Javi Infante Vargas, Lilly Flor, Emily Fernandez, Iris De Anda, Gloria Enedina Álvarez, Crystal Salas, Nikita Liz Egar and Jessica Ceballos.

As my first time attending, I decided that I would support my locas from El Sereno, a group of women that gather once a week to write poetry from the heart, sometimes as raw and real as being victims to domestic violence, or sometimes as intimate and sensual poems that heat up the night. These Lunas Locas started off my tour of the Lit Crawl and I am so grateful that I did for they were simply amazing. What I loved is the fact that they were standing right outside the North Hollywood Red Line Metro Station (Map 30) in the middle of rush hour and these proud women had no problem opening their hearts to whomever wanted to lend them an ear and hear about their struggles and their triumphs. That takes cojones, if you ask me!

The ladies giving Poesia para la Gente!

Second Stop: The Rumpus: A Scream Without a Mouth-Stories of Reaching Out (Map 14)
The Rumpus joined forces with The Rattling Wall and PEN USA's Michelle Meyering to bring an intriguing lineup of wild writers who embody the spirit of the Hubert Selby Junior quote in the title.

Loved the setting inside the NoHo Arts Center where there was not a single seat left in the theatre (and some resorted to sitting on the stairs) to watch authors read from their novels. I pictured myself on that stage delivering the lines to an upcoming novel (that I have yet to publish) to an audience that was all too eager to listen. I suddenly realized that this had been my dream all along, that I always wanted to be among artists, writers and poets and I finally saw my finish line, I finally saw myself standing in front of a room full of people waiting for me to open the pages of my book and share a little piece of my best (unwritten) work. Funny how I can see it clearly now where two years ago I would have never thought that this was impossible, that I could never stand in front of a crowd for 10 to 15 minutes and keep their interest, make them laugh, make them think or make them cry. With luck, all of the above.

A Night with a NoHo Beat featuring: Julio the Conga Poet Rodriguez, Wyatt Underwood, Maya Trochimczyk, Jason Brain, Jessica Wilson, Juan Cardenas
Third Stop (and my last): Los Angeles Poet Society: A Night With a NoHo Beat (Map 23)
Featuring: Jason Brain (Soapbox Sessions), Julio Rodriguez "the Conga Poet", Maja Trochimczyk, Wyatt Underwood and hosted by Jessica Wilson (Writer Wednesday at Bob's Espresso Bar)

I knew that I had to end the night with more poetry and what better way to do it than with the greatest poets in the San Fernando Valley today. These souls have inspired me to see where I wanted to be when I decided to start reciting poetry. Jason Brain is a master of words that captivates an audience with the delivery of his words and a charisma that is hard to deny. Julio Rodriguez a.k.a. The Conga Poet recited his message of revolution and freedom from a society that values corporation and Wall Street more than the arts and free expression. His poignant message can be heard to the boricua beat of his soul and his congas that fill the breeze in the air. Finally there was Jessica Wilson Cardenas, author and poet who is so very humble and graciously hosts Writer Wednesday at Bob's Espresso Bar in North Hollywood. One smile from Jessica reveals an open soul, an artist that embraces every poet and artist with open arms and has also beautiful poetry to share herself. And has a great voice as well! (Ask her to sing Navajo Sand if you ever see her and make sure Juan Cardenas and his flute are handy, too).

On my way home, I was saddened that the night had to end (even though the party had just began!). I was saddened that it took me this long, forty years (plus two) to realize what had I been missing in my life. Then I became extremely happy that I considered everybody there my literary friend, that I had something in common with every performer, every espectator, every word spoken last night. Poetry is so powerful that it can move hundreds, thousands, heck even millions! We have a powerful tool, a power to be reckoned with. And last night's Lit Crawl was proof that we can move mountains with our pens and paper. Cannot wait till next year to see double the crowd and double the talent (and maybe I can make it to The Federal's after party... Wait, I am still "hip" at forty-three, right? RIGHT?).

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