Thursday, October 4, 2007

Poetry Massive

File under "found" or, at the very least, a pleasant discovery: La Barca Restaurant on Vermont just south of I-10 near USC. Had a burrito de chile verde for under five bucks. No nonsense eclecticisim with an all-walks-of-life crowd that never quit. I have no idea how the spot could have eluded me for so long. Bet your bottom dollar, I'm going back to work my way through the menu. Anyone for dutch treat? Met fellow Echospace Poetry Collective compa' Roberto Leni, a chileno who grew up in the Bay Area as a protege of Dr. Jose Cuellar, AKA Dr. Loco of the Rockin' Jalapeños and Dr. David Lloyd, Irish poet and playwright who teaches English at the univerity for dinner in the unassuming, homespun, folk-art accented restaurant that, in my humble estimation, ranks 4-stars for quality and quantity. Lloyd has organized SoundEye West, a poetry conference that brings California-based writers together with a pair of illustrious bards from Ireland. Beginning Friday afternoon, a slew of panels and readings will feature Chicano poet and scholar Alfred Arteaga and UC Riverside poet Gabriela Juaregui, a Mexico City native and Freewaves boardmember as well as SoundEye founder Trevor Joyce and Fergal Gaynor, both straight-outta-Cork of late. Saba Syed Razvi, Jen Hofer, Christine Wertheim and Fred Moten, among many others, flesh out a program that focuses on "Poetry Between Languages." Joyce co-founded New Writer's Press in Dublin in 1967 when he was but a mere 19. And with SoundEye West, Lloyd hopes to undescore the international reach of poetic action that emphasizes radical democracy and "counter-cooptation." I've recently had the opportunity to discuss Arteaga's work with poet and spiritual madrina Gloria Alvarez, so I'm looking forward to the encuentro, which culminates Saturday night with a poetry pachanga in Lloyd's Silverlake backyard.

Getting back to the haps in El Sereno, y sin darme demasiadas cremitas, I'll be reading tonight with East LA spoken word boy-genius and movimiento indigena/community activist Olmeca at the Eastside Cafe on Hungtington Dr. as part of a send-off party for Teatro Chusma, a barrio-based troupe which has been invited to the Cervantino in Guanajuato. Agradecimientos are due Chusmeros Alberto Ibarra, Gustavo Chavez and Marisol L. Torres, the latter also part of In Lak Ech, who have a new spoken word CD. Should point out that the disc, Mujeres con Palabra, was produced by Quetzal's Martha Gonzalez and it makes the perfect anti-Columbus day gift. Available in stores and at Café Cultural Antigua now!

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