Monday, October 13, 2014

La Bloga chats with Conrad Romo about the 2nd Annual Lit Crawl L.A.: NoHo, October 22, 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

If you’re looking for a wonderful and varied evening of literature in Southern California, look no further…the international Lit Crawl phenomenon returns to Los Angeles next week with the 2nd Annual Lit Crawl L.A.: NoHo on Wednesday, October 22, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the North Hollywood Arts District. The full schedule is here.

Restaurants, bars, galleries, theaters and other hip NoHo venues are hosting an evening of innovative presentations with the best of L.A.’s literary scene. The 2nd annual Lit Crawl L.A.: NoHo is greater L.A.’s grassroots literary event and promises to be another magical, vibrant night for all!

Over 30 presenters from readings series to local presses are hosting events at 30 locations across the NoHo Arts District. Held in three 45-minute rounds, this progressive literary night is a chance to dine, explore, and stroll while enjoying readings, performances and even a literary carnival. More than 170 writers are appearing at events and the Los County Library’s Bookmobile and the Los Angeles Public Library’s Library Store on Wheels are joining us out on the streets for the literary fun.

And I am honored that one of my short stories (“The Three Mornings of José Antonio Rincón”) will be performed by an actor/magician and directed by the incomparable supporter of short fiction, Sally Shore.

The idea for bringing the Lit Crawl to NoHo started as a seed in the ever-active mind of Tongue and Groove‘s creator, Conrad Romo.  Conrad agreed to make a little room for us in his busy schedule to discuss Lit Crawl and all the wonderful things you’ll miss if you don’t show up.
Conrad Romo

DANIEL OLIVAS: How was Lit Crawl L.A.: NoHo born?

CONRAD ROMO: Well back in 2007, I had organized a two-day event with 12 participating literary series/presenters. I called it Palabrazilla. I’d been meaning to do something like it again, but for one reason or another hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Then maybe three or four years ago, I attended what was called a lit crawl in a small upstairs room of a Mexican restaurant in Silverlake. The readings that night were good, but I’d heard all the writers before and not much crawling took place as that was the only location.

Maybe a year later there was another event also billed as a lit crawl that took place at the Echo, again in Silverlake. It was co-produced by Nervous Breakdown, Good Reads and PEN. There was a great turnout of maybe 300 people packed into the room. It was hard to move. There were a number of good writers that night too and they had some judges that determined a winner of some sort. People were invited to go across the street to get a drink at a bar and that was the extent of the crawl. I was impressed with the crowd from both events, but at the same time I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more diversity in writing genres and ethnicity with the writers. And the absence of other venues where one could actually crawl, bugged me. I had heard that the Lit Crawl scene in San Francisco was spread out over a large part of the city and I wondered what would it be like to do something like that here in Los Angeles.

Sometime later I shared with Sally Shore my experience and thoughts of these two events. I don’t remember if I had called her or she called me, but she was gung ho from the get go. She had some connections with North Hollywood so that destination seem like a natural fit. I then contacted Roz Helfand, the former director of the West Hollywood Bookfair, and ran the general idea by her and invited her to join forces. I’m glad she said yes. We got the blessing from Jack Boulware, the Executive Director of Litquake and Lit Crawl in San Francisco and gave it a go last year. It was a success in many counts and this year using our collective experience I’m hopeful that we’ll double in size.

DO: For the uninitiated, what should one expect to hear and see at Lit Crawl?

CR: A whole hell of a lot of diversity. Thirty-four literary events at 30 locations over 3 rounds. And it’s all FREE. Wednesday, October 22 from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Take the metro if at all possible. We’ve got storytellers, page poets and spoken word poets, short fiction, personal essayists. We’ve got erotica, sci-fi/horror, YA, humor, Gay and Lesbian writers of all ages and a little something for everybody. I suggest going to the site and mapping out what appeals to you. Chances are that every hour you’ll find several things that sound good. Pop in and out of as many as you like. See the program schedule here.

DO: Because La Bloga focuses on all things Latina/o, who are some of the actors and authors to watch out for?

CR: If you mean Brownish writers there are quite a number and I’ll point out some but I urge you all to come out and appreciate the wide variety of high caliber writers of all colors that make up the NoHo Lit Crawl. But since you asked, starting with Round 1 at 7pm and spread out over 11 venues are: Daisy Sanchez with 826, Michael Paul Gonzales with Shades 7 Shadows, Ron Gutierrez with Tertulia, Emily Fernandez with Word Tapestry, Poesia Para La Gente has Gloria E. Alvarez, Jessica Ceballos, Luivette Resto, David Romero, Crystal Salas, Matt Sedillo.

And Round 2 has Janet Contreras, Johnny Garcia with Home Boy and the Los Angeles Review of Books is presenting Michael Jaime-Becerra and Maria Bustillos, you with New Short Fiction and Wendy Ortiz with Rumpus.

And Round 3 has Ramon Garcia + Gronk with What Books Press and Victor Vasquez with PEN. There are many others that I haven’t mentioned. I’ll be hosting something at the XMA studios with Write Club and Literary Death Match. There are a whole lot of others that I have not mentioned so spend some time on the site and bring a crowd with you.


Amelia ML Montes said...

I loved reading how LitCrawl all came together. Thanks for this great interview, Daniel! I'm sure it will be very successful this week-- and enjoyable as well. Best way to spread the love of writing and literature! Orale!

Daniel A. Olivas said...


Olga Garcia Echeverria said...

Gracias, Daniel! I will be there, both crawling and reading. :)

Daniel A. Olivas said...


Ron Gutierrez said...

Thanks for the mention, Conrad! We had a blast!