Friday, March 13, 2015

Hitched Moves to the East Side

Melinda Palacio

A hidden oasis in Alhambra

Terry Wolverton, Luivette Resto, Melinda Palacio, Lisa Cheby, and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Last Sunday, Hitched, the reading series, started by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo at Beyond Baroque in Venice five years ago, to Alhambra at Holy Grounds Coffee & Tea

A week ago, everything was going without a hitch until two of the featured readers, Sharon Venezio and Karineh Mahdessian took sick. Terry Wolverton filled in for Sharon and I filled in for Karineh. In the spirit of women helping women and International Women's Day, there was an all-female lineup. 
Terry Wolverton opened the set with her powerful poems.
Lisa Cheby read from her new chapbook, Love Letters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Lisa receives flowers.

Four years ago, I had the honor of reading in Hitched at Beyond Baroque with Alicia Partnoy, Ramon Garcia, Sholeh Wolpe  and Bilal Shaw. The space at Beyond Baroque is dark with all the doors and windows blacked out for an intimate theatre setting. Beyond Baroque is famous for being the place in L.A. where poets read. 
Bird fountain at Holy Grounds 

Holy Grounds is a light and airy oasis in the middle of East L.A.'s warehouse district. You really do feel like you're in church, listening to a poet read in front of a stage, surrounded by tall stained glass windows. 
Luivette Resto and Melinda Palacio

I was happy to heed the call of poetry and get "hitched" with Luivette Resto and fill in for Karineh who lost her voice and was under the weather. Luivette and I are often paired together at poetry events since we are both Tía Chucha Press poets. In fact, we have both represented Tia Chucha Press at several events and venues, including Beyond Baroque, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Chicago's Guild Literary Complex, and the Words and Music Festival. 

Perhaps, this was why I felt comfortable reading in my temporary salon chanclas. In the morning, my sister Emily had insisted we get pedicures. This was my first pedicure since I broke my leg in July, and I had forgotten what a great deal of time needed for toe nails to dry. I had planned on putting on my shoes before the reading, but I was at home with fellow female poets on International Women's Day.

Luivette's butterfly tattoo and my spa chanclas.
Luivette closes the show with her memorable poems.
(No RBF here; (you had to have been there))

Poet, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo was invited to be a curator at Beyond Baroque by then board member and poet, Jerry Garcia, who was also in the audience. In an email, she explained why she moved the series to Alhambra.

         "I was excited for the opportunity because it's a prestigious poetry center with a long history grounded in the Venice beat scene, but running the reading series grew difficult over time because it's a history and community I don't feel particularly connected to. I grew up going to school at the San Gabriel Mission and spent my weekends running after ice cream trucks at my grandparents' house in Boyle Heights, so the east side of L.A. is where my heart is. On top of that, so many exciting things have been happening in the last few years around the east and northeast parts of L.A. that I enjoy and support like the La Palabra and Blue Bird reading series at Avenue 50 in Highland Park, Las Lunas Locas women's writing circle at Here & Now in El Sereno, and the ZzyZx WriterZ, and I just hope HITCHED can add to the scene."

Alhambra avenue is full of surprises. Someone mentioned one of the furniture stores turns into a nightlclub. You never know what you might find, but a respite of poetry and cafe de olla is perfect for a Sunday afternoon. 

Hitched is a quarterly series. The next reading will be June 21 at 4pm and features Rachelle Cruz with Micah Tasaka and Ben Loory with Tommy Moore.  


1 comment:

Terry Wolverton said...

It was so great to inaugurate the series in its new location, and what a treasure that space is. So happy to share the stage with Xochitl, Melinda, Luivette and Lisa.