Tour Stop #3: Long Beach, the LBC
FIVE days in Long Beach! C.R. and I took the same plane from Oakland and arrived in the old timey Long Beach airport where we walked down a staircase right onto the tarmac and collected our bags in an outdoor luggage carousel while fishing around frantically for our sunglasses.
Derrick Brown picked us up at the airport and took us back to his boat for a wavy afternoon nap. Our show the first night, (my Long Beach book release party) was at a bookstore called Open. The first thing I saw when I walked into the place was MY BOOK on a cool turnstile full of Write Bloody.
I performed with Derrick Brown (stunning), Jay Buchanan (how is this singer NOT insanely famous?), Mindy Nettifee w/ David (amazing) and C.R. Avery (great as always) was a brilliant night for me. There wasn’t a dull moment in the show.
A highlight of Long Beach was visiting the Write Bloody offices! I was deeply impressed by the operation. The space has the same relaxed, cool feeling that Write Bloody books have.
Write Bloody is the passionate project born in the mind of Derrick C. Brown. After years of touring around the country and world, Derrick noticed that a lot of his talented writer friends were selling self-published chapbooks. He decided to start up a press to produce stylized, professional books for poets. Derrick works long hours on Write Bloody, going in around 10 a.m. and often staying until 7 or 8 o’clock. He is recently able to pay himself a small stipend for the work, but still makes his living touring. Volunteers and interns mail books, read manuscripts and help in the office. One of the volunteers is Derrick’s mom!
After visiting WB offices, I was deeply impressed by Derrick’s vision and commitment to the work. Derrick loves poetry and seems to take as much pride in the other author’s books as his own. I feel both lucky and honored to be on the press and I plan to help the press, Derrick and the other writers as much as possible.
My next show was an open mike in Redondo Beach. Derrick went along and read a 30/30 poem on the open mike. I was happy with my set and had a lovely evening.
I closed out my trip to Long Beach with the show Lightbulb Mouth Radio Hour, hosted by Derrick and Mindy Nettifee. This show was legitimately off the hook. Held in a cool underground bar called “The Basement,” the show is set up like an old live radio program and is available on podcast every week.
My show featured Long Beach musician Cory Joseph, informationalist Buzzy Ennis, poetry legend BEAU SIA, and me! It was a real honor to perform with Beau Sia, who is one of my heros in this art form. Beau is one of the most accomplished spoken word artists, star of the Broadway show “Def Poetry Jam,” and now a professional actor. His style of performance is unique and wildly powerful. Beau moves between formal language and slang so effortlessly in his writing that he manages to make statements about race, class and language without even mentioning the topics.
I had a blast in Long Beach. So many thanks to Mindy and David for letting me camp on their couch for five days and to Derrick and Write Bloody for booking my shows, hanging out with me, believing in my work and just being rad. I even got to kick it with my good friend, the Mighty Mike McGee!