Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beyond Baroque


Last night marked my first trip to Beyond Baroque, the 40 year old literary arts center in Venice Beach. Just about everybody has read there at some point, from Ashbery to Levine to Carver. Last nights reading was in honor of Suzanne Lummis, a long time teacher and organizer in Los Angeles. There were about eight readers who all read one of her poems and then one of their own. The place was packed, standing room only. For the first time in a L.A. I saw a real literary community, and a strong one, way stronger than anything we have in Portland. Most of the readings and workshops that take place there are free. Free. The instructors are successful teachers and poets and they seem to be turning out some good poets. (Most of the readings last night were actually good.)

In Portland you can go take a workshop at The Attic if you want to dish out over $300. And while they do pack them in, I think it's because there are no other options. They never host readings, I never hear of them doing any free events within the community. I think that there's room for something like this in Portland. I think the $$ could be raised either privately or publicly. Give me another head and another set of arms and I might give it go.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your comments come at a perilous time for Beyond Baroque. They may lose their lease (see below). I've passed on a link to your site to a friend who is sending it to the Councilman supporting the extension of the lease.

Alert - A Call For Community Action

HELP PROTECT
BEYOND BAROQUE,
LA’S HISTORIC INSTITUION!

After much effort on everyone’s part, our Councilman Bill Rosendahl recommended
a 25-year lease extension for Beyond Baroque to the City General Services Department.

Unfortunately, it now appears the City Attorney is recommending against an extension.

We are now in great peril. Our lease is up in a few weeks and uncertainty is threatening
grants, programming and our entire future.

Please express your support to the Councilman, ask him why this is happening, and what
he is doing to protect Beyond Baroque.

Beyond Baroque is a vital and historic national institution and has been LA’s only literary
center for four decades. Please do not let it be destroyed.

Here is the contact information for Councilman Bill Rosendahl:

Councilman Bill Rosendahl
City Hall Office
200 N. Spring Street
Rm 415
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7011
(213) 473-6926 (fax)

Anonymous said...

good news. beyond baroque's lease was renewed!

"Today, thanks to the visionary leadership of Councilman Bill Rosendahl, his superb staff, and to Beyond Baroque's vast body of extremely vocal supporters, the LA City Council voted unanimously to endorse renewing Beyond Baroque's lease to its historic Venice home, the Old City Hall...Beyond Baroque's home is safe until 2032. This is a moment truly worth celebrating and remembering."

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