Me performing Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” at Lix and Kix 3 on 16 December  [photo by Dianne]

In October 2008, Dianne Borsenik and I began what would become the Lix and Kix poetry series at Cleveland’s 806 Wine and Martini Bar with an “Anti-Censorship Extravaganza.”  She and I were essentially the featured readers – we read alot of our poetry that wouldn’t be welcome in certain “more family-oriented” venues, and I performed some of my original songs.  Plus we paid tribute to anti-censorship heroes like Cleveland’s d.a. levy and Steven B. Smith.  Though I admit being biased, I think we gave a hell of a show.  Though our audience consisted primarily of non-poets, three poets who did come (Steve Goldberg, Jen Pezzo, and Danilee Eichhorn) delivered strong performances at our open mic.  And the event was so well received that the bar’s management offered us a monthly gig.

In November, we had our first “real” featured artists, Roger Craik and Dominique Glick.  Bad weather and last minute equipment snafus caused us to start considerably later than I wanted and kept me from performing any music (you could say I was organ-less!).  Plus I was completely out of it from not getting any sleep the night before.  But Roger, Dominique, my co-host Dianne and a solid cast of open mic readers (including our sound savior Vertigo Xi’an Xavier) redeemed the evening.  We also had double the crowd and double the poets on hand.

In December (this past Tuesday), the venue’s management inadvertantly scheduled two events for the same hour, causing us to begin late again.  Nevertheless, in many ways, this third Lix and Kix was our best ever.  We had three featured performers for the first time (and they all rocked).  We also had our largest audience and open mic turnout ever, with folks traveling on icy roads from as far as Mentor to the east and Toledo and Detroit to the west to take part. 

Poets Dorsey and Budimir at Lix and Kix III  [photo by JC]

Many thanks to this December’s fine featured poets, Miles Budimir and John Dorsey!  Miles is the author of Rustbelt Romance (Deep Cleveland Press, 2006), and John is the author of Holy Toledo! The Sonnet River Volume (Sleepy Brooklyn Colorado, 2008).  I highly recommend both volumes.  Though I’d seen these poets on numerous occasions at a wide variety of venues, I daresay they outdid themselves (not an easy feat) at Lix and Kix.  We were fortunate to have them.  But damn!  I wish I’d taken my video camera.

Singer-songwriter Leah Collova  [photo by JC]

Many thanks, too, to our musical guest Leah Collova, who I introduced as “better than Suzanne Vega” (and I love Suzanne Vega).  Besides performing some excellent original songs, she also tackled Elvis Presley (“Heartbreak Hotel”) and Johnny Cash (“Folsom Prison Blues”) – and was so good that John Tamilio III invited Leah to open for his New Year’s Eve show at the 806.  Check ’em out if you can!  And buy Leah’s CD when it comes out!

Vertigo Xi’an Xavier lends a hand  [photo by JC]

I’d like to especially thank Vertigo Xi’an Xavier of www.poetshavencom for providing and setting up his sound system for us.  Twice now he’s saved the day!  And thanks to him a poet in Philadelphia (Kathy Zaleski, whose piece I loved) was able to read live via telephone feed during our open mic.

Finally, thanks to everyone who came, saw, read, and/or remained.  You all rock in various ways!  I especially applaud the brilliant open mic contributors – there was no shortage of variety and quality at the 806 that night.  I wouldn’t have minded hanging out until 2 a.m. reading poetry and singing songs.  Maybe one of these evenings!… 

Here are few more photos from Lix and Kix 3:

Leah sings “Halfway to Columbus”  [photo by JC]

Miles shares some of his haiku inspired by Korea  [photo by JC]

After burning up the mic, John Dorsey chills with Dianne  [photo by JC] 

T.M. Göttl, author of Stretching the Window  [photo by JC]

Michael Salinger, author of Stingray and Neon  [photo by JC]

Detroit poet Christina Brooks, a.k.a. Rune Warrior  [photo by JC]

Michele Cooper, author of Posting the Watch  [photo by JC]

Azalea Az-U-R Tidwell, author of My Poetic Exhibition  [photo by JC]

Poet Art Kramer also read during the open mic  [photo by JC]

Geri Burroughs, James Borsenik, Steve Thomas & Neve Black were there as well  [photo by Dianne]

We met Anne Adams and Zach Freidhof for the first time outside the Internet  [photo by Chris Brooks]

It was also a treat to meet and hear Toledo poet Alex Nielsen  [photo by JC]

Albert Paliwoda delivered an animated performance  [photo by JC]

Singer-songwriter John Tamilio III gave us a sneak preview of his 806 New Year’s Eve show

Poet and Literary Cafe emcee Nick Traenkner was both cool and hot  [photo by JC]

Poets Azalea, Dominique Glick, Alex, Emily Safron and Steve Goldberg on the patio  [photo by Dianne]

C. Allen Rearick, one of January’s Lix and Kix featured poets  [photo by JC]

Lix & Kix hosts Dianne Borsenik & Jesus Crisis say “Peace”!  [photo by Dianne]

And three cheers for John Dorsey, Miles Budimir and Leah Collova!  [photo by JC]

For more, please check out Dianne Borsenik’s blog on our Lix & Kix MySpace Page:

Also check out some of Michael Salinger’s photos from the evening on the ClevelandPoetics blog:

Best of all, check out one of our upcoming events (every 3rd Tuesday at 7 p.m.) at the
806 Wine and Martini Bar, located at 806 Literary Road in Cleveland’s storied Tremont district

Featured poets, playwrights and performers coming soon to Lix and Kix:

January 20, 2009 –
C. Allen Rearick & Elise Geither
February 17, 2009 –
Steve Goldberg & Nick Traenkner
March 17, 2009 (St. Pat’s Day) – Gina TabassoCarmen Tracey & T.M. Göttl (with Zach)
April 21, 2009 –
Zachary Moll, Michael Grover & C.B. “Blue” Crane
– and this just in –
May 19, 2009 – home again after years living abroad, 
Steven B. Smith and Kathy Ireland Smith