One Year Old

A little over a year ago, I knew a few things about spoken word and poetry in the Bay Area, because I was involved, along with my husband Tony, in publishing [tag]Listen & Be Heard[/tag]. We were simultaneously producing a long-standing open mic event, and laboring to get our new space up to code as a caf? serving food and the best coffee in Vallejo.

When we finally opened Listen & Be Heard [tag]Poetry Caf?[/tag] in July of 2005, it was like coming full circle. We were back to the place where we had even more artists and events to promote to the right people, the kind of people who want to switch off their televisions and get real, step into the unknown and come away with something they didn’t arrive with. That was why we started the [tag]newspaper [/tag]in the first place. We had to become the [tag]media[/tag], to get the kind of coverage we needed and deserved.

We were so engrossed in portraying each event as the unique and wonderful experience that it was, or is sure to be, that the [tag]anniversary [/tag]slipped by with hardly a nod to the fact that we remain. Beyond remaining, we persist in offering something so unique, so fresh, so impossible to duplicate by any other two people, that the only way for you to understand is to come experience it for yourself.

Sure, we do have the [tag]best coffee in Vallejo[/tag]. That’s because it’s roasted with the best of care by Fabrice Moschetti. Yeah, we have plenty of flavor from far flung places, a rare assembly of art objects for sale and not for sale. Sure, you can come with your laptop and we’ll give you the password for free wi-fi, or you can rent our computer hourly. But that’s not why we have become, in one short year, an important connecting point in this community of which we are a part. Hundreds of poets, musicians and comedians have stepped onto our stage and shared their souls with those who would listen, many of them stepped onto a stage for the first time, and might never have done so otherwise. But perhaps the most telling detail is the [tag]poetry bell[/tag]. Where else does everything else stop for a poem when the bell rings?

Now, in the summer of 2006, if you ask me what’s going on elsewhere in the Bay Area, I would refer you to our [tag]entertainment calendars[/tag], edited by Cyndi Combs, because Tony and I don’t go anywhere anymore. Now, everyone comes to us, and you, right here in Vallejo.

We’re closed on Sundays, so if you want to stay in your car and line up for coffee somewhere else on a Sunday, go right ahead. But there is a place Monday through Saturday where you’ll get not only the best cup of coffee you ever tasted, a true New York style bagel, or some tasty vegetarian soup, but multiple opportunities to be entertained, or be the entertainment. That?s a great reason to point your car in this direction and get out of it when you arrive.

Currently we are the only [tag]comedy venue in Vallejo[/tag], making sure you have a place to laugh on Tuesday nights. When the teens return to school, they will also have their own open mic to return to, every Wednesday from 7-9pm. Thursday nights are jam nights, reserved for open sessions, and emerging local bands. Fridays are reserved for poetry, and Saturday nights for the masters, when we present the best in Jazz, with a poetry intermission (at the cheapest prices in the Bay Area.)

You will find in these pages, articles and reviews about the poets and musicians we will be featuring in the month of August. I would venture to say that this venue, this magazine you are holding in your hands, is a big reason why Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf? has managed to survive, while we have unfortunately watched several other small businesses in the area come and go in less than a year?s time.

I don?t know of any other [tag]performing arts venue[/tag] that publishes its own magazine and weekly website. Do you? We are dedicated to making it, and we know that we have to shout really loud about what we are doing to be heard. Fortunately for those of you out there producing your own events, or fighting for your small business, we?ve already done some of the footwork for you, and all you have to do is advertise in these pages to take advantage of all that sweat and labor.

Wishing each of you Peace and Poetry…

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