I caught up with Conrad Romo last night at his monthly spoken word and music event Tongue and Groove, one of the real gems of the LA spoken word scene. Conrad has been producing T & G for six years. Shows happen on the last Sunday of the month at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood from 6 to 7:30 pm. Conrad has his finger on the pulse of the LA literary scene and always puts together a great mix short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word, and music.
Last nights show featured Brendan Constantine, (Letters To Guns), Antonia Crane (Tales of a Sexual Outlaw) Rob Roberge (Working Backwards From the Worst Moments of My Life), Patrick O’Neil, and the “cowpunk” band, Speedbuggy.
“Brendan Constantine holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is currently poet in residence at Loyolla Marymount University Extension and the Windward School.
His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review and RUNES. His collection, Letters To Guns, was released in 2009 from Red Hen Press. He lives at Bela Lugosi’s last address.
Antonia Crane is a freelance journalist, editor and sex worker from Humboldt County. She has been a sex educator and harm reduction counselor for at-risk youth and women in SF and LA. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch, edits the on line journal, “The Citron Review” and is a contributing columnist for “The Rumpus.” Excerpts from her forthcoming memoir “Tales of a Sexual Outlaw” have been published in the Black Clock Journal, Coachella Review and the Sylvan Echo. She can be spotted hanging upside-down in precarious positions from stripper poles in L.A. and New Orleans.
Rob Roberge is the author of the upcoming book of stories, WORKING BACKWARDS FROM THE WORST MOMENT OF MY LIFE and the novels More Than They Could Chew and Drive. He teaches writing at the Antioch MFA in Creative Writing, UC-Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. His stories have been featured in ZYZZYVA, Chelsea, Other Voices and Alaska Quarterly Review, to name a few. He plays guitar and sings with several LA bands, including the punk pioneers, The Urinals. He also works with JAIL GUITAR DOORS, a program to bring music and therapy into prisons.
Patrick O’Neil is a former junkie/bank robber, turned writer/teacher. He received his MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. His first book of memoir is titled Opacity. His essays have appeared in Word Riot, SoMa Literary Review, Blood Orange Review, The Citron Review, Sunsets and Silencers, The Sylvan Echo, Nouveau Blank, and AUDEMUS. “
The readings were captivating. The general tone of the evening was a bit dark, but with compassion and humor. The four piece band (2 guitars, bass & drums) sounded great; an update on the classic Bakersfield country sound. It felt like they hit the stage straight out of the van after a twelve hour drive from their last gig. Strong songwriting, dynamic vocals from frontman Timbo, and solid support from the rhythm section.
Check out the T & G website and shoot Conrad an email to be added to his mailing list. To find out more about these artists dig into the links above.
Tongue and Groove is one of my favorite Hollywood hangs and always full of surprises. Maybe I’ll see you there next month.