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dateline: Chicago, May 2009

e-poets' Book of Voices project celebrates first decade online

Friday, 1 May 2009, 7:30 PM
at the St. Paul's Cultural Center
2215 W North Avenue, Chicago (west Wicker Park/Bucktown)
upstairs, in the former sanctuary
free admission

featured artists:
Dean Hacker -- J.W. Baz -- Greg Gillam -- Victor Ortiz

hosted by Charlie Newman
MC'd by Kurt Heintz, webmaster

This month, begins a celebration of the Book of Voices' first decade online. In 1999, we began with "chapter one: Patricia Smith." The Book of Voices continues today as a growing, evolving testament to language arts from Chicago and elsewhere in the English-speaking world. On Friday evening, 1 May 2009, join the original (and authentic) First Friday series host Charlie Newman and founder Kurt Heintz for a heroic, generation-spanning sampler of live performances by these artists:

Victor Ortiz:
Born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago since he was three years old, Victor Ortiz is an emerging poet determined to upset the status quo, exploring (and sorting out) essential human needs and longings. Ortiz was a break-away favorite at the 2008 Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam. This is Ortiz's first featured reading beyond LTAB and school.

J.W. Baz:
Equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching, J.W. Bazís work has appeared on NPR, in the Chicago Tribune,, and in hundreds of venues across the United States and Canada. His one man show, No One Can Fix You, opened in February to rave reviews. Baz's poems and narratives often take on life's difficult moments -- moments you may be glad haven't happened to you -- but they also embrace the divine found therein.

Greg Gillam:
As raconteur, online zine editor, Sister Spit collaborator, and occasional MC, Greg Gillam has been an active instigator for better performance poetry since the early 1990s, serving the local literary community as much as a curator and critic as by his own personal example. Gillam's work bridges the post-mod' sphere of McSweeney's-styled narrative to Chicago's own Second Wave slam/performance poetry, never losing touch with warmth, irony, and wit.

Dean Hacker:
Both a veteran poet and a wry visual artist, Dean Hacker's work would be classed as entartete Kunst (from the German, "degenerate art") if the Putsch were to happen tomorrow. His social commentary employs a directness that cannot be avoided. Hacker began his performance career with the legendary first-ever National Slam team from the Green Mill Lounge, that also included Marc Smith, cin salach, and Patricia Smith. His work often addresses faith, apostasy and grit from oblique angles. Hacker will perform with accomplished guitarist Rick Fazio, with whom he'll release a new CD in the next month.


About the venue:
St. Paul's Cultural Center is operated by the Near Northwest Arts Council, Laura Weathered, executive director. Formerly St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Wicker Park, the building retains most of the church's character and ornamentation, but is growing into an active venue for the arts. It has hosted concerts, performances for the Rhino Theater Festival (eg. Big Goddess PowWow), and more.

About the First Friday series:
The First Friday series has been resident at St. Paul's since October 2008. Before that, the series enjoyed several years under the same name at DvA Gallery, on Lincoln Avenue near DePaul, and earned recognition as the monthly reading that respects Chicago's grass-roots and accomplished writers with equal magnanimity. The authentic First Friday series has been hosted and run by Charlie Newman throughout its life.

About the anniversary:
There's more to come! More audio poetry. More readings. More live events.

Hear webmaster Kurt Heintz on WLUW-FM as he hosts two installments of Wordslingers radio this month, Sunday May 3rd, and Sunday May 17th. Tune in WLUW-FM at 8:00 PM both evenings at 88.7 FM, or catch the live audio stream on the station's website from anywhere in the wired world.

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