This if the first event coverage for my Houston event series! Each week I attend an event that is uniquely Houston and cover it here on the blog.
Spoken word poetry, as I came to find out this week, has an entire heritage behind it. There is an entire spoken word culture, born of a mutual love for the power of language, which I jumped headfirst into as I began my journey in exploring Houston. This week, I decided to pursue my passion for literature in a way that wasn’t sitting at home, alone, curled up with my latest local bookstore find. So, I battled the rush hour Houston traffic and ventured to local bar Avant Garden for Write About Now’s weekly spoken word event.
First of all, Avant Garden is absolutely the place to be if you want a chill night out with friends. The bar, located at 411 Westheimer Rd, is actually a mustard colored, two story house that has a sense of history. The inside has a chill, laidback vibe with comfortable seating. It even features a hidden staircase, stashed cleverly behind a bookcase. How book-nerdishly cute is that?
The back outside patio, though, is where Avant Garden shines, both literally and metaphorically. Arches extend high over the audience, seated in rows facing a raised stage. From those arches hang a variety of lights- paper lanterns, single Edison bulbs, strings of globe lights, and even crystal chandeliers.
The bar is gracious enough to host Write About Now Poetry on their back patio every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., but I suggest arriving early to secure a seat and sign up for the open mic! Every week, there is an open mic, free to anyone willing to step up and read their work, followed by a featured reader. I was lucky enough to stumble onto Write About Now during their inaugural Latino/a night. Each volunteer reader was of Latinx heritage, as was the featured reader, Houston resident Analicia Sotelo, who recently published her book Virgin.
The event itself was breathtakingly beautiful. The night struck the balance between serious and lighthearted as the audience reacted to stories of diaspora and discrimination, then groaned in understanding at mothers’ refusals to use actual measurements when cooking. People laughed, people yelled, people cried (I know I did), people snapped and whistled in tradition with the culture of slam and spoken word poetry. If you are looking to expand your appreciation for poetry or even just want a fun night out, I highly suggest attending a reading with Write About Now!
I was so impressed, I even bought a T-shirt.
Check out their website at http://writeaboutnowpoetry.com/ to see upcoming events! Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been to a spoken word event, or if you’re planning to go now!