Monday, October 6, 2008

Vote Elizabeth Austen for Seattle Poet Populist!

By now, you’re probably sick of hearing about politics— the bailout plan, offshore drilling and all that freaking blinking. But what if the election were decided by metaphor? Line breaks? Or knowing the difference between assonance and dissonance?

Seattle Poet Populist is just that, an election of the city’s most populist poet, who, for a year, acts as advocate for poetry in the community. “Cheap Wine and Poetry” has nominated Elizabeth Austen. You can vote for her here. It only takes a few clicks.

Elizabeth has read at “Cheap Wine and Poetry” a few times, most recently at our National Poetry Month reading. She has produced a CD of her work, skin prayers, which you can listen to samples of here. Besides her own writing, Elizabeth is an amazing advocate for poetry, presenting poems by local writers on KUOW and in her role as the Washington “roadshow” poet in 2007. She also works with students as a poet in the schools and teaches at Hugo House and privately.

Your lovely friends at “Cheap Wine and Poetry” have had the pleasure of putting a few back with Elizabeth on occasion, and we adore her. She is a sweet person, a nurturing teacher and a kickass poet. That’s why you should vote for her! Again, you can do that right here— just in case you forgot.

And while we have you, the next “Cheap Wine and Poetry” is Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.— two days after the Poet Populist election and that other one too. Come and celebrate or drown your sorrows with the great work of slam master Daemond Arrindel, funny lady Cienna Madrid and the hip hopping Marya Sea Kaminski with “Cheap Wine and Poetry” curator Brian McGuigan to boot.


Friday, August 29, 2008

"Cheap Wine and Poetry" at Bumbershoot and more

If you're going to Bumbershoot, either today or tomorrow you'll print out the schedule and start making little checkmarks, smiley faces or stars next to all the musicians and performances you'd like to see. The first check, face or star you make should be right next to "Cheap Wine and Poetry," stumbling into the Leo K Theatre Monday, September 1, 7:30 p.m.

Joining us for a very special "Cheap Wine and Poetry" will be an all-star line-up of Seattle's best and brightest writers and performers: Marya Sea Kaminski, Karen Finneyfrock, Bret Fetzer, Rebecca Hoogs and Eben Eldridge. Unlike our usual show at Richard Hugo House, there won’t be any wine(Bumbershoot has all these, like, rules, man.), but that shouldn’t stop you from downing the finest bottle of Chuck in a parking lot along Mercer St. before coming.

And if Bumbershoot just ain’t your thing, “Cheap Wine and Poetry” will be back at Hugo House on Thursday, September 18, 7 p.m. for our very first ladies’ night with essayist Brangien Davis and poets Jennifer Borges Foster, Karen Finneyfrock and Kary Wayson. Of course, the cheap stuff will be flowing too!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheap Wine - Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

Usually I don’t drink red wine in the summer, I prefer beer and vodka tonics, but the past few days have felt more like October than July. So, I picked up a bottle of my favorite cheap wine, Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon.

1) Price?
$6.49 at a grocery store or $8.99 at a convenient store. Or you can do what I did and pick up a magnum for $10.49. In my opinion, it’s the best way to get a buzz when you’re short on cash.

2) Food?
Pizza is your best bet. Any kind of pizza, just as long as it’s marinara based. None of that hippie shit, like pesto or hummus.

In my college days, when I wanted to impress a girl, but was low on funds, which was always, I’d buy a frozen pizza and a bottle of Yellow Tail Cab. I’d invite her over to my studio apartment, we’d eat and drink, then I’d throw on an independent film. I won’t go into details, but it almost always worked.

3) Music?
Now that I no longer try to seduce college girls, and my girlfriend doesn’t drink, I find myself drinking this wine alone a lot. Mainly while writing. So, I would have to say I listen to a lot of the music I listen to while writing, which is Medeski Martin and Wood, Portishead, and DJ Shadow. I’d also have to suggest “Red Red Wine,” but not that poor man’s reggae version by UB40, Neil Diamond’s original.

4) Clothes?
Whatever you were wearing when you bought the bottle. I prefer to enjoy this wine when it’s a little cold outside, so whatever you feel comfortable in. Unless you are trying to seduce a college girl, then I’d say a nice, collared shirt and a few sprays of Drakkar Noir. For some reason college girls love that smell.

5) Read?
Li Po. I have found myself sipping Yellow Tail Cab at 2 am, reading Li Po on many occasions. I find his poems much more relatable when I’m holding on to a nice, red wine high.

6) People?
As stated earlier, I drink this wine alone a lot, but it’s also a good wine to bring to parties. Like, if you’re invited to a dinner party and are told not to bring anything but still feel the need to bring something, I say go with a bottle of Yellow Tail Cab. It won’t break the bank, and everyone will be happy there’s any extra bottle of wine.

7) When?
Like I said before I enjoy this wine most when there’s a nip in the air, but I didn’t specify a time of day. It’s best late at night, like after 10pm. When it’s cold and dark outside, but you’re in your warm apartment or house. After all the day’s task are completed and it’s your time to relax.

Last Glass
I don’t want people to think I’m encouraging drinking alone. That’s what alcoholics do. If you’re a writer and you drink wine while you write you’re never alone, because you’re always surrounded by the characters you create.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cheap Wine - Barefoot Pinot Grigio

When Brian asked me to be the cheap wine blogger for, I thought it would be easy. I drink cheap wine on a regular basis, and I made my pocket money in high school as a stock boy for a high-class wine shop in Connecticut. I’m certainly no expert, but I learned more than just how to sneak a bottle from the basement to my trunk.

It’s not as easy as I expected. Of course I never planned on using words like “oaky,” “bouquet” or “legs,” but I thought I would be able to give a somewhat educated opinion on relatively cheap wine. I’m kind of a wino, but with standards. So to do this I figured I would need some sort of criteria, and as I made my list, I thought, why not keep it simple and ask 7 questions about cheap wine. 7 is a good number, and not to completely limit myself, I’ll keep question 7 open for a who, what, when, where, why or how question, which will alternate with each blog.

The first bottle I will discuss is Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio.

1) Price?
Anywhere between 4.99 and 7.49. A grocery store will always be cheaper than a convenient store.

2) Food?
Grilled chicken and watermelon!
If you’re not much of a cook and want to impress a date, here’s what you do: First have a chilled bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio and look nice. When your date shows up at the door, have a tray full of freshly cut watermelon on the table, and the grill going. Squeeze some lemon on the chicken, add some S&P, throw them on the grill and make your move. Hopefully you’ll have made it to first base by the time the chicken is done. After your date eats the chicken and has a few glasses of wine, you’ll be rounding second.

3) Music?
Sublime. Bob Marley is good too. Beatles, but only Sgt. Peppers or Magical Mystery Tour.

4) Clothes?
Shorts are a must! If it’s too cold for shorts, it’s too cold for this wine. Flip-flops a plus. Muscle t-shirt a bonus.

5) Read?
Great wine for outside reading, especially if you’re in a hammock. You’re going to want something that doesn’t make you think too hard. May I suggest Where the Sidewalk Ends or The Bible?

6) People?
This wine should be shared with friends. A backyard BBQ or a bonfire on the beach are perfect situations. Next time you’re invited over to your buddy’s house for a BBQ, show up with a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio. Everyone else will have Coors Light, and you’ll look cool with the chilled wine.

7) How?
Don’t be afraid to hold your glass by the top. I’m sure someone will tell you to always hold your chilled wine by the steam of the glass so it doesn’t get warm, but if you drink your glass fast enough, that won’t be a problem, so hold it however you want. It’s hard to look cool while holding a wine glass at the steam.

Last glass
I’m not an expert, just a cheap wine enthusiast. I don’t have a trained palate, but if you’re like me in the sense that you find most white wines too dry, Barefoot Pinot Grigio is a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Celebrate the Three-Year Anniversary of "Cheap Wine and Poetry" Thursday May 29, 7 p.m.

Where would we all be without the Three Little Pigs? Pascal’s Triangle? And what about getting to third base?

Great things always come in threes— even “Cheap Wine and Poetry,” celebrating our three-year anniversary on Thursday, May 29, 7 p.m. at Richard Hugo House. To commemorate, we’ve invited back four (Sorry threes!) of our favorite featured readers of the past: writer and “The Stranger” columnist David Schmader, solo performer Jennifer Jasper, and poets John Burgess and Jourdan Keith.

Charla Grenz— sans Dorothy Parker get-up— hosts; the wine’s a buck a glass, and we’ll be raffling off books from past readers, “Cheap Wine and Poetry” t-shirts, and other surprises.

So lift a glass with us on May 29 and celebrate Seattle’s coolest reading series. Here’s to threes (until next year, when we celebrate our fourth anniversary)!

WHAT: “Cheap Wine and Poetry.” Celebrating the three-year anniversary of Seattle’s coolest reading series. Features John Burgess, Jennifer Jasper, Jourdan Keith, and David Schmader.

WHEN: Thursday, May 29, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle.

ETC: Wine $1/glass.
Open mic.
Merch sales.

Co-sponsored by Richard Hugo House

About the Performers
Seattle poet John Burgess just had his second book— “A History of Guns in the Family”— published by Ravenna Press. He’s a 2006 Jack Straw writer, co-founder of the Burning Word Poetry Festival, and the 2008 curator for Words' Worth, the poetry program for the Seattle City Council. He is currently working to put the lit journal Snow Monkey online. His first collection is “Punk Poems.”

Jennifer Jasper has been performing and directing in Seattle for almost 20 years. She was a co-founder of Kings’ Elephant Theatre (10 years) and co-founder of Pulp Vixens (10 years). She has been performing her own work in various forms including stand up comedy, monologues and is now developing a one-woman show for 2009/2010. Most recently she can be seen hosting for the Von Foxies Burlesque as the scotch-swilling “Maggie.”

Jourdan Keith
, Seattle’s 2007 Poet Populist and storyteller, is a Jack Straw writer and Hedgebrook alum. A 2004 grant recipient from the Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for the choreopoem, “The Uterine Files: Episode I, Voices Spitting Out Rainbows,” her publication credits include ColorsNW, Seattle Woman, KUOW, the video “Silence...Broken” and the anthology, “Ma-Ka, Diasporic Juks.” She is the founder of Urban Wilderness Project, which provides storytelling, restoration and adventure programs.

David Schmader
is a writer and performer who’s been living and working in Seattle since 1991. His solo plays include Letter to Axl and Straight, which he’s performed to great acclaim in Seattle and across the U.S. In his spare time, Schmader is also the world’s foremost authority on the brilliant horribleness of Paul Verhoven’s Showgirls, hosting annotated screenings of the notorious stripper drama at film festivals across the country and supplying the commentary track for MGM’s special-edition Showgirls DVD in 2002. Since 1999, Schmader’s been an editor and staff writer for the Seattle newsweekly The Stranger, for which he writes the weekly pop culture-and-politics column “Last Days.” He’s currently completing the new live cinema essay Nomi’s Inferno: An Abridged and Annotated Tour of American Cinematic Failure, and a new solo play, Litter.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Word Nerds: Get your persona on this Thursday

The most pressing dilemma in modern literary circles is the shocking absence of...costumes. Not to mention the overuse of...ellipses.

Writers really enjoy pretending to be someone else. They love to say, "It's not about me. It's fiction." They love creating personas. They develop historical crushes on long-dead scribblers.

So, here's your chance to fulfill all your fantasies at once. Impersonate a writer you wish you were, a writer you love to mock (come on, I know you secretly admire Danielle Steele), or a writer you wish were alive so you could have sex with or converse with them. Hey, Emily, what's with the birds? Walt! Write a new book! Oh, oh, oh, Irving!

Listen up. Dress up this Thursday for Cheap Wine & Poetry. Chat up the Sylvia Plaths; give the Kerouacs the stink eye. Whatever makes you happy. But dress up.

You know you want to.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Cheap Wine and Poetry" Celebrates National Poetry Month

There is nothing “Cheap Wine and Poetry” loves more than cheap wine and poetry, especially during April, National Poetry Month.

To celebrate our sleepless nights thinking about line breaks and our hot and bothered days longing for clever metaphors, "Cheap Wine and Poetry" presents a special poetry-only evening on Thursday April 24, 7 p.m. at Richard Hugo House with features Roberto Ascalon, Elizabeth Austen, Rebecca Loudon, and Cody Walker.

Besides serving up a smorgasbord of poetry (and the cheap stuff for a buck, of course.), we invite you to dress up as your favorite writer, or your least favorite writer, any kind of writer. Just dress up!

Why? Because it’ll be fun, and we’ll be feeling all starry-eyed and ass-slap happy (Host Charla Grenz, first and foremost.) for poetry anyway. And maybe even hand out a prize or two for the coolest literary get-up. Wink, wink.

WHAT: “Cheap Wine and Poetry.” Celebrating National Poetry Month with a special poetry-only reading. Features Roberto Ascalon, Elizabeth Austen, Rebecca Loudon, and Cody Walker.

WHEN: Thursday, April 24, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle.

ETC: Wine $1/glass.
Open mic.
Merch sales.
Co-sponsored by Richard Hugo House

About the Poets
New York-born ROBERTO ASCALON is a poet, writer, arts educator and performance artist. He is an instructor at Nova High School in Seattle and teaches teenagers at Artscorp. Ascalon has participated in Bumberslam at the Bumbershoot Festival, the Seattle All City Slam Poetry Finals and two Seattle National Poetry Slams. In 2004, he self-published his book The Words Are Not Enough. His poems have appeared in the anthologies Poetry on Buses 2004: Facts and Fictions and From the Page to the Stage: National Slam Anthology. Ascalon graduated from Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash., with a degree in Advanced Intercultural Communication. He makes his home in Seattle.

ELIZABETH AUSTEN spent her teens and twenties working as an actor and director in cities as diverse as London, England and Holland, Michigan. After six months of solo rambling in the Andes region of South America she recognized her true nature as an introvert, left the theatre and began writing poetry. For the past 10+ years, she’s been writing meditations – sometimes lyrical, sometimes humorous – on the nature and inter-relatedness of power, sexuality and mortality. Elizabeth served as the Washington “roadshow” poet for 2007, giving readings and workshops in rural areas around the state. She provides weekly commentary on Pacific Northwest poetry readings on KUOW, 94.9, public radio. She is the recipient of a grant from 4Culture, and is an alumna of Hedgebrook, the Jack Straw Writers Program, and Antioch University-Los Angeles. Her audio CD, skin prayers, is available at

REBECCA LOUDON lives and writes in Seattle. She is the author of Tarantella and Radish King from Ravenna Press, and Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home from No Tell Books. Her third collection of poetry, Cadaver Dogs, is forthcoming from No Tell Books this summer. She teaches violin to children.

CODY WALKER teaches English at the University of Washington and poetry through Seattle Arts and Lectures' Writers in the Schools program. He also serves as a writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House. His work appears in Best American Poetry, Parnassus, Slate, Shenandoah, and Subtropics. In 2007 he was elected Seattle Poet Populist. His first book, Shuffle and Breakdown, will be published by Waywiser Press in the fall of 2008.