More than 50 people packed into Elsie’s Bar, the cozy little nook on West De La Guerra Street, last night, April 2, to hear a slate of 12 different readers recite their original poems and stories as part of the first ever “Live to Dream” event, a poetry/short story reading series sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent.
As the host and organizer of the event, I was worried about the rainy weather, but this didn’t seem to deter people. The show opened with Louie Andrus playing some mellow, Jimi Hendrix-esque tunes. In the dim-lit main room, closest to the bar, people relaxed and enjoyed appetizers, some rocking in their seats to Andrus’ mesmerizing guitar riffs. Old friends reunited as new connections were made.
Another worry of mine was the pool table in the center of the room. It was out of use for the hour, but even the pool sharks didn’t seem to mind. One anonymous pool aficionado even came up to me after the show and said, “At first, my friends and I were scoffing a little at our pool game being taken over, but then we started listening to people and we really liked it.”
Humorous short stories read by Travisano and Ben Preston had the audience belly laughing. Travisano read about a fictional date with a brontosaurus and Preston about the follies of college life and beat up old cars. More serious poems like those read by Martin and Cruise grabbed the audience’s attention with their passion and sincerity. One woman even read an essay on all she knew about God, love, and the soul.
The reader’s ages varied greatly from grandpas to 21-year-olds. Drew Mackie, an Indy editor who attended, said, “It didn’t feel like this was the first time. It was well organized.”
Although some readers went over the five-minute reading limit, and some were hard to hear, the night was overall a great success. Each future reading will feature a new musician and variety of readers. The next reading will be April 30. Come early to grab a seat and one of Elsie’s refreshing ales.