We thought they'd never end...
Found these two photos on the web yesterday and put them on Facebook but meant to put them here. They were taken at Cafe Largo in West Hollywood where my partner Eve Brandstein and I started and ran (from 1988 to I think around '96?) a weekly poetry reading called Poetry In Motion that got a lot of publicity and a lot of flack because we included friends who wrote poetry and did other things as well that they may have been better known for (that's Eve with the black hair and her hand on Downey's shoulder) like movie acting or directing or being a comedienne or musician or dancer or in some cases the more traditional and accepted occupation for poets: teacher.
All kinds of amazing people passed through the weekly readings which usually included about a dozen people who got to read for no more than five minutes. This was taken one night when these people all read. It was a lot of fun but there were poets who refused to participate because it wasn't "pure" enough, meaning just poets who identified mainly as poets or were identified mainly by the rest of us as poets, though no one who did other things they were known for ever declined reading out of some sense of "purity" etc.
I personally took a lot of flack for the actors who participated in particular. An article in Newsweek (if I remember correctly) had a reporter there on a night when Ally Sheedy and some others from what was then called "the brat pack" read some poems (Ally was particularly brilliant as I remember it) and though they had their mind changed and wrote a very positive story about how moved they were (which they later showed me) their editor decided to make it more controversial and headlined it "Wannabe Whitmans" and slanted it toward sarcasm.
Another article in The New Yorker referred to me as a "poetry hustler" if I remember correctly, which I should have made the title of my next collection. Anyway here are the photos: