Saint Paul Almanac Features

Lowertown, Saint Paul The Black Dog Café & Wine Bar
Emmanuel Ortiz The emcee's emcee
Host Robert Karimi Karimi is, at root, a storyteller and community engagement specialist. Karimi's writings have appeared on NPR and in newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies, most recently, the Asian American Literary Review.
A national poetry slam champion, Robert Karimi has been featured throughout the country at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café, Def Poetry Jam, The Chicago Theater, and The Loft.
Robert Karimi works at The People's Cook as an arts educator, public engagement deviser, playwright, director, and community arts consultant.
Chaun Webster Chaun is a poet, publisher, and graphic designer working at the intersections of the Black Arts Movement and Jazz, Concrete Poetry and Graffiti.
Webster's poetry and general art practice investigate the assumptions of legitimacy in knowledge production, and the psychic terror employed by media in order to maintain power relationships.
Jessica Lopez Lyman Jessica was born and raised in Saint Paul. As a poet/organizer turned graduate student, Jessica believes deeply in the transformative power of art.
Jessica is currently working on a multi-media performance piece, Hair Volume, an intergenerational and cross-racial exploration of women and gender non-conforming people’s relationship to hair.
May Lee-Yang May is a playwright, poet, prose writer, and performance artist. She has been hailed by Twin Cities Metro Magazine as 'on the way to becoming one of the most powerful and colorful voices in local theater.'
May's theater-based works have been presented at Mu Performing Arts, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Out North Theater, the 2011 National Asian American Theater Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and others. Her plays include The Divorcee Diaries, Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman, and Ten Reasons Why I’d Be a Bad Porn Star.
The Black Dog cafe was full, and had prepared a special spicy version of their hummous plate, with salsa made by Robert Karimi.
Changing of the guard Ta-coumba Aiken used to live-sketch the Lowertown Reading Jams but passed the torch two jams ago
Ken and Roberta Avidor 2014 Almanac cover illustrator Ken and his wife Roberta have sketched the last two Lowertown Reading Jams.
The perils of live sketching include the limited time you have to sketch a performer.
The final scroll Performers pose with the finished Avidor artwork.
The wall behind the Black Dog Café stage has a montage of posters and previous Ta-coumba sketches. We began the process of transitioning between the old and new sketchers.
Sketches from the previous Lowertown Reading Jam, curated by Ifrah Mansour.
People relaxing after the Jam had concluded.
Photostory by Nigel Parry Almanac Web Manager and Photo Editor
Join us for the next Lowertown Reading Jam David Mura will be curating the May Lowertown Reading Jam