Easy Speak Seattle and Jed Myers are developmentally intertwined. Here is the story as Jed tells it:
Long ago, in a previous century, as I drifted through an ordinary life in the empire, I was serendipitously taken with the strange miracle of spoken word art in coffeehouses here and there in this fair city. I found it so provocative, so stirring, that I got to writing more poems than I had since my college years, and before long (oh, around the turn of the century), I found myself standing before the gathered attendees in the Solstice, the Penny Café, the Honey Bear, and other cozy places, reading my own strings of words aloud, and meaning what I heard myself say, and feeling more engaged in the life of my community than I had since, well, yes, college days.
A deeply compelling thrust came into the spin of all this when the event we all call 9/11 went down. It was what broke me, like many, lastingly wide open, convinced that our hearts’ voices were not to be withheld any longer if we were to help our world be the one world it might be.
And then arose the Wayward Coffeehouse out on Greenwood, where I was allowed to host some nights myself, and caught the bug more seriously. There I met the marvelous trumpeter Michael Dublé, and was blessed to have his collaboration for some time before his untimely passing. The boundaries between music, spoken word, and poetry per se, were falling away.
A day came whe I was given the chance to launch my own little open-mic cabaret, and to my taste, it would be music and poetry, at Nana’s Soup House on the hilltop near the intersection of NE 55th St. and 35th Ave. NE, not far at all from my own home. My feet were getting wetter by the week. Then, Jack, the fellow who makes Bai Pai Bai Pai, asked me to help him create such a live human voice entity in his lounge, and so, about 7 years ago now, we began what I thought to call NorthEndForum. Oh, it’s morphed, through fortuitous and tragic turns, from what it first was to what it is now and is yet ever becoming, sure, but it has remained a vibrant, warm, welcoming, uplifting swirl of song and poetry, of openheartedness in the presence of others, of brave attempts at vulnerable truth-telling in the presence of community. It seems to continue to be what live art is meant to be! It makes me very happy.
And recently, a new phase in this evolution has ensued—Peter Munro has birthed a similarly-conceived phenomenon up at the Wedgwood Ale House, and T. Clear has spawned yet another kin form at the Hummingbird Saloon down in Columbia City!
The expressive arts are, after all, an essential way we have to discover our deep unity, in the very fact of our ineluctable humanness, what makes us what and who we are, together in this beautiful and terrible miracle of mortal life on this tiny vast island Earth. That’s the story.