The Austin Salon Poetic Retrospective

ASP logo black

 The Austin Salon Poetic meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month
 at Metal and Lace Club, 720 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701; 7:30 PM CST 

Already about a year has swung by since first dreaming up the idea of The Austin Salon Poetic. Another venue, another voice in the Austin poetry scene, this past year had been exciting and insightful. Many poets and writers from all around Austin, Texas have participated in the featured reading and open mic since its first salon on August 20, 2012. The idea of having a poet feature has grown since that first salon that featured Headhunter Thom (Thom Woodruff) and was followed by an open mic equally powerful as the bard of Austin, TX’ presentation. Where we began doing single poet features, now the Austin Salon Poetic can feature as many as two or three poets and include a lively open mic. The pleasure has been in meeting and engaging the body of poets found here in Austin, and the chance to experience their craft and their talent. It has been a pleasure to create a space where people may express themselves as they see fit, for in this day and age, there aren’t many places where you can just present yourself regardless of the audience. Of course, for the love of the craft, and the joy of mechanism, open mics and features are also great places to practice while preparing for grander things. Indeed, all walks of life in poet boots have crossed the stage in the past year, and hopefully, more will continue to come.

Barbara Carr at ASP 4-1-13

Barbara Youngblood Carr features at The Austin Salon Poetic, April 1, 2013.

Poets who have featured at our salons have now included Austin poets and regional poets, such as: Thom Woodruff, Bill Shute, Juan Manuel Perez, Devorah Winegarten, Joe Hoppe, Brooke Axtell, Ricardo Acevedo, Dillon McKinsey, John Crow and many others. The spectrum of open mic readers has been just as wealthy in the poetry department. In fact, the Austin Salon Poetic prides itself on its reach of inclusiveness regarding poetry styles and types by disregarding such notions. At the Austin Salon Poetic people come to share their voice in a respectful though well liquored environment.

Still, there are great reasons more to come check out the place. It was disclosed a poet used to live on the second floor above the main bar room a few decades ago. Ask around and one may find much information on the cultural norms Austin rolled through in its long history. Apparently the Red River District where now stands the mighty Stubb’s Barbeque and the fallen Emo’s, held many early indie-type endeavors, including bookstores and arte. Now we find a quaint, the rough bar called Metal and Lace. Yes, if you recall, the Austin Salon Poetic first opened in what was then called Headhunters Club. To an extent, the joint is still Headhunters Club. That is definitely how people still refer to it. When the A.S.P. was first conceived, the idea was to have a Monday night poetry open mic in what is called the Cannibal Stage of Headhunters club, a two-story patio that had what most poetry venues require, seating. Booths and tables and bar chairs made the space, intimate as it was, accommodating. Alas, for a lack of anything else to do with the main stage, the Austin Salon Poetic was given that space to perform. The Headhunters of the time was ill-equipped for reading as there was inadequate lighting. There were no chairs. There was a “friendly” pungent odor that greeted you as you entered and acquainted itself with you throughout the night. The horror of creating a space for poets in a space so disenchanting. Indeed, the Headhunters of yore was a rough and gritty one, as it was a heavy metal, punk and thrash type bar littered with Hawaiian and Tribal type decorations to include a huge and dusty bamboo hut roof on the inside of the venue. The poets are great for having attended and participated wholeheartedly those first few open mics. Then something of a synchronicity occurred one fall evening when I was informed Headhunters was to undergo a remodel. How interesting, I thought. The cable-network program called Bar Rescue wanted to remodel and film an episode for their reality based show and use Headhunters for the job. They cleaned up the place, and turned the venue from a Hawaiian themed Tiki headbangers’ hall, to a cleaned, well-lit, stylized lounge type bar that followed a “steampunk” theme. This was Metal and Lace.

Ajari Eniyi participating in a special post-SXSW outdoor read at Metal and Lace Club.

Ajari Eniyi participating in a special post-SXSW outdoor read at Metal and Lace Club.

Needless to say, as the show spent money money on a new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, the bathrooms remained the same, as well as the two story patio in the back where the name “Headhunters” is still proudly dawned. Now with light and chairs and a great crew we are having successful readings with a great and diverse audience. It does come in tides, it seems, both low and high, but Metal and Lace / Headhunters still opens its doors to various genres, and the poetry open mics are usually followed by live metal bands or DJs spinning music and dropping beats.

As the Austin Salon Poetic reaches its one year anniversary in August, there is still much to look forward. The A.S.P. will be celebrating with a special poetry and music presentation with featured poets and a late night open mic! If you are interested in participating in our open mic, or featuring at the Austin Salon Poetic, please feel free to get in touch. All salons are held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, and sometimes the 5th. The Austin Salon Poetic meets at Metal and Lace Club located at 720 Red River, Austin, TX 78701. More information can be found at the Austin Salon Poetic Website: and the Austin Salon Poetic Facebook page: Videos of poetry features and participants at the Austin Salon Poetic can be seen at our Youtube page from VGP Media, simply click the link at the bottom of the homepage! There’s really no telling what is next to come for the Austin Salon Poetic. For the time being we are just happy to be a part of the Austin poetry dialogue, and another venue for the expression of the written word and spoken arts. Poets, if you’ve nothing else better to do on a Monday evening, I look forward to hearing your work at the Austin Salon Poetic!

The New Age of the Poet

There is a great push, energetic with a life all its own. In all forms of art, poetic voice is giving wonderment to the age-old questions of life. There has only been times like this, when the poets are singing the origins of consciousness, when the ends necessitate the means. These times are impressive as interesting. The entire paradigm of reality and status quo buzzing with change, we begin to hear the sound of the light. The answer is in the process of the soul as displayed into art form via the poem. That is the main context Virgogray takes in sharing the work of others. Above form and structure, whether manicured or not, but maintained within the wellness of basic grammar, the content, the truth spoken in the artists words is the driving force. I have seen a spectacular display of such poetic art these past few days in the bustling period that is National Poetry Month. From the marathon that is the Austin International Poetry Festival to the continued poetic mayhem at the Austin Salon Poetic to the new faces of poetry I bore witness to at the Fresh Meat Poet Showcase to the independent TV broadcast celebrating poetry and Austin poets, the East By Southeast (EXSE) Poetry Showcase, to the poets slamming it around town at such venues as Spoken and Heard at Kick Butt Coffee and Ruta Maya Poetry, there was much to do in the month of April, and that’s not all. There’s much more I’ve not even mentioned. If there is one art form that is thriving in the city of Austin it is poetry. Of course, all art forms are, I just get higher doses of this one. But one thing I did appreciate, as at the venues I attended at this years Austin International Poetry Festival was the wealth of loving insightful, enlightened-like poems that were all about spreading light and being aware. And they are not new age type poems or sentiments, either, they are direct rays of truth shattering societal paradigms. Now that is art. Anyway. The richness is vast and growing still. As the influence of the artist is to surface the hidden and stifled conscience of man, and even as that has been seemingly compromised, that is why we turn to the local and the independent.  It merely takes an individual willing to share that with the community, and there are several examples out there. One mark I’ve always found important is a lack of consideration for the style or skill level versus the paramount message and content is the key equation when considering a fair and consistent standard among poet talent. Because not all of us are fortunate to have Harvard Masters in poetry, and that is not to malign the dignity of suffering such programs the academic dictates, but it is a truth we must all consider. The insightful work I’ve been exposed to, delivered in fashions all over the spectrum of poetry reading and performance, and its writing, naturally, have satisfied the desire of a deeper understanding to arise in the majority of humanity. It starts inside the hearts and souls of a few who burn as beacons and as candles, and spreads to the minds of many through the hidden net of consciousness and extols itself through the art and poetry of those who create. And it recycles becoming greater. I am looking forward to the many messages to come and to their deliverance, the voices to come.


Michael Aaron Casares @ Texas NORML Event


Texas NORML will be holding a mixer/fundraiser event at the United States Art Authority located at 2906 Fruth Street, Austin, TX. There will be a plethora of speakers and performers, please see website for full details. The doors open at 6 pm and the cost is $15. I will inform as soon as I know what time I read, but come early and enjoy the event. Support a good cause, get your poetry, music, comedy and more.

This is a helpful link to details about the Texas NORML event: