ROMO: Two come to mind. I read at El Cid a while back and when I came off stage a guy was blocking my way and confronted me with "Recognize me?" I didn't. He was Mexican and about ten years younger than me. I didn't have a clue who he was. He didn't sound threatening, but you never know about old karma. He said, "I'm your cousin, Chris." He just happened to be playing back up for someone singing that night and I hadn't seen him in maybe 40 years.
The other thing happened during the Bukowski tribute that I organized at the Grand Performance stage downtown a couple of months ago. That night I started off the night by reading something from Bukowski about his feelings about readings in general; he said that they consisted of cursing back and forth with the audience, vomiting, and a fistfight or two. So I kinda set the table, because the first poet who followed me that night got heckled by a punkish looking guy in a Mohawk. The poet on stage, a guy named Sonny, was really rattled. You could see that he wanted to retaliate somehow. You could see it by the way that he started and stopped and kept looking at the guy. Eventually someone from the event security talked to the punk and got him to stop. The rest of the night was beautiful. So, a few weeks later, I saw Sonny and noticed that something wasn't right about the way that he carried himself. It was only later that I found out that that night at my Bukowski event he had suffered a mild stroke.
CONRAD ROMO is the host of Tongue and Groove, now in its ninth year, and generally happens at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. The ingredients that make T&G include novelists, short fiction, poetry, personal essays, story telling and a dose of music.
Come heckle Conrad at 826LA in Echo Park on Friday October 19 at 7:30pm.