“Oh, What A Night!”


The Dalai Java Cafe, Canandaigua, NY

Yeah, what a night! When words and music and conversation around superb food injected in the mix come together to create an intriguing evening of sharing and camaraderie. Finally, the monthly first Thursday in-house “Sea of Coffee Open Mic’ series resumed after an absence due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Convened at The Dalai Java located at 157 S. Main Street in Canandaigua featured two readers, ryki zuckerman and me combined with several open mic contributors. The evening was grand!


ryki weaved poetic themes and words drenched in poignant sensibilities fueled by a rich wit that created avenues for thoughtful remembrances and reflections that will pleasantly haunt listeners for days to come. For those who know me, I “spat forth” work drenched in social justice occurrences as I continued my thinking that creatives are, in essence, cultural workers who have the unique ability to not only shape hope and aspirations but can enable folks to question age-old held personal beliefs that must be re-evaluated for communities to grow and become stronger.


bill berry, jr., (photo credit: George Grace)

The strategy to host zuckerman and berry was a wise programmatic decision since several phases of human dynamics were examined by the featured readers using words…words that had the potential to inspire, challenge and captivate. And the open mic participants brought their “A” game and made wonderful contributions to an evening that was simply, “Oh What A Night.”


Stephen Lewandowski (photo credit: George Grace)

Scott W. Williams (photo credit: George Grace)

Gracious thanks go to the series’ hosts Stephen Lewandowski and Scott W. Williams who also offered poems that have historically contributed to the canon of poetry complemented and embellished with original work.  Words that floated in the air and lightly landed on the consciousness of the audience by two aficionados of the poetic genre, oh what a night.


Bon Amie French Bistro, 215 S. Main Street, Canandaigua, NY

The entire evening was grand. And for those who have visited Canandaigua or plan to be first time visitors, and Bon Ami French Bistro has not been on your foody radar screen, visit. You will not be disappointed in the preparation, host cordiality, richness, and grandeur of their expertly prepared and presented cuisine.  The restaurant is at 215 S. Main Street. I enjoyed my pre-event meal there with several poets/visual artists/scholars. Their joviality, sharing experiences, friendliness, wisdom and conversation topics were settled in the affectionate nuances of just a bunch of folks hanging out together…no pretentiousness or artificiality. Cool.

Postscript: Stephen Lewandowski and Scott W. Williams made the difficult and painful decision to bring to closure the first Thursday sessions. I appreciate their courageous journey to keep poetry alive and emboldened in the public arena. And I thank them for their gift of service to the creative and literary community. I am sure there is a Phoenix tale to this untimely episode and its ending resting beneath the surface.


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