July 30, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
LIC Bar will serve as the home of the Queens literature world this weekend.
Poets, mystery writers, spoken word artists and more will share their talents inside the bar, in an event presented by the open mic/performance series The Inspired Word.
The event will be The Inspired Word’s first Queens NYC Lit Fest and will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2 at LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Blvd. The festival will include musicians performing in the main bar area and booksellers who will have tables in the outdoor garden.
The incoming and outgoing Queens Poet Laureates – Maria Lisella and Paolo Javier – are the event’s two featured writers. Javier will take the stage at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and Lisella will take the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Open mic sessions will also offer attendees 5 minutes to perform poetry, prose or spoken word. Signups begin at 11 a.m., and slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I loved the idea that the amateur can mix with the professional,” organizer and the Inspired Word founder Mike Geffner said.
Geffner added that a priority of his in organizing the festival was to make it an “all-inclusive” event. “It was intense work, and I didn’t want to miss anybody,” he said.
Local reading series – including Mystery Writers of America—Queens Edition, the LIC Reading Series and Oh, Bernice!, which produces events at the Astoria bookshop – will also be featured across the two-day program.
“What I think is really exciting is we’re really unifying the Queens literary community,” Lit Fest co-host and Poetry Teachers NYC founder Megan DiBello noted. “I really hope that people learn that the literary scene in Queens is very accessible – that any moment you can come to an open mic, you can collaborate with people, you can join the community and grow within the community.”
Geffner, a Queens native, said part of the inspiration for this event was to raise awareness about the borough’s literary scene, which he called “completely underestimated.”
“There are some amazing writers in Queens,” he continued. “I knew there was a lot going on here in Queens, so I said, why not just do [the Lit Fest].”
Queens NYC Lit Fest is 21+ and free.
Donations will be accepted, with all proceeds going to the featured writers and musicians.
A full Lit Fest program is available online here.