Pioneer Place on a holiday weekend seems like an unlikely place for a poetry reading and folk music performance. But the Indie Lit Roadshow, centered around a Pop-Up Bookstore featuring small press titles, was one of the most charming events I've attended all year.
The readings and performances had a very relaxed, informal feel to them, with patrons browsing the books and magazines while writers and musicians showcased their work in a makeshift performance space. PLACE, an exhibition space in the mall, is tucked away on the top floor of the 5th and Morrison building (across from the Game Stop). The hum of the shoppers was a distant, almost comforting rumble (until they started with the live music on the bottom floor) and if you wanted to step out for a bit you could look at this.
Eight readers and three musical acts made for a crowded roster, but the sets were brief. I caught Tom Debeauchamp of Seattle reading a strange and tourettic story that involved him yelling "Skullfucker!" a lot and Zac Fulton (also of Seattle) read humorous, neurotic poems. Portland's Matty Byloos and Carrie Seitzinger (of Smalldoggies) provided spirited readings; Matty read two eerie short stories and Carrie is one of the best poets I've heard in town. Rachel Hays played an emotional and moving solo set, and The Harvey Girls contrasted that with energetic, driving acoustic songs.
The Indie Lit Roadshow has organized events all over the country for this weekend. In each city they're showcasing local writers, bands, magazines, collectives, bookstores, and publishers. Come back soon!