The year was 1997 when Dante Basco, an actor/dancer/poet, started a weekly gathering known then as, Dante’s Poetry Lounge. In the beginning, it was Dante and a group of his friends. Some nights they practiced spoken word in his living room, other times, they performed at Bistro 829.

In 1998, Dante brought on Shihan, DJ Brutha Gimel, and Poetri, who, together, are the Founders of what is now known nationally as Da Poetry Lounge. Poetri and Shihan were the weekly hosts, while DJ Brutha Gimel spun records in between poets.

Over the coming years, DPL would take residence in several venues in Los Angeles – Pan Am Sandwich Shop, Zoo Theatre, and Cabaret Café – before making the Greenway Court Theatre home in 2000.