Goes by the name of Fish. Born in Ethiopia (and delivered by a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Catherine Hamlin), grew up in Japan and Kenya, and traveled a lot in between. Full-time graduate working on dual master’s degrees. Pet peeve is when people answer a question with a question. Pastrami sandwich ELITIST. Loves playing soccer and rugby and reading books on World War II and astronomy.

Memorables

“WITHOUT MOTHERLOVING QUESTION my favorite moment at DPL was meeting Prince. Yes Prince, the Purple One.
 
“Long story short, a singer by the name of Andy Allo used to come to DPL to showcase her songs. Fast forward, she ended up being discovered by Prince at a gig and toured with him. She is currently an accomplished singer in her own right. She texted me one day saying she wanted to bring a guest to DPL. I said of course, what you need. She asked if we had a secluded seating area. I said yeah, upstairs in the soundbooth. I asked why, and she said she was bringing Prince. OBVI I was excited but kept my cool (over text). We hashed out details and she said she would call.
 
“Day of, I only told the DPL founders and Natalie just so they can be there that night. Didn’t want to make a big scene. I get the text, Black SUV rolls through in the back of the theatre and out hopped Andy and Prince… that’s it. I thought I was expecting an entourage… but nope! it was just them two.

“I shook Prince’s hand and told him welcome, gave Andy a hug and introduced him to the rest of the founders… then I led him to his seating area. He was such a respectful, humble dude. Our DJ and founder, Gimel, tried to contain his excitement. He told him, ‘Man your music was the soundtrack to my life!!’ At which point, Prince responded, ‘Mine too.’  At this point we ensured the audience was already seated in the theatre and closed the aisle curtains. The night went on. Audience members did not know The Purple One was seated right above them the whole night. It wasn’t until Prince left that Shihan was like yeah Prince was seated up there. Audience looking at each other at huh who is he talking about…not that they didn’t know who he was, but they were in denial that THAT Prince was there. Nothing can top that moment…as of yet. Unless Kendrick was to stop by and drop a piece? I’d lose my shit.”

Dual processor. Panda Express enthusiast. Tardy-patron nemesis. Believer in things remaining where he leaves them – AKA, where they should be. Anti: pen ink smear, power seats, and the turn up. Lover of diction. Liver an ode to old fashions. Heart, a podium for good people speech – so says Jason Mars.

On DPL

We have many homes, and DPL was the first true home for my writing. Not my math, not my Mexican, not my first-generation, not my care for diction, not my recurring rewrites, not my high school essays (which I crafted with much care), but yet, so, too, all of it.

Memorables

  • Fixing Mark Maza’s flat tire in the parking lot
  • Yesika’s first performance of Translation
  • Jason making me late for dinner so that he can buy Can’Dase sunflowers before midnight
  • Hosting a DPL Holiday party, everyone in ugly sweaters
  • Mayda; making the Lounge dance

Edwin is one part designer, one part poet, and all parts fabulous.  The magical love child of Eartha Kitt and Morgan Freeman, he has the honor of being one of the hosts of Da Poetry Lounge.  If he isn’t hosting or dressing people in LA, he can be found eating Thai food or a vast array of sweet and salted carbs.  If you need him, he will always be there to remind you of your joy.

On DPL

DPL means more than home.  It means safety.  I was 15 when I started coming to the lounge and remember being in such awe by it all that I couldn’t even describe the feeling to anyone, I just felt compelled to invite everyone I saw thereafter.

Da Poetry Lounge holds an indescribable magic that I’ve never wanted to leave.  I’ve witnessed people shatter and rebuild themselves inside the collective arms of strangers, I’ve seen us bring in a number of people who had no where else to go, and I’ve experienced many cry in my embrace as they survived the telling of their stories.

All of this is why DPL is more than home to myself and others, it is a sanctuary for everyone who has lived to tell the tale, and those still learning to tell it.

Memorables

  • Mo Browne’s feature
  • Rachel McKibbens’ feature
  • Shihan’s dance battles with his son, Sy
  • a young woman on the open mic named Amaha who sang me into air