Bushwick is a literary neighborhood. We have a disproportionate number of well-stocked used book stores and cafes perfect for banging out the first draft of your book, so it only makes sense that when the MIXER Reading & Music Series lost their space of nearly 10 years when Cake Shop closed on the Lower East Side, Our Wicked Lady welcomed it with open arms.
Their upcoming reading and performance on Wednesday, June 7, is both a 10 year anniversary party and a benefit for Planned Parenthood, co-hosted with The Rumpus, VIDA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting women in the literary arts, Riverhead Books, and Shoe Market.
Hosts Michelle Campagna, Melissa Febos, and Rebecca Keith all came to organize the series through their shared connections at Sarah Lawrence College. Bushwick Daily sat down with two of them—Campagna and Keith—to discuss the move to another neighborhood and how they’ve kept up with the series over the course of a decade.
Campagna and Keith both credit the vast alumni network for Sarah Lawrence College with bringing the three founders together and helping them secure readers and performers for what used to be a monthly gathering of writers and musicians at Cake Shop.
When Cake Shop closed rather unexpectedly nearly six months ago, one of Our Wicked Lady’s owners, Zach Glass, a New York native reached out to the trio to see if he could help. And thus, Our Wicked Lady became a literary destination in addition to being the neighborhood’s first rooftop bar.
Over the past ten years, the series has evolved to “balance emerging with established writers,” Campagna notes, but they are looking for more Young Adult [YA] authors and more hip-hop acts to help round out their usual slate of writing that skews more literary and music that heavily features singer-songwriters.
When I asked about what attracted them to the neighborhood, Keith said that Bushwick is “similar to what the Lower East Side used to be,” but those similarities stir up conflicting emotions given where the Lower East Side has ended up in terms of its affordability and character.
But the recent move has also exposed the series to a different audience. Michelle relayed a story about how some people had been followers of the series for years, but had never been able to make it out to the Lower East Side, and the new location has made it an easier commute.
Past readers have included award-winning poet Ocean Vuong, Guggenheim recipient Susan Wheeler, and composer Andrea Mazzariello to name just a few out of a dizzying array of participants.
Tickets to the reading can be purchased here for $10, and all proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and features readings and performances by Joan as Policewoman, Rebecca Carroll, Donika Kelly, Jeff McDaniel, Laurie Stone, and Tiphanie Yanique.
Follow the series on Twitter to keep up to date with what’s next!
Featured image courtesy of MIXER Reading & Music Series.