Word of Mouth Cincinnati (WoMC), a literary event consisting of both an Open Mic and a Feature Performance, runs the last Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. upstairs at MOTR Pub.
Tuesday, 3/27 will feature Bitch’s Brew
“When the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge, to those not hip) Kathy Y. Wilson makes that proverbial call, you pick up the damn phone. And so it happened in Summer 2011. She delved into her Little Black Book and proceeded to hit up the women she considered to be the baddest bitches in Cincinnati poetry, on the page and/or the stage. Four women + a DJ. Abiyah. Murray. Ophelia. Yvette Nepper. DJ Apryl Reign. Original bitches. Ebony and Ivory. Brewed together. Kathy turned the breakfast club into an all-girl poetry troupe.
Premiering at Kennedy Heights Arts Center in August 2011 in support of ‘Women’, an exhibit of works by female artists, Bitch’s Brew was a concoction of varied experiences, poetic styles, and vibes that operated in poetry performed lightning-round round-robin style, with apropos inter-poem music drops by DJ Apryl Reign, and MC duties handled by the HBIC herself.
The response was rad, so the bitches found a home base: The Greenwich, the historic Walnut Hills jazz club. Four or so times a year, for the next few years, the Bitch’s Brew poets and DJ would hit the stage, often to standing-room only crowds. This time around, Kathy would sit at the entrance to the performance room with a microphone while the poets lounged stage right with their drinks awaiting their turns, Apryl Reign dead center. Each time each bitch approached the mic, Kathy had some THANGS to say about each woman approaching the mic. A sort of stand-up comedy routine mixed with playing-the-dozens blended with a little bit of keepin-it-realism. But all out of love. Apryl would use her quick thinking and keen sense of improv music curation to drop a 30-second snippet of a song that complemented either the subject matter of the poem just uttered and/or the personality of that poet.
As bitches had to take brief leaves of absence to travel for work or start families, additional women were brought in to hold their place until they returned. It was important to Kathy to maintain as much of the original lineup flavor, both racially and stylistically, so Nina Yarbrough subbed for Ophelia while she was in Germany for a few months for work. Upon her return, Ophelia was found to be with child, and, shortly thereafter, moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be-husband. Next up to fill that slot, permanently, was Elese Daniel, City Hall employee by day, bike polo player and poet by night. Yvette Nepper’s wife became pregnant with their first child, so Avril Thurman was called in for an interview with Kathy and Abiyah at a bar. THIS bitch brought a resume, two printed copies of her poems, and AUDITIONED for them at a table on the back patio of Arlin’s. Just for an interim slot while Yvette was on leave of absence. Yes, bitch. Welcome to the party.
Bitch’s Brew is a proud recipient of a Cincinnati alternative newsweekly CityBeat’s 2012 Best of Cincinnati accolade for BEST USE OF THE WORD ‘BITCH’.
So here we are now. Kathy Y. Wilson. Abiyah. Murray. Yvette Nepper. Elese Daniel. Avril Thurman.
DJ Apryl Reign (at full-on Bitch’s Brew performances).
We know all the bitches. Buy our chapbook.”
Word of Mouth Cincinnati, which began in January 2014, is co-hosted by fellow writers Jim Palmarini and Mark Flanigan. It was founded in memory of the late Aralee Strange who, after many years living, writing and producing work in the Cincinnati area, moved to Athens, Georgia where she co-founded Athens Word of Mouth.
WoMC is an intentional arc of both past and future utterance, inspired by our most revered voice, with a nod to her Athens, GA compatriots. Word of Mouth asks poets to Show Up, Mouth Off and Pay Attention.