I had the pleasure of reading a few poems tonight alongside Judy Oberlander, Joan Nicholson, Steve Sprinkel, and Johnny Fonteyn in the front patio of The Farmer and The Cook. Despite noise from an occasional bus or rap-spewing low rider, the air was deliciously warm, and the stage was backed by swaying trees. Overcoming initial hesitation, I read a poem featuring sushi at this charming all-vegetarian restaurant. Nobody threw potatoes.
On the contrary, the atmosphere was friendly and casual, aided in part by the well-received happy hour offer of one dollar off organic beer and wine. The patio was packed, and chatty at intermission. P. Lyn Middleton did an excellent job emceeing the evening, with just the right blend of structure and southern grace. This was the second in what appears to be a very promising new series of readings, and the perfect way to spend a summer evening in Ojai.