Local bar to host Los Angeles based reading series

In Arts & Entertainment, Music

Tongue and Groove comes to downtown Fullerton’s Continental Room on Sunday at 7 p.m.

The Los Angeles based show will host notable authors and beginner writers such as Ron Carlson, Samantha Dunn, Lisa Alvarez and Shawnacy Kiker.

These professionals will be reading segments from their own writings during the show, which will consist of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and slam poetry.

Musician Jimmy Camp will perform at the event.

Tongue and Groove has thrived in LA for 11 years, hosted by Conrad Romo who initially thought of this idea after hearing a story on Minnesota Public Radio about a reading series at a bar in New York called the KGB bar.

The way the reporter on air described this series made Romo want to discover a similar program in LA.

While several places in LA hosted reading series, Romo was not able to find a program with the same energy as the New York series; and so began Tongue and Groove.

Romo was fortunate enough to host a reading at the KGB bar.

He was happy to read at the bar that first inspired Tongue and Groove.

His role in Tongue and Groove is what he considers “a good waiter,” because of his facilitating duties.

Romo prefers to keep the spotlight off of himself while restricting his on-the-stage job to only introducing each reader.

Romo works with professional writers, and also solicits and receives requests from publicists, which is how he can guarantee always having readers for his show.

“Sometimes I’ll just look in the paper, or I’ll just see what writers … are coming to town,” Romo said. “I’ll take the initiative sometimes to contact writers, or maybe I’ll read a review about an author and it sounds like a book that I would like to read … maybe I’ll find something of theirs online so I could see what they sound like. So I use a little bit of my salesmanship.”

Romo’s co-producer, Cynthia Romanowski, met Romo two years ago when she did a reading for him at the Jubilee Music & Arts Festival in Silver Lake.

Fullerton’s show will be the first Orange County production for Tongue and Groove.

Their traditional LA location is called the Hotel Cafe, which was chosen for its mellow vibe.

Finding an Orange County venue with the same feel was not an easy task.

“We looked at a lot of places and it took us a while to find the Continental (Room), but I think it has the same vibe, kind of like a classic lounge type place. They have a booth with the vinyl red seats and a big stage with a red curtain and all the little things like the Hotel Cafe, so we’re excited about doing it there,” Romanowski said.

Tongue and Groove is a free event at Continental Room in downtown Fullerton, and goes from 7-8:30 p.m.

Potential attendees can RSVP at conradromo.com.

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