Featured Performers 2015

Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the chapbook, All Day, Talking. She holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska. Her manuscript, This, Like So Much, was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Contest. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. http://www.sarahachavez.com

Bill Gainer contributes to the literary scene as an award winning writer, editor, promoter, publicist and poet. He has won the San Francisco Beat Museum’s Poetry Contest and the Sacramento News and Review’s Flash Fiction Contest. His latest book, from Epic Rites Press is Lipstick and Bullet Holes. Gainer is internationally published and is known across the country for giving legendary fun filled performances – always inviting the audience to be part of the show. Visit him at billGainer.com

Michele McDannold was the Editor-in-Chief at Red Fez Publications for five years and is currently the editor/publisher at Citizens for Decent Literature and organizer of the “This Is Poetry” project. Michele’s first full-length poetry collection Stealing the Midnight from a Handful of Days is now available from Punk Hostage Press. She has an extensive collection of flannel and rubber chicken heads.

Joani (JP) Reese has had fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry published by over seventy print and online journals. She has been poetry editor for THIS Magazine, senior poetry editor for Connotation Press, and is currently general editor for MadHat Lit, the online presence of MadHat Publishing. Reese has two published chapbooks, Final Notes and Dead Letters. Reese’s first full collection of poems and stories, Night Chorus, was published in spring, 2015 by Lit Fest Press.

Bud Smith is the author of two novels F250 and Tollbooth and the forthcoming novella I’m From Electric Peak. He is also the author of the poetry collection Everything Neon and the short story collection, Or Something Like That. He works heavy construction in New Jersey and lives in New York City. http://www.budsmithwrites.com

Robert Vaughan is the author of three collections of poetry: Microtones; Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits; and Addicts & Basements. He also edited Flash Fiction Fridays and is senior editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazine. His awards include Micro-Fiction, and Gertrude Stein Awards. He leads roundtables at Red Oak Writing in Milwaukee, WI.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. Her most recent book is Drink. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. http://www.lauramadelinewiseman.com

Dawn Diamantopoulos was raised in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, which she happily left, to attend college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BFA in Fine Arts in 1992, having majored in Fine Arts – Printmaking and minored in the History of Art. She has lived in Northwest Indiana for over a dozen years with her husband and two sons.
Predominantly a painter now, she continues to work in other media. Dawn is a two-time grantee from the Indiana Arts Commission and exhibits extensively throughout the Midwest. She makes art every single day.

Melissa Washburn is an artist/illustrator/graphic designer based in Northwest Indiana. She grew up in upstate New York, but has lived in the Midwest since 1996. She creates layered, expressive mixed-media illustrations, often inspired by nature.
Melissa holds a BFA in painting and printmaking from Binghamton University (SUNY) and an MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University Bloomington, and has completed several Illustration classes through the Continuing Education program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a 2012-2013 recipient of an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. She is also a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is one of the founders of CSA Valpo, a unique co-op buying program for local art and artists.

Billy-O of Dynamite Music, Fragile Soul, James Neary