The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the eighth in its 2011–2012 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota’s capital city.

The “Life’s Lessons Learned” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, June 27th 2012 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. This presentation of the popular and eclectic series, curated by David Vu, features performances by Olivia Baker, Dua Saleh, Laurine Chang, Rebecca Song, Tsimnuj Hawj, Kurt Blomberg and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria.

About “Life’s Lessons Learned”

As a child I learned not to touch a hot stove by touching a hot stove. I have always unconsciously used poetry as an archive of my own life lessons. We all go through our own way of learning life’s lessons and each outcome may not always result in the same way, but we all learn. Through our struggles…our joys…there is always a lesson to learn. At a young age we learned through physical touch, but as adults we learn through struggle. These are our stories of life’s lessons learned. — David “Vulocity” Vu

Watch video of the Jam

About the Performers

David Vu

David “Vulocity” Vu is a poet/spoken word artist from the Minneapolis area that was recently published in the 2012 Saint Paul Almanac for his piece “To my young Hmong women”. When he’s not thinking about his obsession of cars, he likes to spend time writing on his phone where he keeps most of his poetry.

Olivia Baker

Olivia Baker is 17 and a senior at Saint Paul Central High School. She was born in a London, England. Olivia has been acting and writing poetry since she was in 7th Grade. She loves to dance and work out, and want to be a fitness instructor in the future.

Dua Saleh

Dua Saleh will be a senior at Central High School next year. Though she is socially extroverted, she is a predominantly creative introvert, so she does not share her poetry with the world often. Her “poetic depth” does not limit her because she is an active participant in her community—culturally and civilly.

Laurine Chang

Laurine Chang is an Asian American hip-hop/spoken word artist, with a background in social justice theatre, community organizing, and writing. She is also an educator, the current Poetry Captain of Voices Merging, and a member of Speakers of the Sun.

Rebecca Song

Rebecca “Beibei” Song has parts made in China and Canada and assembled in the United States. In her full-time job, she works with formerly homeless young adults. In her exciting “underground” life, she has been organizing with Community Action Against Racism (CAAR) since August 2011. First inspired by Spoken Word poet J. Ivy and Bao Phi, she set a foot in spoken word poetry and started her journey back to creative writing nine years after she laid down the pen in a different language. Now, when she no longer has to bang out 10 pages in 10 hours, she is rediscovering writing as a means of self-expression and an extension of her organizing. Her issues of focus in writing are immigration, racial equity, Asian/Asian American identity, women’s rights/women of color issues.

Tsimnuj Hawj

Tsimnuj Hawj is an Asian-American poet, native to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Tsimnuj is currently studying Creative Writing at Augsburg College, where he was a former president of the Augsburg Asian Student Association. He has a background in Asian-American theatre with Mu Performing Arts and is a member of Speakers of the Sun.


Kurt Blomberg

Kurt Blomberg is a dancer, poet, and teaching artist.  He takes himself way too
 seriously, and should probably lighten up.

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria is a writer and spoken word poet of Peruvian heritage, heavily involved with Palabristas, a local Latin@ poets collective. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and an involved activist in the Latin@ community. He writes about fatherhood, the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish and Spanish, and issues pertaining to his community and life experiences.


Music provided by DJ Saikodelic.


About the Saint Paul Almanac

Now in its sixth edition, the Saint Paul Almanac features essays, poems, photos, maps, and listings of events, bars, restaurant, theaters, and other cultural venues within a datebook format. Available in full color for the first time and—another first—includes gorgeous, hand-drawn, poster-size, pull-out maps of the City of Saint Paul and Downtown!

The 2012 Almanac features 129 stories and 180+ photos. Contributors include literary giants, everyday residents, students, journalists, new Americans, and lovers of Saint Paul who live in other corners of the world. Information on upcoming events, how to make a submission, and other Saint Paul Almanac news is available at

The 2012 Saint Paul Almanac sells for $17.95 online (including S&H) at and is available for $14.95 in independent and mainstream bookstores everywhere, as well as at libraries and coffee houses throughout the city.

Saint Paul Almanac‘s generous partners and sponsors include the City of Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program, McKnight Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), Lowertown Future Fund, Saint Paul Foundation, Mardag Foundation, F.R. Bigelow, Minnesota Humanities Center, Traveler’s Employee Arts and Diversity Committee, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, SPPS, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), Black Dog Café, Clouds in Water Zen Center, Twin Cities Daily Planet, and KFAI.

Location & Directions

The “Life’s Lessons Learned” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. RSVP on Facebook

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