The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the first in its 2012–2013 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota’s capital city.

The “Where No Brown Has Gone Before: Nerds of Color Read Nerdy Works” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, October 24th, 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 Bao Phi, features performances by Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, Shannon Gibney, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., and May Lee-Yang.

About curator Bao Phi and the “Where No Brown Has Gone Before” Lowertown Reading Jam

Bao Phi is a published poet, has been on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, was included in the Best American Poetry 2006 anthology, and has been a nerd since his Vietnamese refugee toddler self put a towel over his shoulders and waved a flashlight around in his parent’s house in Phillips pretending he was a jedi. His most recent nerd claim is inclusion in Secret Identities 2, wherein acclaimed graphic novelist GB Tran illustrated a pinup of his Vietnamese American revolutionary zombie short story.

About the Performers

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.

Shannon Gibney is a writer, teacher, activist, and raging nerd. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and lives with her husband and son in the Powderhorn neighborhood. Her critical and creative writing have been published in numerous venues.

Star Trek: TNG was R. Vincent Moniz Jr.‘s favorite TV show as a kid—he made sure even guests knew not to touch the knob. When this Jerome Fellow hit junior high age, he would take two buses outta his Phillips neighborhood home just to get his hands on comic books. Temba, his arms wide/open!* He’s so happy to share a part of himself that doesn’t get much attention these days: being a nerd from the ‘hood.

*In the Star Trek universe, the spoken language of the Tamarians consists entirely of metaphor, referencing mythological and historical figures and events specific to Tamarian culture. “Temba, his arms wide/open!” signifies a gift.

May Lee-Yang is a writer and performance artist, which is just a fancy way to say she gets paid to play herself on stage. She likes chubby kids and plain pho. For a more comprehensive listing of her street cred as an artist, go to


About the Saint Paul Almanac

Now in its indispensable seventh edition, the 2013 Saint Paul Almanac is both a friendly guidebook to Minnesota’s capital city and Saint Paul’s eclectic community storytelling book of record, featuring essays, poems, photos, maps, and listings of events, bars, restaurants, theaters, and other cultural venues within a datebook format. Buy it now.

Available in full color, the 416-page 2013 Saint Paul Almanac includes over 160 photos and illustrations; gorgeous, hand-drawn, poster-size, pull-out maps of the City of Saint Paul and Downtown; and pull-out artwork by Ta-coumba Aiken!

A successful experiment in democratic publishing, the 2013 Almanac brought together a multigenerational group of 21 community editors to choose 132 pieces by 114 writers—without the editors knowing the authors’ identities—from hundreds of submissions.

High school students’ work appears alongside writing by grandparents, and first-time writers appear next to Saint Paul literary greats such as Garrison Keillor and Patricia Hampl.

Every person’s story is one unique part of a larger puzzle. When pieced together with all the other stories in the Saint Paul Almanac, the book transforms into a magical overview of Saint Paul’s interwoven cultures and communities, a tapestry of neighborhoods and favorite haunts.

The 2013 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), Minnesota State Arts Board, Lowertown Future Fund, Saint Paul Foundation, Mardag Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Traveler’s Employee Arts and Diversity Committee, Knight Foundation, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), Black Dog Café, Clouds in Water Zen Center, Twin Cities Daily Planet, and KFAI.

Location & Directions

The “Where No Brown Has Gone Before: Nerds of Color Read Nerdy Works” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101.

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