Featuring Rush Merchant III ♦ Lauren Koshere ♦ Dwight Hobbes ♦ Brian Charles Tischleder ♦ Ka Vang

Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, May 27, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. All ages, no cover, donations welcome. Food and beverages for sale.

Also, follow the action on Twitter with @AlmanacLive and #LRJ

“The Word | The Blues”: Stories and music are able to shine a light on our personal woes in a world of harsh realities: a lost love, the cruelty of others, systematic injustice and hard times. These tales and tunes are what move us, make us feel alive and inspire us. With spoken word, poetry, prose and song, join our talented writers and musicians as we examine contemporary issues plaguing our society—speaking and singing the Blues.

Our Performers

VangCurator Ka Vang was born on a CIA military base, Long Cheng, Laos, at the end of the Vietnam War and immigrated to America in 1980. A fiction writer, poet and playwright, Vang has devoted much of her professional life to capturing Hmong folk tales on paper. She is a recipient of the Archibald Bush Artist Fellowship and several other artistic and leadership awards. She is the author of the children’s book Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon, a finalist for the 23rd Annual Midwest Book Awards in 2012.


MerchantRush Merchant III is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in south Minneapolis. He is a guitarist and keyboardist whose music is inspired and influenced by the avant-garde jazz diaspora and by experimental composers. After two years residing the Washington, DC, area, he has relocated back to his hometown. “My family, friends and the arts community I love and grew up with are here.”



KoshereLauren Koshere writes creative nonfiction often focused on place, cities and intersections of the natural and human worlds. Since 2008, her writing has appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal, High Country News, So to Speak, Poecology, ISLE, The Leopold Almanac, Camas and others. Originally from Wisconsin, she has also lived in Montana, New Zealand and Washington, DC. She is a graduate of St. Catherine University and the University of Montana’s environmental studies graduate program. She is completing her first book, a memoir about living and working in Yellowstone. Follow Lauren at or @LaurenKoshere.


HobbesDwight Hobbes played ten years in the NYC/Long Island area at, among other clubs, Kenny’s Castaways, My Father’s Place and wine and cheese cafés on and around SUNY at Stony Brook and Long Island University/C.W. Post. In the Twin Cities, he has worked the Fine Line Music Café, 7th St Entry and Hell’s Kitchen. His writing has appeared nationally in ESSENCE, Reader’s Digest and the Washington Post and locally in City Page, the Pioneer Press, Twin Cities Daily Planet and the Saint Paul Almanac, among others.


tischlederBrian Charles Tischleder is an Americana folk musician in the tradition of Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen. He has been writing, performing and recording his original songs for all of his adult life. In the last twenty years, he has toured extensively in the Midwestern United States while developing a large international fan base. He has played to crowds in Twin Cities venues such as First Avenue, the Fine Line Music Café and O’Gara’s. He recently released his three-song EP, titled Dreams and Fear. Buy the EP and learn more about Brian at

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