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Galveston Bar Hosts a ‘Book Fair for Grown-Ups’ on July 27

Local authors to read from their works at Proletariat Gallery & Public House.

Bbaravado Ink founder Torrina Harris organized a pop-up book fair in Galveston to provide artists with safe spaces where they would get paid for their work (courtesy photos).

Local activists and artists of color will be reading from their works and signing purchased books at a July 27 pop-up book fair in Galveston at Proletariat Gallery & Public House. 

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., is being sponsored by Bbaravado Ink, a collective of “Black, Brown, and Asian, revolutionaries, artists, visionaries, and activists for diaspora opportunity.” Founder Torrina Harris notes the purpose of the group is to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their contributions to culture through the sale of their books. Some of the artists to be featured identify as members of the LGBTQ community. “The goal has always been to provide artists with spaces so they can get paid for their work.”

Harris says the idea for the event was sparked by a meme on Facebook quoting Eugene V. Debs, who was founder of the Industrial Workers of the World union and a five-time Socialist Party of America candidate for the U.S. presidency who died in 1926. The meme read, “Seriously, hear me out: Scholastic book fair. For adults. At a bar.” 

Harris, who is one of the authors to be featured, is also a bartender at Proletariat, and she approached the bar’s owners to propose the idea. “Everyone was down for it and said that would be so cool. It was an opportunity, [and the bar had] the space and the means.”

The book fair will be an in-person gathering, and the happenings will be streamed Live on Facebook between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the ‘Words & Sh*t’ takeover. Proletariat is a collaborative exhibition and community space that serves local beer, coffee, and wine in Galveston’s Strand Historic District.

The eight authors to be presented at the book fair have all received praise and scholarly recognition for their work.

Ebony Stewart, a Black playwright, international touring poet, and performance artist, is the author of Love Letters to Balled Fists and Home.Girl.Hood.

Lupe Mendez is a poet, educator, and activist from Galveston. He is the founder of Tintero Projects that sponsors literary events with Latinix and other writers of color. He is the author of Why I Am Like Tequila.

LeChell “The Shootah” Rush Honorat (R. H.) is a Black queer poet, photographer, and filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of ’Cause Therapy Ain’t for Black Folks.

Bbaravado Ink’s pop-up book fair features the works of authors Torrina Harris (l-r, clockwise), Lupe Mendez, LeChell “The Shootah” Rush Honorat (R. H.), Kenji Nikole Lockett, Izola Ethel Fedford Collins, Ebony Stewart, M.R. “Chibbi” Orduña, and Aris Kian.

Izola Ethel Fedford Collins, of Galveston, died June 12, 2017, at age 87. She was the author of Island of Color: Where Juneteenth Started, Divine Light Never Goes Away, I Know That’s Right and Pip, Squeak and Zoom. She was also a pianist and trumpeter who toured with an all-girl jazz band.

Kenji Nikole Lockett, from Oakland, California, is the author of A.F.R.O, which documents her personal journey to self-acceptance as a Black, queer, nonbinary, plus-sized individual.

Aris Kian is a student of abolition. Her poems have been published in The West Review, Pigeonholes, Write About Now, and elsewhere

M.R. “Chibbi” Orduña is a Mexican-born, Texas-raised queer poet and actor, the founder of Laredo BorderSlam and a founding member of Write About Now. He has self-published two books and was the co-editor of the anthology Contra: Texas Poets Speak Out.

Torrina Harris is a Galveston poetand the author of On Everything I Love—Poems for Giovanni. She serves on the review and selection committee for Write About Now’s The Cookout Literary Magazine, and recently joined the art, poetry, and photography review committee for the Society of Adolescent Health & Medicine’s Journal of Adolescent Health

What: Pop-Up Book Fair and Readings at Proletariat Gallery & Public House
When: July 27
Where: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. at 2221 Market St., Galveston


David Webb

David Webb is a veteran Texas journalist with four decades of experience in the mainstream and alternative media.
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