Arts and Culture

Full Steam Ahead: Biennial Poetry and Performance Cafe Popping Up

A rocket scientist, a poet and a barista walk into a bar...no, make that the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art’s pop-up Poetry and Performance Cafe at 1550 Wewatta Street, in the Biennial Pavilion. The spot will debut on July 15, when Steam (STEM+Art) Day will put special emphasis on the importance of technology. And then programming will move full steam ahead on Friday, when the cafe will begin showcasing coffee culture and poetry with line break/disrupting rhythms.  

According to David Dadone, executive director and chief curator for BMoCA, line break/disrupting rhythms will be an opportunity for the community to discuss the role of museums in the 21st century. “Line break invites a disruption of daily rhythms and gives you a space to think about poetry and the opportunity to generate conversations,” he  says. “We thought it would be an interesting idea to explore the poetry of now and tomorrow through selling coffee and performance.”

The seven-week project will feature readings and performances by more than forty well-known poets, including Ana Maria Hernando, Tim Hernandez, Aaron Angello and more. But in keeping with the concept of “disrupting rhythms,” from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays, anyone is welcome to read a poem or submit a poem to the barista to be read aloud in exchange for a free cup of coffee.

Bryce Merrill, cultural policy director for the Biennial of the Americas, says that line break aligns with the Biennial's overall theme of Now! and will be programmed to highlight the ways in which art, ideas and culture function with one another. Over seven weeks, line break will explore topics ranging from “The Americas I want to live in” to "To story or not to story.”


“As we programmed each day, we wanted to see the intersection of ideas, science, technology, arts and math,” Merrill says. “We’ll be using this pop-up cafe in the Pavilion to open conversations with STEM researchers and to create collaboration in Denver and across the Americas.”

That emphasis will be in the spotlight on Steam Day. The daylong event, on Wednesday, July 15, kicks off with the grand opening of the cafe before moving into interactive sessions on creative economies and Spanish karaoke. “Televisa Foundation will be presenting a workshop on STEM," adds Merrill, "and a lot of their work is to find ways to encourage Hispanic participation and women getting involved in STEM.” 

To further fuel the spirit of collaboration, Steam Day will end with rocket scientists and artists drinking beer together at the Astronomy on Tap Happy Hour.

Line break overall will engage the Denver community while we play with the topics of the Biennial,” Dadone concludes. BMoCA’s line break/disrupting rhythms will feature programming and have pour-over coffee and kombucha for sale every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July 17 through August 30. Hours will vary during the Biennial; to see a full schedule for the pop-up cafe, click here. 




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Lauren Archuletta is a contributor for Westword's arts section, covering Denver's health and wellness scene. Follow her work for tips on cheap workouts and which yoga classes include mimosas and beer.