Lizzie Wann began producing local events that mixed poetry and music in 1996. “As a poet who wanted to expose more people to the spoken word, I paired local poets with local singer/songwriters in a series I called ‘Live Out Loud,’” she says. “I also hosted poetry readings and the occasional slam.” In 2000, she decided to focus on producing house concerts and founded Meeting Grace, hosting shows in her Golden Hill home that featured both local and touring artists.
During this time, Wann also became the “house concert guru” for local folk duo Berkley Hart, helping them spread their music through intimate in-home performances and creating a multitude of concert and spoken-word series all over San Diego. She also hosted an all-night gathering of poets called Thee Word Rave, the brainchild of poet Lob, of Thee Instagon Foundation.
After moving out of Golden Hill and taking a year off from show promotion, some friends offered up their home in Normal Heights to continue Meeting Grace. The first event in the new space was in February 2004 and shows continued through most of 2008. Since then, she’s been booking countless concerts at Swedenborg Hall, hosting benefits to raise money and awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), revived her Live Out Loud series, and can be seen every now and then reading her own poetry at venues around town.
Wann’s CD A Wing and a Prayer includes spoken-word passages with musical accompaniment by local talents such as Gregory Page, Berkley Hart, and John Katchur, all of whom have performed at her various house concert events around town. Its 17 tracks include “The Kind of Smoker I Would Be,” “Fire and Fiddle,” “Blues Drop,” “Ode to My Hair,” and “For Jeff Buckley,” concerning the cult singer/songwriter who passed away in 1997.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- John Mayer, Born and Raised. “Finally, a John Mayer record I can get behind! I love the melodies and the tip of the cap to the California scene of the 1970s.”
- Tim & Nicki Bluhm, Duets. “I love their harmonies, and Nicki’s high, sweet voice is like honey in my ears.”
- Janis Joplin, Pearl. “There’s rarely a time when there isn’t some Janis playing around me.”
- The Lovebirds, Nutsy Pants. “I may never tire of this record from Veronica May and Lindsay White. Each of their voices is breathtaking, especially when these ladies harmonize.”
- Ray LaMontagne, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise. “The opening lines of ‘New York City’s Killing Me’ are beautifully devastating.”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“I’m not embarrassed by it, but I have quite a number of Disney tunes.”
IN WHAT FICTIONAL UNIVERSE WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE?
“The Friends TV show.”
“One time, I set up Paypal to accept presale tickets for a Berkley Hart show. I’m not sure what happened, but I had people who had paid and had printouts that I didn’t have on my list, and folks who paid but never showed up.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“The D.G. Wills bookstore in La Jolla.”
FAVORITE USELESS TRIVIA?
“Human ears never stop growing.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?
“Don’t stop playing tennis.”
SOMETHING YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?
“Fly first class.”
SONG THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“‘Every Day I Write the Book,’ by Elvis Costello: ‘...Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal, I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel.’”
FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
“I fear dropping something from a great height, like my sunglasses falling off the top of my head while I’m looking down into the Grand Canyon.”
BEST THING ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
“I currently live in Clairemont near Bay Park, and I like it because it’s quiet, it gets the ocean breezes, and it has some cool spots like the Offshore Tavern and Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
- “I once opened for Jewel at San Diego State Open Air Theatre.”
- “I have 500 hours of massage therapy training but never got my license.”
- “I used to be able to do one side of a Rubik’s cube with my feet.” ■