Open Secret Feature Performance

An audio recording of my August 3, 2016 Open Secret feature performance at Le Bistrot des Artistes in Paris…


The original recording was very hard to hear. Many thanks to master sound engineer Paul Priest for getting this track in decent shape!

Open Secret

What a great time I had featuring with Didier Cornelian at last Wednesday’s Open Secret. The event was held at the Bistrot des Artistes in the 5th arrondissement (the Latin Quarter) in Paris. A brief version of the invite can be found on the Spoken Word Paris website.

A longer draft from Open Secret promoter David Leo Sirois’s Facebook invite follows…


Open Secret! Wednesdays @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais (a passageway that passionately kisses Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange) 75005 Paris. 8:30 open mic sign-up, 9pm show. Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). Experiments in writing, song, comedy, performance art, theater, & dance, eeeeeven – whatever you got cookin’!

’Sup? David Leo Screw-Up Idealist Blew Up His To-Do List Threw Up Both Hands While Dancin’ Sirois reporting…’Member the time when the Open Secret theme was “Freedom is dancing with both hands in the air?” Well, that holy badass 😉 Buddha said that – just as radical as Jesus or Madame Blavatsky or Lao-Tzu or Amma, the “hugging saint,” who gave me an electric embrace I’ll never forget)…yet sometimes in the exercise of my freewill I make more than a few blunders, & muddle up either my own life or tread on the toes of others.

I was always taught that we are free to do whatever we choose, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon others’ freedom. Thusly, in honor of Wednesday’s special guest artist James Berg’s brilliant song, “Trouble,” this week’s theme shall forthwith be: “I’m in trubble now!” Has a parent ever called out to you by your full, long & complicated name? What did that mean? 😉 Have you ever felt like everyone was mad at you? What did that feel like? Well, “I’m in trubble now!”

We actually have a double feature this Wednesday (for a double-date @ the drive-in movie): James Berg has been charming & moving & grooving audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for years (hear his SoundCloud here:…but we will also have the great good fortune to witness Didier Cornevin’s reinvention of radical (not just for its time) French verse into vibrant song: the works of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine – as well as his strong original songs & dramatic recitations. Wowie Kazowie!

James’ bio:
Dividing his time between the United States and France, James Berg performs as a poet, storyteller and musician. Often collaborative, his songwriting has been performed and recorded by American folk/rock musicians and was included on Old Shoe’s CD, Family, named by WXRT as best Chicago album of 2013. James’s poetry was most recently published last month in While You Were Waiting by Poems While You Wait in Chicago. His past and upcoming poetry, essays and short fiction are available in Paris at Shakespeare & Company bookshop through Spoken Word Paris and Paris Lit Up publications. Visit for more info.

See ya @ the Bistrot for our Wednesday soirée!!


I performed an original song, “Trouble,” last week at Paris Lit Up’s open mic at Culture Rapide in Belleville and a few days later at Spoken Word Paris’s event at Au Chat Noir in the 11th arrondissement.



These recordings were made with an iPhone in my pocket. The sound quality is surprisingly good, not at all sophisticated but clear enough to capture the music and to represent the vibe at these weekly events.

Paris Lit Up

Pleased to find an email yesterday morning from one of the editors of Paris Lit Up

“Thanks so much for sending this amazing work to us. We would love to put it in the next print issue of PLU magazine.”

Paris Lit Up is an annual print journal published by the Parisian expatriate community. Like The Bastille, a separate series in which I have two publications, Paris Lit Up is sold at weekly open mic events and at Shakespeare & Company bookshop near the Cathedral Notre Dame.

My contribution, titled “Girl in a Box,” is about a sensational experience I had several years ago with a student who asked for my help telling her life’s story.

I’m honored to be included in these collections and to have my work prominently displayed in the Beats section of the bookstore that nurtured writers like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Bastille: Vol 4

Happy to get the news that a short poem I submitted way back in December 2015 was accepted for publication in the next edition of The Bastille. The launch is scheduled for May, so that ought to mean I can find a copy for sale at Shakespeare & Co. bookstore when we pass through Paris this summer. Yay!


Here’s a recording at Culture Rapide in Paris from September. The first half is comedian Fred Eyangoh. My thing starts midway through.

There’s a story behind this. A woman had a large sack of leftover bread, which she’d brought from her new job at a boulangerie, and she was passing out the loaves, boules and baguettes to everyone at the bar. She said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if money were a perishable item?” The idea was that everyone would have to give away what they had at the end of each day. I thought it was a sweet and brilliant thought.


I’ve been in France all summer with about a month spent here in Paris as a “troubadour étrangère.” Playing music, telling stories, reciting poetry. I’m leaving tomorrow for Dublin, and then the next day it’s back to Chicago.

Once I’m home, I’ll post some of the stuff I’ve been presenting here in Paris. It’s been a great time and I’m already looking forward to the next visit.