The Louisville Living Room: Redefining Poetry and Diversity in the City’s Creative Scene

Ro Santanna
July 26, 2023

The Louisville Living Room, an award-nominated poetry-based entertainment group, has elevated the creative scene in Louisville to new heights while redefining diversity in poetry. This dynamic collective has captured the hearts of many in the city, providing a much-needed creative space that feels like home. What sets The Louisville Living Room apart is their commitment to offering enjoyable events at no cost to attendees.

Welcome to The Living Room

So, what exactly is The Living Room? In essence, it is a place where individuals feel comfortable sharing their creative talents in front of a respectable audience. The Living Room's inaugural event, "Wine Words and Wings," took place on February 3, 2021, at Virtue Bar and Lounge. Wednesday became the designated day for poetry enthusiasts to gather and enjoy the performances.

Deep Sea Rice, the founder of The Louisville Living Room and a Kentucky Urban Entertainment Award (KUEA) winning spoken word poet, initiated the highly anticipated weekly open mic as a creative outlet for his artistic style. Rice believes that The Living Room has provided individuals with the freedom and confidence to express themselves authentically. He shared, “If it wasn’t a thing, a lot of people wouldn’t have the freedom and confidence to do what they do. Personally I wouldn’t have the spaces to share my style of art if I wasn’t doing The Living Room.”

Since its inception, The Living Room has journeyed through five different venues before settling at Brew & Sip Cafe. Throughout these transitions, the support for the group has remained steadfast, leading to an expanding community. After two years, The Living Room now hosts five recurring events with additional sporadic gatherings.

Events Focused on Enjoyment

Following a break during the winter months of 2022, The Living Room made a grand return in February 2023 with a sold-out ticketed showcase at Headliners Music Hall. While the majority of their events remain free to attend, this was the first occasion where the group charged admission for a show. Presently, The Living Room hosts two events each week that are worth marking on your calendar: the acclaimed "Wine, Words, and Wings" event every Wednesday, hosted by Deep Sea Rice, followed by monthly events such as "Carry the Tune Karaoke Night" hosted by Ro Santanna, "Jokin Word Game Night" hosted by Big Des, "Sex Me Sunday Erotic Open Mic" hosted by Quon Solo, and "The Spot Open Mic" hosted by Shawn Donn. Additionally, occasional events like "Words at the Waterfront" and "Couch Therapy," among others, are highly anticipated and draw significant crowds whenever they occur.

The Living Room's Significance to Louisville's Creative Community

The collective's appeal lies in its commitment to diversity, encompassing not only the individuals one encounters but also the wide range of events offered. The Living Room has expanded its scope beyond weekly open mic sessions, venturing into monthly events that extend beyond the realm of spoken word poetry.

According to Deep Sea Rice, the curator of The Living Room, the three words that best describe the collective are "Safe, Receiving, and Contagious." Ensuring the safety, comfort, and sense of belonging for every event attendee remains paramount to all involved in The Living Room. The members often use the slogan "It's different here" to describe their unique atmosphere, which attracts many to the weekly open mic and other events organized by the group.

Deep Sea elaborates, "The foundation of The Living Room is built on community, not just networking. It doesn't matter if you have a business or not; what matters is that you feel like you belong. The Living Room celebrates the people, as without them, it simply wouldn't exist."

Becoming a Recognized Entity

As The Louisville Living Room approaches its third year of consistent events, it has firmly established itself as a prominent presence in various parts of the city, spanning from the West-End to Middle Town. The collective has become a household name, with their events being stumbled upon through event flyers, spread by word of mouth, or attended to support performers taking the mic. Deep Sea Rice exclaims, "It’s crazy how it's become a household name thing. People are like “where you going?” And they say “I’m going to The Living Room.””

In September 2022, The Living Room expanded its core team beyond its curator. Eight frequent and dedicated performers joined forces as the "back office" taking on the responsibility of organizing additional events for the brand and the creative community's delight. This development led to the establishment of The Living Room as a registered LLC, transforming it into a bona fide business entity.

Members of the "back office"

The Couch at Present: What Lies Ahead?

At the beginning of each event, the chant "All my Living Room people say YOOOOO" resonates, serving as a call to action. After attending the space multiple times, participants naturally join in the chant, fostering a sense of unity. Both the brand and its members continue to grow with each event. The challenge of outgrowing venues has become a welcome problem for The Living Room. When discussing the group's longevity and the metaphorical furniture of The Living Room, Deep Sea reflects, "It's like my child. I hope it grows and evolves into something independent from me, yet always reflecting the origins of The Living Room in my personal journey.”

The group's founder, Deep Sea Rice, photographed by Ro Santanna

As we approach the end of the summer season, The Living Room is thrilled to announce the commencement of Living Room Week! This exciting event will span over several days, each day featuring something new for you to enjoy. Kicking off on August 5th is the Creative Cookout, a collaborative effort with Louisville Creative Connect. This family-friendly afternoon promises a blend of creative communities through a series of games and activities. Following the cookout, The Living Room has arranged to host all seven of its recurring weekly and monthly events, offering an array of entertainment options for attendees. And to conclude the week, the second annual charity event "Poets vs Everybody" basketball game.

For details on how to participate, event locations, and ticket information, we encourage you to visit The Louisville Living Room's official pages on Facebook and Instagram. Stay tuned for updates and join us in making Living Room Week an unforgettable experience!