For literary-minded Orlandoans, there is a host of options to listen to writers read their work or even step up to the mic and share something they’ve been toiling on. As of Tuesday, July 21, however, that slate is one event shorter. Speakeasy, the spoken word night that has been running in one form or another for 16 years, takes a bow.
From its beginnings as Backroom Words at Yab Yum to its final incarnation as a monthly night at its longtime home of Will’s Pub, Speakeasy provided a laid-back atmosphere where writers were encouraged to share everything from haikus to monologues to erotica, or, as host Tod Caviness often put it, “anything you can do with your mouth in five minutes.”
We spoke with Caviness, original host Patrick Scott Barnes, and a few of the regular Speakeasy performers to get a feel for its origins and its legacy in the Orlando literary scene.