Book Launch: The Forbidden Lunchbox by Richard Modiano

Beyond Baroque is honored to welcome back Executive Director Emeritus, Richard Modiano, in celebration of Forbidden Lunchbox, a new collection of poetry published by Punk Hostage Press. The author will be joined by poets Iris Berry, Michael C. FordS.A. Griffin, & K.R. Morrison.

Following the readings there will be a reception with snacks & light refreshments.

Doors open: 1:30 pm

“Relevant, vivid, deliciously explicit, Modiano, king of LA’s literary scene, time-travels internationally from coffee shops to bars occupying the space between lipstick women sitting alone to intimate portraits of Bukowski and Bela Lugosi. Scenarios seemingly mundane spring from the page, rich, well-paced poems flow somewhere near LA’s River, where hospital rain drips, where “sleep is buried in caves inhabited by lemurs,” or live in the atomic lunchboxes of Hiroshima. Written in a sparse, frantic clip, both complicated and engaging, this master of the gemstone phrase, “feral cats calling for mates,” Modiano’s approaches the poem like a thief you don’t see coming, calmly, quietly arresting, with verse that burns, electrifies the mind, “hiding inside the flame of a single match, waiting to set fire to your dead body.”

–– Pam Ward, author of Want Some Get Some, Bad Girls Burn Slow


Richard Modiano became active in the literary community connected to the Poetry Project in New York City where he came to know Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs and Ted Berrigan. From 2010 to 2019, he served as Executive Director of the Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center in Venice, California. In that time he produced and curated hundreds of literary events. In 2019 he was elected Vice President of the California State Poetry Society. The Huffington Post named him as one of 200 people doing the most to promote American poetry. His collection The Forbidden Lunch Box was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2022.

Iris Berry is a native Angeleno and one of the true and original progenitors of the L.A. punk scene. She is the author and editor of several books and has a vast fan base for her unique voice and formidable writing style. She's an L.A. Pop culture historian, actress, and musician. She's appeared in numerous films, TV commercials, documentaries, and iconic rock videos. In the 1980s and 90s, she sang, performed, wrote songs, and recorded with the Lame Flames, the Ringling Sisters, the Dickies, the Flesh Eaters, and Pink Sabbath. She served four years on the Board of Directors for Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center. In 2009 she received her 2nd Certificate of Merit Award from the City of Los Angeles for her contributions as a Los Angeles writer, and for her extensive charity work. Iris is the co-founder of her imprint Punk Hostage Press, where she continues to champion and advocate for original voices.

Michael C Ford’s debut 12-inch-vinyl recording Language Commando earned a Grammy nomination on the 1st ballot in 1986 and his book of selected work: Emergency Exits earned initial nomination for the Pulitzer Prize short list in 1998. Populated Wilderness was published in a 2020 chapbook format as a fundraiser for the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center. Daniel J. Yaryan under his Mystic Boxing Commission imprint will be marketing a book-length publication of MCF’s most recent title In Case of Flood Stand on this Book – It’s Dry English. Most recently his work appeared in Beat Not Beat.

S.A. Griffin, the author of Pandemic Soul Music (Punk Hostage Press) is co-editor of Beat Not Beat (Moon Tide Press) and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Firecracker Award). Co-founder of The Lost Tribe and progenitor of The Carma Bums, in 2010 he went on a five-week, 11,000 mile Couch Surfing Across America Tour of Words with Elsie the Poetry Bomb, a 7 foot tall Vietnam era practice bomb converted into an art object filled with the sacred ashes of poets, cats, dogs, performance artists and over 900 poems from around the world in an effort to spread Elsie’s message that we must learn to disagree, or our Republic is lost. In 2012 S.A. was the first recipient of Beyond Baroque’s Distinguished Service. In 2015 UCLA acquired his archives as their first acquisition for their Punk Initiative. Vietnam era veteran of the USAF, husband, father and cat lover, he drives too fast, thinks too much and sleeps too little.

K.R. Morrison is a poet and drummer who during The Plague days, splits her time between the Bay Area and a place she calls Mermaid Town, in Southern California. She’s currently taking a writing sabbatical from teaching English and Creative Writing at Galileo High School in San Francisco, CA. Morrison’s chapbook Cauldrons was recently published by Paper Press Books. Apart from reading at curations in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and New York, Morrison’s poetry has been featured throughout several Bay Area readings. Her work has been published by Switchback, Quiet Lightning, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Gasconade Review, Escape Wheel (great weather for MEDIA,) The Lake County Bloom and most recently, Beat Not Beat.

This event is Free & In-Person at Beyond Baroque. Masks are required while inside our center.

Beyond Baroque reserves the right to remove individuals from our events, virtual or otherwise, if they are not respecting the space, fellow attendees, or performers.

If you can’t join us in person the event will be streamed live on Beyond Baroque’s YouTube channel at the scheduled time of the event.

Please RSVP if you are planning to attend this event. We accept walk-ins, but priority will be given to people that have registered. Limited seating is available; we recommend arriving early.