"We worked on [the Gala] for about two months," said Hassay Gascar, junior and Gala Coordinator. "We just like [La Rosa], it's in downtown Santa Rosa, it's a fun little area for college students, and to bring people out to support and give back to the community in a way."
Complimentary appetizers made their way around the room as guests chatted and eagerly awaited the scheduled live reading from some of the contributors who were in attendance. People made their way to the back patio and the reading began under the warm heat lamps.
The reading started with Sasha Kasoff reading her second poem "Goodnight Moon" and it seemed like the perfect choice as evening had fully engulfed the sky. Huddled tightly together in the small patio, the audience composed of family, friends and fellow students enjoyed the steady flow of readers that one by one approached the microphone.
Some of the pieces were only a few lines ("The Law" by Kevin Kauker), while others were little longer and weren't read in their entirety ("Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November" by Brennan Beck). The audience gave each contributor a warm reception and by the end of the readings everyone made their way back inside the restaurant.
"It was a long process to go through all the submissions because we received a lot," said Michelle Buzas, the Senior Editor of "Zaum Seventeen."
"We had two groups; one group was the prose and one group was the poetry, so I think the hard part was just getting through it all and keeping everyone on task. We're really proud of how it turned out."
As the party continued inside, a raffle got started and guests chatted as they refreshed their drinks. The raffle items ranged from bottles of wine to signed Giants baseball memorabilia, with some raffle ticket holders being far luckier than others.
Next, Zaum Press will focus on selling books and getting the magazine out there.
"The rest of the semester we're working on consignments with some local bookstores both in Sonoma County and in the city," said Stephanie Schmidt, Managing Editor of "Zaum Seventeen." "We want to get the books on shelves so more people can buy it."
While the majority of contributors are Sonoma State students, a handful of them are from other schools such as Santa Rosa Junior College and San Francisco State University.
"I worked with Zaum back in my undergrad for about a semester and I was on the poetry committee," said Joel Gonzalez, senior at San Francisco State University. "I always wanted to submit and I was published in the last issue so I came again."
Gonzalez was one of the contributors who was present at the reading and shared with the audience his piece "Stuck in the Suite."
"I wrote ["Stuck in the Suite"] three-years ago during a workshop, and it got torn apart," said Gonzalez. "Nobody liked it, but I said 'I like this one personally' and that's why I submitted it and it worked."
By the end of the event, the only beings left standing (or in this case, sitting) were the unofficial plastic-wrap people mascots who were posing at the merchandise table all night, somewhat beckoning for people to come take one last bizarre picture with them."Zaum Seventeen" is now on sale for $5 and packs almost 100 pages of prose and poetry from students all over Sonoma County. For more information on where to order it visit http://zaumpress.wix.com/zaum.