WAT?! kicked-off it's inaugural tour in the summer of 2006 with 12 poets. It was an incredible achievement and was completely unprecedented in the city of Houston, whose open mic poetry community was considered fringe and certainly not cohesive or inclusive. At the time poets were loyal to their local open mic and most poets didn't go to the other open mics around town. Zelene Pineda's ground-breaking idea for an inner city tour that would highlight Houston's diverse and talented poets while introducing them to new venues and audiences was a concept desperately needed. With the help of renowned DJ and lyricist Joe B and Stephen Gros, the open mic host and co-founder of Panhandler Publishing, the idea became realized. To no one's surprise the tour was an unmitigated success that continues to grow and mature with every year.
The 2006 poet line-up: Aria, Joe B, Kool B, Eric Dominguez, Mille Fiori, Stephen Gros, Marlon Lizama, Jasminne Mendez, Lupe Mendez, Zelene Pineda, Jerome Washington and Mario Olvera.
W.A.T?! gives thanks to all the participating venues, poets and volunteers who make this happen every year.