Monday, May 19, 2008

You're Not in Kansas Yet (part 2)

I know some people like Kansas. Dorothy Gale for one. Kansas was her home and we all know there’s no place like it. And what about your home? Your neighbor's home? The guy who hands you your coffee every morning--what about him? So it was nice to see so many people at the Makeout Room to keep rents (relatively) low despite the fact that it was a rare balmy night in San Francisco, one where you could actually sit outside and watch The Wizard of Oz, which was playing for free a few blocks over in Dolores Park.

First up was poet David West, who wrote Evil Spirits and Their Secretaries. What a great title. One of the poems featured the deer head on the Makeout Room walls who was regular here when this place was a swamp. As if that thing didn’t creep me out enough already, thanks David. The lovely Rachel Howard was up next and read a story called "Dogsitting." Part of it is set in the Presidio pet cemetery. More dead animals. At least those aren't looking at me.

Mark Pritchard took the stage next. He’s the author of How I Adore You. Mark read a story about Garrison Keillor whose tales of loneliness and isolation we can handle because they're told gently. Keillor, he read, is the Walter Cronkite of our time. Adam Mansbach was up next saying he only had a few minutes; he had a new baby daughter at home (congratulations, Adam) and read a great piece from his new novel, The End of the Jews about Risk and Zone a Jewish boy and black boy who were popular as disc jockeys on the bar mitzvah circuit in suburban Connecticut on their way to the big time.

Next we had a short commercial break from Nicole Rivera who has been a volunteer for the Progressive Reading Series practically from the beginning. She’s running for a Democrat County Central Committee and you would be hard pressed to find a better person for the job. She also belted out the phrase "98 we hate, 99 is fine," a few times so we her love even more. Vote for Nicole on June 3rd. More info on Nicole and the Democratic County Central Committee

Nato Green came up next saying he was glad the gay marriage ban was overruled, but that we should take it one step further and make it mandatory, otherwise what’s the point? On another note, his wife is pregnant (congratulations Nato) expecting twins, and he’s letting them pick the gender! It doesn’t get more SF than that. Next up: The All Star Minstrels, Dan and Adam. I swear these two keep getting better and handsomer. Dan sang Woody Guthrie's If You Ain't Got the Do Rei Mei." My how little things have changed in California.

Starlee Kine hit the stage next, one-upped Bucky Sinister who took a heckling last March, and read right off her laptop. Strangely, no one booed her. Is there a bit of a double standard going on with the Progressive audience? She read a story about how she had the chance, but refused, to hug a very cute baby panda bear in China. She has principles.

And finally, Pam Houston read a story called the "Other Woman" who was having something called a lightbulb relationship with the narrator's husband. I have no idea what that means, but neither did her narrator. Maybe you do though. Next month come check it out for yourself. We'll be at the Makeout Room again on June 21st. You’ll hear Andrew Sean Greer, Frank Portman, ZZ Packer and the one and only Eileen Myles. And one more time: Vote No on 98, Yes on 99 if you don’t want to buried under your house.