Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Second to Last!

It was a rough week in the worlds of politics and literature. We lost Peter Camejo and David Foster Wallace practically on the same day. Wallace’s death hit me particularly hard, it being so unnecessary. Andrew Foster Altschul led us in a cheer in Wallace's memory. Still it brought a lump to my throat. There will never be another like him. Then surprise guest Keith Knight kicked off the penultimate Progressive Reading Series by reading us his comics. Unfortunately miscommunication between him and Stephen resulted in no visual effects. No matter thought Keith still made us laugh, made us think and next times we’ll be better prepared.

Litquake co-founder Jane Ganahl read us two short pieces, one about how her mother once bit off the nose of Richard Nixon. Only a candle likeness of Tricky Dick, still I bet it didn’t taste very good. Her other piece was about dating a man who wore creased jeans and typed up a book report for her on some PoMo artist expecting her to study up. Can you believe that?

The next reader of the evening (on her birthday!) was Katie Crouch. First we sang, then she read us story whose topic is familiar to many: what it’s like to date Steve Elliott. Course Stephen denied every word of it. Typical. Write a story everyone wants to know if it’s true, write a non-fiction piece everyone accuses you of fabricating. Not that that hasn't happened, but still, what's a writer to do?

Dan Weiss, half of our All Start Minstrels was up next. Catch his other band The Yellow Dress at Dog Eared books Thursday, September 25, at 7:30p.m. as part of Dog Eared's Sweet Sixteen celebration. Next we had Glen David Gold who read from page 515 of his forthcoming novel which is set during the 1918 U.S democratization of Russia (in winter of course, is there any other season in Russia?) and didn’t surprisingly, didn’t need any set-up at all. Or did it? Thanks to Michelle Bronson for setting the record straight on that one.

Next Mariel a la Mode sang a naughty burlesque song. We’ve really been going too long without burlesque. More Mariel! The singular Aimee Bender was up next. Here’s a true confession: Sometimes I read a sentence of hers and think this: I wish I had written that. And tonight’s piece was no exception, it was chock full of superlatives and I was green with envy.

Daniel Handler read a short story “Why I’m Pro Life.” I’m pro-life too. Pro keeping food in everyone’s stomachs, that sustains life. Pro protection from the elements aka housing, that’s good, right? Keeps the species going. Pro literacy because let’s face it, a literate society is a healthy and productive one . . .see what I mean.

And that was it for September. Unfortunately for literature, some brass has come cracking down on our mad postering so you won’t see as many around town for our next (and final) reading of 2008, but it’s October 8th, that's a Wednesday night, as part of Litquake and features national treasure, Ishmael Reed; reformed bank robber, Joe Loya; the woman who knows everything about gasoline, Lisa Margonelli; Diet for a Dead Planet, author Chris Cook; self-proclaimed bad girl, Ellen Sussman and comic relief by Will Durst. There’s also going to be an interview with Lisa Margonelli by Liz Worthy on this very site. Stay tuned.