You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Announcing Folk Rock Fiction, Sunday May 3 at 107 Suffolk Bar

Three local writers provide the fiction. Voyles and the Is My Heroes provide the folk rock. You provide the audience.

Claire Shefchik
and invite you to join us Sunday, May 3 at 6 p.m. in the gallery space at 107 Suffolk on the Lower East Side, as three local writers get into the folk rock spirit by reading fiction about coal miners, train wrecks, and the Bells of Rhymney. Or, you know, anything they want. They are:

Sara Lippmann holds a BA from Brown and an MFA from The New School. She has written for magazines, taught English composition, and currently spends a lot of time scraping dried bits of Play-Doh off her floor. Her work has appeared in The Raleigh Quarterly, Fourth Genre, Illness & Grace (an anthology), LIT, Carve and the Beacon Street Review. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and son.

Melanie Olson was born in San Francisco, and attended Northwestern University in Chicago, largely because of the weather. She is currently obtaining her MFA in fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College. If you happen to have a question about Mormons, she's the person to ask (other than an actual Mormon, of course).

Kenton deAngeli is a Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time. His masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, represent the peak of realist fiction in their scope, breadth and vivid depiction of 19th-century Russian life and mind.

Voyles and the Is My Heroes (formerly known as Voyles Is My Hero) is currently based in Yonkers, N.Y. It consists of singer-songwriter Aaron Voyles on acoustic guitar and everything else, playing witty, acerbic and always-melodic songs in the style of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen.

107 Suffolk Street is between Rivington Street and Delancey Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan

By train: Take the F train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z to Essex Street. Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left. (around the corner from ABC No Rio). It kind of looks like a church.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fiction + music + New Yorker personnel = simmering resentment (and a party!)

If I could be said to have a "thing," music fiction is it. Virtually everything I write ends up coming around to it, somehow. Since I spend a fair amount of time writing about real-world music, it seems like a natural fit. Also music moves me. Most people write about stuff that moves them. In that respect I'm no different.

There are so few good examples of it out there. (Daniel Klein's Elvis-as-a-private-detective books, awesome as they are, don't count). It's difficult to write about characters who are musicians, serious musicians, without coming off like a sanctimonious tool. I suppose that's why I continue to try to do it -- it's a challenge. New Yorker fiction gatekeeper Ben Greenman's Please Step Back, from what I've read, hits all ther requisite milestones, what with drugs and the horrible, soul-sucking toll fame takes. I wish him, and his book, well.

The release party is on May 12 at Galapagos, with after-party music by DJ Doc Delay. Greenman will be joined on stage by none other than (who else?) Sasha Frere-Jones, pop-music critic for the New Yorker, who will be engaging him in a spirited conversation about how great it is to work for the New Yorker.

It's free, but the drinks aren't, although the first 72 people to arrrive in costume will receive a free cocktail and book, so:

Yeah. This is what we've come to.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The unknowable genius of Peter Stampfel

He lives in Soho and doesn't pay that much for it. He has birds and a cat named Roscoe. He has a lovely wife and daughter who were attempting to get out of the house to drive to Baltimore for an art school interview when I came in, and were still attemping it when I left. He plays in a band with Sam Shepard's son Walker (my former neighbor, schoolmate, and novelistic eponym), and used to play in a band with Sam Shepard. And he remembers the early days of Greenwich Village, playing with Steve Weber in the Holy Modal Rounders (their first gig, he collapsed and Weber left, or was it Weber who collapsed and Peter left? whatever it is, it's my recollection that's fuzzy, not his), taking enough speed to choke an elephant, and thinking Bob Dylan was only carrying a guitar around to get laid. In his book The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk called him "some kind of genius...I'm just not sure which kind." He single (well, multiple)-handedly gave birth to freak folk in 1976, when he recorded Have Moicy! with Michael "Snocko" Hurley and the Unholy Modal Rounders in the hills of Vermont. He's working on a compilation of recordings of 100 songs, one for each year of the 20th century, to act as a kind of lesson for the ages for those kids who have no memory of that century. And they aren't folksongs, either -- I'm talking stuff like "Hello My Baby, Hello My Honey" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Aside from being a genius, he's a really cool dude.

All this, and you can see him! He'll be playing with his new band, the Ether Frolic Mob, at the Jalopy in Red Hook on April 18.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's that time of the month again, Tom said periodically.

Okay, between this headline and the drawing of the uterus two posts ago, it's getting a bit disturbing around here. But I digress.

Periodically Speaking is an actual event coming up on April 14th at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. It's sponsored by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, which ran the very excellent Literary Writers' Conference, which in November I was the youngest attendee in history (or at least that's how it felt). Of course, what else would this event choose to feature but literary magazines? Four new ones to be exact, along with a featured reader for each.

From Redivider, editor Joe Gallagher introduces fiction writer Rachel

Redivider is a journal based at Emerson College in Boston, Mass.

Cantor is a fiction writer from Philadelphia whose stories have appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, New England Review, Redivider, DoubleTake and elsewhere.

From Broken Bridge Review, editor Brad Davis introduces poet Dan Manchester.

Broken Bridge Review is a new journal for emerging writers and artists, based in Pomfret, Conn., and that began publishing in January 2009.

Manchester is a poet from Warwick, R.I., whose work has appeared in the Mississippi Review, Poet Lore, Good Foot Magazine, and Sentence.

From Canteen, editor Stephen Pierson introduces nonfiction writer
Justin Taylor.

Canteen is a literary journal based out of Brooklyn (woo) and describes itself as "a new take on the literary magazine" and "the literary magazine that comes with instructions." I assume one of these is "write good."

Taylor is a non-fiction (and fiction, and poetry -- apparently this guy does it all) writer who has edited the anthologies The Apocalypse Reader and Come Back, Donald Barthelme. His work has recently appeared in New York Tyrant, Paste, HTMLGiant, and The Agricultural Reader.

He also makes me very jealous.

New literary magazines are always great news for those of us constantly on the lookout for new places to submit our work. Which isn't to say that the chances that you'll get published are less infinitesimal than they were before, but at least you can go and try to figure out why. (Oh, the cynicism. Oh, the uteri).

CLMP Periodically Speaking Tuesday, April 14th, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm, at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library.

Duane Pitre with special guest Tony Conrad, Saturday April 11, 8 p.m.

I've never been to the Old American Can Factory, but just the fact that it's Brooklyn, and it's called the Old American Can Factory, is enough to pique my interest, even though it appears clear that it's no longer actively manufacturing cans. That, and the fact that ISSUE Project Room is an actual, legitimate arts organization that is doing its part to enrich and diversify the cultural life of Brooklyn, Plus, Duane Pitre is an actual, legitimate composer. You know, like Mozart. His press material says his work "explores both chaos and discipline--and the relationship that exists between the two."

Duane Pitre with Tony Conrad
Saturday, April 11
8:00 p.m.

@ The Old American Can Factory

232 Third Street Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215