Wednesday, March 3, 2010

When Art Imitates Life Part Two: My turn at the wheel

While many of this blog's readers are from New England, there are a small number of you who live within an hour or three of the event below. I would love it if you could spread the word and bring some derby love to the Raconteur. The owner, Alex Dawson's a really great dude and I am honored to go on first. Here's the event announcement from Alex:

The Raconteur Presents
8 PM, Sat. March 6
Readings/Live Music

In keeping with my previous efforts to bring accomplished Bennies to Metuchen (Pultizer Prize finalist David Gates, South African author Sheila Kohler, travel writer Rolf Potts), I've extended an open call to my fellow MFAers. Bennington is a place where the students are almost as accomplished as the faculty, and this weekend seven of my Bennington College colleagues will be descending on The Raconteur from various Seaboard states for a night of poetry, music, and prose.

The evening will include such illustrious guests as Steve LaFond, a roller derby mascot (his day job has him donning a red astronautical jumpsuit and elaborate Planet of the Apes-style latex to play a Soviet space chimp named Drago), who writes stories inspired by his life in monkey make-up and the skate rink; Willa Carroll, an acclaimed Manhattan modern dancer-cum-poet recently published in Tin House and labeled an "angel who stirs up trouble" by the Village Voice, whose onstage unicorn-horned wrestling was praised by the New York Times; Jeremy Oldfield, an appropriately surnamed former farmer once dedicated to rejuvenating fallow land (get it? old field) who sings songs about, among other things, compost; and myself, reading a very funny story which begins with the trusted knee-slapper, "When I was ten, my stepfather hit me in the head with an axe." Also with Jennifer Acker, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Julia Lictblau, Robert "Vee" Hansmann, and Sue Repko. Plus a surprise guest. Free. Comp libations (wine, beer, bourbon).

The Raconteur hosts free weekly events (live music, film screenings, author signings, staged radio plays, art exhibitions), and organizes oddball literary happenings that range from Manhattan pub crawls and arm wrestling tournaments to motorcycle rides and beard growing contests. It's been called "a literary center of gravity" by The New York Times, "a literary landmark" by Time Out New York, and "a literary sanctuary" by the London Guardian.

Previous guests include Jim Carroll, Susan Orlean, Kelly Link, Jim Shepard, John Crowley, Charles Bock, Arthur Phillips, Paul Muldoon, Todd Solondz, Mark Doty, Ian Mackaye, The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Sheila Kohler, Samantha Hunt, John Wray, Arthur Nersessian, David Gates, John Wesley Harding, 2008 Oscar winning documentarian Alex Gibney, and two guys who made a shot by shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark when they were ten.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840

Honestly, going first is a real way to keep me from looking the fool. Everyone from Bennington has no small amount of talent and I have always been floored at the skill that each of the people I am reading with on Saturday possess. It's an intimidating and very entertaining group.

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