I remember the first time I heard Amelia read, at Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas release party here in Chicago. It was the first time I’d met her, or Blake, or Zach Dodson, Sam Pink, lots of people. She read one of my favorite stories of hers, ever, “Go For It and Raise Hell.” And that was when I became a fan. I ended up reading with her and Blake, Lindsay Hunter and Aaron Burch the following night, if memory serves me correctly. Lots of talent, really set the bar pretty high. I think Amelia read her snippets of threats that next night, that or another Quickies! a year or so later, but either way, those threats really stayed with me—upsetting, but funny, dark and yet with a hint of love at the center. Much of that applies to THREATS. Head on over for the full review. It’s a great book.
So last night I fought traffic for an hour and a half to just barely get down to the SCORCH ATLAS book release by Blake Butler and Featherproof Books on time.
It was at No Coast Collective @1500 W. 17th St, Chicago so if you’re in the Pilsen area, check them out. I love Pilsen, they have a great arts fair in the fall. Lots of great books, posters, and music, tons of handmade stuff, very cool. Reminds me a bit of Quimby’s in Wicker Park.
Zach Dodson is the co-publisher/CD at Featherproof, he mcd the event, nice guy, I got to chat with him a bit about Featherproof and what they’re doing. I’ll send them my novel(s) when they open up again. He mentioned they’d like to get into some noir, so that’s cool.
Kathryn Regina started us off with some excellent poetry, a bit of the surreal and magical realism, involving a woman eating a car, eating pennies, good stuff. We chatted a bit before the show, very nice, quiet. So I knew her work would be some strange stuff. It’s always the quiet ones.
Sam Pink was next. Very funny, cool stuff. He’s a big guy with a shaved head, but really nice. Put a nice dent in the case of PBR, him and BB. He read off the back of a movie box, Lionheart I think, JVCD…duh. His work is really funny and strange. His book I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT looks great, go buy it.
Amelia Gray flew up from Austin to read. She might have been my favorite of the evening. She read a new story, I canNOT remember the title, about hand jobs and a Chevy IROC, a guy named Carl (two actually) it was hilarious and dirty, good stuff. Had a nice chat with her after, bought a copy of AM/PM. Go get it. Yes Nik, she remembers you from Baltimore. She has a weakness for guys named Nik.
Blake Butler read some wild stuff. I didn’t know he was so dark! He read an excerpt from SCORCH ATLAS of course, which I bought. Something about a baby with mold dying and then a new baby a GIANT baby in the attic, it was very surreal. I liked it a lot, very tactile and rich. Got to talk with him before about his books deal and the state of various presses and the industry. Very nice guy.
Sorry I had to hop in the car back to the burbs right after, as Tiger Bones was sounding really good, lots of bass.
Great time, lots of fantastic writing. I’ll see most of these guys again tonight at the Quickies! FUNdraiser where I’ll be reading as well, at the Innertown Pub @ 1935 W. Thomas in Wicker Park. If you’re in Chicago, come on by.
LINKS to authors and presses over there on the blogroll.