My review of THREATS by Amelia Gray is live at The Nervous Breakdown

My review of the debut novel THREATS by Amelia Gray is now live up at The Nervous Breakdown. This is a sly, subtle, unsettling and touching novel.

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.

QUICKIES! Chicago

QUICKIES! Chicago - October 13

QUICKIES! Chicago - October 13

QUICKIES! Chicago – October 13, 2009:

JAC JEMC
ELIZABETH WYLDER
BEN TANZER
KATE DUVA
CAROLINE PICARD
AARON PLASEK GRAY
CASEY BYE
ZACH DODSON
RICHARD THOMAS
AARON BURCH
BLAKE BUTLER
AMELIA GRAY

Wow, so what a great night. I was thrilled when Mary and Lindsay invited me to read at QUICKIES! Chicago, but little did I know that I’d be part of this fantastic FUNdraiser and mini Dollar Store Tour event. GO here to their blog to get more information on QUICKIES! and all of the authors that read. QUICKIES! Chicago

For the second night in a row I hopped in my car and fought traffic to get to the city. Last night it was to the Inner Town Pub in Wicker Park (my old stomping grounds) only to find the bar empty, but for one barfly and the bartender. I guess 7 pm is only a suggested starting time. After conversing with several Columbia students, including Casey Bye who also read some awesome fiction, and Jacob from ACM, I realized that it never starts until almost 8. Oh well. Gave me time to hang.

Lots of great talent on hand. Our hostesses Mary and Lindsay were HILARIOUS and I loved their stories as well. They were totally prepared to blow the whistle at the 5 minute mark and had no problem escorting Aaron and Amelia off the stage mid-sentence. Didn’t matter that we were in the middle of a hot dildo story by Aaron or that Amelia was on fire spewing voracious insults at the crowd. HOOKED. And pulled.

I read my story that is up at Opium called “Animal Magnetism”. I mean, if you have a story that involves a guy getting an elephant penis, you have to read it. Right? It got some good laughs, and several people afterwards told me they really liked it, so I’m happy with the results. Stiff competition. I need to get my open mic mojo back.

Some of the highlights for me were the aforementioned Aaron Burch of Hobart. He’s always entertaining, and his story was funny and a bit sad, and somehow kind of hot. Amelia Gray was hilarious, her voice is one that I’m really getting into. Like I mentioned in my last post about the SCORCH ATLAS reading, she’s a great mix of sexy, dark, and funny. Wearing a tight black dress with fishnet stockings never hurts either. Blake Butler read another great story that was dark all the way up to the end, and then twisted into something bittersweet and funny. I’m really digging his style. Jac Jemc had a really strange and dark little story that I really loved. I’ll have to check out more of her work.

Thanks to everyone that chatted me up before, during and after. I had an excellent chat with Ben Tanzer, who also read. So many great local writers.

For sure check this event out if you can in the future. I had so much fun. Thanks Nik for the encouraging text, so very cool of you. And I got to meet a Cult buddy Golding (Gus Moreno) as well, thanks for coming out to see me read and support the group, such a cool guy Gus, and another really talented writer.

Peace,
Richard

SCORCH ATLAS by Blake Butler release party with Featherproof Books

by Blake Butler

by Blake Butler

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.

Sam Pink CLONE

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.

AM/PM

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.