Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Ciinematic Moment of 2010

Although this Greek film Dogtooth, which reminded me of Bunuel, came out in 2009, I didn't see it until this year, so it qualifies for my favorite cinematic moment of this year. Amazing scene of feverish shaking off of a lifetime of repression. Yummy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Am Almost Weeping - The Most Comprehensive Write-up Of Shattered Wig Night & Review

Photo by James Hodges

Shattered Wig Review

15 December 2010

(What Weekly)

Rupert Wondolowski

Frequently, literary performances are confined to coffee shops, libraries or the odd gallery so it’s refreshing to see an event where the words were given a stage and an interesting venue in which to breath. Last Friday the 14 Karat Cabaret hosted the release party for one of Baltimore’s best literary magazines, The Shattered Wig Review. The event was hosted by the publication’s editor, Rupert Wondolowski.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Photo by James Hodges

Ryan Walker featured in the current issue of Shattered Wig Review.

Shattered Wig has been around for a remarkably long time, judging from its issue number, 28, and the editorial, which alludes to a recent two year hiatus. As it turns out, the publication has been in print for 22 years. That’s an impressive run for an independent venture of any sort.
The first performer was R.M. O’Brien, an editor of the interactive literary magazine WORMS, which occurs monthly at the Bell Foundry. O’Brien’s stage presence is comfortable, casual and ideal for a first reading. His work is often an amusing and intelligent commentary on contemporary pop culture but he also reads the works of others. Tonight, he read a poem by Gregory Corso.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Books, Live Music, Art Gallery and more!

Same block as Windup Space, across from Joe Squared. Plenty of room inside for your bike; FREE street parking for your car (well plug your meter before 6, after that its free anyway) come on over…

30 West North Ave.

Baltimore, MD, 21201

Photo by James Hodges

Becky Hunter - “I like the venue. I come to whatever I can, here.”

The evening continued with a reading by Ryan Walker, whose untitled poetry is published in the new issue. He commanded the audience’s rapt attention with his playful series of stream-of-consciousness observations.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Photo by James Hodges

Chris Toll

In the latest issue of Shattered Wig Review author Chris Toll describes a magical encounter between Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson, involving a time machine. Exploring this notion, by itself, is worth the price of admission.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Photo by James Hodges

Justin Miller

There’s something uniquely independent about this publication. In an age when computerized desktop publishing has yet to reach the legal drinking age, the Shattered Wig Review holds true to a print sensibility that is rapidly fading. Its pages look and feel like those of a good ol’ zine, the kind we loved before blogs, with staples on the spine and strange drawings in the margins.
Also reading this evening was Emily Peterson Crespo who had been a regular performer at the now-defunct “Speak Your Piece” series in Mount Vernon. Her performance this evening was an intricate blend of poetry and prose with all of the deliberate diction of the former coupled with the scenic detail of the latter.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Photo by James Hodges

Ed Foster of The Baltimore String Felons.

It wasn’t all words at the 14 Karat Cabaret during this event. The music began with a performance by former members of the band, Madagascar. The new band, called Nests took their current project out for a test drive for this, their first ever performance. The lineup retains much of the minimalist qualities of the original band though the new sound has more in common with contemporary ambient electronic music.

The evening concluded with musical a set by The Baltimore String Felons. The Felon Family are a unique group of contemporary folk musicians who are making a strong case for music made with hand tools.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Books, Live Music, Art Gallery and more!

Same block as Windup Space, across from Joe Squared. Plenty of room inside for your bike; FREE street parking for your car (well plug your meter before 6, after that its free anyway) come on over…

30 West North Ave.

Baltimore, MD, 21201

Photo by James Hodges

Geffery Sof’ Serve of The Baltimore String Felons.

Don’t let the DIY look of the publication mislead you. Here, you’ll find sophisticated literature, with allusions to the visual poets, surrealist, automatic writing and stunning poetic lines like Stephanie Barber’s “one conducts electricity or symphonies, big bands or / trains or themselves with restraint.” There is plenty of worthwhile reading material in here all for only six dollars.
The new issue, as well as a subscription, is available for purchase from Normal’s Books.. Full details are available on their website.

Photo by James Hodges, story by Dylan Kinnett.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monumental Genius Holiday Bookshop and Reading

Circling around Mt. Vernon Place and the Washington Monument for twenty minutes in driving winter rain was not putting me in the mood for a reading. It was 2 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. A cold, rainy afternoon. A good kind of day for nesting on the couch with the Sunday Times and the Louvin Brothers on the turntable telling you to watch your back with Satan.

Not to mention there had just been a Wig Night and I am a lumpy gray butterfly that needs to rest psychically for at least a good week after a Wig Night. But Publishing Genius Adam Robinson was gathering indie lit forces in Jamie Gaughan-Perez's romantic Mt. Vernon Place apartment as part of the Indie Lit Roadshow happening in cities nationwide simultaneously. He put together two different sets of readers and I was flattered to be part of the early set, even if I felt like Willy Loman carrying my box of literary goods in the rain. Go ahead and stare pal! Get your fill! You too will age and diminish unless you get stuck with the worse alternative.

But of course once I climbed the apartment house stairs, shook off the wet, saw the large table of shiny hopeful books stuffed with the dreams of young authors and saw Adam Robinson (above) wearing the world's greatest "holiday" sweater (sorry I didn't get a front shot), I was able to shake off the gray torpor of my bloodline. A big warm cup of Joe didn't hurt either.

Speaking of Joe, Mighty Joe Young was there and he did not bite on my pain pill inquiries about his mysterious broken wrist.

"Yeah, I got a bunch of pain pills. Percosets, Oxymylarheartshapedoozydoos, Kimjongiliums, a bunch of stuff. Could fill a fuggin' pinata with 'em. But I haven't taken any. I guess I'll save some for when I want to escape reality."

"Yeah, right. Why escape reality?" says I, white-knuckling my coffee cup.

The reading was starting fairly late, because everybody was in a kick back Sunday vibe, shaking out their Lionel Richies and whatnot, but Adam had to get slightly assertive because he was double-booked, needing to get to the Essential Sundays reading hosted by Julie Fisher at four, where he would change from host into reader. This town is getting to be like literary New York of the 1950s. On top of these two readings, there was also The Benevolent Armchair reading happening at the Bromo Seltzer Building that day, hosted by Chris Toll and Barbara DeCesare.

I won't torture you or myself with a blow by blow of what turned into a pleasant Sunday afternoon of hearing some great writing. I was too fried to take notes on all the readers and my camera hit "Memory Card Full". Didn't want to sit there during a reader beeping out old photos to make room for new.

Did get a picture of the first reader, Eric Amling above, author of Nine Live Two-Headed Animals (which I am now reading and enjoying), who went on after the ever delightful Aparna Jonnal and David Nesmith (yes, he is related to the guy from the Monkees and he was also in Men's Recovery Project and Hawkwind II: Lemmy Atom) started the afternoon off with "The Atheist Holiday Poem" that they had written. Aparna reading with David playing a slender traveler's guitar. The poem is quoted in full at the bottom of this post.

The other readers were Laura van den Berg who read from one of her short stories, John Woods, a former Baltimorean now living in Brooklyn, New York, who read from his book in process Baltimore Catastrophes, Jamie Gaughan-Perez, who read from his notebooks that he is filling while commuting to work in DC, Michael Kimball reading from his first novel The Way the Family Got Away and myself.

I will not go into detail of how my last second decision to read my tawdry homage to Julie Fisher's quest for the erotic got me into hot water, let's just say I actually saw a look of fear on Stephanie Barber's face. I had never seen fear cross her face before and it caused rivulets of sweat to cascade through my Borgnine backwig. Now, let's all sit back with some Egg Nog and enjoy Aparna and David's .................

The Atheist Holiday Poem

'Twas the night before the Big Bang, when all through the dark
Not an atom was stirring, not even a quark;

No stars were yet hung in the sky with no care,
To be wondered about much later: how are they there?

The strings of theories were still nestled in beds,
While visions of how things work were waiting for heads;

No mothers and fathers yet to buy their children crap
Made from the same stuff as when we were one point on a map.

When out in the void there arose such a clatter,
As energy exploded and turned into matter.

Anti-Matter and Matter competed to be
With matter winning by just a hair, you see.

The baryons forming were all aglow
Protons & Neutrons arranging just so,

Electrons charging and Quarks did appear,
Expanding faster and further than many light years,

In the life of the universe this all happened so quick,
Then the matter began to organize and stick.

Shapes and forms it rapidly became,
Eventually molding into things we could name:

"Now, atom! Now, molecule! Now, protein and enzyme!
On, mitochondria! On nucleus! On cell membrane and lysozyme!”

Yielding tissues and organs contained by cell walls,
And creatures that eventually could shop in a mall!

Oh the things that were formed for us to buy,
Mounting into heaps that pierced the sky,

And all over the earth and into space debris flew,
While the debts and inequities grew and grew.

It was astounding the greed which knew no roof,
That had been the result of one cosmic poof.

The Earth on its axis kept turning around,
While the trash piles grew by ounces and pounds.

Strip malls, cheese cake factories and smokestacks,
Taking over what used to be solid black.

As if it were permanent we strutted about
We ate and bought and built without doubt,

We claimed to have permission from a fellow called God,
Who when we killed for him would benevolently nod.

Only some of us could hear him and relate what he said
To the rest of us to abide, or live in hell when dead.

One of God’s cronies was called Santa Claus,
A legend quite supportive of the cause

Of compelling us to buy more things at Walmart
Using guilt and fear to coerce our hearts.

Looking back on it all it seems rather strange
That this is how the particles were arranged.

The feeling of our permanence was just a mirage
And our so-called advancements just a hodge podge

Of random arrangements of the baryons of yore
That eventually would be no more.

And just as it grew it would shrink back to a dot;
Our universe that was more meaningless than not.

But since we are all still here, let’s toast our wine
Merry holidays to all and to all… good luck.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shattered Wig 28 Revealed Among Nests and Felons, Bearing Great Love

It had been two years since I last cobbled together a Shattered Wig and I was feeling it. A bunch of all nighters to meet the "deadline" of the publication party while the new comforts of home and marriage called out to me: "Silly old man, look at you cut and paste like a 12 year old. Who will read your Wig? Put it all down, walk away from the scrap covered floor and get under the winter blankets with that new printing of that crazy Charles Williams pulp novel you got. Or think about how long it's been since you've seen "Clockwork Orange". Pop in a little horrorshow. Look how warm and inviting Everly is there despite how she loves to keep the window open in 30 degree weather with an industrial strength metal fan two inches from her head. You are a near broke, near old man - you might as well be well rested."

I went to bed around 3 a.m. the night before the show without having written any introduction, which I like to have for future reference, each issue being a little buoy floating on the ever rougher surface waves of my consciousness. I jumped up the next morning with just enough sleep not to feel completely like shit, but not enough to let my body realize how much more it desired. Got right down to the coffee and introduction and by 12:30 it was done. I quickly called reliable Rob at wonderful Work Printing (762 Washington Blvd off Martin Luther. They are suspiciously friendly and helpful!) If they didn't exist, neither would the tiny Wig.

"Hey Rob, I finally finished, can I bring it over now?"

"Sure, no problem. Just be careful."

"Careful? What do you mean?"

"It's snowing outside."

Panic! My old pal and bedrock Shattered Wig contributor Blaster Al's arch nemesis - the dread white substance that lines the street and renders shoes useless: snow. Then I had to chuckle. Here it was the melancholic first Wig Night with Blaster now living back in Texas and it was snowing. Last year he said he felt as bad as he did back in Vietnam being penned in by all the snow and ice.

And of course a big enough snow can be a "promoter's" nightmare. Hard enough competing these days for a crowd in overbooked Baltimore without competing with Nature itself.

Luckily, it was just a little scare and a cosmic joke to get me laughing with Blaster. As Rob, Debbie and I devoured some fine pizza and the Wigs rolled off the machines like a backwards slaughter house shooting out unslaughtered pigs, the snow became a brief dusty memory left by the slate gray sky.

It felt good to be back at the 14 Karat Cabaret, a brand new issue piled high on the rickety old card table that erstwhile soundman Ronnie had already set up for me. The crowd started up early and there were a lot of new faces.

Originally, Neoist plotter, anti-science buff (but highly erotically charged lover of Der Kindle) John "Pego" Berndt was going to bring a little Blaster Al to the proceedings by reading some of Blaster's new poetry that he's written since taking the Southern plunge, but John went down with one of the many flus that seemed to hit hard and early this year. In his stead, which was supposed to be in Blaster's stead, I opened the show (to a nice crowd of 70 people or so) by reading Blaster's letter in the new Wig about his epic Greyhound trip from Baltimore to Austin.

R.M. O'Brien ("Bob" to his arresting officers) took the stage next and whupped up and loved on it. He is not only the curator of the diverse and well attended WORMS reading series, but a great poet and performer. He mixed a nice Gregory Corso poem into his mix as well as one by an old friend of his. Inspiring stuff and well received.

Following Robert was Emily Peterson Crespo, world traveler, linguist and co-founder of the Follow the Buffalo Workshop and reading series. She read poems about and/or inspired by her trip to Egypt and I definitely think there is a novel or travel book in there. She made many references to the fine bottle of wine that she and her hubby Joe had had to wolf down at the restaurant before the show, not wanting to be wasteful. She told me Saturday that not only did she have a good time, but that she was hungover. That is all I ask of these shows - that at least one of our performers wakes up the next day with a big old rubber sack on their back. In the old days when my hair climbed toward the skies making even Gene Wilder scared, I wouldn't crawl out of bed after a Wig Night until about 3 the next day. Shame!

Above is the mischievous enigma known as Ryan Walker. As I said that night when introducing him, I always suspect there's something he knows that he's not telling us. Always that small quirky shadow of a smile. He has a great reading style of something like Steven Wright reading the nightly news as written by Zippy the Pinhead. Often he will stop and laugh at what he has just read, as if he has seen it for the first time.

One of the bonuses for me of Shattered Wig Nights, are surprise guests like Mary of an old group I was in called Groovy Like a Pig and Andy of the group Red Dogma from the early '80s. Red Dogma actually could have gone places, except two of the members went to a place indeed - Australia, when they married. Andy has since had the pleasure of playing and recording with Roland Howard. Mary is a bounty hounter.

This Wig Night had many facets of joy. One was the reunion of sorts of the group above. That's Michael and Tony Lambright, formerly of the much loved Madagascar group. This night was the first time they played on stage with Justin, also of Madagascar, as "Nests Revealed". More of an electro ambient sound this time. Great to hear these guys again.

Ah, then there's the unwashed wild straight outta Westport antics of The Baltimore String Felons. I've had the pleasure of hearing these hobos many a time and not just because the stringy wild-eyed fiddler is my genius nephew Geff. They have brought old country and Americana music into the seething weirdness of the modern world with their very own sound. 98% of their songs are their own, but they have a quality of a really detailed strange hand carved thing that you always saw on your grandmother's cupboard next to her dandelion wine. They have an album already recorded and in the can, so I hope someone with a few dollars and some distribution contacts hook them up. I know we'd be able to move quite a few hot units of it at Normal's Bargain Cobbley World.

And so ended another Wig Night. The lovely bundled up Madame Drogoule retreating out the door with her strict taskmaster Buff Joe Medusa, who still dangled some hope before me that one day I may get to play the Richard Burton part in a stage version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" directed by him. And the cherry on the cake of the fantastic evening was that the new issue flew off the table, as well as quite a few books. Nothing makes me happier than the thought of people sitting down at night to a Wig. I truly love the writers there-in and wish them all the luck and readers in the world.