Saturday, March 31, 2012
Julie Fisher Remained Clothed Throughout Book Release
(Picture above taken with Smeary Blurry App on my six year old Kellogg's cellphone)
For three years I lived imprisoned in the basement of a Unitarian Church. I forget now the circumstances. My only contact with the outside world was that Chris Toll, Baltimore poet and friend, would once a week bring me Popeye's spicy chicken and news of the outside poetry world:
"You know that scene in Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life' where that overworked working class British woman whose house is already filled with dozens of unwashed wild urchins is washing dishes and drops another newborn without pausing from her labor so to speak? Well, this new kid Michael Kimball is dropping out new novels like that. His agent keeps finding new ones lying in different corners of the house whenever he goes over there for a glass of fine Malbec and to discuss Kimball's latest surgery.
"That Milwaukee guy Adam who works the internet and the reading series like Xavier Hollander worked Johns, actually ascended to the Heavens like that blessed girl in Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude. No one else was raptured, but Joe Young claimed he was there when it happened and that he saw the face of the Supreme Being who summoned Adam. Apparently He had a big wide goofy grin and yelled down to Adam 'Be sure to bring a mitt! And a sixpack!'
"Other than that, Barbara DeCesares is keeping Big Boyz Bail Bonds in business, enabling them to crank out those damn pens that you see everywhere - including in the hands of a Hopkins biologist on a segment of Eyewitness News - and Barbara and this Julie Fisher woman are holding all kinds of 'Sex' and 'Per Verse' and nude reading series. Julie even hired a lawyer for this one event on North Avenue in case things got really freaky.
"Of course, my pastor advises me against going to these things, but as an Elder Statesman of Baltimore poetry I feel obliged to keep up with things, even when they tip over into wild-eyed hedonism. Plus, someone has to hold Barbara's mink while she recites Plath while belly dancing."
What Chris told me on these visits kept my mind reeling while the Popeye's he brought me kept my stomach roiling. Who was this Julie Fisher and what drove her to air her goodies at such a feverish pace? Eventually I wrote "And the Horse You Rode In On, It Too Shall Be Ridden Naked By Julie Fisher". I was fairly happy with it, I got to parade Allen Ginsberg and Sammy Davis, Jr. around in it, but where to read it? I read it at Jamie Gaughan-Perez' apartment once and the reaction was horror.
Then Furniture Press decided to put out a new book by Julie, Skittering Thing and my wait was over. Of course I had to swallow my pride and shame as I heard fellow readers Femi the Drifish, David Native Son and Olu Butterfly read beautiful poems of love and social justice, but luckily Sir Alan Reese brought the tone back down with a piece about barbed wire underwear. Ah, the bar was back down into the nether regions so I could read my homage illness.
The show was well assembled by Julie herself. She booked Baltimore poets they she interacted with in the chronological order of when she met them, with the most recent going first. And as Femi pointed out, Julie truly does mix with the most circles of Baltimore poetry. Another thoughtful touch of the evening was the introductions that Julie wrote for each reader that Furniture Press honcho and host Christophe Casamassima read. At least a few performers, including myself, have said they want to use the intros for future biographies. And for the good of ailing wobbly ego, here is what kind Julie wrote for me:
Rupert Wondolowski-I love Rupert's paranoid bravado. He tells us all about scary things, and perverse things and even downright disturbing things but with a kind of sensual attention to detail delivered in a juxtaposing stream of consciousness that makes it all seem almost comforting. And just when we feel at ease he shows us another clown!
Of course, little did I know that Italian Futurist Barb DeCesares had a counterpunch awaiting me after the break where I was cast as myself in one of her little infernal plays voyaging to the afterlife with Julie cast as herself in her version of heaven with nude beaches, nude thrift stores and an orgy loving granny played masterfully (a show stealer, actually),, by none other than Commander Toll himself. Another fine performance was put in by Alan Reese as poet Barrett Warner.
Below is one of the lines I was forced to speak at gunpoint while Eugene O'Neill clawed at the dirt above his mealy corpse:
"But this is a nude beachand all I have to conceal my genitals with is a handful of marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal".
Thanks Barbara. Yes, it has indeed been a long, slow painful descent since getting the "Best Actor" award for playing a character called "Life" in a High School one act play called "The Slave with Two Faces".
After Mrs. Fisher read from her fine new tome the icing was put on the cake with a closing performance by one man band Her Fantastic Cats. He even put his own signature on the classic old traditional "The Cuckoo".
Father Toll and I then happily but wearily stumbled through the darkened Goucher campus seeking my car and Adderol from passing frightened co-eds.
(Picture below taken with Inadequately Captured Distant Image App)