I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Saturday, January 30, 2010

rittenhouse square, philadelphia

William Penn laid out four parks in his original plan for the city (the smaller Center Square, where City Hall is now, makes a fifth). Above you see Rittenhouse Square, which has a bit of an old money vibe, but is nevertheless a hangout for every possible demographic and is one of the healthiest urban spaces I've ever seen. (My father claims it was the heart of hippiedom back in his youth, with Sansom Street acting as the hippie boulevard leading toward it).

The white Christmas lights in Rittenhouse were just taken down, so I've posted this picture as a kind of backward glance--took it a few weeks ago. I think the uber-tasteful white lights are chosen for this park so that the sensibilities of the remaining old money WASPS needn't be offended by colors.

But if you are coming into the city from New Jersey, you will see that the jubilant and riotous green and orange Christmas lights are up in Franklin Square for you still.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

kgb bar fantastic fiction reading 1-20-10

Last Wednesday writer/actor Chris Braak and I took the Chinatown bus from Philly to attend the monthly KGB Bar reading series, Fantastic Fiction. I ran into a couple of my teachers from Clarion San Diego, and some writers I admire, and a blogger who is a treasure. The ambiance and the sophisticated characters made me feel like I was inside a Degas painting.

Above you see Chris with a manhattan. Chris performed one of the parts in the reading of my play, Christendom, earlier this month. In the background is Liz Gorinsky from Tor. When I emailed Chris to identify the other woman he wrote:

That is Helen Pilinovsky. She is a gemologist, and formerly a professor of folklore.

KGB Bar is the Folies Bergere of the speck fick set.

Monday, January 18, 2010

fanboy weekend: Philadelphia Stories, Pine Wolf, and Tony Lawton's "Heresy"

The purpose of this weekend was to be a fanboy and support my friends and relatives who are doing creative stuff around the Delaware Valley, land of my ancestors.

Above you see my uncle, the Pine Wolf. He is a Chicago blues musician from South Jersey. Behind him is my cousin on drums.

Pine Wolf got a great crowd:

I could barely get around the room to take pictures. (The darkness of the room and the highly active subjects were no match for my budding photography skills, so you are not getting the usual widescreen photos).

Pine Wolf's daughter is the blond in that picture of the crowd. She is one of the Wolfettes who sing solos and backup with the Pack.

There she is with her dad, singing Ain't Nobody's Business. Pine Wolf introduced the song by saying that it encapsulated his daughter's approach to life. Her singing rocked, as always.

She's also in a band with her brother that I would classify as emo, but they are on hiatus. They still get stopped by fans in New Jersey shopping malls, which means they are more famous than I am.

For now.

Here is a picture of an ancestor I share with the Pine Wolves:

That's Richard, the original Pine Wolf. He enlisted to fight for the Union when he was a bit too old for it, and is the first evangelical in my family--having became convicted by the spirit in the middle of the night, dragged his bewildered wife out of bed to pray with him, and chopped down the sign for the tavern he owned. (A tavern stands on that site to this day; the original was torn down a few years ago). Richard became a preacher, and my family is still religious. The white bosom behind him in the picture belongs to his daughter, my great-great grandmother Anna Frances. If Anna Frances was in a band I cannot say, but, an early widow, I'm sure she was acquainted with the blues.

I invoke the primordial Pine Wolf as a segue to Tony Lawton's one-man show, Heresy--which was Sunday night. I first saw it in the fall as part of the Philadelphia Fringe.

Not all fundamentalists are hypocrites. A few really go all out with their fundamentalism, which is a great way to learn the limits of an ethos, and harm yourself, and others. I discovered this when I exhausted my own faith. Pine Wolf, the Pack, and many of my relatives are still in the fold. In Heresy, Tony Lawton discusses his wholehearted embrace of living according to strict Catholic principles, and the failure of these principles to organize anything remotely like a sane, integrated, healthy life for him. At the climax of the play he reaches back into his childhood to find an authentically Christlike, but non-religious character, a young coach he had. He places this guy alongside one of the weirder and more beautiful New Testament stories for a dramatic climax that is really a knock out.

You should see it if it comes back.

My final stop on my weekend fanboy tour was the Philadelphia Stories reading, to hear Jonathan Scovner. His essay Bunker is his first publication so it seemed momentous. Bunker is a day in the life of the financial crisis, told from a cubicle in an office where half the staff will be fired in one day. A transcript of an actual day in the life of Scovner. I've read one Saul Bellow-esque story by Jonathan that I thought was terrific, so you may be hearing from this dude.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

lifting up the sun

My favorite statue in my favorite park--I think of the Flaming Lips lyric every time I pass it:

Though they were sad, they lifted up the sun.

These two don't look particularly sad though, and I'm far from sad myself. I had hoped to write something profound about friendship here as the year begins, but find no words better than: "The hour passes, friendship abides." I am grateful for my friends.

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