Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Mic. Closed Mic.

Ok, so I admit that it really isn't an Open Mic. You can't just show up and expect to read. But the 16 Library members that signed up in advance and read from their newly published or work in progress were terrifically entertaining nonetheless. We had a packed house for the Library's 4th Open Mic (Closed Mic?) last Thursday night.

As I was acting as hostess and emcee, I had the unenviable job of marking time and enforcing the 5 minute reading rule. I may have been as nervous as the writers, my heart racing as the timer I was using clicked down the seconds; as a result, I surely missed some nuances in the readings and I definitely couldn't take down notes as I had hoped. In any case, here's a rundown on the evening...If you were there, please feel free to add your two cents to the comments below.

Someone has to go first and that job fell to Betsy Hulick, a member of the Library's poetry writing group, who read two potent poems from a collection called Shorts {along with one referencing a certain male anatomical part that got a good laugh}.

Fiction was well represented on Thursday. The first of 7 fiction offerings began with E.E. Liberty's forthcoming spy thriller Aquarius. Carol Rial, who runs the Great Reads reading group at NYSL, gave us a taste of Another Manhattan, her novel in progress.

Donald Paneth then stirred up the journalist-heavy crowd with a scathing critique of the current media with his Proposal for a new type of newspaper. The missive prompted a number of readers who followed him to out themselves as journalists to the crowd.

Former WSJ reporter {as we now know} Lauren Lipton, author of The Mating Rituals of the North American WASP, read from her as yet unnamed new novel.

Lauren Lipton

Unusual for our Open Mics, there were only 3 poets on the program. Carlyn Parker mused about a life of traveling and then finding herself widowed with an empty nest in a series of poems from her book Riding the Waves: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose.

Eric Best, another former journalist {San Francisco Examiner}, read the prologue from his moving and emotional memoir Into My Father's Wake. CUNY biology professor Sally G. Hoskins then changed the tone with a dose of canine insight in Doggedly Dreaming, a hilarious, laugh out loud essay from her book in progress called Not As Expected: A Scientist Looks at 21st Century Life.

Sally G. Hoskins is Doggedly Dreaming

A Portuguese Fado singer in Providence, RI is the protagonist in Cathy Torigian's atmospheric novel in progress, Fatima, who we first heard at Open Mic II.

Jack Levin then gave us What Men Don't Know {in only 5 minutes!}, a theater work in progress, which he later confessed he wrote the night before.

The remaining fiction came from Marion Cuba, author of Shanghai Legacy, who read from her latest historical fiction in progress, The Crucible of Vichy and Gary Schlesinger shared a chapter of his novel A Son and A Father, which is currently in revision.

Playwright C.S. Hanson called on friend and actor Vince Gatton to help read a scene from Etruscan Lovers and Other Fools, which was developed at LaMama and just finished a run at The Cornwall Town Hall in Cornwall, CT.

C.S. Hanson and Vince Gatton

From Sydney LeBlanc, we learned that x=3 (or it should, anyway) from the first chapter of her humorous memoir of growing up in Louisiana, Escape Velocity.

As the readings wound down, another journalist, Patricia Lawler Kenet read her short story Jeremy's Dream. And the Library's very own Alan Behler closed the readings with two powerful poems, one an ode to his vanishing hometown, Detroit.

After the readings, member writers and audience members finished up the wine and snacks and mingled and networked. We took a few pictures once we remembered we had a camera. Here's a link to all the snaps.

Thanks again to all our readers and to the rapt audience for a great evening!

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