This past Saturday several bizarros, including myself, went to a reading in Olympia, WA. If you’ve never been to Olympia, it is a strange place. It is the capital of Washington but if feels like a very small town. People fill the sidewalks early in the evening but each building looks semi-abandoned and the stores all look like they’re ready to close-up.
The town is also a strange mix of hippies, government workers, and kids in their early teens that somehow found the nineties nue-metal fashion. Really! Is that still around? Then again, I understand Hot Topic is still in business. It must be those kids who keep it afloat.
I arrived with Rose O’Keefe, Carlton Mellick III, and Cameron Pierce at a black-painted house which we were later told was owned by a Satanic Dentist. This was not the first time I had heard of this particular dentist. At the previous reading we did in Olympia, someone told me about him. I think he’s some kind of local hero. I bet he has the best anesthetics.
We met Angie Molinar and Daniel Scott Buck at the house and broke into the booze, an important ingredient to any successful reading.
Then the readings started. A bit too quick for my taste. Normally I’ve had a few drinks in me by the time my performance starts. I normally throw myself about the floor and onto the audience while brandish homemade cardboard props, so it helps to be a little loosened up. It looked like I was doing this one sober.
After a short introduction by Gabe (I’m sorry I forgot your last name but you’re super-awesome for putting us in your house and risking life, limb, and property) I was up.
I started off OK but the crowd was not reacting how I wanted them to. Sure, there were a few chuckles. A lot of pictures were being taken. But no one was really laughing. I had to ramp it up.
Throwing myself physically on the audience. It never falls. This is why I wanted a few more drinks in me.
By the time the Klingon Bird-of-Prey went threw my eye, I knew I had them. People were laughing and totally engaged. Good. Tonight I had something special.
At the end of my performance I kill myself. How exactly? You have to see the show to find out. I will say that it involves newspaper intestines. But tonight I also had two blood capsules. Two blood capsules that I had been saving for a special night. How long had I been saving them? Two years. But what does that matter? Blood capsules don’t go bad, do they?
It came time to kill myself and I slipped the capsules into my mouth. I bit down on them hard. Nothing happened. They gave a little but did not break. I chomped down again. Once more nothing. The plan was to work up a good frothy mouthful of blood and spit it all over myself but I couldn’t get the damn things to work. Now I’m outright chewy on these things worried that they won’t break and I’ll be too distracted to properly finished myself, and the performance, off.
They broke. Oh God, the taste. The best way I can describe it is rotten red cough medicine. And there wasn’t as much blood as there should be. Instead, there were fragments of the rotten capsules that were sticking themselves to the inside of my mouth (which I then tasted for the rest of the night).
But, there was some blood and I could hear the crowd loving it. As I fell to the floor some of the blood got on my front dread. The dread still has a slight redish-hue to it.
After me, Daniel Scott Buck read from his children’s book, “The Kissing Bug.” It is a beautiful book about an artist bug who falls in love with a human woman and the bug war that comes between them. Daniel read the “sex scene” from the book. How can you have a sex scene in a children’s book you ask? You have to read the book it to find out. However, that scene is my favorite from the whole book and I find it an immensely clever piece of writing. It was great to hear him read it.
Then is was time for Carlton. Carlton is properly the very best reader I have ever seen. If you’ve never seen him read, make sure to do so before you die. It is always unforgettable. He has a delivery style that is hilarious and totally sells his story. The stories he reads out loud aren’t published anywhere and are designed for a live atmosphere. This time, he read his story about some LARPers with severely poor grasps on reality.
Gina Ranalli was in attendance but she is not one to normally read a loud from her books. Instead, artist Angie Molinar read from Gina’s newest book, Sky Tongues. You may not be aware of Angie yet but you will be soon. She did interior story art for the first issue of “The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction” and she has some really cool projects coming up this year that I can’t talk about. Sorry! You’ll just have to wait.
Finishing the evening Cameron Piece (author of Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden) doing the second installment of his “Meat Magick” performances. I was at the first one. It was an epic affair that involved pig’s feet, a wall of bacon, flying fish, and everyone in the audience being slapped with a squid.
It was a sloppy wonderful display of creative exuberance. I couldn’t tell you what it was all about. I spent too much of the time laughing and dodging pancakes with faces drawn on them to follow the plot.
It was very messy.
If you’re frustrated that I’m not telling you more about Cameron’s performance, sorry. You just have to see him live. I know I’ve been vague on many of the cooler details of the evening’s event but that’s because live bizarro is meant to be seen live. I could describe everything but it would probably just sound stupid. But in the moment it is a whirlwind of creativity and entertainment and the audience feels like anything can happen.
The evening was over. We took a moment to do a product endorsement and then we left. All in all, it was a fun evening. Special shout-out to Kevin Shamel who took these pictures.
Time to go, I’ve got to teach the cat how to shoot a gun (she has no claws).