Attended a reception for a couple of local journals last night, MUSE (yeah I know not the most original title) is the flagship publication of The Lit and the Barn Owl Review is a journal out of the Akron area. The reception was held at The Lit’s space on Superior Ave. – The Lit is the reincarnation of the monogram embroiderer’s nightmare of the Poets and Writer’s League of Greater Cleveland of which I am the vice president. 145 or so of Cleveland’s literati gathered in the space to celebrate the publications and the published.
Now any time you can crack the c-note attendance mark for an event with required reading attached congratulations are definitely in order. Nin Andrews was mentioned as an instigator a couple times throughout the event as were The Lit’s Executive director, Judith Mansour Thomas and Barn Owl’s Mary Biddinger. Accordingly, the majority of the evening’s readers were X chromosomally enhanced. Nin Andrews, Mary Biddinger, Emily Dressler, Shurice Gross, Shelly Rankins, Amy Sparks, Toni Thayer - on the testicular side of the equation were George Bilgere and R.A. Washington. Nin opened things up with greetings and a couple of her deftly crafted pieces. She seemed much more comfortable reading from her work than extemporaneously hosting, but as I have noted innumerable times – public speaking is the number one fear of mankind.
Highlights included a short story by Shurice Gross from Barn Owl. The piece was humorous at times employing some comfortable wordplay. Her reading style was relaxed as if she were telling us the story over a cup of coffee. Amy Sparks a self described recluse nonetheless has an easy air at the mic, she always seems as if she is sharing an inside joke with her listeners. None of the readers went on too long, a blessing when you have a slate of nine – but Amy’s set was too short. Bilgere was as ebullient as ever – wearing his risibly suffering middle aged white professorial persona as a badge of honor.
I heard a lot of great comments regarding the Sci-Fi short read by Toni Thayer so I defer to those who embrace that genre. Shelly Rankin scored with a piece comparing men to a quilter’s scraps – when in doubt insulting men is usually a safe bet with an audience of intelligentsia. Washington played bombastic with the mic and is continuing nicely to settle into a position of balding bellied bard statesmanship.
I'm pretty sure Emily Dressler is the the young woman who read a short fiction piece about, I believe, painting a barn and drinking. I'll bet the piece was excellent since it was in such good company. Unfortunately her delivery was so monotone no matter how hard I concentrated I couldn’t put more than a couple sentences together at a time.
All things considered though, the evening was a great success and The Lit’s space was a buzzing - here’s looking forward to future issues of both journals and hopefully more events centered on them.
more pics at my flicker site