Alma Rosa Rivera in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

RIVERA: My most unusual and worst experience at a reading was reading at a venue next to a gay Mexican bar and having to read over very loud Cumbia. It didn’t go well.

Alma Rosa Rivera is a Chicana poet, spoken word artist, and community organizer. Classic horror films, 70’s shirts and Mexican paper mache skeletons are of some of her most favorite things on this planet. She is currently working on Feathered Serpent: The Raven and The Poetry, a collection of bird themed Chicana poetry and short stories.

Come see Alma read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.

Vermin returns 10/27

Keith Rosson in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

ROSSON: Honestly, the majority of readings and gatherings I’ve been to, barring random nudity and/or drunkenness, have been pretty tame. I consider this a great personal and moral failure on my part and hope to change it within the next, oh, forty minutes or so.

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels Smoke City and The Mercy of the Tide, which NPR called “one of the most immersive fictional settings in recent memory.” His short fiction has appeared in PANK, Cream City Review, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. He’s also a legally blind illustrator and graphic designer, which is oftentimes exactly as tough as it sounds, and an advocate of public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape.

Come see Keith read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.

Rebecca Gonzales in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

GONZALES:  I curate an event called Fails in Sexlandia. The opening event was at a friend’s showroom. At some point during the night, many folks came upon mushrooms… The “event” didn’t end until about four a.m. With lobster grilled cheese, a tray of cookies baked and half eaten, a barefoot walk in the early morning to buy cigarettes and three new poems.

Cultivated by the sun and moon peeking past the shoes dangling from the phone lines, Rebecca Gonzales lives in East Los Angeles. Rebecca’s work has been published in various literary anthologies and journals such Dryland Lit., Inchas de Poesia, the Mas Tequila Review, St. Sucia, Literature for Life, and others. She was the March 2014 winner of “The Poets of New York” series at the Bowery in New York City. As a mother she is humbled, as a poet she is obedient and as a woman she is unapologetic.

Come see Rebecca read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.

 

Ben Loory in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

LOORY: One time I was approached to do voiceover work for Rubio’s Fish Tacos. In the end, I didn’t get the job because they went with someone “more grandfatherly.”

Ben Loory is the author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, and a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus. His fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, READ Magazine, and Fairy Tale Review, and been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts. His second collection, Tales of Falling and Flying, was just released by Penguin Books.

Come see Ben read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.

Laura Lee Bahr in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

BAHR: I tend to glue myself to unusal literary gatherings, but I guess my first Bizarro-Con in 2011 when I was enlisted to be part of a chorus of singers in the Ad House attic as the reader threw actual food-grade duck parts on the audience still takes the cake (shout out to Cameron Pierce).

Laura Lee Bahr is the author of two novels, Haunt (Fungasm Press, Wonderland Book Award winner) and Long-Form Religious Porn. Haunt was translated into Spanish under the title Fantasma (Orciny Press). Laura has been a screenwriter for various award-winning films, including Jesus Freak and the little death. Her debut feature as writer/director, Boned, won “Best Micro-Budget Feature” at the Toronto Independent Film Festival and is currently distributed through Gravitas Ventures (available on demand). Her latest book, Angel Meat, a collection of her short stories, is available through Fungasm Press.

Come see Laura read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.

 

Lol Tolhurst in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

TOLHURST: My most unusual experience at a literary gathering?  I was heckled by a drunk Englishman at a very sedate and proper arts festival in Boyle, Ireland this summer. I watched in amazement as two burly men lifted him bodily from his chair and “escorted”  him out!

Lol Tolhurst is a musician, author, and performer. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of the band that virtually invented alternative music, The Cure. Lol has recently finished writing a memoir Cured, which was published by Da Capo Books. He has spent most of 2017 on the road to promote Cured.

Come see Lol read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, October 27 at 7:30pm.
VOTM4VR

Vermin turns 13

It’s true: the occult powers of the 13th anniversary of Vermin on the Mount blotted out the fucking sun. (Thanks to Agatha French for the write-up in the Los Angeles Times.)

 

 

Sean Carswell in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

CARSWELL: On my last book tour, I did a reading in Brooklyn. A local guy who I didn’t know was invited to open up the reading. I’m always down for local readers on book tours because they tend to bring a local crowd. Not this guy. Five minutes before the reading was supposed to start, only one person he invited had shown up: his infant daughter. She was crying quite a bit, so the local guy said he’d take her outside for a minute. Twenty-five minutes later—twenty minutes after his reading was supposed to start, ten minutes after the crowd started getting restless—he comes back. She’s still crying. No other friends of his have shown up. So, rather than doing the classy thing and saying, “Look, no one is here to see me and I need to tend to my child, so I’m going to bail on this reading and tend to her,” the local guy parks the stroller in the back of the crowd and starts his reading. The baby apparently decided she’d been abandoned and started howling. The local guy asked a woman in the crowd to rock the stroller. The woman reluctantly did this. The baby decided she was being given away and howled even more. The local guy, undaunted by the most basic paternal responsibilities, bravely carried on, reading his story over the cries of his child for the next fifteen minutes.

Sean Carswell is the author of the seven books: three novels (Drinks for the Little Guy, Train Wreck Girl, and Madhouse Fog), three short story collections (Glue and Ink Rebellion, Barney’s Crew, and The Metaphysical Ukulele), and, most recently, an academic monograph (Occupy Pynchon). He co-founded the independent book publisher Gorsky Press and the music magazine Razorcake. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Flipside, Thrasher, The Southeastern Review, The Rattling Wall, and many other places. He is an associate professor of writing and literature at California State University Channel Islands.

Come see Sean read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

 

 

Désirée Zamorano in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

ZAMORANO: ​At Skylight Books for her novel An Untamed State Roxane Gay was about to begin when a dog started howling. The owner, a man in the audience, asked HER to wait until the dog calmed down. I was agog, too speechless to protest. She began reading.

Désirée Zamorano is a Pushcart prize nominee and award-winning short story writer and the author of the acclaimed literary novel The Amado Women. She is also a frequent contributor to the  LA Review of Books

Come see Désirée read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

Kevin Maloney in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

MALONEY: A few months ago I went to a reading to benefit the victims of the MAX train attack here in Portland that resulted in two deaths. At one point the host invited a special guest on stage, a poet named Micah. His reading was totally different than the others: way more personal, intimate, vulnerable. I didn’t realize until after the event that Micah was the third victim of the attack… a local slam poet, the only surviver who intervened on behalf of the Muslim women. 

KEVIN MALONEY lives, works, and writes in Portland, Oregon. His debut novel Cult of Loretta was published by Lazy Fascist Press in 2015. His fiction has appeared in Hobart, BarrelhouseVol. 1 BrooklynThe Literary Review, and a number of other literary journals and anthologies.

Come see Kevin read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

Brian Jabas Smith in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

SMITH: Reading half of a single story out loud and having two separate people offer to step up and put the book out on their presses. The book wasn’t even written yet. It blew my mind.

BRIAN JABAS SMITH has written for many magazines and alt-weeklies, and his fiction has appeared in a variety of literary journals. He’s an award-winning journalist, first as a staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times and then as an editor at Detroit’s Metro Times. Before writing full time, Smith was a songwriter who fronted rock ‘n’ roll bands Beat Angels and, before that, GAD. He has penned tunes with lots of folks, including Alice Cooper. At one point he overcame heady crystal meth and alcohol addictions. As a kid growing up in Tucson, Ariz., Smith was a national class bicycle racer. He now lives back in Tucson where he writes a regular column in the Tucson Weekly centered on unsung heroes, people on the fringes and the desolate beauty found in unlikely places. Spent Saints is his debut collection of short stories.

Come see Brian read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

MariNaomi in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

NAOMI: At a library reading a few years ago, an elderly lady started heckling me! She was really mean. When one of the audience members pointed out the irony of her having a peace symbol on her purse, the woman punched them in the hand!

MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of four graphic memoirs, with her first graphic novel coming out next spring. She’s also the creator and curator of the Cartoonists of Color and Queer Cartoonists databases.
Come see MariNaomi read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

Nolan Knight in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?

KNIGHT: I hit up an open mic in Downtown L.A. before The Neon Lights Are Veins came out. Hadn’t read in public in some time, so I went down to get tossed back into the fire. To my surprise, it was the first night ever for this open mic, so anything was possible, long as it pertained to the written word. There was a full turnout and names were drawn from a hat. The range of material people were reading was insane, from gut-wrenching true life abuse stories to dick jokes posted on twitter. There was no telling what the next name called would bring to the table. By the end of the night, the range of emotions covered by every reader was exhilarating. This total lack of reading rules had created a one time mash-up of creativity that surged into its own piece of art. A positively strange yet beautiful evening. 

A native of Los Angeles’ South Bay, NOLAN KNIGHT’s short fiction has been featured in various publications including Thuglit, Needle, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulpand Shotgun Honey. He was a staff writer for Los Angeles’ Biggest Music Publication, the L.A. Record, from 2007 to 2010, and holds a degree in Creative Writing from Cal State University Long Beach. He currently resides in Long Beach with his wife, son and daughter. His debut novel, The Neon Lights Are Veins, was published earlier this year. 

Come see Nolan read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 18 at 7:30pm.

13 Years of Vermin in LA

Join us on Friday, August 18 at 7:30 for a special anniversary event at Book Show in Highland Park as we celebrate 13 years of Vermin on the Mount. Legion of Vermin members Sean Carswell and Kevin Maloney return from Morro Bay and Portland, Oregon. Local writers Mari Naomi, Désirée Zamorano and Nolan Knight round out the L.A. contingent and Brain Jabas Smith joins us from Tucson, Arizona. Poster art and design by Joshua Rosa. Don’t be bitten!