All posts in Interviews

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA: Heather Fowler

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

FOWLER: Filming for the short film adaptation/trailer shoot for Beautiful Ape Girl Baby had paused due to torrential downpour and the cast and crew came together in a single room. As the book author, I was invited to watch the entire process. While we waited, the actors practiced their lines in the round. It was great to be seated there, watching my characters come to life and listening to director Lauren Rachel Berman advise on the scene. The best moment for me, because it was so privately amusing, was when the actors made slight adjustments to a line here or there and Lauren said, “Try that again. In the book and adapted script, it reads…” 

I’m a constant reviser–to the extent that sometimes, if reading unpublished work, I’ll even revise right as I read, so it was really fun to have the script kept so sacrosanct even when I myself was amenable to more fluid adjustments. Being an author often open to other people’s creative adjustments but having my exact terms kept precise–definitely memorable. I had to remind myself that the novel had yet to drop (but the edits were done), so Lauren was right. Now I’m writing plays and screenplays, so such things may not happen again in this way any time soon–a play/movie in development can be changed at every turn. 

I welcome the organized chaos to come. Here’s the trailer. These actors are great!

Heather Fowler is a novelist, a poet, a fiction writer, a librettist, and a playwright. She is the author of the novel Beautiful Ape Girl Baby (2016) and the story collections Suspended Heart (2010), People with Holes (2012), This Time, While We’re Awake (2013), and Elegantly Naked In My Sexy Mental Illness (2014). She is also co-author of a collaborative book of poems called Bare Bulbs Swinging with Meg Tuite and Michelle Reale. Her work has appeared in such venues as PANK, Night Train, storyglossia, Necessary Fiction, Feminist Studies, and more.

Come see Heather read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin SD: Scot Sothern

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

SOTHERN: I collected signed first-edition contemporary fiction for many years and so went to a lot of readings before I ever had one of my own. A lot of book collectors would come to events with bags of books to be signed and I always thought they were kind of nerdy. There was this one guy who kind of became a friend who I didn’t really like. He was in his late seventies and wore a bad toupee and always sat next to me. In a conversation about NYC, where we had both lived in past years, I mentioned a time I’d been mugged and he said he had been mugged as well. He asked if my mugger had a weapon and I said no but there were two of them and I gave them my money and told them to have a nice day. I asked did his mugger have a weapon and he said yeah, a knife. I asked did he give the guy his money and he said no, I took his knife away from him and then killed the son of a bitch. He said it was no big deal, he’d been in the Korean War and killed a bunch of commie bastards. I still think of book collectors as kind of nerdy but with the knowledge that some are killer nerds.

Writer-photographer Scot Sothern spent 40 years hustling photography and drifting from job to job. His first exhibit, “LOWLIFE,” was held at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010. His first book, LOWLIFE, was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. Sothern has since had solo shows on both coasts of the U.S. as well as in Ottawa, Paris, Basel, and London. The British Journal of Photography called LOWLIFE, “The year’s most controversial photobook.” From 2013 to 2015, Scot wrote more than fifty photo-illustrated twice-monthly columns, “Nocturnal Submissions” and “Sothern Exposure,” for Vice. In 2013, CURB SERVICE: A Memoir was published by Soft Skull Press. PowerHouse Books published STREETWALKERS, thirty years of stories and photographs in February of 2016.

Come see Scot read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, August 20 at 7pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA: Yennie Cheung

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

CHEUNG: This was not quite at a reading—more like reading adjacent—but one year at the Festival of Books I was drying my hands in the green room restroom when a big-time, famous author approached me, smiling. I was startled because we’d been introduced briefly by a mutual friend once, but I didn’t expect her to remember me.

“I just want you to know,” she said, “I loved your reading at your panel yesterday.”

“I wasn’t on a panel yesterday,” I said.

“Of course you were,” she said. “I was there.”

“I assure you, it wasn’t me.”

“But I saw you!”

We were still standing awkwardly in front of the paper towels, so I excused myself and walked away. Later, when I thought about all the panels that weekend, I finally understood the confusion. She thought I was Yiyun Li.

Yennie Cheung holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside-Palm Desert. Her work has been published in such places as The Los Angeles Times, Word Riot, decomP magazinE, and The Best Small Fictions 2015. An LA native, she’s currently working on a nonfiction book about Downtown Los Angeles.

Come see Yennie read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA: Bianca Barragan

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

BARRAGAN: The most unusual thing that ever happened to me at a reading was at Book Show. I tried to make an entrance through that big cutout she used to have in the middle of the store, but the sparkly fringe that decorated the opening of the cutout obscured my view of what was on the other side. I ended up coming through the fringe, whacking the mic and the book stand that had been left for me to use, and nearly knocking both over. (I only succeeded in toppling the book stand.)

Bianca Barragan has been writing weird zines since 2010, though less frequently now. The last thing she wrote was about taking edibles at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. She’s an organizer of the L.A. Zine Fest.

Come see Bianca read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin SD: Jeff Alulis

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

ALULIS: Vermin on the Mount will only be my second public reading ever as a published author…fingers crossed for some streakers!

Jeff Alulis is the New York Times best-selling co-author of NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, as well as an award-winning documentary filmmaker and former lead singer for the legendary punk band Dead Kennedys.

Come see Jeff read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, August 20 at 7pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA: Ivy Pochoda

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

POCHODA: The strangest thing that ever happened to me at a reading was when someone asked me in all seriousness if I’d ever met a actual magician who could make things disappear for real.

Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Visitation Street published by Ecco / Dennis Lehane Books. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, Self, and House & Garden. She teaches creative writing at the Writing Workshops Los Angeles and works as a freelance editor. Ivy grew up in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in West Adams, Los Angeles with her daughter, dogs, rabbits and husband.

Come see Ivy read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA: Scott Cheshire

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

CHESHIRE: I was compelled to give a man I don’t know a big kiss on the cheek because he’d attended every reading I’d given.

Scott Cheshire is the author of the novel High as the Horses’ Bridles, a Washington Post Best Book of 2014. His work has been published in AGNI, Electric Literature, Guernica, Harper’s, One Story, and the Picador Book of Men. He is a managing editor at The Scofield and lives in Los Angeles.

Come see Scott read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin SD: Shelby Gubba

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

GUBBA: The most unusual experience was when Jim Ruland was raffling off Vermin shirts one time and before he called the next ticket number, I turned to Ryan and Jessica Bradford and said “I’m going to win this next one” and then Jim read my number and I won, like within the same 30 seconds. It was super eerie/rad!

Shelby Gubba is an artist and musician currently living in Southern California. She primarily works with pen/ink and paper, occasionally using a Wacom tablet. Her focuses include cartooning, illustration, and photography (film and digital). In January 2015, she released the first issue of her quarterly online arts and culture magazine Goblin Reservation, featuring artists from around the globe. She currently plays bass and sings in The Dabbers along with Zack Wentz. The Dabbers released their full length album “I Am Alien Now” in June 2016.

Come see Shelby read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, August 20 at 7pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin LA & SD: David Fromm

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

FROMM: I once did a reading at a neighborhood bar in a small town in northwestern Massachusetts on a Monday night in early April, and I was the only reader and nobody knew why they were even having a literary thing, since it was the night of the NCAA basketball finals but I’d suggested that I could be a sort of opening act for that since I was reading about basketball, and anyway a couple of guys at the bar had a loud drunk running commentary going throughout my reading, wondering, like, who is this guy and what is he saying and why, and they were actually being relatively complimentary, but it was throwing me off because it was so loud, and I was gonna say something to them even though they were hammered and only about six feet away and it was a bar, not, you know, a salon or something, but then they stood up and squared off with each other for no discernible reason and were quickly escorted off the premises just before they came to blows. And then the game started.

Dave Fromm is the author of EXPATRIATE GAMES (Skyhorse Publishing 2008) and THE DURATION (Tyrus Books 2016). He lives with his wife and kids in the wilds of western Massachusetts.

Come see David read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm and at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, August 20 at 7pm. 

Save the Dates

Vermin returns to celebrate our 12th anniversary of literary filth and fury in Southern California with a pair of shows, new t-shirts, and amazing readers. Details coming soon…

 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Amy Silverberg

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

SILVERBERG: I watched a drunk guy wander into an AWP panel, sit down in the front row, promptly fall asleep, and snore so loudly the readers had to shout over him.

Amy Silverberg is a writer and comedian based in LA. She’s currently a Doctoral fellow in Fiction at the University of Southern California, where she teaches Intro to Writing. Her work has appeared in The LA Review of Books, The Tin House Open Bar, Hobart, The Collagist, and elsewhere. She also hosts a monthly standup show in Pasadena called Bitchface Comedy and is a member of the Second City House Sketch Team, Bullshark. She likes animals doing human activities.

Come see Amy read at Book Show in Highland Park on Saturday, June 11 at 7pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Hari Alluri

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

ALLURI: The strangest experience I’ve had at a literary event was at a workshop wherein some participants had rebelled and complained against the non-traditional yet deeply rigorous process of their specific workshop leader, who read that night. There was a storm and, in the middle of the reading, a lightning strike / thunderclap killed the auditorium lights—he called out a chant in the dark and the lights flashed on. The rest of us had forgotten how to breathe.

Hari Alluri is a poet, educator, facilitator and co-founding editor at Locked Horn Press. His work appears in anthologies, journals, online and in the chapbook The Promise of Rust. Hari immigrated to Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory at 12 and currently writes in San Diego, Kumeyaay land.

Come see Hari read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30pm. 

Photo by Erik Haensel

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Chris Camargo

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

CAMARGO: I was participating in a reading at Stories Books and Café in Echo Park and the reader who went up after me was reading a piece of an adult nature. Now, as those who have been there know, it is next to a learning center, and at the middle of story when it was getting all tits and cumming the kids were exiting the building next door. They acted like they couldn’t hear it but there was no way they didn’t hear. We had a microphone. I distinctly heard someone say, “What did he say?” before a concerned parent yelled from the wooden door something about perverts and calling the police. I said, “Everyone’s a critic,” and then she said she was going to get her husband to come and kick my ass. My ass has since remained unkicked.

Chris Camargo is currently in the process of getting his motorcycle license because he’s in his mid 30s and have nothing to show for it so what the fuck does it matter if he eats shit on the freeway? He has more debt than he thinks he can ever pay back from Cal State LA. It’s easier to kick heroin than pay Sallie Mae…and heroin would probably come with some cool stories. As a writer, he gets rejected a lot – probably by a few people in the room. In 2014 he was a finalist for Glimmer Train’s New Writer Award. His work has also appeared in Yay! LA magazine, The Altar Collective, The Women Group and Dryland Lit. Currently doing his best David Foster Wallace impression as a staff writer for Yay! LA Magazine.

Come see Chris read at Book Show in Highland Park on Saturday, June 11 at 7pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Caitlin Rother

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

ROTHER: Most unusual experience was when I had protesters storm through my book launch for LOST GIRLS at the Mira Mesa B&N in the middle of my presentation. This was all captured by five TV cameras from all the local stations, who were there knowing this was coming. I was on the top of the news on every station that night.

New York Times best-selling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 10 books, including her latest, Then No One Can Have Her, as well as I’ll Take Care of You, Lost Girls, Poisoned Love, Dead Reckoning, Naked Addiction, and My Life, Deleted. She also has recently published several true crime collections as Kindle shorts, titled, A Complicated Woman, Dead on Delivery and Kill Him Some More. Rother worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 19 years before deciding to write books full-time. She’s been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, Union-Tribune,  Chicago  Tribune, The Washington  Post, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She has appeared on more than 100 TV and radio shows, including “Nancy Grace,” “On the Record,” “Women Who Kill” on E!, “Snapped,” and numerous series on Investigation Discovery, A&E, C-SPAN and various PBS affiliates. Rother, who works as a writing/research coach and consultant, also teaches narrative non-fiction at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink.

Come see Caitlin read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Bruce Bauman

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

BAUMAN: At my own literary event– For my first book, I read at the Happy Endings series in New York.  I downed 2 vodkas before I did my 7 minute reading read and 2 after I finished, and then with my high school friend Peter Bricken, we reprised our roles in Kiss Me, Kate and sang “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”  I’m sure I was off key and who the hell knows what else, but it sure was odd. And kinda stupidly hilarious. And will never happen again.

At a reading in New York,, I can’t even remember for who–sorry, that’s embarrassing–a woman came up to me and said, “You’re Madison Smartt Bell, aren’t you?” I politely said, No. I had no idea what Bell looked like or even if we were close in age. She kept saying to me and others around “Why are you lying to me?” To get away form her, a friend and I went around the corner to a bar and and we’re sitting there just bullshitting, drinking and a completely different woman came up to me and said “You’re Alexander Cockburn, I love reading your stuff in the Nation.” Again I said, No, I’m not him, and Cockburn is probably 15 years older than me and he’s Irish and I’m a Jew from Queens. Listen to my accent.” She said, “You’re snarky in your columns and now I know you’re snarky in person.”

Bruce Bauman is an instructor in the CalArts MFA Writing Program and the Senior Editor of Black Clock literary magazine. Library Journal called Bauman’s new novel, Broken Sleep “[A] plangent tour de force of epic proportions…” Bookworm’s Michael Silverblatt said Broken Sleep “is funny, heartbreaking and beautiful.” Shelf Awareness wrote it’s a “mind-bending work of fiction that entwines generations and continents, each character represents contemporary life’s most existential crises.” Booklist called Bauman’s first novel And The Word Was “a magnificent debut, smart and intense, and riveting.” Among his awards are a UNESCO/Aschberg award in Literature, Durfee Foundation grant and a City of Los Angeles Award in literature.

Come see Bruce read at Book Show in Highland Park on Saturday, June 11 at 7pm.