VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?
NAO: The reading was at a hair salon in New York. It had been raining intermittently and it had been terribly noisy and stuffy. It was hard to hear the readers. I was in the arms of my lover and I had fallen asleep. When it was my turn to read, I jolted awake, wheeled myself to one of the tall, swirly chairs made for cutting hair and read. I wish I had requested that my hair got either permed or washed during my reading. I see now how limited my imagination was.
Vi Khi Nao is the author of novel, Fish in Exile, and poetry collection, The Old Philosopher. Vi’s work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. She was the winner of 2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize and the 2016 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest.
Come see Vi read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, January 20 at 7:30pm and at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, January 21 at 7pm.
VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had at a reading?
GACHMAN: My first reading was at a comedy theater in Hollywood. I was nervous. I asked a friend to bring me some Beta Blockers, and I took half a pill, just to keep myself from shaking. I figured the other readers would be on Beta Blockers too, or at least drunk. You know, writers. Not so. They were all actors – thespians – people who love rolling around on a stage and emoting. Fine, I can make friends with most everyone, I thought. Why should thespians be any different?
They told us to hang out in the green room, and to my horror all the other readers were doing stretches, voice exercises – one woman was miming. I felt totally alone. I focused on my essay and read and re-read the thing over and over, pretending not to be distracted every time someone yelled out, “ooo-eeee-oooo-aaaa!” or “blah-blah-blah-BLAH!” These people were not easing my nerves.
Nothing too crazy happened after the green room insanity – I got out there and read my essay about crazy people in coffee shops – one man in particular who told me about a play he wrote several years ago where he played a Tampon. If I see someone miming in a green room at a reading again, you can find me by the bar.
Dina Gachman is a Texan adrift in Los Angeles. Her comedic blog Bureaucracy for Breakfast has been featured on NPR and Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing Comedy. She writes comic books for Bluewater Comics, and has written for Forbes, Ask Men, The Nervous Breakdown, Red Bull, Glamour, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She’s on Twitter.