All posts tagged Vermin on the Mount

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Josh Stallings

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

STALLINGS: My first writer’s panel was at Bouchercon, a huge, crime/mystery readers and writers yearly event. It was titled “Street Writers and Grit,” whatever that meant. The time slot was Sunday morning, traditionally reserved for, well, newer writers. Most people would be too hungover from the award dinner and parties the night before to show up, so I wasn’t too worried about showing my ass to a large crowd. Mistake one of many. Sitting on a raised platform with four other writers and the moderator, my guts did the old flip flop. The room was filling. Shit, writers I liked and respected started to fill the large hall. Sweat broke. Pull it together. Be here now. Fuck, that is Chris Holm looking up at me. Fuck. What is that buzzing drone? The moderator? Did he say my name? Fuck, was that a question? “… Stallings you write from the street, do you research…” I had just enough context to figure out the question. “Research, um, yeah, by that um, see I lived life and wrote about it.” I dropped back into my body and found I could form sentences. We were discussing craft and process, something I normally do when hanging with other artists. Easy-peasy. The audience isn’t hurling metaphoric spoiled vegetables at me. I may just pull this off. This may not be the day they discover I’m a total fraud. And then, the moderator asks the question. The wheels come off. “What animal would you describe yourself as, sexually I mean?” Fuck, what? Brain freeze. Down the line authors answer. “Tiger.” “Pit-bull.” “Lion.” And I’m next… Empty headed. “Unicorn,” I answer “yeah, unicorn, ‘cause the chicks dig a good unicorn.” The room laughs, not erupts into, but not just polite laughter either. I survived that morning, and I know it can’t get weirder, until the next time. “So, if you could engage in consensual bondage with any dead writer, who would it be?”

Josh Stallings is the massively dyslexic award-winning writer of the Moses McGuire novels, Anthony Award nominated memoir “All The Wild Children,” and 2016 Left Coast Crime’s Lefty Award nominated, “Young Americans.” A ‘70’s glam-rock disco heist novel. Raised by hippy activists in the mountain above Palo Alto, he now happily resides in Los Angeles with his wife, two dogs and cat named Riddle.

Come see Josh read at Book Show in Los Angeles on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Kevin Moffett

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

MOFFETT: I read at City Lights with the two other authors of the Silent History (Eli Horowitz and Matthew Derby). We arrived about 30 minutes early and there was one person there, a man sitting in a rocking chair reading from a book of poetry. I am always the last of my friends to recognize famous people but even I knew immediately who it was: Tom Waits. I thought, Well of course Tom Waits is at our reading, what else would Tom Waits be doing? As people started accumulating, the manager of the store started making martinis in plastic cups, then announced that the reading would be starting in 15 minutes. Tom Waits stood up, replaced his book on the shelf, and gracefully ducked out. Of all the readings I’ve given where people have walked out–including the couple in Philadelphia who stood up in the middle of my story and as they were leaving said, “It’s not you. We just remembered we have tickets for the opera”–this was the best.

Kevin Moffett is the author of two story collections and a collaborative novel, the Silent History, which was first released as an app for mobile devices and is currently in development at AMC. He is a frequent contributor to McSweeney’s and his stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Believer, The Best American Short Stories and elsewhere. He has received the National Magazine Award, the Nelson Algren Award, the Pushcart Prize and a literature fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. He teaches at Claremont McKenna College and in the low-residency MFA at the University of Tampa. 

Come see Kevin read at Book Show in Los Angeles on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Siel Ju

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

JU: There was a woman at this reading whom I’d met before, but whose name I couldn’t remember. I admitted this to her thinking she’d be cool with it since we’d really only met in passing. But she was really not cool with it! She yelled at me! Then she told me her name again, just spat it at me spitefully. I’ve since forgotten it.

Siel Ju’s novel-in-stories, Cake Time, is the winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award and will be published in Spring 2017. Siel is also the editor of Flash Flash Click, and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Feelings Are Chemicals in Transit from Dancing Girl Press, and Might Club from Horse Less Press. Her stories and poems appear in ZYZZYVA, The Missouri Review (Poem of the Week), The Los Angeles ReviewDenver Quarterly, and other places.

Come see Siel read at Book Show in Los Angeles on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm. 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Johnny Shaw

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

SHAW: When my first book came out, I wanted to do a reading in my hometown where the book was set, or at least somewhere in the Imperial Valley.

First I contacted the library, but it had been condemned due to a recent earthquake. Next I contacted the one bookstore that I knew was in town, but it had recently closed. The only other bookstore was the adult bookstore on the edge of town called Books ‘n’ Things. To be perfectly honest, it didn’t have a lot of book. It was mostly things. I considered doing the reading there, but the area in front of the beaded curtain was too small. 

So I contacted a few bars in town. Hot Rods & Beer in Holtville, California is a former garage converted into a bar, and they were more than happy to let me bring a little spoken word to the place. It ended up being a great night with a bunch of people coming out, and now I almost exclusively read in bars. Since I write in bars, it makes sense.

Johnny Shaw is the author of the novels DOVE SEASON, BIG MARIA, PLASTER CITY, and most recently FLOODGATE. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Plots With Guns, Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, Blood & Tacos, and numerous anthologies. He was won the Anthony Award and two Spotted Owl Awards. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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

Photo by Rose O’Keefe.

Vermin in LA Feb 19

Save the Date

BOO! Vermin Returns 10/30

Poster design by Portland artist Keith Rosson.

Vermin + VLAK

Vermin on the Mount is teaming up with VLAK Magazine and the Prague Microfest for a series of unforgettable readings in Berlin, Brno, Prague and London:

05/15     Berlin, Germany     7pm
Vermin on the Mount & VLAK 
with Thor Garcia, Catherine Hales, Jim Ruland, Jeroen Nieuwland, Louis Armand & David Vichnar
Normal Bar
Forsterstrasse 46
10999 Kreuzberg

05/16     Brno, Czech Republic     7pm
Vermin on the Mount & VLAK
with Thor Garcia, Olga Pek, Louis Armand, Jim Ruland & David Vichnar
Sklenena Louka (Glass Meadow)
Kounicova 23, 602 00 Brno

05/17    Prague, Czech Republic     7pm
Vermin on the Mount & VLAK
Prague Micro Festival with Louis Armand, Morgan Childs, Sophia Disgrace, Phil Shoenfelt, Jim Ruland, Thor Garcia, Ken Nash + music
Cafe NoD
Dlouha 33, Prague

05/23     London, England     7pm
Vermin on the Mount & VLAK
with Thor Garcia, Richard Makin, Jim Ruland, Louis Armand & David Vichnar
Top Office Machines
133-135 Bethnal Green Road
London, E2 7DG

05/24     London, England
Vermin on the Mount & VLAK
with Lou Rowan, Stewart Home, Ulli Freer, Jim Ruland, Louis Armand & David Vichnar
Power Lunches Arts Cafe
446 Kingsland Road
Hackney, E8 4AE

World Wide Vermin

Vermin on the Mount is hitting the road this spring with new shows in Berlin, Prague and London. Stay tuned for dates and venues!

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Lisa Brackmann

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

BRACKMANN: I had teamed up with author Dana Fredsti for a series of book events. Our last event together was at a bookstore that I absolutely adore, a beloved independent that has done so much for the community and offers an amazing selection of books. But, I’d done an event there for my first book release, and it hadn’t gone so well. Not the bookstore’s fault, just a bizarre confluence of events involving street construction, a basketball playoff game, and a parade. So I was nervous about this one.

We got to the store early, because I like to be early for these things. My book was displayed all over the place, which felt really good. But the event coordinator thought that the event was an hour earlier than we did. He wasn’t wrong and neither were we. It was just one of those things. Not surprisingly, hardly anyone showed up. This combination is the kind of situation that triggers my not so latent social anxiety, big-time. I felt terrible. Not so much for the time confusion; that wasn’t my fault. But that I couldn’t get many people out to this event.

We soldiered on. I read a short selection from my latest novel, Getaway. Then it was Dana’s turn. Her novel, Plague Town, has been described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer Meets Walking Dead. It’s a lot of fun, and the section she read has some great humor in it. Just as she opened her book to read, a man wandered in off the street and sat down in the back. He wore tattered, rainbow-colored clothes, a towel for a cape, and a turban with various Tarot cards stuck in it. And he thought that everything Dana said was hilarious. Every. Single. Line. Also, that everything she said was utterly perfect, and that she deserved a diamond-studded genie bottle, which he would be happy to provide, because his mother was Barbara Eden. I lost it. I dissolved into helpless giggles, covered my eyes with my hand and did my best not to peak at Barbara Eden’s turban-clad son.

Lisa Brackmann is the author of the critically acclaimed Ellie McEnroe series set in today’s China (Rock Paper Tiger, Hour of the Rat and the upcoming Dragon Day), and the thriller Getaway (an ALA summer reading pick and SCIBA finalist). She is a California native and a former film industry professional who has lived and traveled extensively in China. Lisa once was an issues researcher in a presidential campaign and was the singer/songwriter/bassist in an LA rock band. She just bought a bass ukulele.

Come see Lisa read at MCASD in downtown San Diego on Friday, February 6 at 12pm.

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Steph Cha

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

CHA: Most unusual thing… At my first book launch party at Skylight, this man came up to me afterward and told me he’d read about me in the Korean paper and came to my reading because he had a daughter named Stephanie Cha. He then ran into a high school friend of his who was also at the reading, a friend of my parents I’ve known since childhood. Small world, Koreatown.

Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her Home, Beware Beware, and the forthcoming Dead Soon Enough, all published by St. Martin’s Minotaur. She’s a regular contributor to the L.A. Times and the L.A. Review of Books. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles with her husband and basset hound.

Come see Steph read at MCASD in downtown San Diego on Friday, February 6 at 12pm.

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Ben Loory

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

LOORY: One time I was approached to do voiceover work for a taco commercial. In the end, I didn’t get the job– they went with someone “more grandfatherly.”

Ben Loory is the author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) and a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015). His fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker and on This American Life and Selected Shorts. He lives in Los Angeles and is an Instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Come see Ben read at MCASD in downtown San Diego on Friday, February 6 at 12pm.

Vermin in the News

Vermin on the Mount received a very nice shout out from Carolyn Kellogg in the Los Angeles Times book blog Jacket Copy:

“The punk rock reading series takes its name from its original location, the Mountain Bar, where it began 10 years ago. Host and organizer Jim Ruland has found a new home for the semi-regular series, at NOMAD Studio near the L.A. River.”

Writing for the L.A. Weekly, Joseph Lapin’s generous profile explores the origins of the series. “Incredible writers have graced the stage at Vermin on the Mount. At the first ever reading, the performers were Joe Meno, an author and playwright from Chicago who has written six novels; Joshuah Bearman, the former L.A. Weekly journalist who wrote the story that would become Argo; and Andrea Siegel, author of Like the Red Panda and a screenwriter. There have been many memorable performances, Ruland recalls, including the time Stephen Elliot, the author who’s a founding editor of The Rumpus, appeared unexpectedly on Father’s Day to read a touching piece about his father.”

It’s a great beginning to our tenth year of programming in L.A.!

 

 

 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Nicole Vollrath

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

VOLLRATH: The fifth year anniversary party for First Friday open mic was held at the Swedenborg church and had about 80 people in attendance. One participant drank so much free wine, he had to be escorted outside against his will. As I read my piece, he pounded on the church door, screaming at us “mother-fucking hypocrites” as the police sirens approached. No one heard a word I read, but no one will forget that party.

Nicole Vollrath writes short fiction and flash fiction and teaches creative writing when her day job doesn’t get in the way.  She earned an MFA at Emerson College in Boston and has placed in San Diego City Beat’s Fiction 101 contest a few times, and won it once. Nicole has served on the board of San Diego Writers Ink and relishes the supportive writing communities in San Diego. Major themes in her work are promiscuity and Christianity, but not necessarily in the same stories.
 
Come see Nicole read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Nov. 10 at 7pm

 

Look Who’s Coming to Vermin: Juliet Escoria

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

ESCORIA: I once went to a poetry reading in Hell’s Kitchen. The crowd was loud and drunk, causing one reader to yell things at them like, “Shut up or I’ll fucking stab you.” Strippers danced during the break, wearing black strap-ons and eagle masks, while the audience slipped dollar bills into their g-strings. Fun fact: Melissa Broder was also at that reading.

Juliet Escoria writes things for Electric Literature’s blog, The Outlet. Her story collection, Black Cloud, will be published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2014.