Inhuman Swill : Chicago : Page 4

Golfers in the rain
with travel mugs of coffee,
like this is their job.

Full entry

When worlds collide

| No Comments

tf-postcard-2011-06.jpg
Since 2006, I've spent a week almost every summer at a workshop for novel writers—either Blue Heaven or a spinoff based on its organizing principles. And since fall of last year, I have co-produced and co-hosted a monthly reading series called Tuesday Funk at a Belgian beer bar on the north side of Chicago.

I'm pleased to announce that these two worlds will soon collide! I'm spending the next week at the Wellspring Workshop in Lake Geneva, WI, organized by Brad Beaulieu, but for one night only the group of us will be roadtripping back to Chicago to invade Tuesday Funk for a "Science Fiction Sextuple Feature."

This special edition of Tuesday Funk convenes Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 7:30 pm, in the upstairs lounge at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago. Arrive early, stake out a table in the upper room, and grab a beer from John at the cash-only bar. We start seating at 7:00 pm and no earlier. Admission is free, but you must be 21 or older.

Our readers will include Brenda Cooper, Sarah K. Castle, Holly McDowell, Gregory A. Wilson, Vincent Jorgensen, and Kelly Swails, not to mention, as usual, a Poem By Bill. We hope to see you there!

Full entry

The Lunar Night, Chicago

| No Comments

In the indigo sky
hang lights like lanterns
strung from here to eternity.
Bright holes punched in the night,
they creep in from the east, queued for
landing but aimed at the spotlit moon holding
fast in their path. But the moon gives way, first
to one plane, then the next, endlessly ceding its place
in line as if shy to touch down at O'Hare. Would
they even know how to handle a moon out
on the tarmac? Call the Marines! Call
Homeland Security! Just get that
thing quarantined before
it hurts some fool or
alters the tides.

In the icy park
we watch the planes,
the dog and I. Lights prowl
past us on two horizons, Damen and
Foster Avenues, impossibly distant in the
winter air that falls like gravel from my mouth,
the subzero air as cold as no air at all. Around us
spreads the pocked and cratered snow. We are alone.
If I were to slip here on the ice, hit my head, crack
my skull, the blood spreading like transmission
fluid as my dog whined and licked my face,
no one else would know. In space
no one can hear you whimper,
and we might as well
be on the moon.

Full entry

Upcoming appearances

| No Comments

Tuesday Funk, December 7, 2010
I wanted to let you know about a couple of upcoming appearances of mine in the Chicago area.

First, coming up on Tuesday, April 5, I'll be reading at Tuesday Funk, the monthly series of which I'm also a co-producer and co-host. Our other readers that night are Robert K. Elder, Ian Belknap, J.H. Palmer, and Lisa Chalem. (See here for bios of all the readers.)

Tuesday Funk is an eclectic reading series that features all types of writing in all genres. It takes place at 7:30 pm upstairs at Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark St. in Chicago, and is free. The upstairs lounge opens at 7:00 pm. Arrive early for a seat!

Later that week, I'll be appearing on the public-affairs program Senior Network on CAN TV 19 as part of a panel discussion on contemporary science fiction novels and films. The panel also includes Jody Lynn Nye and Edison Blake and is hosted by Dr. Bob Blackwood.

Full entry

Laura Peterson is one of the most innovative choreographers at work in New York City, or anywhere for that matter. Her choreography is always supremely logical, whether rooted in organic forms or technological ideas or a hybrid of both.

Want to see Laura Peterson Choreography perform in Chicago? They've been invited to participate in an exciting throwdown at Links Hall called collision_theory, but they need your assistance to do it. They're trying to raise $1,700 for production expenses in just 30 days with a kickass Kickstarter campaign. Won't you please help?

KICKSTARTER: Laura Peterson Choreography is going to Chicago

Do it for the dancers.

Full entry

Hook, line and Dan Sinker

| 2 Comments

Dan Sinker, a/k/a @MayorEmanuel, appeared on The Colbert Report Tuesday night, and I have to say he hit it out of the park. Occasionally a guest will say something so funny or bizarre that Colbert has nothing to say in response. Sinker did it twice.

The first clip here sets up the interview in the second clip:

Full entry

By the way, I've also meant to point out that [info]rjl20 captured the entire @MayorEmanuel feed in chronological order, together with most of the mentions to which he deigned to respond. Read the whole motherfucking thing at:

http://www.elsewhere.org/MayorEmanuel/

Full entry

Tonight's reading, and more

| No Comments

tf-postcard-2011-03.jpg
I don't say enough here about Tuesday Funk, the reading series at Hopleaf that I co-produce and co-host with Sara Ross. We have a great show coming tonight, with a lineup that includes Joe Weintraub, Keith Ecker, Maggie Kast, Steven H Silver, and Jenny Seay. I'll even read one of my poems (which is what I normally do, at least when I'm not reading someone else's).

We bill Tuesday Funk as Chicago's Eclectic Monthly Reading Series. We feature essays, poetry, short stories, and less categorizable performances in all genres of writing, but since being asked to help out with the series I've tried to shine a light where I can on science fiction. This month I'm very pleased to have [info]shsilver on the bill, and in future months we'll have [info]brad_beaulieu, [info]finitemonkey, and even a night featuring participants from this summer's Wellspring Workshop.

All of which is by way of saying, please come out and hang with us tonight! Hopleaf is at 5148 N. Clark St. in Chicago. The reading takes place in the upstairs lounge. Seating begins at 7:00 pm, the reading at 7:30 pm. Arrive early or stand! Click the image below for more info:

Full entry

@MayorEmanuel unmasked

| No Comments

Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuel
The man behind the curtain has been revealed. Well, really, he came out from behind the curtain himself. As reported by Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic, @MayorEmanuel is Dan Sinker, a journalism instructor at Columbia College in Chicago, and one of the founders and editors of the zine Punk Planet.

Having myself waxed rapturous over the @MayorEmanuel tweet stream, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that the mystery is no longer a mystery. I'm not nearly as disappointed as Jim DeRogatis is, because, hey, that Twitter account was a brilliant, engrossing, and uplifting example of a new form of literature, accidental as that might have been, and its author has every right to reap the benefits of his achievement. My disappointment is more that of a fan for whom part of the thrill was the not knowing, and the hope that we would never know. Did you honestly want to know for certain whether or not that top in Inception was ever going to stop spinning? I didn't.

But to be pragmatic, it was probably better that Dan Sinker control the revelation than that someone else out him, which no doubt would have happened sooner or later. And at least now we know whom to nominate for that Hugo next year in the Best Related Work category. (Hey, Chicago in 2012!)

Hats off, Mr. Sinker. As your character wrote: "Only things that fucking suck never end: look at laundry, or dishes."

Full entry

Into the time vortex!

| No Comments

@MayorEmanuel
The most entertaining and rewarding piece of fiction of the past six months has been, without a doubt, the Twitter stream of @MayorEmanuel. (Sorry, Mongoliad.)

@MayorEmanuel is, or was, a delightfully profane Rahm Emanuel impersonator whose tweets started appearing six months ago, after the real Emanuel expressed his intention to enter the Chicago mayoral race. (Tagline: Your next motherfucking mayor. Get used to it, assholes.) The tweets were drop-dead funny—so much so that I'm sure I retweeted them more frequently than I've retweeted anyone else's—but at first seemed like little more than an amusing and perceptive piss-take on the real Rahm and Chicago politics.

But then a surprising thing happened. Characters from @MayorEmanuel's entourage began to develop, some based on real people (David Axelrod), others fictional (Carl the Intern, Quaxelrod the mustachioed duck). Storylines began to emerge. Riffing off the real ups and downs of the Emanuel campaign, the daily news, and even the weather, the tweets led followers through the dark underbelly of a fantastical Chicago populated by celebrities and politicians, by the famous and the infamous, by the living and the dead alike, with the gang often tooling around town in Axelrod's beloved but increasingly damaged Honda Civic. (Even the real Rahm tried to insert himself into the story, famously offering a large donation to charity if the anonymous author would come forward.)

From Jane Byrne's secret dungeon to a harrowing ride through the flooded sewers beneath City Hall, from New Year's Eve bacchanalia with Kanye West to Mayor Daley's secret celery dome, the story blended an insider's knowledge of the minutiae of Chicago politics and an intimate familiarity with the geography of the city with a stew of pop-culture references and jaw-droppingly absurdist comic sensibility to create a prodigious, profane, and ultimately moving kaleidoscope world that nonetheless captured the essence of this city-like-no-other. Wilco and Gene Siskel, Groupon and Threadless, even celery salt, that key ingredient of the Chicago dog, all get their moment in the spotlight.

Full entry

Featured Book

William Shunn

Archives