Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monday Night at Mo Pitkin's: AVERY reading with Dominic Preziosi and Richard Grayson

At Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction on Monday, November 27, 2006, at 7 p.m. there was a reading for the inaugural issue of Avery: An Anthology of New Fiction with contributors Dominic Preziosi and Richard Grayson. It was part of Mo Pitkin's Reader's Room series.

Here's the post by editor Andrew Palmer from the Avery blog on November 29:

Andrew: Avery takes on New York

Avery pulled off a big coup earlier this month when Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story cancelled a reading in Manhattan and Avery was invited to take their place. The reading went down with a healthy dose of fanfare this Monday night on the second floor at Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction in East Village--a small, wood-panelled, night-clubby, noirish room with three long tables stretching from a curtained stage to the back of the room. It seemed to me to be about half-full--a more than respectable turnout for a new literary anthology that hasn't even been published yet. Leigh Newman, one of our writers (and our informant for this reading series) hosted, I nervously said a few words about Avery, and then I gave up the floor to our two readers for the night--Avery contributors Dominic Preziosi and Richard Grayson, both of whom I was meeting for the first time.

Dominic held us in thrall with his Avery story about a man and a woman in a hauntingly familiar semi-post-apocalyptic Manhattan. The first sentence is "In the aftermath of everything we meet up with the one-eyed priest." Now we're listening!

Richard read, in an appropriately neurotic, hyper-self-conscious voice, his Avery story about, about . . . . it seems to be about trailing off, about starting things and never being able to finish them--whether it's a PhD thesis or sexual intercourse or a hamburger. In any case it's hilarious, and everyone laughed a lot. My favorite part is where the narrator--oh I'll just quote it:
When I was young, Rilke admonished me nearly all the time. That “You must change your life” written so earnestly.
But mostly I was tired and preferred to close my eyes.
You must, Rilke would say.
But I just can’t now, not right now, I thought.
You must change, he said.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do it.
Change your life, he kept saying.
Yes, yes. But not at this minute.
Your life, Rilke said.
So I reached for my pills, the little red triangular ones, the ones that helped me sleep. I swallowed two of them without water, and Rilke became silent.

Brilliant, Richard. Thanks again, really many many thanks, to Richard and Dominic for providing the meat of the entertainment on Monday--and of course to Leigh for hosting. (If you're in New York you need to check out the weekly Reading Room series at Mo Pitkin's.) We got the word out to a few more people, made a couple more connections, and had a wonderful time.

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