Our founder Dean Johnson died in Washington, D.C. ten years ago to the day. Some of you here knew him and some of you didn’t so let’s pay tribute! East Village legend. Dean and the Weenies–seminal queercore band. He rocked drag on his tall skinny punk frame– the original bald queen. He faced homophobia in the music industry. As he wrote in his blog:
On the night of the Summer Solstice, I filled in at the 🌈 PRIDE edition of Reading for Filth at Eastern Bloc. Told the story of being a gay sperm donor in my twenties:
Nurse Stern, who was separated from me by a Lucite wall, just like in a money bank, slid a stack of porn magazines and a little cup through the deal tray. The porn was all hetero, of course–one issue of Juggs, a Leg Show, the one on the bottom pretty hardcore. I wordlessly pushed the porn back at her, keeping the cup. We glared at each other for a hot minute through the speak hole, then she pointed towards a small room with a bench and a counter.
Reading for Filth is back at a new venue–– the transitioning Eastern Bloc (soon to be Alan Cumming’s aptly-named venture, Club Cumming). For the 4/26 inaugural reading, I brought “Raunch Daddy” a short epistolary:
All is illusion except for your odor, mi norteño. Let me also remind you that it’s quite inconvenient–given my populist and anti-imperialist leanings–to be so enraptured by your capitalist body.
Atop the Quarter in the Hotel Monteleone’s Vieux Carré Room with some fellow Saints & Sinners Short Fiction Contest finalists: Debra Curtis, winner J. Marshall Freeman, P.D. Walter, runner-up Alise Wascom, Thomas Westerfield, Louis Flint Ceci, Chris Smith, William Moeck, and contest judge Michael Thomas Ford.
“She and the girls are enveloped in the warm bakelite booth. A curtain shields her from the crowds. The two little angels share the hard seat. The camera – that possessed apparatus which would stalk her to the end – here blinks obediently. Flash.”
“Miss Bensonhurst,” a fictional account of my grandmother Helen Rizzo’s friendship with Marilyn Monroe circa 1953, is a finalist in the 2017 Writers @ Work Annual Writing Competition. The fiction judge is Christina Garcia.
Carte Blanche, based in Montreal, is an internationally recognized magazine of creative nonfiction. “Canadian Vacation,” an account of that time I smuggled my ex across the 49th parallel, is featured in Issue 29 (Winter 2017).
Sure, we barely knew each other – but that wasn’t the point. Whatever journey we were on was not going to end with this mean mom-lady in beige.
Great Jones Street Press is a new platform and we are in a relationship now. They have a well-designed app that brings a curation of award-winning short stories to your mobile device. Get the app here. Find “Drowned River” in the app’s searchable database.
Saints & Sinners has narrowed the selection down to 15 finalists and JY made the cut. The story will be published in the 2017 anthology published by Bold Strokes. Michael Thomas Ford is judging the contest this year. Congrats to fellow finalists–see you in New Orleans for the festival.
in the Short Fiction contest of the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. The story, a fractured fairy tale, is based on “Nailed Up.” Chris Tolliver wakes up on his Jesus Year birthday in a hotel room in Bethlehem (PA) after his re-enactment of the central myth of the Catholic faith goes off the rails. With the help of a hustler named Lance (think Longinus), and Marta, the forbearing housekeeper, he gets through it–although whether he can emerge from his cave is up in the air.
Chris, left hulking towards an absent body in the Star Suite, was engulfed in waves of remorse. He’d bent time, space, geography, history, social order, reason, morality, and judgment to fit a bogus myth. He was thirty-four and he wasn’t quite dead, just really fucking impaired. Marta looked on with pity.
Can Chris resurrect himself? Does Lance get his rate? Will Marta return to the mushroom farm? The answers to these and other burning questions may or may not be in your copy of Jesus Year.