Off the Rocks Reading in Boystown

Photo credit: contributor Chuck Kramer

NewTown Writers  hosted this reading at the Center on Addison.  Bringing New York in the 80’s flavor to Chicago:

He’d been crossing through the Ramble by night for years, as Smart lived on the East Side and he lived on the West. He navigated its paths by moonlight, nodding to a few familiar huddles of men. Sometimes ambling through its shabby splendor was the only way to shake off Smart’s fixated gaze.


Off the Rocks #21 Reading in Chicago

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The reading took place at the charming Charmers Cafe  in the Jarvis Square neighborhood of Chicago. The excerpt I read ended with these lines:

Something about seeing this aristocratic British man tied to his throne with his own silk had soothed him, like the synchronized click of jail door magnets on multiple strike plates. Behold my colonizer!

“Choke a Horse” (fiction) in Off the Rocks

I’ve been attending NewTown Writers workshops in Chicago. NewTown has been actively workshopping and publishing since 1982.  “Choke a Horse,” a short story based on an earlier short memoir piece of the same title appears in this year’s anthology, Off the Rocks #21 :

“What’s the charge?” Nick demanded as the cop handcuffed him.
“Indecent exposure,” the cop replied.
“Nothing was exposed until you came along with your flashlights.”

Thanks to Bruce Kamsler for facilitating workshops and Robert Klein Engler for the diligent edit and fine cover art.

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The Return of Reading for Filth!

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.

Thanks to Hattie and Daniel Nardicio for bringing back the filth!


#SASFest17 Class Photo

SAS17 AnthoReading
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.
Get the anthology over at Bold Strokes.

Miss Bensonhurst a W@W finalist 👑

“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.



My story ✍🏽 your pocket📱

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.

UPDATE: “Jesus Year” a finalist 👸🏽

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.

“Jesus Year” a semi-finalist 🙌🏽

BethlehemStar.jpgin 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.