Two short stories placed within a few days of each other and they couldn’t be more different.
“Miss Bensonhurst,” a fictional account of my grandmother’s real-life friendship with Marilyn Monroe, will appear in Ovunque Siamo‘s July issue. OS (“Wherever we are”) is a journal of Italian-American writing so it’s a great fit for this story of MM’s interaction with Italian-American culture.
“Raunch Daddy” will appear in Volume 2 of the Anthology Hashtag Queer. It’s a story mined directly from my sex work past which I believe succeeds in subverting conventional sex worker narratives.
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.
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!
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.
For this mash-up of two Club Cumming events, Reading for Filth got naked for Drink and Draw. Sketchpads out! I gave a read-aloud version of my essay on kink published by the Rumpus:
…I act out a shadow play of a naked and fearless man confronting the reign of solitude. He wants to see it conquered, and I want a warm new hostage. He sees it with his eyes, his deep stare containing the vastness of the night sky. He feels it in his soft, vulnerable places, as I detect his silent pulsing above traffic and sirens. He inhales the scent of conquest flowing from my glands, as I lay claim to more dark territory.
The creators of Velvet Collar, a comic book series which examines the lives of male sex workers and the impact of the rentboy raid, are sex worker Bryan Knight and queer comic artist Dave Davenport. I interviewed Bryan in person and Dave by email for Tits and Sass.
Bryan’s describes his concept:
“..all five characters are based on workers or porn performers, active or formerly active. I wanted the characters to be inspired by real people and stories. Several are personal friends; they’ve signed waivers, legally allowing me to use their likenesses and names, although I stick with their performer names.”
Thanks to Caty and Josephine at T&S for the thoughtful edit.
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.