An Edited Literary Reading Series

Month: September, 2013

POOF!

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Satan Vs. Your Dentist has gone up in smoke, leaving behind only the stench of fire and brimstone and the smiling angelic face of a bat-winged Gene Simmons (quite coincidentally the gallery walls of Culturefix were adorned with some of their most metal art yet, like Old Scratch himself had had our good fortune in mind). The evening presented work in a variety of modes: poetry, a short film, and both “realist” and for lack of a better term “experimental” fiction. Yet, despite the seeming disparity in style, the pieces shared an aesthetic vision, a way of taking in the world — a sense of humor capable of being both playful and slapstick as well as melancholic and mean; a sense of the tragic with absurdity at its core; an understanding that while the bad things that happen might be inconsequential in the greater scheme they are also paramount when they are happening to us. This is “the funny” The Disagreement has been looking for.

We were especially pleased to present the first six seasons of Carmen Maria Machado’s “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU.” Typically we here at The Disagreement pride ourselves on the brevity of our readings, yet when Carmen asked to read what amounted to half of her novella, we were game. And boy we were rewarded for our gameness. Aloud, “Especially Heinous,” became hypnotic, alternately seductive and repellent like the show it is at once mocking and investing with a deeper, rhetorical power. Like a fever dream, or a couch potato’s acid trip spent binge-watching the entirety of the series, it operates with a strange, twisty logic, endowing its detective heroes with an almost mystical significance as it launches them headlong into battle with the world of sexual violence. Replete with mistaken identities, ghosts with bells in their eyes, doppelgangers, and a simmering but comic romantic tension between its protagonists, the story is sad, perverted, and gloriously grotesque. It is also hilarious, at times brutally and horrifically hilarious, but hilarious all the same, and it made for a perfect capstone to a night of wonderful readings by Alex Morris, J.T. Bushnell, and Nicole Callihan, as well as a short by filmmaker Sarah Hanssen.

Please join us again on November 7th, when we will present Golden Parachutes Vs. The Holidays.

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From top to bottom: Gene, J.T. Bushnell, Nicole Callihan, Alex Morris, Sarah Hanssen, Olive Adamek (star of “How To Stand Up For Yourself”), and Carmen Maria Machado

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Rock On

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Self-destruction or self-preservation, adventure or stability, the routine or the weird — “Too much of nothing,” Bob Dylan sang, “can make a man feel ill at ease.” Yet the right amount of nothing, that is the absence of danger or fear, can also be reassuring. This is the hard balance we try to strike in our lives, somewhere between the thrill of the unknown and the tranquility found in contentment: a night of binge-watching the first six seasons of Law and Order: SVU versus pancakes with your lover; standing up for yourself to your parents versus worrying about how sad it might be for your child to grow up to be a dentist; delivering the proper amount of pepper to an obnoxious customer versus letting him have it the way you know he deserves to have it had.

On September 12th, The Disagreement presents Satan Vs. Your Dentist, where four writers and a filmmaker will present work that explores these and other disparate notions of the safe and the risky, investigating our seemingly contradictory desires for both comfort and calamity.

Find us at Culturefix, 9 Clinton Street on the illustrious Lower East Side. We’ll start at 7.

With:

Nicole Callihan’s book of poems, Fly by Night, will be released by Sock Monkey Press in early 2014.

J.T. Bushnell was named a top-ten emerging fiction writer by Storyville.com in 2012. His fiction has appeared most recently in New Madrid, The South Carolina Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review. He also writes craft essays for Poets & Writers, The Writer, and Fiction Writers Review, where he is a contributing editor. He lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where he teaches at Oregon State University.

Sarah Hanssen’s film and video works have shown at festivals, museums and screenings throughout North America, Asia and Europe. She received her Masters of Fine Art in film and video at the Massachusetts College of Art. In addition to her artwork, she teaches at CUNY’s Bronx Community College and mothers her three kids.

Carmen Maria Machado  is a fiction writer and essayist whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNIThe American ReaderTin House‘s Open Bar, Five ChaptersBest Women’s Erotica 2012VICEThe Paris Review Daily, The Hairpin, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other publications. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Philadelphia.

Alex Morris was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama and received an MFA in poetry from NYU. He has worked for New Orleans Review and McSweeney’s Poetry Series. He runs the Southern Writers Reading Series, which takes place the second Wednesday of each month at Happy Ending Lounge. He lives in Brooklyn.