An Edited Literary Reading Series

Month: September, 2014

(of organic matter)

FullSizeRender (1)

Henry Miller said, “I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.”And we must admit, when it comes to literature, there is something compelling about the notion of decay, something sexy in devastation and desperation in that can’t look away from a train-wreck way, an attraction to characters that are dangerously close to letting themselves go to seed.

Last week, we were pleased to present four readers, each with their own compelling take on the theme of Decay at Pacific Standard. The room was very dark, which lends the photographic evidence a decomposing quality of its own.

The Disagreement will return on December 3 with Failure, which will be presented at Le Poisson Rouge.


From top to bottom: Dustin Luke Nelson, Tobias Carroll, Rachel Pelz, and Emily Cementina

Pack Your Bags


The Disagreement has become homeless. Our former home is sadly no longer — on July 27, Culturefix closed.

Culturefix was an unexpected place, a place where things happened by chance. In their own words, it was “a bar, gallery and event venue that offer[ed] a different idea of a public space,” and like the best places in this city, both present and past, it never tried to be anything more than it was. It was not “cool” or “hip;” they had no designs on being the hottest place in the city or being the center of a scene. There was in fact no design to Ari and Cole’s establishment. They seemed merely to operate on the principle of filling their bar with things and people they liked and then letting the people they liked do their thing. Friends had art shows there. The Disagreement was born there. They put on one hell of a dinner party. And they used to make bitchin’ tacos.

Speaking of Decay, our city seems to be falling apart. What else could explain all the glass and steel that has leveled what was once an ocean of brick and concrete? The old has become useless, tradition unwarranted. “We’ve entered a new age,” they seem to keep telling us, “so stop trying to hold onto the past.”

But not everything ancient crumbles, just as not everything new lasts. A place like New York City only exists out of this constant collision between what is modern and what was already there. This has always been the case. It’s what made it a place that defined what was interesting to the rest of the world. Or at least until our modern age, that inexorable drive of progress and development that seems to be killing the things we love about this city — that it was a place where things just happened, where interesting people moved from all around the country and all around the world because it was a place where you could make your life your own, where you’d meet like-minded people and those whose disagreed with you alike, and together or alone, interesting things got made, where you used to not need money to be an interesting person.

Right now it seems as though the money is winning, because money only ever needs more money to keep it warm. And money, unfortunately, seems to be the one thing that doesn’t fall apart. A fortune made never dies, it is only plundered, stolen, or inherited, and its corrupting touch lasts much longer than the lives of those who possess it.

This modern age is a crappy one, one built with cheap shit and even cheaper money. This modern age is one built to rot right out of the gate. But luckily, glass was made to be broken; steel to melt.

On September 11, The Disagreement will present Decay, an evening of readings focusing on deterioration both mental and physical, the decline of the body and the soul, the degradation of both cultural and ethical standards. And so begins our itinerant phase.

At Pacific Standard. We’ll start at 7.


Emily Cementina received her M.F.A. in Fiction from The New School. She co-hosts Sunday Salon, a monthly reading series in the East Village. Emily lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with her husband and their pet fish, Mingus.

Dustin Luke Nelson is the author of the forthcoming collection “in the office hours of the polar vortex” (Robocup Press, 2015). His 90-minute performance film “STRIKE TWO” debuted with Gauss PDF in April and his performance piece “Applause” debuted at the Walker Art Center’s Open Field in June. There’s stuff at about him.

Rachel Pelz holds and MFA in Fiction from NYU. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their dog. She is currently at work on a novel.

Tobias Carroll lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York, where he is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. His fiction and nonfiction have been published by Tin House, The Collagist, Underwater New York, The Paris Review Daily, Necessary Fiction, Bookforum, The Rumpus, The Collapsar, and Joyland.


Sticky Too

photo 5 2

We were pleased to present Cow Pies Vs. Old Gum as part of the 2014 Wassaic Project Summer Festival. Five readers selected from our past events came and read pieces they felt best fit our theme. The reading took place at the Lantern Inn, which is for my money, the best damn bar in Dutchess County.

photo 2 photo 2 2 photo 3 photo 5 photo 1 2

From top to bottom: Brittany Goss, Lizzie Harris, Kayla Rae Whitaker, and Reineke Hollander. Samuel Cooper also read, but somehow went inexplicably unphotographed.