An Edited Literary Reading Series

(of organic matter)

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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

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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.

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

It’s Fragrant


“New York,” Joan Didion once said, “was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself.”

Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? All that dream life? But on the other hand, as Tolstoy once said, “A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.” Which is a pretty goddamned beautiful dream too, is it not?

These are two powerful and opposite poles of life — living in pastoral bliss, the productive solitude of the tranquil countryside; or being centered in all the noisy business of one of the world’s great cities, where at any moment something or anything can or will happen. And on that note, The Disagreement is pleased to announce Cow Pies Vs. Old Gum, a special reading to be held as part of the 2014 Wassaic Project Summer Festival.

For this reading we’ve asked five writers from our past to join us and read pieces they feel best suit our theme. That is, the city versus the country, stuff that smells versus stuff that doesn’t, or perhaps just things you can step in.

The Wassaic Project Summer Festival is a FREE, annual, multi-disciplinary celebration of art, music, dance, and community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings, dance performances, and much more! Housed in the unique buildings and property of the Wassaic Project, the festival escapes the white walls of traditional art spaces and focuses on site-sensitive installations and performances. The festival creates a weekend-long opportunity for artists and performers of all mediums to come together, exchange ideas, learn new things, and engage in a thriving community. Participants are encouraged to come for the day or stay the weekend, camping onsite. Programming is cutting-edge yet family friendly. The beautiful Hamlet of Wassaic is remarkably accessible from NYC and a short walk from the Wassaic MetroNorth train station.

At the Lantern Inn. We’ll start at 3.


Reineke Hollander is a visual artist and writer who was born in the Netherlands and has lived in Brooklyn since 1986. She has worked as a translator, and as a journalist for the Dutch daily newspaper NRC-Handelsblad. She is currently finishing her first novel, a fictionalised memoir about growing up  in the Netherlands after World War II and in the Sixties, tentatively titled Behaving Well in Times of War. Further information can be viewed at

Lizzie Harris’s debut collection is Stop Wanting (CSU Poetry Center, 2014). Her poems appear in All HollowBarrow Street, The Carolina QuarterlyPainted Bride QuarterlyPhantom Limb, Sixth Finch and She was born in southern Arizona, raised in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Brooklyn, where she’s a poetry editor for Bodega Magazine.

Brittany Goss has published writing in Joyland Magazine, The Writing DisorderBellingham Review, and Grasslimb Journal. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and has received support for her writing from the Vermont Studio Center. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories, which includes “A Simple Life”.

Kayla Rae Whitaker is originally from Eastern Kentucky and has an MFA in fiction from New York University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming  in Smokelong Quarterly, Joyland, B O D Y, Bodega, Burnt Bridge, and Still. She recently appeared alongside such luminaries as Lynyrd Skynyrd in the History Channel’s southern culture documentary “You Don’t Know Dixie.” She is currently at work on a novel about raging lady cartoonists. You can also find her on Twitter @kaylarwhitaker.

Samuel Cooper is a writer, classicist, and freelance mathematician. His work has appeared in Hyperallergic, Linear and Multilinear Algebra, and other places. He grew up in Alabama and now lives in Brooklyn. His cell phone does not connect to the internet.

Shit Got Broke


We couldn’t have an event called Busted without something breaking — in this case, both the photographer’s camera and Culturefix’s projector went down. And unfortunately, we were not able to screen our scheduled short film, Donald Cried. But what didn’t go wrong was the quality of our readers. Miles Klee, Susannah Kemple, and Adam Dalva read stories that were sad and funny and altogether inventive. In Miles Klee’s “Waiting For The Chinese,” a broken car horn and undelivered Chinese delivery portend a father’s existential crisis. Susannah Kemple’s “A Miracle,” featured two practitioners of “cynical old fashioned body music” who visit a psychic in the Miccosukee Spiritual Village. And in Adam Dalva’s moving piece “Toby,” he intertwines (and superimposes) the story of a life-changing childhood friendship with the comic “Bone.”

Donald Cried will be screened at one of our upcoming readings this fall, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, please join us on August 2 in Wassaic, NY for Cow Pies Vs. Old Gum.

Your Face Here


To be busted is to be broken, ugly, or arrested. To be busted is to be bankrupt or useless, ruined morally or financially. To be busted means that you’re done, finished, kaput; that you’re beyond repair.

To be busted is to be shit out of luck.

Everyone comes to the end of the line sooner or later; the trick is in figuring out whether you can draw a new one, whether or not you you get stuck steps away from the finish or find a new race to run. In this wintery economic climate, money can be the deciding factor, money might buy you all the luck you need. But of course, everyone has their debts to be paid, and money might not be enough. Chance is a slippery thing. You’ll just as likely fall flat on your face.

Hunter Thompson once described luck as “a very thin wire between survival and disaster.” And on July 23, The Disagreement will present Busted, an evening of readings and a film featuring characters trying to manage this delicate tightrope walk.

At Culturefix. We’ll start at 7.


Miles Klee is a reporter for the Daily Dot and author of the novel Ivyland, a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books. He contributes to Vanity Fair and Lapham’s Quarterly, while his short fiction has appeared in 3:AM, Unstuck, The White Review, Birkensnake, The Collagist, and Pinball.

Susannah Kemple works at The New Yorker magazine where, in the words of a friend, “It’s not like you actually write stuff. Oh, that came out harsh. Let’s talk about something else. Are you going to finish all your nachos?” Prior to coming to writing, Susannah worked as a German translator and a restorative justice study coordinator , and trained as a puppeteer with an avant-garde company, a job at which she did not excel.

Adam Dalva is a graduate of NYU’s MFA Program, where he was a Veterans Writing Workshop Fellow. He has written a novel, The Zero Date, and was an Associate Fellow at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. His work has been published in The Millions, Bodega, Connu, and elsewhere. Adam is also an 18th century French antiques dealer.

Jesse Wakeman is a New York based actor and artist, who recently completed his MFA at Columbia University. As an actor, Jesse has appeared in numerous shorts and feature films, and is currently collaborating with Kris on the feature version of Donald Cried.  More info can be found at:

Kris Avedisian is an award winning filmmaker who lives and works in Rhode Island. He has won awards at Slamdance, The Boston Film Festival, and various festivals. He is currently working with Jesse on the feature version of Donald Cried, to be shot in winter 2015.

Exit Strategies


On May 15th, Wet Is Better Than Greasy happened. Four writers and one filmmaker brought us tales of sex and all its absurdities and repercussions. Brittany Goss’s “Beauty Queens,” dealt with a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy while spending the weekend at her sister’s beauty pageant. Rebecca Mills turned several real-life dating disasters into a Choose Your Own Adventure, inviting our audience to participate and select the direction of the affairs. In Sara Lippmann’s quiet and haunting “Fun and Games,” a couple’s dialogue in bed becomes an almost Pinter-esque power struggle. And Molly O’Brien’s “Casual, Flux” featured the awkward gropings of young lovers as told by an alien observer, quantifying their deeds on the “Orcon database,” wondering whether the two have any future together. We were also honored to present a short film — the inimitable “Horsefingers 3: Starfucker,” by writer/director Kirsten Kearse, a film so strange and wonderful that for me to reduce it to words would be pointless.

The Disagreement also has several upcoming readings which we are very excited about. First, we will be presenting Decay at our usual Culturefix location on the unusual date of July 23rd. And during the first weekend of August, we are pleased to be presenting a special reading, Cow Pies Vs. Old Gum, as part of the Wassaic Project Summer Exhibition and Festival, a free three day festival of the arts in upstate New York.

More info about both will soon follow, but as of now, submissions are still open.

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From top to bottom: Molly O’Brien, Rebecca Mills, a still from “Starfucker,” Sara Lippmann, and Brittany Goss

Slip It In


Writing about sex is a conundrum every writer faces. Dirty or clean? Pornographic or chaste? Romantic or lustful? Romantic and lustful or cruel and depraved? Impotent and frigid or hot and heavy? It would be easier, certainly, to just avoid the subject entirely. After all, the British don’t give out a Good Sex In Fiction award. But like every other human endeavor, the brave writer has to tackle the subject whether they’d like to or not, and on May 15th*, The Disagreement will present four writers and one filmmaker game enough to take on not just the dirty deed itself, but its aftermath and consequences too — loneliness, unwanted pregnancies, awkward relationships, celebrity fetishes, and accidental anal sex, among other outcomes, both tragic and hilarious.

Nicholson Baker once said, “A good sex scene needs thwartedness, surprise, innocence, and hair,”  and we promise all that and more for Wet Is Better Than Greasy**.

Find us at Culturefix. We start at 7.


Sara Lippmann is the author of the story collection, Doll Palace, forthcoming this September from Dock Street Press. A 2012 NYFA Fiction Fellow, her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Slice Magazine, Wigleaf, PANK, Joyland, Big Muddy, Tupelo Quarterly and elsewhere. For more, visit

Molly O’Brien is a writer in Brooklyn who has been published in places like PANK, Paper Darts, and Illuminati Girl Gang. Once a Thought Catalog commenter called her ‘everything that is wrong with the internet,’ which she has chosen to take as a compliment.

Rebecca Mills is a New York based actor/writer (member: AEA, SAG-AFTRA). She recently completed Warning: Don’t Laugh at the Natives, a comedic memoir based on a decade of misadventures in New York City. She has performed excerpts of the book in a one-woman show called “Charmed” at The Peoples Improv Theatre. Additionally, she has performed some of the stories at the Moth, in their New York StorySlams, and most recently at Renegade Reading Series, Honey and Poison, Stoop to Nuts at Cornelia Street Cafe, Rabbit Tales, Muffins in the Window, and Drunken! Careening! Writers! at KGB. As an actor, Mills has has performed her own (fictional) work at Joe’s Pub and the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Mills is also a wine writer

Writer/Director Kirsten Kearse’s film and video works include the shorts Andalusiaville, What’s That Smell and her completed Horsefingers Trilogy: Horsefingers, Horsefingers 2: But I Am The Tiger, and Horsefingers 3: Starfucker.  They’ve traveled the film festival circuit screening at large industry festivals (Seattle International, Edinburgh International, Slamdance) as well as at more radical underground festivals (Calgary, Boston, Athens). Her most recent work, Why Not, Vermont, is soon to make its debut. She is a MacDowell Fellow and currently splits her time between LA and NY.

Brittany Goss has published writing in Joyland MagazineThe Writing DisorderBellingham Review, and Grasslimb Journal. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and has received support for her writing from the Vermont Studio Center. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories, which includes “Beauty Queens”. More information can be found at

* Note the exciting change in date. Rather than the second Wednesday this month, we will be happening on the third Thursday!

    **Check out our Spotify Playlist

Heavily Intoxicated


On March 12th The Disagreement presented its 8th Installment: Shithoused.*

It’s almost cliche to explore the connection between intoxication and creation, but handled deftly, characters under the influence can provide for some moments of real pathos and  humor. Last Wednesday night, a group of five readers took us through many kinds of intoxication, moving past simple drunkenness and delving into the more nuanced things that hold us hostage. Not least of all was a shared intoxication with language, and these writers offered words crafted into something you could get lost in as well.

Hannah Sloane began the night by tacking what can be the most intoxicating drug of all – love. Relationships and what can hide in plain sight. Michael Keenan took us through the pleasure and terror of shared drug experiences, imagined car rides and back and forth conversation-via-poem. Cat Richardson explored the dual sides of an infestation, both wanting to be part of and separate from it. She asked us to stare down the fear of becoming a database incapable of love, to consider chemical anxiety and expectations unmet. Lilly O’Donnell reached out to the far depths of memory: what it feels like to be a child and if it’s ever possible to be an adult, viscerally evoking the summer in the city to a cold and winter-broken audience. Finally,  Lizzie Harris, having arrived fresh off Amtrak, was happy to share what she’d gleaned in three hours of overheard conversation (and isn’t that it’s own kind of drug?) in between her poems. Lizzie’s first book “Stop Wanting” has just been published by Cleveland State University, but on the audience she dropped a new set of work (and literally dropped the mic).

See you May 14th for Wet is Better Than Greasy (submissions open!).

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From top to bottom: Hannah Sloane, Cat Richardson, Michael Keenan, Lily O’Donnell, and Lizzie Harris


Champagne Problems


“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” Or so said F. Scott Fitzgerald. Writers are famous for both getting drunk and being drunks, but next Wednesday when the Disagreement presents Shithoused, our readers are going to explore some less dipsomaniacal forms of intoxication — memory, relationships, and home invasions, metaphorical and otherwise. And they’ll be taking a look at the buzz we can get from these and other varieties of human experience. A drink is an easy thing to give yourself over to, it’s the rest of it that takes a real connoisseur.

It’s been a hard winter. Come and get hooked on something new.

At Culturefix. We start at 7.


Lizzie Harris‘ first collection is Stop Wanting (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014). She’s a poetry editor for Bodega Magazine.

Hannah Sloane’s fiction and essays have appeared in: Monkeybicycle, Freerange Nonfiction, Nerve, The Good Men Project, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. She lives in New York and is currently working on her first novel.

Lilly O’Donnell grew up just a few blocks from here, and has been writing about this neighborhood for about as long as she can remember. Now she’s a bartender, and is working on her first book, a heavily-reported memoir about her artist father’s life and work. Her freelance writing has appeared in New York magazine, VICE, BUST, and The New Inquiry.

Michael Keenan’s first book of poems, “Translations On Waking In An Italian Cemetery,” will be released by A-Minor Press in the spring of 2014. His writing has appeared in the PEN Poetry Series, Fence, Alice Blue Review, RealPoetik, NYQ Reviews, Umbrella Factory Magazine, inter|rupture, Shampoo, Paul Revere’s Horse, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. Michael no longer drives a waffle truck in Northern Florida, but he wishes that he did.

Cat Richardson’s work has appeared in appeared in Tin House, Four Way Review, and Sonora Review, among others. She’s managing editor of Bodega Magazine  and a poetry editor at Phantom Limb Press. She likes you just fine.

* Photo by Jill Greenberg