Saturday, February 04, 2006


The Happy Ending Lounge

Ha ha - forgive the Hullo. I'm whipped this morning -- I didn't get back from New York last night until maybe 2:00 a.m. and I kept falling asleep on the train, which of course naturally made me paranoid I was going to sleep through the stop in Philadelphia and wake up in Washington, D.C. so after struggling to stay awake on the ride home, I was in fact awake all night when I got here.

And I'm actually insane enough to be considering hopping back on a train for New York in a few hours to say Hi to Lou Reed (again) and attending the Opium gala tonight.

Last night's Opium Magazine reading was so much fun! As I said in my prior post, it was held at The Happy Ending, which is a former whorehouse...I mean, massage parlor...I mean...Asian Heath Food Store (cos' as you can see, that's what it says on their very pink awning...) and when you walk in, because of that awning, you feel like you're entering a secret society because there is no sign which says "Happy Ending".

Meanwhile, I just realized how funny that is. A whorehouse named "Happy Ending".

I should hope so!

Wait...before I go on with this story any further, I know I said I was through talking about Neil Gaiman, or gaimanizing, but my life is too fucking weird. I just got an email from my publisher (Mundania/Phaze) about participating in this year's Balticon. What the hell is Balticon, I wondered? Is it in Baltimore? I can do a book signing in Baltimore, that's like an hour and a half from Philly by train, and I could certainly do a four day event there; I even know a few people who live in the area and I'd love to hang out with them.

I clicked on the link and almost had a heart attack.

Enough said.

So yeah, looks like my publisher and therefore I will have a table there. Holy shit.

Getting back to last night...

The evening began with a poem by Tao Lin. He's unbelievable. It was crazy. Todd Zuniga, editor of Opium, who is a brilliant writer in his own right, was going to co-read with him but the audience was given a choice of three or four languages for his lines: French, Rumanian, or Swedish. (I think there was in fact a fourth choice but damn if I can remember what it certainly wasn't something easy like Spanish). We of course being hipsters all shouted for Rumanian, which unfortunately meant Todd, who is not fluent in Rumanian but fluent in Swedish, did not read along with him but some gorgeous Rumanian writer guy with a shaved head read in his place and hmmm...note to self: Find out who he is!

Then we heard from a writer named Mike Sacks, who read this piece. Frat humor for sure but I loved it.

The next reader, Tom Lombardi, was hilarious. Oh my god, he read a piece about a hapless guy fucking all twelve members of his yoga class. At the same time. And each woman of course was another hilarious character - yuppie, artist, CPA...ha! Laugh out loud funny. And he wasn't even the headliner.

Up next was the totally insane and outrageously sexy Jim Ruland who read what was more like a performance...we were all so busy watching Jim deliver the, he had a "plant" in the audience...and no one can convince me she wasn't a plant but it was all in great fun...who allegedly did not know him but read a few lines with him and somehow was able to execute them perfectly without one error even though it was very dark in there (and Robin thought to herself Thank god I've learned the print out in 16 font and memorize your story first rule).

Finally, we had Sam Lipsyte, and that link will also take you to Amazon to buy his book, which is totally hysterical. The premise of it is this: His character keeps writing to his high school alumni newsletter with updates that are never published but our hero just keeps on writing them anyway, and they are so fucking brilliant...he covers all kinds of crazy ground in each "update" he sends them. Buy the book! Ack, I was talking with him briefly before the reading. (See? I can talk to other writers without fainting, drooling, or clutching anyone's arm) He's got a twenty month old baby, he writes this magnficent book, and nevertheless has a full time job, affording him very little time to write at all. That sucks.

I was my usual great self. Brought the house down.

Ha ha.

All kidding aside, I drank club soda last night - no alcohol, because I've also learned the "no alcohol prior to taking Amtrak" rule, having spent one too many times with my face in their disgusting train toilet. I also met Will Layman! I love Will Layman! And, I hung out some Zoers I've never had the pleasure of meeting prior to last night - writers Anne Elliott and Carol Novack -- as well as Zoers I have met like Ellen Meister, Don Capone, and sort of Zoetroper but former Philadelphian and now I'm-so-jealous-of him-New Yorker Dennis DiClaudio, who wrote a book with the absolutely hilarious title of
Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have

Actually, talking to Dennis, who is probably young enough to be my son, damn it, was one of the highlights of my night. (Other than hanging with Ellen, who is just so cool and if only I had a pal in Philadelphia like her, but then again, we'd probably get sick of each other and resent spending time away from our writing so maybe it's better she lives in New York and I just come for visits). Getting back to Dennis, he's so terrific! Funny, warm...I dunno, sometimes for whatever reason you just really, really like a person and click with them and that's the way I felt talking to him. Can't wait to read the book!

So that's it for the writing part of my life right now -- I'm still trying to decide whether to return to New York later today.

In music news, I know you are all dying to know how Eric made out at the audition I mentioned the other night. Well, I'm not allowed to say much, just that the person for whom he auditioned said he was a "slam dunk".

I really should not throw in these teasers but can't resist...all I can say is, next week I should have a lot more to say.

But let's put it like this: My very talented and lucky son will be in L.A. sooner than later, and in the meantime, he's getting ready for rehearsals to go out on tour with Project Object this spring. I'm still waiting for Project Object to update their website and when they do, I'll post the link.

Okay...what to do, what to do. I guess I'll drink some coffee, which will at least eliminate the going back to sleep aspect of my decision making.