AQLF Report 2
Christopher Davis, Ed Madden, Collin Kelley, Jim Elledge and Outwrite Books owner Philip Rafshoon.
Ed Madden reading at Outwrite
Friday keynote speakers Theresa Davis, Kate Bornstein & Gary Zebrun
AQLF banner (Thanks Cleo!) at the Downtown Library
Dan Vera reading at Outwrite
Picking up where the last report on the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival left off, on Friday night Theresa Davis, Gary Zebrun and the great Kate Bornstein performed at the Downtown Library. Once again, it was a very light crowd, which was disappointing because it was the best night of the festival in my opinion. Theresa, sporting her long black coat, was in great form and got the audience laughing and crying. It was one of her best performances, and I've seen her a million times. Gary read from his latest novel, Only the Lonely, about a young Muslim boy coming to terms with his sexuality and his radical, older brother training to be a terrorist. He did a beautiful job. And then, Kate Bornstein took the stage. She read from a memoir in progress about her 12 years in Scientology before being excommunicated and her 25-year estrangement from her daughter. I could have sat there all night listening to this story. It was a mix of high drama, bizarre twists and ultimately heartbreaking. I wanted her to go on and on. After the reading, the three keynoters took questions from the audience and it was a lively discussion.
Saturday was the full day of readings and workshops at venues around the city. I was at the library from 9:30 a.m. 4 p.m. introducing poets and making sure the workshops were starting on time. I caught the tail end of Judy Doenges's fiction workshop and sat in on Kate Bornstein's "Hello, Cruel World" workshop, which touched on everything from how to live as an outsider, why we can't achieve true "enlightenment" and that it's okay to have suicidal thoughts, but do everything possible to distract yourself from actually doing it. Kate is intense and personal and I was hanging on every word. A truly beautiful human being.
I also got to hear Dan Vera and Ed Madden read in the afternoon and then sat in on Daphne Gottlieb's workshop about creating poetry using found texts, which was very cool. In the afternoon, Dan Vera and Ed Madden read at the library and then Kate Evans and I ducked out for dinner and a nap before going back to Outwrite last night for my reading with Jim Elledge, Christopher Davis and Ed Madden. We had about 30 people there and it was a quick hour of really great poetry. If you're in Atlanta and still haven't purchased After the Poison, Outwrite Books now has it in stock. I started my reading with "Barney Rubble Saves Our Lives," which just came out in the new edition of Atlanta Review.
Today, I went back over to the library to watch Lisa Allender's staged reading of her new one-woman show about Edna St. Vincent Millay and Reginald Jackson's reading of his play 69. I didn't go to the closing event at Eyedrum Gallery because I just hit the wall. Kate Evans left this morning after a fun week bunking at my place, with lots of gossip and laughter. She was a great house guest, and I appreciate her putting up with my quirks. She even gave me her hairdryer after mine broke. Now that's a true friend!