Monday, November 3, 2008

Strip and Vote!

Booty Call cont.....

Where was I? Oh yeah, the night was wet.....creepy.....and dark. My glasses were covered in drizzle and I could barely see. I was just about to walk into a pub to ask about this mysterious Disjecta place when I saw a sandwich board across the street. Perhaps.....

I shook the shazizzly drizzle from my specs & crossed the street. Yes! The sign said "Disjecta!" (with an arrow pointing left).

The entrance was next to a dumpster in the back of a parking lot. No wonder I couldn't find it. These hip Portland people do things a little different.

I saw the glow from the open doorway, a small group outside puffing away on their cigs & knew I'd found it.

Inside, the space opened up into a gallery -- concrete floor and a really cool vaulted wood beam ceiling that looked like the upturned inside of a wooden boat. Lots of boots and organic cotton filled the room -- about 75 people or so. My velvet was so last week, but oh well!

There was a dog running around inside and a little buffet table with free veggies & dip & potato rolls with deli meats. For a fistful of cash they were selling "affordable" varieties of wine and Portland's strangely adopted "I'm hip" beverage of choice: PBR (don't say Pabst Blue Ribbon. You have to use the acronym or they'll know you're not one of them. They can probably tell from something else, like your Washington license plates & last year's lip gloss, but just in case).

This PBR thing fascinates me, so I looked it up. Apparently, the bike messenger/artist/skater crowd in Portland adopted PBR in the late 90's as a cheap buzz on a beer that wasn't being mass marketed (at the time). In 2001 PBR noticed that the anti-establishment liked their juice and they started a sly marketing campaign to keep them tipsy. PBR is now owned by Miller and they're just as into making a profit as any business, but it seems the PBR is cool thing is still going strong. In my mind, Portland's amazing craft beers should be revered and if you buy something, you're automatically part of consumer culture, at least to some degree. If you want to go against the stream and rise up against the establishment, drink tap water. If you want to go against the stream and rise up against the establishment and get drunk, make your own fucking beer!

Sorry -- back to the excitement.

So I found Ms. Germain with her man sitting in folding chairs. She was all nervous, of course, silly thing. I showed her my paparazzi gear. She blushed, said, no, please no. I told her we'd compromise and I wouldn't use a flash.

It turned out that writer Kevin Keck couldn't be there, so host Kevin Sampsell got things going with some great words of his own and introduced a couple of fill-in readers (eeck, can't remember their names). He said he chose his dirtiest words for his own contribution to help the other readers feel more comfortable. Shanna's boy gave me a wink and said, "yeah right, give us your best shot."

Kevin's work was dirty & funny (but not Shanna dirty :) -- the other readers read a combination of funny & serious work.

Portland author, rock star and stripper Viva Las Vegas was looking fine in her sexy jeans "Strip & Vote" half shirt. She read about her early days as a stripper and a porn film experience. She's a great writer and her words heartfelt and strong -- a truly talented woman in many ways.

The dog barked three times during the event -- and with words like lick, slap, cunt, hot, vomit, pomegranate, hoo-ha, strip, spermicide, gag, professor elbowpads, leather, hard.....flying around the room, the woof-woofs had perfect comic timing.....every time.

Shanna finally made her way to the mic as the last reader. Every time I hear her voice at a reading, I swoon. Her voice is sweet and clear like water, and she has a poet's cadence. She read two poems and her story "Until It's Gone", her finely crafted words filling that room like warm rain and putting those empty cans of PBR on their asses. Anyone who knows Shanna's work knows that it transcends genre. She's an artist. Her writing has it all -- lust and love and plot and all of the richly told deep, dark secrets that tell us who we are, because we really do want to know, but are always afraid to ask.

Afterwards, I had to bust through a circle of fans with my pen to ask her to sign my poster (I love making Shanna giggle and blush) before I fumbled my way back to my car, across the tracks, over the river, and through the woods.....back to kids and husband and my own dog and real life....before I turned into a pumpkin.
The night was wet.....and good. Rock on!


Neve Black said...

Thank you for not making me wait...too long for the ending.

I'm proud of you for stepping out in those stylish boots; braving the urban world to support Ms. Germain.

What a fabulous story and thank you for sharing. PBR? Too funny. Life's too short to drink that nasty beer. There's soooo many great micro brews on that side of the world. Who cares if it's not hip and vogue. It tastes better.

Congratulations to Shanna!

Jeremy Edwards said...

"Shazizzly drizzle"!

Woofing audience participation!

And I love your velvet.

She read two poems and her story "Until It's Gone", her finely crafted words filling that room like warm rain and putting those empty cans of PBR on their asses.

I can just see it!

Thanks for the vicarious thrill of being in the awesome presence of PORTLAND'S EROTICA SUPERSTAR!! Great, great account, KM!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Oh my fucking goodness: the next spamword up is untstop. I don't know if that's pig latin or Western Union, but I get the message.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Y'all -- yes, I really do need to get out into the urban jungle more often!

Jeremy, those spam words are doggin' ya man!

The picture in my mind right now is from one of those old movies -- a little man in a suit, nervously tapping pig latin over the wire.

Craig Sorensen said...

Thanks so much for taking me along. I was afraid I'd miss Shanna's reading!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Craig - it was all very exciting and thank goodness I finally found the back door!