Earlier this week, I joined a group of fun writers and poets at a bar in downtown Portland for a little drinking, a little laughter, and a lot of literature, because we were all reading as part of the Salon Skid Row series.
Hosted by Josh Lubin at The Corner Bar, the series is old school in the best way: an open mic, a little ad-lib humor between readers, a lot of casual fun. And then there were the featured writers: Douglas Spangle, Pecos B. Jett, Alexis Orgera, and me.
Yes, that sign says “Off-Track Betting.” The Corner Bar has a sideline as a gambling joint: during the day, folks hunker down to yell over their beers at tv screens showing horse and dog races, and even in the evening, the digital slots are running behind a curtained wall (more than once, our fiction and poetry was good enough to draw gasps and laughter from gamblers playing the machines in the corner).
The audience was just as much fun, too, most everyone in their cups and all us readers taking the cue to read something lively. I read a bit from Hagridden (the introduction of Whelan), and then I decided, for the anniversary of Box Cutters, to read my bar story out of the chapbook. People got the creeps from Whelan and told me afterward that they were eager to hear more from the novel, but everyone really loved LoAnn and her ventriloquist dummy!
It was a great night in a fun venue, and I loved the bar-reading/open-mic vibe of the whole thing. I’ll be back for future events as an audience member!