December 1st, 2008: Rock n' Roll Reading at The Book Cellar
What to expect from a "rock n' roll reading"? Well, first I should tell you that have to come prepared. Whereas the concert tee is optional, you have to grab an old mixtape to have in the car in case you feel nostalgic afterward (which you will). Bring that old diary you keep because you know will want to flip through it afterward. And of course bring a pen, paper and a backpack for all the books you will buy. Now you are ready for the reading.
First up at The Book Cellar at last night was Jolene Siana (author of Go Ask Ogre) and her unique and extremely personal look into the thoughts and actions of a young girl confronting her problems. There were a few kids in the crowd so we got the edited version, but it was cleared that these letters (written between 1987 and 1991) were a tangible release for all that danced and spun and pounded just below the surface. Stephanie Kuehnert was next up with the perfect complement for Jolene's letters and read selection from the first section of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. Complete with a Social Distortion t-shirt and purple streaks in her hair, Stephanie captivated the crowd with her tale of young misguided lust for a "Rock God".
Joe Meno read a story called "Art School in Boring So..." (from his latest collection DEMONS IN THE SPRING), and read it with energy and humor and charm. While the story focused on a lonely and depressed art student it name drop bands like Bright Eyes and Serge Gainsbourg and it fit in perfectly with the theme for the night. By now the children had left and Joe pulled no punches. Chris Connelly closed the night with a fascinating behind the scenes look at the world of rock as her read from his lastest collection Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible, and Fried. The first selection he read talked about the first time he met Al Jourgensen and the accidental recording a the original version of Pailhead's "I Will Refuse". Then he told of his first tour through the states and all of the illicit debauchery that followed.
It was a night for memories and stories of rock, but most importantly it was a night that attempted to explain the importance of and the freedom found in music. An escape from pain, a fleeting moment of bliss in a hectic world, and a reason to lose yourself if only for three minutes.