Oh no, no more Sospeso

I caught up with Laura Smith a week or two ago and found out that this Friday will be the last Sospeso Reading:

The readings have run for over a year, which I reckon is a pretty good run given that it was originallly conceived as just one or two events at the end of a Cafe Poet residency. Now I’d like to move on to other projects. (22 June 2010)

I asked Laura why she hadn’t brought in someone to replace her. When it comes to organising your own poetry night, most people want to start from scratch; apparently secondhand poetry nights aren’t as appealing as secondhand tea cosies.

So, if you haven’t been to a Sospeso Reading, this is your last chance. Seat yourself at one of the tables at Caffe Sospeso around seven this Friday for a quick meal and get treated to a ‘first taste’ of Tiggy Johnson’s latest poetry collection as well as spoken word from Anna Fern.

For those who wish to reminisce, here’s some thoughts on Healing (February’s Sospeso night) and a video of Michael Reynolds’ performance.


All vampired out

Phew, it’s been a long week of vampire-related activities. I’ve been working on a True Blood/Buffy comparison for kicks, as well as a review of Narrelle M. Harris’ The Opposite of Life on Estelle Tang’s request. Estelle Tang is now the online content editor of Kill Your Darlings, which is coincidentally launching its first issue tonight at the Bella Union Bar.

There seems to be a few literary events going down tonight. Etchings is also launching its latest issue, ‘Dusk till Dawn’, at Neverland (South Melbourne), and Willow Tales will be on again at the Willow Bar (Northcote). Christine will be nabbing (and hopefully reviewing) a copy of Etchings for me, but I’m bummed about having to ditch Willow Tales for Kill Your Darlings. I’ve heard some good things about Willow Tales and I keep on missing out. Bleh. I’ll get there one day.

Until then…

March 1: What’s happening, Melbourne?

I told somebody I was Tom Cho-ing the other day; they laughed and said Tom would be pleased to find out that he’s now a verb. (Tom Cho-ing – v. 1. going out to see Tom Cho at the Wheeler Centre on 1 March 2010 for Debut Mondays.) Other writers who might also be turned into verbs today will be Lisa Dempster, Andrew Croome, and LK Holt.

Read You Bastards is getting Lifted this Wednesday at the Empress. (Lifted – adj. 1. Lifted Brow-ified and therefore awesome.) Guest readers will be contributors from The Lifted Brow’s Atlas issue, including Nicolas Low, Angela Meyer, and Lorelei Vashti. No Atlases on sale this Wednesday (sold out), but there’ll probably be some back issues available at the door or you can preorder an Atlas reprint at www.theliftedbrow.com. I will also attempt to encourage/bully open mic newbie Christine Priestly into doing another reading.

Sketch is launching their second issue on Thursday night at Chaise Lounge. After hearing them talk about their lack of (wo)manpower at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, I volunteered to help proofread their second issue. I haven’t seen the final proofs yet, but hopefully Sketch 2 will be good. There’s this amazing story by new writer Clare Kitada in it and I’m looking forward to seeing it in print.

Friday will be Domestic Rock ‘n’ Roll night for Sospeso Readings. Derek Motion and Nathan Curnow will be performing, along with a whole lot of open mic peeps. I won’t be able to make it because OHMIDOG I AM SEEING RICHARD DAWKINS, but I really really liked the last Sospeso and I think you should like totally go to this one, like yeah.

Signing off for now, lots of photos soon,


Lifted Brow’s Atlas Launch

Atlas liasons at Bella Union Bar:

gaijin geishas and short shorts ninjas

suicide bombers who can’t be farked after a beer

tie skirts and kilts and (hopefully) underwear

Angela Jolie with a basketful of babies

and fur stole translations

on a bright blue sea.

England represent (Laura Smith). (22/1/10)

Norweigan (Angela Meyer) and gaijin geisha (Lisa Dempster) at The Lifted Brow's Atlas launch. (22/1/10)

Inaugural night of storytelling at Dog’s Bar

Were you at Dog’s Bar last night? Because I was. Imagine a stage curtained off from the noise and lights of Ackland Street, a spindly desk lamp, and Josephine Rowe draped over a leather armchair Dickens might have favoured, her pale feet dangling over the side. Or Chris Flynn, straight-backed, introducing guest readers with a Belfast lilt, needing a tweed suit to go with his cap. Delicately drawn characters from Steven Amsterdam and Luke May, conversations about boxing with Mischa Merz, and an impromptu travel story from Cate Kennedy that was so well-constructed, it was sleight of hand, the audience straining to spot the chicanery of wires and pulleys in the dark. And then wine after, and dinner, and conversation about books. ‘Twas good. You missed out.

So what’s happening, Melbourne? Racism apparently

According to Spambook, Peril’s Issue Eight will be launching Thursday, 3 December, at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre. I’ll be stuck at an end of year work function, missing out on the likes of Tom Cho, Ladies of Colour Agency, Maxine Clarke, Angela Costi, and Diana Nguyen. I really want to meet Diana after reading her Growing Up Asian in Australia piece, ‘Five Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother’, and I enjoy Maxine Clarke’s performances; I’m kinda bummed that I can’t make it. Somebody should go on my behalf and tell me about it (or, even better, record and post stuff up on YouTube).

My one consolation is that I’ll be MC-ing December’s Caffe Sospeso gig on Friday, 4 December. Racism will be the night’s theme, and there will be performances from Maxine Clarke, Lian Low, and Raina Peterson. It will be like totally PC and high brow: I’ll be putting on my best  ‘Sittingvale’ accent and my new ao dai. Come along and laugh and then feel awful about it. Things start happening around sevenish. 


Poetry Fridays: Racism with Maxine Clarke, Lian Low, and Raina Peterson


Poetry Fridays: People & Places

On Friday, I turned up at the wrong venue for The Bedroom Philosopher, but I did manage to go to Laura Smith’s poetry gig at Caffe Sospeso. When I first heard that Sospeso was in Hawthorn, I got excited. Hawthorn, Camberwell, and Canterbury make up most of Melbourne’s private-school belt; most poets stay clear of such suburbs, preferring to ‘grunge it’ in the inner north and south. Unfortunately, I live in the east, and driving to Northcote or Fitzroy gets old after a couple of trips. Caffe Sospeso is the closest poetry gathering to home and I’m hoping to patronise it many more times.

I came late to the gig, so the only feature poet I got to see was Susan Fealy. I remember hearing Susan’s ‘Horse Lattitudes’ at the Verandah 23 launch; I hadn’t liked the poem during that reading, but Susan performed it well last Friday. I also enjoyed her poem about an elderly woman; I wish I could recall the name of it, but work and wine have turned me senile. Apologies to Susan!

With very little persuasion from Laura, I got up and performed ‘Red Den Beauty’ (published in Harvest) for the open mic. Compared with Read You Bastards, I was much more relaxed for this reading (it helps when there’s at least one friend in the audience). My poem won compliments from a couple of punters; I can see why performance appeals so much to some writers.

Caffe Sospeso runs their poetry night monthly, and the next gig’s happening early November. Details of the when and how will be posted up closer to the date.

The Bedroom Philosopher

I got a chance to see The Bedroom Philosopher (aka Justin Heazlewood) at MWF’s Festival Club on Sunday. Usually I’m the reserved, quiet type when watching standup comedy, but a couple of wines and some clever tunes about seniors, immigrants, and working in new media cracked me open, and I started laughing alongside everyone else. The Bedroom Philosopher will be doing a couple more performances at Festival Club and they’re free, so come check him out. His ‘giglet’ starts at 9pm and is performing on the 27th, 29th, and 30th of August. 

Denim Owl @ The Lifted Brow

Okay, I am going to attempt the slow and arduous process of uploading TLB5 launch videos using my shitty internet. 

Today’s sampling is Denim Owl. Since I’m not so crash hot with the music, I put Denim Owl on in the car, and my more music-savvy friend, Sarah, had a listen. She decided that they were a more acoustic version of Architecture in Helsinki, and cute in the way that made her think of Skipping Girl Vinegar. Hmmm. See what you think: