My Jewcy post is up, offering a little 411, point and counterpoint about whether or not to fast on Yom Kippur. I anticipate a lively comments-section, perhaps.
Today, after the busy weekend, I ate breakfast for lunch in a diner near my apartment, took a long shower, didn’t bother with makeup, played with my cat, and now I’m about to make a lasagna. Space to decompress is grand.
However! I have a lot to tell you. Omaha, as always, was lovely and the (Downtown) Omaha Lit Fest was, as always, a blast. I just love that town and the folks I know there/from there, and it’s so nice in the fall. Anyway, you guys want the dish, I’m sure, and dish you shall have.
Well, I’ll start Friday morning. Dear Jami Attenberg flew in and we drove over, arriving in the afternoon and managing to not pick up any stray cats. We stayed in the spacious, beautiful home (which I would later begin calling “The Omaha Riviera”) of local men-about-town B&G. We were greeted at the door with chardonnay and snacks, which could not have been more perfect. Jami took the guest room and I was up in the attic-turned-art studio, so I woke every morning under a nice heavy blanket with a perfect view of trees and sky. Happy, happy, happy. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
So, the four of us sat around for a bit and talked books and writing and Nebraska and such, then we all spiffed up and headed over to La Bouvette for wine, bread, cheese and salad, then over to Film Streams to the Naked Lunch showing, with the panel and such after to meet up with lit fest mastermind and my darling friend, Timothy Schaffert. A few minutes after arriving, all standing in the lobby not wanting to clomp into the panel-in-progress, Monica Drake (adore her) arrived and the Attenberg, Drake and Guth trio slipped next door to The Slodown for a drink.
Then, Jami and I got very lost for a bit as we all aimed to reconvene at LaBouvette, but managed to arrive with the help of a few phone calls to PNC281 and Timothy Schaffert. Anyway, we finally met up with Timothy, Monica, Maud Casey (love her, we bonded over the perils cat placation) Kiara Brinkman (a cohort of mine over on The Nervous Breakdown and so wickedly funny– love her! We also bonded over cocktails and mutual adoration of cats) and a few others at La Bouvette. I found out the following morning our hosts, B&G, looked for us for a bit, which I felt rotten about, assuming they were coming to reconvene as well. Oops.
Monica Drake, having written a very great book called Clown Girl (which you should all buy and enjoy because it is so, so, so good), produces from her purse a miniature rubber chicken and a clown nose. Once things like that link up with wine and authors, the bon temps, as they say, rouler, as you can see here and here. The poor miniature rubber chicken, with its squeeze-responding butthole, didn’t survive long, as we eventually attacked the poor thing, trying to figure out the butt squeeze thing, and squished and squirted its weird guts all over the table, and, if memory serves, Maud’s jacket. Really, we’re the upper crust of literary sophistication at these festivals, as you can see.
So, let’s see, then Jami and I got lost again, which became a theme of the weekend, but eventually found our way back to B&G’s Riviera. In the morning, to my complete delight, B&G had banana pancakes, juice and coffee for us (Hello, I’ve already called dibs on staying there next year) as we talked through my strategy for the panel I moderated on literature surviving technological advances.
Then, we headed to the library, where all of the events we being held, and I did a little work for a few minutes before sitting on the panel about cultivating a cult following (with Monica Drake, Dallas Hudgens, Poe Ballantine, Timothy, and Aaron Raz Link, moderated by another new BFF– the one and only Lauren Cerand) which was a hill of fun. Then, I ran downstairs and got a sandwich and talked with Jami, Lauren Cerand and co. Then, we raced back to the library for the sex panel, and watched, among other soon-to-be-legendary highlights, Jami and Debra Di Blasi discuss who exactly buys literary fiction, men or women and the panel’s moderator, Holly H. Hollenbeck, bashfully admit she stopped to masturbate while editing/writing racier sections of her book, Sex Lives of Wives. Oh snap!
Then, I moderated the aforementioned technology v. literature panel with Sarah Dodson (MAKE Magazine), Jonathan Segura (Publishers Weekly), Jonathan Messinger (Time Out Chicago/Featherproof), Ragdoll and Marcus Tegtmeier (Acid Free Lincoln). We went through my questions and before I really had a chance to open the discussion up for audience questions, the audience jumped in, which was, well, awesome. We hit text speak infiltrating, language evolution, Wikipedia and so on, and I was delighted to see such oomph from the crowd.
Then, with the very fabulous Laural Winter and her hubby, I went to the very fabulous fashion panel featuring Lauren Cerand, author-I-didn’t-get-to-talk-with-that-much-but-I-think-she-is-really-awesome, Carolyn Turgeon, the dynamic Alice Kim (imagine my delight when I heard she was a Smiths fan) and the very hilarious, very talented Wanda Ewing (love her– and just this morning I realized we’ve been friends on Facebook for months even though we just met and hung out this weekend for the first time. The panel was moderated by the fabulous Megan Berry Barlow, who moderated the panel I sat on last year that resulted in the notorious Media Bistro photograph where I appear to be looking at Will Clarke’s junk. Which I was not.
So, after that, Jami and I went back to the Riviera to chill a while and get gussied up for the evening. Back to the library, all dolled up, we chatted and sipped and nibbled on the buffet, then it was time for the Omaha edition of Jonathan Messinger’s The Dollar Store Show where I revisited my fratboy-meets-Ganesha piece, Timothy Siragusa– playwright beyond– gave an awesome take on a Mrs. Kutcher makeup bag as means of drug sales, and Jonathan read his wonderful piece about a twin named Fritz (I forgot to ask whether or not he actually has a twin).
After, we wandered about and schmoozed a bit more then headed over to Nomad, which was nice, and did offer a $1,000 cocktail, but it was perhaps a bit clubby for yours truly. I chatted with Sarah Dodson for a bit, Ron Hogan for a bit, mostly to Jonathan Messinger and his lady, Maria. I think everyone was a bit tired, though, so none of us lasted too terribly long there. Jami and I headed back to the Riviera, and both hit the hay. G, of B&G, our hosts, was awake when we came home, surprised to see us home at 12:30, but tired is tired is tired.
The next morning, B&G hosted a gorgeous brunch for everyone, and a few of us sat on the side porch in the garden, with a perfect view of Joslyn Castle, laughing about all sorts of odds and ends and dishing a review of the weekend. Finally, Jami and I left, arriving back in Chicago and sitting in weird traffic from a parade of Mexican flags.
And, I guess that brings us to today.
Finally, we reached the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer goal I set of raising $1,000 dollars last night, and so I’ve upped it to $1,100. I’ve already gotten up to $1,027 today, can we get to $1,100 (or more…?) by tomorrow morning?? Let’s try.