Thursday, October 31, 2013

'Best' Recognize, Two Cookie in Newcity's Best of Chicago 2013

Two Cookie Minimum Reading Series gets a mention in the annual Newcity Best of Chicago issue. We landed Best Reading Series at 9pm on a Tuesday, listed in the Culture and Nightlife section.

Two Cookie Minimum
Best Reading Series at 9pm on a Tuesday
At 7:30pm on a weekday, a lot of lit-minded types aren’t home from their day jobs, or their jobs are on the exact opposite side of town from their favorite reading series. That’s why John Wawrzaszek is a genius for having Two Cookie Minimum start at 9pm. The Hungry Brain is also a genius location for a reading—a dark, cool dive bar with cheap drinks, couches and arcade games. The magic continues with readers—Wawrzaszek harmonizes the zine and lit scenes, booking writers like Mairead Case and James Tadd Adcox, whose work feels at home in both. And yes, there are cookies.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Check It, Two Cookie's November Line Up

On Tuesday November 5th Two Cookie Minimum prepares for Fall with a lineup that will be sure to warm up your spirits, as will the free cookies to snack on while you wet your whistle at the bar.

As series’ host Johnny Misfit, I welcome featured readers:

Lex Sonne, fiction published in Nighttrain, Corium and Hobart,

Simon Smith, high school English teacher and writer,

Todd Herskovitz, self-published author of the novel "In the Amiable Silence of the Moon” ,

Michael Bogart, current graduate student of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago,

Bobby Biedrzycki, Director of Programming for performance series 2nd Story.

The show begins at 9pm. Donations appreciated. Cookies, always free.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Two Cookie Minimum LA reading!

This past Monday night Oct. 21st, Two Cookie hit the coast for its first branded reading outside of Chicago! Two Cookie Minimum reading in LA happened thanks in part to fellow zinester and buddy Eyrca Sender (My Little Friend) for booking the venue, readers, promoting and emceeing.
The reading was in a cool little bookstore called Stories in Echo Park. They had the back patio set up for the reading with chairs and a PA system. Their Halloween decor blended in with their wooden fencing and trees. It was pretty welcoming. The best part was meeting new zinesters and hearing some great stories. 

Amber in her dancin' boots
First reader was Amber Garza (Zine Works) who read a story about how dance music, house, EDM has nothing to do with gender b/c it's about the music. Regardless of scene stereotypes and roles, the music is for all to share. She read on and then flipped the page to find the 2nd half of the story missing.We felt her pain but she closed strong and left beginning on a good foot.

Second reader was Brodie Foster Hubbard (Fair Dig). He read about his attempts at joining a Brazilian Jujitsu gym. All he wanted was someone to punch him in the face. Things hadn't worked out so well in the end and he quit going. His second piece was about his love of writing and putting words on the page. He actually worked on a draft of his text in that very patio. Both his selections were a nice balance.

Brodie pointing to where he had wrote his story in that very bookstore
Next up was Kelli Callis (That Girl) who joked that people who say they've been making zines for 'a long time' equaled people who've made zines for over 10-15+ years. It showed as she commanded the hell out of the reading. Her first selection was a bit about her trip to India way before outsourcing was a standard business practice. Peeing into a hole while a soaked rat jumped out was the highlight for sure. She then read from her zine Kurt Cobain was Lactose Intolerant Conspiracy Zine. She made the point that his lack of digesting dairy forced him to commit suicide. 

Johnny Misfit unscrewing his skull

Eryca followed reading two pieces, one about her nosedive into the world of SVU on Netflix and the other for a Guide to LA. Both were told in her casual yet witty voice evoking laughs and educating us at the same time. Now we know that 1) if you have to drive around LA for over 20 minutes to find parking, its best to turn around and go home, and 2) that Ice T's character on Law and Order has the same character background as his role in New Jack City. Informative for sure.

I, Johnny Misfit, ended the night reading a selection that's on my website, a fictionalized tale about growing up as a punk kid in Chicago. I noticed someone brought a dog into the store which made sense as this was LA and dogs were everywhere. It also made sense why the store's floor was all unfinished concrete. Then I read some chapters from my Field Manual: Human Body zine. I remember moving my hands a lot to the story, as in gestures. It was probably too much and pretty annoying (as you will tell from the photo).

It was a great night and I am glad to have been welcomed to LA by such gracious people. Nice words were shared, zines traded, and then we went on our way.  The experiences was so refreshing that I hope to do more out of town Two Cookie readings. Email me and let's get it started.

All above photos taken by Kelly Callis. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Cookie Scary Stories WRAP UP (like a mummy)

The Scary Stories reading at Two Cookie was a great time. Classics were read. A man with a hook for a hand terrorized teens. A spider laid eggs on a girl’s face. Cookies were eaten. A stuffed animal was beheaded and an electric skeleton made us laugh.

As the host Johnny Misfit, I tried to share a bit of background, to give a history to the works as an intro to the night. Let’s say I never shut up. But I did mention the fact that in 2011 for the book’s 30th anniversary, the old illustrations where replaced with new renditions. I showed some examples. This brought forth some boos from the crowd. Then I read a selection, about baseball because the playoff wildcard game was on and I found it fitting. 

When I finally did shut up, the invited readers started off the night. I have to note at this time, I began a slideshow of images featuring the creepy and grotesque black and white illustrations from the books. That set the tone, supplementing the text and performances that followed. 

Jim Joyce took it old school Scooby Doo style reading a story about a boy dared to spend a night in haunted house. Jim read with his trademark wit beginning his reading by sharing some Amazon reviews of the Scary Stories books. It ended with Jim performing a decapitation on a stuffed dog from which goldfish flew out of the stuffed body. 

Hillary Stone brought some laughs as she read two stories. One in particular elicited some help from the Batman’s villain Bane who, as we all know, was born in the dark (probably told some scary stories in his time).

More than half of the audience took to the stage to read their favorites.

  • Mike and Evan, two Members of the band Exit Ghost, each read selections that dealt with eating human beings.
  • Lindsey from the band the Cellphones gave us goosebumps reading about Harold the scarecrow come to life.
  • Comics artist Alex Nall sung and danced to the Hearse Song. He also drew another kick ass collection of drawings at the reading.
  • Other guests included Piper Pennigan aka Michelle Guimon, Allison Klein (DJ AllisonWunderland and CHIRP personality) and zinester Collin Brennan.
  • Dan the Hungry Brain’s bartender added to the festivities by retrieving an electronic skeleton head that lit up, had moving eyes and posed the question, “Do I Know You? Come a little closer.” Pretty good stuff.

Big thanks to Sarah W for bringing Halloween Oreos and those little orange and black wrapped peanut butter nuggets. And Jill S (my partner) for letting me use her laptop to project all the scary images.
Thanks to everyone who came out. Hope you all had a nostalgic time and that your sleep was full of nightmares.

And for those interested, here is the intro I wrote that I didn’t even follow. My actual reading of it was more a spastic version of Cliff Notes. Read the text below.