Monday, December 28, 2015

Two Cookie Holiday Reading Unwrapped

Its surreal to think that one year ago, Two Cookie Minimum (TCM) was holding its last reading at the Hungry Brain. We’ve had a great 2015 to follow. Closing our year, there was one last reading, our December holiday celebration, at Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHIPRC). This was the third Chicago venue that has hosted the series. Look for more one-off readings there in the future. The entire event was a blast. We had beer donated from Revolution Brewing. Everyone thru the door picked a number for surprise present, things like literary journals, CHIPRC zines, and chachkis like beer cozies and silly putty. And of course there were cookies.
Julia Borcherts!

The real highlight like any TCM is always the lineup. When I form a reading lineup, I hand select performers that I believe are extraordinary in their medium and that I want others to appreciate their work. This lineup exceeded those expectations. I was told by a few series regulars that this was one of the best shows they’ve seen. Its feelings and remarks like this that keeps me holding the series going.

The night started out with a reading from Julia Bortcherts. She read at the very first TCM reading back in July 2010. He story, a work of fiction, centered on a woman’s failing relationship and how she would have to find a job to pay the bills, possibly as a dominatrix. Julia’s background as a journalist allows her to research what makes a good story, which made sense in the story’s attention to detail about the dominatrix dungeon. Julia always captivates the crowd, pausing for laughter and pacing her reading, because she’s such a pro (she was a cofounder and hosted the series Reading Under the Influence about 8 years).

Celia Perez!
Next up was zinester Jim Joyce. He’s a fav at CHIPRC. The first public event at CHIPRC was a reading tour Jim put together. He has a very unique performance style where its not only a reading, but intentionally part stand up. Jim didn’t read tonight though. Instead he screened a Halloween inspired short film, The Night of the Blood Zine, that he co-wrote and directed. Being it was Jim, he gave running commentary during the short, supplementing the already funny DIY nature of the film.

Celia Perez read next, sharing a personal story about Buena Noche growing up in Miami. It was a touching narrative that looked back on her father’s dream of roasting a pig for Christmas diner, and how it unraveled. Like all great zine writers, Celia allows the story to get very personal as her writing invokes nostalgia and love for times long since past.

Dave Reidy followed, reading from his newest novel The Voiceover Artist. He noted that when he read at TCM back in 2013, he read a piece from the book when it was only a draft. This time, he read a different part, the introduction of the main character in the book.  I hope people check out his book (as he is one of my favorite short story writers).

To close the night was one of Chicago’s best comics artists, Gina Wynbrandt. She was joined by her friend J Pulos. Every time I’ve seen her read, it brings down the house. This was no different, a humorous comic about booty calls and the reverie she draws herself a part of. The imagined journey as a bounty hunter takes the character of herself to a gentleman’s club, a beach and a swamp, chalk full of sexual encounters and a ton of naked dudes. Gina might hold a Guinness Book record for drawing the most number of hard dicks in one comic. It was that good of a reading.
Dave Reidy! 

This was one of the great TCM lineups and provided a fun last community gathering of the year. The memories from 2015 and those over the past 5 years will carry the series into the next year. Here’s to wishing it’ll measure up to everything we’ve done in the past.

Have a great new year.

Johnny Misfit