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Reading with Tom Monteleone:
A Night of Fantastic Fiction at KGB

September 19th, 2015

With Tom MonteleoneWe took Manhattan.

This past Wednesday, my good friend Tom Monteleone and I performed for an enthusiastic crowd at New York’s KGB, the literary venue in the East Village that has become known as the best literary venue in the city. That’s us (left) plotting before the show, having a sit down in a scene that looks as if it could have been composed by Martin Scorsese or Jules Dassin. (It was shot by Ellen Datlow, who took many of the photos featured in this post. You can see them all full size here.)

21312561050_00bf4cd56b_kIf you’ve ever been to a reading at KGB, you know why it’s so highly regarded. If you haven’t, you should start planning your trip now.

The Fantastic Fiction Series hosted by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel runs the third Wednesday of every month in KGB’s Red Room — an intimate space that fills up quickly. Readings start at 7:00, but it’s a good idea to get there early if you want a seat.

Matt KAmong those attending our readings were Meghan ArcuriDaniel BraumTrevor FiretogKaren HeulerJack Ketchum, and Christine Cohen, Vaughne Hansen and Will Reeve of the Virginia Kidd Literary Agency. That’s Meghan and Trevor above right, sitting with SHU Popular Fiction writer Tom Connair.

Our event kicked off with Matthew Kressel (left) announcing the roster of upcoming readers, an impressive list featuring Elizabeth Hand, Kathe Koja, Rio Youers, and others.

My selection for the night was “Beneath Between,” which originally appeared in The Stories in Between and has since been included in Voices (my 2011 print collection that is due to be released in ebook this fall). The story is a contemporary fantasy about the sf genre, and I was keen to perform it for an informed audience of readers and writers who would catch its many inside references. I wasn’t disappointed. They were a perfect audience.

Horn of Plenty_Naturally, as I have been doing for the past few years, I read the story from memory. (I have an upcoming post on this topic coming soon. Look for it under the title “Scop 102.”)

For his reading, Tom Monteleone performed the story “Horn of Plenty,” a tale originally released as part of Dark Voices, the well-regarded audio series from Borderlands Press. Tom has always been one of my favorite readers. A true 21st-century scop, he knows that reading live involves more than showing up with the printed text and a willingness to read it. He prepares his work, rehearsing the voice and timing to guarantee a dynamic and nuanced presentation. When space permits, he breaks the fourth wall by walking through the audience as he reads.

New Yorker compressedAlthough the tightly packed crowd at the KGB didn’t permit such mingling while reading, Tom nevertheless managed to break down that fourth wall of performance without leaving the podium. Intimate and personable, his story about musical obsession was well suited for the venue (especially when music from a Salty Brine show on an adjacent stage filtered into to Fantastic Fiction space).

In all, it was a great night. The next morning, waking up in a Midtown room that looked out on the art-deco face of the historic New Yorker Hotel, I was ready to do it all again.

Until then . . . scop on!

Image Credits:
Tom Monteleone and The 21st-Century Scop in a pre-performance meeting at the KGB. Photo copyright © 2015 by Ellen Datlow.
Meghan Arcuri, Tom Connair, and Trevor Firetog get ready for the show. Photo copyright © 2015 by Ellen Datlow.
Cover of
Dark Voices Volume 1: Thomas F. Monteleone’s Horn Of Plenty.  Art and cover design copyright © 2015 by Borderlands Press.
The New Yorker Hotel. Photo copyright © 2015 by The 21st-Century Scop.

This Week @ KGB: We’ll Take Manhattan

September 14th, 2015


Trust me, you won’t want to miss this month’s installment of Fantastic Fiction at the KGB.

The place has been named the best literary venue in New York City by New York Magazine, the Village Voice, and others. And since the 1990s, the Fantastic Fiction Series has been the premier showcase for live readings in the sf/f/h genre.

61CghXJXjfL._SX373_BO1204203200_Past readings have featured the like of Joyce Carol Oates, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, Scott Westerfeld, Kelly Link, China Miéville, Nancy Kress, and others. And this week, host Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel will be welcoming my good friend Tom Monteleone and me back for a night of imaginative fiction. Folks, this show is going to rock!

If you’re anywhere near NYC this weekend, you’ll want to make a point of stopping by. Hope to see you there!

Mind Games @ Riley’s

August 22nd, 2015

MG DateSometimes the stars align.

On the last Tuesday or every month, Story Night takes the stage at Riley’s Pour House, featuring storytellers and performers celebrating the art of story.

This month’s theme: Mind Games.

Every year, The Throughline Theatre features the works of new, up-and-coming playwrights as part of their regular season at the Grey Box Theatre in Lawrenceville.

gotmThis year’s play: Games of the Mind by F. J. Harland.

The play opens September 11, but you can get a preview when members of The Throughline Theatre join the storytelling roster at Riley’s, sharing stories and highlights from the play.

Directed by Allison Weakland, the play centers on a scrimmage team from a Catholic high school who achieve victory under the leadership of a cruel and enigmatic nun. Sounds like my kind of play.

tentIf you have a story about high school, sports victories, enigmatic nuns, or anything else falling under the mind-games theme (or if you simply want to order a pint and listen to the tales), we hope you’ll join us August 25 at 8:00PM. The event will be held on Riley’s Garden stage. There’s never a cover, and it’s always a craicing good time.

Scop on!

Etching by M.C. Escher.
Throughline Theatre art for  Games of the Mind by F.J. Harland.
The Garden Tent at Riley’s Pour House.

From “Starry Nights” to “Life’s Adventures”
Story Night Rocks!

July 6th, 2015

larry i compressedIn the recent posts “Storytelling Night” and “The Stars Came Out,” I endeavored to cover last week’s “Starry Nights and Celestial Conversations,” which had far more highlights than can be covered in three blog posts. In other words, if you want to get all that Story Night has to offer, you just have to be there.

ed3In addition to the storytellers highlighted in those previous posts, “Starry Nights” also featured science fiction and fantasy author Larry Ikovich (above right), who spoke of his love of the romantic planetary landscapes features in works of early science fiction — the lush jungles of Venus and complex canals of Mars; and astronomer Ed Potosky (left), who spoke about how an early fascination with astronomy led one young man to a successful career in science.

Lifes AdventuresI may be posting more about “Starry Nights” in the days ahead, but right now I want to give you a chance to save the date for our next event on July 28, when our theme will be Life’s Adventures. Whether it centers on the rush of everyday experience of a struggle against giant bats, we hope you’ll consider sharing your story with us.

Time for one more “Starry Nights” story?

Here’s the audio for “Mars Rocks,” in which co-host Diane Turnshek recounts her adventures on a simulated Mars expedition — an experience that led to an important realization about the effects of light pollution.

– Science fiction and fantasy author Larry Ivkovich.
– Amateur astronomer Ed Potosky. 
– Detail from a vintage cover of Captain Future, Man of Tomorrow, Summer 1942.
– Diane Turnshek presents “Mars Rocks.”
Photos copyright © 2015 The 21-st Century Scop.