Tag Archives: Vouched Presents

Awful Interview: 826 Valencia’s Pasha Parovoz

21 Aug

pasha-introspectiveTo the left you see a picture of the world-renowned actor, philanthropist, and pufferfish: Pasha Parovoz. He’s been in the city he calls home, the ever-creative and weird hub of culture that is San Francisco, since February of this year. Fresh off his return from shooting Moby Dick 3: The Reckoning in Brazil, he’s been working to lose the weight he’s put on in the wake of the film’s moderate success in anticipation of his next role (whatever that may be). I traveled to the Mission District and sat down outside of Pasha’s humble tank in the fish theater at 826 Valencia-—the non-profit where he devotes all of his time to entertaining children and adults–to talk to him about his work, his life, and his passions.

Mr. Parovoz, Pasha, thank you for meeting with me. My first question is regarding your influences: who made you want to act? Who gave you your first taste of the stage?

Oh, you know it was the fish I associated with, really. It also helped that that one of those fish was Balthazar, Eddie Cantor’s striped bass, who, as you know, essentially brought maritime vaudeville to the mainstream (pun intended).

You worked with Balthazar the Bass? He’s a legend, but no one’s seen him in decades.

Oh yes, well he was already quite isolated when we met, but as he’s gotten older he’s become very coy.

How do you keep all the shows in the fish theater fresh everyday?

Well I work off the crowd, Del Close is a huge influence. I like to break down the fourth wall with the audience and put my face against the glass and just swim back and forth. It really moves them when I move. Some of the standards are the works of Tennessee Williams, the crowds love when I puff up at the famous “STELLA” line. Other than that I do Shakespearean classics. But it’s my monologues that really draw the people in, my words are so powerful that the other fish actually have to hide.

Your most recent work was shot in Brazil, that must have been thrilling.

Oh you can’t imagine. I always get self-conscious filming, though, because, as you know, the camera adds ten pounds, which for a pufferfish is a lot. It wasn’t easy with all that good food around. The krill off the coast of Brazil has an addictive flavor. But we had a great time, Moby Dick 3: The Reckoning has been doing pretty well in small midnight showings in cult theaters across the country.

Tell me about the place that you call home, 826 Valencia.

826 is a non-profit dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. I live in the Pirate Supply Store in front of the writing center.

I understand you have a plug.

I’m plugging Birthdays.

Birthdays?

My Birthday, and more importantly your Birthday! This Saturday, August 23, we will be celebrating Vouched San Francisco’s Birthday at Milk Bar in the Haight district of San Francisco! It starts at 6PM. The proceeds from the event will benefit 826 Valencia!

Well I think we’re about out of time, you have a performance coming up right?

Yes, that’s right, thank you for your time and for interviewing me. Will you stay for the show? We will be performing a stage-adaptation of “Bonnie and Clyde”

Sounds amazing.

VouchedATL Presents: An Evening of Book Releases!

1 Apr

So pumped for our next reading, coming up on Wednesday, April 17th at the Goatfarm. Check out this sweet poster!

VouchedApril17_WEB

It will be a reading to put all readings to shame. Not one, but TWO books will be released from two Atlanta publishers. First, Johnny Carroll’s Slow Burn from Safety Third Enterprises and Gina Myers’ Hold it Down from Coconut Books! To celebrate properly we have teamed up with both Safety Third and Coconut for an evening of readings from some of Atlanta’s favorite local legends.

For more details and things, you can check out  the event page.

TONIGHT! Vouched Presents at the Goatfarm!

7 Feb

I know everyone is as feverishly thrilled for this evening’s reading as I am. Look how feverish this book is- it’s burning! *

vouched_0207b

 

More details about the reading on facebook.

*No books were harmed in the making of this reading. Who do you think I am, Guy Montag?

 

Bell vs. Pane in Literary Decision 2012!

13 Nov

RSVP on Facebook!

That’s right. Versus.

Vouched knows how sad you all are that the elections are over, meaning no more debates as excuses for drinking games. So, in true Vouched fashion, we are giving you one more debate–a literary debate. (And probably a drinking game.)

It’ll go like this:

Matt Bell and Sal Pane will each give their opening statements (readings), and then Vouched founder Christopher Newgent will moderate a 15 minute debate over today’s most contentious literary controversies: the rise of the eBook as a new world superpower, the dwindling word economy, and what’s the difference between flash fiction and prose poetry anyway?

Afterwards, the crowd will vote, and 5 lucky audience members will win a copy of the victor’s book.

Vouched Presents: a Literary Powerhouse

29 Aug

This reading really got out of hand fast. What started out as a simple “book release party for Amber Sparks”/”welcome to Indy for Sal Pane” escalated into an all out literary brawl with the addition of Lania Knight, and the REAL PAIN: FUTURE DEAD FRIENDS TOUR 2012 making a stop with Scott McClanahan, Sam Pink, Megan Boyle, Jordan Castro, and Mallory Whitten. This line-up could generate electricity for a small city.

Join us at the new Indy Reads Books store at the very north end of Mass Ave., and pack your brain full of words and moments you won’t want to forget. And, maybe some you’ll want to forget. Let’s be honest. Nights like these have a way of breeding regrets alongside remembrances.

RSVP at Facebook.

Awful Interview: Christopher Newgent

16 Aug

Photo by Stevi Clark

As is the custom of readers at Vouched Presents, Christopher Newgent took part in an Awful Interview–with himself. He’s reading tonight at Indy Reads Books with Tadd Adcox, Layne Ransom, and Chadwick Redden. 7pm. There’s not much else to say. Here he is.

So, you’re reading at your own reading.

Yeah. Is–
Is there a question about that?

You don’t think it’s weird?

I mean, I suppose so, a little. It’s strange that it’s such a big deal in the literary world. Or maybe I’m just making a bigger deal out of it than is necessary. I don’t know. It’s not like anyone has really said anything outright to me or anything. It just seems weird. I don’t know why. I probably just enjoy any excuse to have a guilty conscience.

I grew up playing music in the underground music scene, and it was pretty standard practice for the band who booked the show to play, which facilitated show swapping with other bands and–

*YAWN*

…anyway. Yeah. I’m reading at my own reading. Tadd asked me to.

Tadd’s a good guy.

He is.

Tell me about Tadd.

Well, he’s a–

I’m just going to stop you there.

Okay?

That’s all. I was just tired of hearing you talk. You talk a lot.

Oh.

You’re pretty hard on yourself, aren’t you?

I can be, I guess.

Did I hear once, you thought you had/have an eating problem?

Yeah. I mean, I guess so. Not like a disorder or anything, but–

Explain that.

I was.

Right. Well, continue.

I don’t know. I don’t have either of the classic disorders or anything. But I tend to binge eat when I’m unhappy and stuff.

Are you unhappy now?

I don’t really want to talk about this.

Is it true that when you were a kid, you used to break into houses just to see if you could do it?

Why are you Larry King’ing me?

You mean, why are you Larry King’ing yourself?

Right.

I don’t know. Guilty conscience? Did you ever steal anything from the houses you broke into?

No. My friends did though. It was just sport for me. I wanted to see if–

BORING.

I’m…sorry?

Are you going to be this boring at the reading tonight?

I hope not. I try to put on a good show. I just want people to li–

Do you have any final words to the hopeful audience?

I love you. Please come.

Awful Interview: James Tadd Adcox Redux

9 Aug

This is James Tadd Adcox giving no fucks.

Look. I know James Tadd Adcox had an Awful Interview here fairly recently, but there’s no point in arguing. James Tadd Adcox deserves another Awful Interview, because he’s coming to Indy to read next week, and that’s that. It’s final. If you keep arguing with me, I’ll turn this blog around and take us all back home right now. No. You can’t go to the bathroom. Shut up. Shut up.

I said shut up.

Let’s get right to the cut: tell me about Malort, and why on God’s earth do you make me drink it every time I’m in Chicago, and why on God’s earth do I drink it, even though I know it’s the official drink of Hell?

Malort is the official drink of making people who aren’t from Chicago drink it. Generally a night that involves Malort is a good night. Technically, Malort is supposed to be spelled with an umlaut over the “o,” though God only knows why. Besides, umlauts are a pain to type, so to hell with it.

There’s a genre of youtube videos called “malort face.” The idea is, you give someone who hasn’t had Malort before a shot of Malort, and you film it. Like most good ideas, it’s pretty straightforward. The taste of Malort has been described as “like a tire fire,” “like someone just laid asphalt on your tongue,” “like the souls of dead orphans.” The bottle describes its taste as “a unique botanical,” and notes that it is a favorite of “two-fisted drinkers everywhere.” You can only buy Malort in Chicago, which is probably good for the future of the species.

It really is a terrible concoction. The only reason I drink it is because I want you to like me. Do you like me?

I do like you, Christopher. I like you very much. I won’t say that it’s because you drink Malort, but I won’t say that it’s unrelated, either.

Good. I like you, too, Tadd. Just so the record’s clear. Do you listen to vinyl? Are you one of those people?

I don’t, but it’s not because I’m not pretentious enough to. It’s that records are really heavy, and I tend to move about once a year. I am trying to live in all of the Chicago neighborhoods. So far I have lived in Ukranian Village, Humbolt Park, Pilsen, and Logan Square. Candidates for next neighborhood include Andersonville, Bronzeville, Back-of-the-Yards, Boy’s Town.

I think the truly important question here is: Which of those neighborhoods has the most hookers per capita?

Oh man, there was actually a really depressing story in the local free weekly this week about underage homeless prostitutes in Boy’s Town. Well, and the underage queer homeless population more generally. Here, I’ll post a link.

Crap. Did I just bring everything down? Did I kill the mood?

No way, dude. Underage homeless prostitutes are hilarious. I’m actually planning on reading a story about them solving crimes, fucking Hardy-Boys-style, at the reading. Do you have any special things planned for the Vouched Presents reading?

You are a terrible man.

I am imagining what Hardy-Boys-style fucking would be like. I know that’s not how you intended that, but now I’m thinking about it. It seems like of kinky, in a faux-naive way. The word “adventures” would be involved. Flashlights. The possibility of terrible crimes, just outside the borders of the (sexual) fiction.

At the Vouched Presents reading: probably Russ will sing. Maybe I will sing. Russ is actually a musician, so him singing will be less weird. Meghan’s performance might involve some sort of fake blood or animal parts or tiny dolls designed for choking, I don’t know. Possibly I will make some kind of spectacle, if the reading seems to call for it.

Oh, and Russ and I have both made special chapbooks for this tour, which we’ll be giving away for free.

You’re reading too, yeah? What are you going to do?

I am, which is weird, maybe. In the underground music scene, it’s common practice for the band that booked the show to include themselves on the bill, but that doesn’t seem so kosher in the lit scene. I feel like I’m breaking barriers or something, though I know I’ve been to plenty of readings where the organizer also read. Nothing is new under the sun.

I’m actually considering a set comprised completely of poetic performances of Ted Nugent songs. There might even be archery involved, and the killing and eating of various game. Not to ruin the surprise, but perhaps even a loin cloth. I don’t know.

Thoughts? Any final words for your would-be audience?

I don’t know. I’m just really excited about the prospect of archery. I want to shoot something. Let’s shoot things. Shooting is the new reading.

A Very Vouched Birthday Party FAQ

10 Jul

After blitzing the internet with Single Sentence Reviews, Raffle Prize Announcements, and other promotional things for about a month,, I realize you may have some questions about the upcoming festivities. So here’s our first ever Vouched Presents FAQ.

When does this shin-dig start?  

7pm, approximately. I estimate readings to begin between 7:15 and 7:30.

Is there a cost for admission?

Nope, you can attend for free! That being said, there will be things for sale: food from the Good Food Truck, drinks, popsicles from the King of Pops, t-shirts, books, etc. so it would be very wise of you to bring money with you in case you may get hungry, parched, etc.

I heard there’s an art opening involved too, can you tell me more about that?

Happily! We’re lucky enough to have the very talented Atlantan sculptor, Duncan Shirah, host the opening evening of his exhibition ‘Tools’ in conjunction with our party. He’s even been kind enough to donate his sculpture “Wood Pecker Awl” as the grand prize of the evening. Here’s what that looks like:

You can learn more about Duncan Shirah at his website or in these interviews with Dashboard Co-op and Scoutmob.

How do I win those totally sweet raffle prizes?

Great question! Participants in our raffle will receive 1 raffle ticket for every $5 donated or spent on WINK, Wren’s Nest Publishing Co., or Vouched merchandise. So say, for instance, you buy a book from me that costs $10. For that you will receive not only your book, but 2 raffle tickets! Which could win you all sorts of amazing prizes!

Where do my donations go?

Donations will be split evenly between the Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.  and WINK. Vouched Books will not be keeping any of the money donated.

Where can I learn more about the Wren’s Nest Publishing Co. and WINK?  

Both organizations have really splendid websites, which give background information on both of their tutoring organizations, the work that they do, and other information about how to get involved.

You can learn more about the Wren’s Nest Publshing Co. here!

You can learn more about WINK here!

I only attend parties where there are photo-booths. Will there be a photo-booth?

YES! Our good friends at Smilebooth have been kind enough to donate us a photo-booth for the evening to better capture all of the debauchery.

Can I win multiple raffle prizes? 

No. Sorry, but that just doesn’t seem fair. Winners will be collecting their prizes at the Vouched Books table throughout the evening where we will be keeping track of who wins what.  One prize per attendee.

What’s the Goatfarm, are there goats?

In their own words: The Goat Farm Arts Center is a major visual & performing arts center in Atlanta. What was once an underutilized historic site went through a major expansion and was given new form in 2009. Part of the expansion opened up 20,000 square feet dedicated to five new performance and exhibition halls and spaces. The Center now hosts classical & contemporary music concerts, traditional and experimental theatrical performances, film screenings, contemporary dance performances and art exhibitions.

And yes, there are real-life goats!

The poster has a lot of balloons. Will there be balloons? 

Yes, there will be at least 1 dozen 3′ circular balloons. There will not be bears.

Vouched Presents Indy, Aug. 16: Tadd Adcox, Russ Februaryy, Meghan Lamb

9 Jul

Vouched Presents Indy is dog-daying this summer with a Chicago invasion trio: Tadd Adcox, Russ Februaryy, and Meghan Lamb: and myself? Okay. Here goes nothing.

Tadd has just released his first collection of short stories, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge, so he’s striking out on some readings. Being a native Indianapolisian, he wanted to come back and show Indy what he’s become, with friends Russ and Meghan along for the ride with their yelling and sloshing.

Note: We’re holding this reading at the new Indy Reads Bookstore, which opens this weekend at the very north end of Mass Ave. in downtown Indy. Indy Reads is a rad organization that promotes literacy efforts around the city. Libations should be available, with donations going to support Indy Reads and all the goodness they do.

Get there; let Tadd draw you a map.

Single-Sentence Review: THIS IS WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST by Ben Hersey

26 Apr

The man flapping out his Whitman-inspired glow at a recent event

THIS IS WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST
by Ben Hersey
The Chuckwagon, 2008, $4 (postage included)

Ben Hersey came to Indiana for the last Vouched Presents Reading and read, no no silly, the right word is performed, or maybe exploded is an even better word, stomping around in a hockey jersey, doing some wild stuff with lettuce, chomping and sniffing and whatever, pulling this character, angry and afraid from Boston, unstable and shouting, from his body, and here in this book those words, those beautiful tragic scary scenes Hersey expelled from his body, are captured, quite remarkably, quite intact, as much as can be hoped, proving this shit can be shaking in person, but even on the page, man, his take on rattly emotion and fucked-up existence thrives.

An awesome excerpt at The Chuckwagon (where you can buy this wonderful thing for only four bucks!)

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