Tag Archives: Big Car Art Collective

Help Big Car Say YES

20 Apr

Vouched Books has been a partner with the Big Car Art Collective since our launch back in October 2010. They’ve graciously opened up their gallery for our readings, given me a space to sell books at Indy’s monthly First Friday Art Festival, and embraced Vouched as a part of their goodness.

They’re currently trying to raise money to support their efforts in “taking art to people as a way to bring people – of all ages and backgrounds – to art and creativity. We also believe that public spaces should be invigorated with creativity, with play, with the energy of making things and having fun. Our program will make life better in Indianapolis by introducing engaging public programming on our downtown Cultural Trail, Canal and in urban parks and public spaces. Ultimately, these public goods help people connect with their city and each other.”

Big Car is pushing a drive at Global Giving, which is a lot like Kickstarter, but specifically for rad nonprofits who are doing rad things around the world.

I know there are tons of things in this world vying for your generosity, but I can personally vouch for Big Car, that every dollar you give them will go to something awesome–like turning an entire unused, decrepit parking lot into a urban garden or an abandoned auto service center into a thriving community art space host to international festivals, TED talks, and Vouched Presents readings.

An Evening with Frank Bill – Feb 10th

17 Jan

Vouched is teaming up with Punchnel’s, Second Story, and Big Car to bring you a night to hang out with author Frank Bill (Crimes in Southern Indiana).

From the desk at Second Story/Punchnel’s:

An evening of conversation with Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana, for readers, writers, and people who like hanging out with them. Bill will be joined by winning writers from the Boiled Down Noir Contest at Punchel’s.

Admission: Free
Food & drink will be available at the event

All proceeds benefit the work of Second Story to help kids learn to love creative writing.

We’ll also host a pre-event reading group discussion of Bill’s book at Service Center on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. This is also free.

Sponsored by:

Vouched Books
Big Car

If you got them in you, crank out some words for the noir contest. And get thee to the Service Center on February 10th to drink some beer with a guy who knows his backwood noir.

Tonight at Big Car Gallery!

4 Nov

It’s the first Friday of November so you guys know where I’ll be tonight! I’ll have the table set up at the same bat time, same bat spot: right outside the Big Car Gallery. I’ll be joined again tonight by Vouched contributor-extraordinaire Tyler Gobble. Also, new to the table tonight is If I Falter at the Gallows by Edward Mullany (Publishing Genius Press), and with all do luck, Ayiti by Roxane Gay (Artistically Declined Press) will be sitting on my doorstep when I get home, ready to be sold to the world.

But I’m not the only thing happening at Big Car tonight. No, no!

Big Car Gallery: Bodies of Water

Bodies of Waters, part of Spirit & Place, will bring pieces based on John Waters’s films that some of the nation’s top pop surrealist artists and illustrators as well a few local favorites created specially for the exhibit.

iMOCA in partnership with Big Car Gallery put the exhibit together to celebrate the appearance of filmmaker John Waters on November 12 at the Madame Walker. Artists participating are: Glenn Barr, Yumiko Kayukawa, Amy Casey, Paul Chatem, Shaunna Peterson, Lola, Danielle de Picciotto, Lisa Petrucci, Elizabeth McGrath, Kristen Ferrell, Angie Mason, Aunia Kahn, Ken Garduno, Mab Graves, Jacqueline Pichardo, Philip Campbell, Kenneth Rehm, Casey Roberts, and Floyd Jaquay.

So come out and see some awesome, Waters-inspired art. Check out the book table. Meander through the Murphy maze of other galleries, shops, and beer rooms.

It’s going to be a good night. Hope to see you there!

The Service Center Transforms

1 Nov

On October 5th, 300 workers from the Lilly Day of Service joined the Big Car Art Collective (of which Vouched has become a part) to completely transform our new community space on the west side of Indianapolis, the Service Center.

It was one of my favorite days of 2011. The Service Center looks absolutely incredible, completely transformed from the decrepit abandoned building it was at the start of 2011. I can’t wait to see what this becomes.

Awful Interview: Michael Martone

4 Oct

Michael Martone is another of those illustrious people I’ve long heard the name of from so many who’ve known him, studied under him, saw him read, etc., and who I can’t be more excited to welcome to the Vouched Presents pulpit. His quirk and wit are renown on the reading circuits, and if you had any hesitations about coming to tonight’s reading, I hope this interview settles it for you (because it’s the last Awful Interview before tonight!). See you at Vouched Presents tonight!

You seem to have a real love affair with the state of Indiana. What’s your connection to this glorious state?

We met at Butler University. I was a freshman; she was a sophomore, a Kappa–Kappa Kappa Gamma. Keys to the kingdom of God. I was a houseboy there and served the formal dinners wearing white gloves. This was long ago, back in the days when there were hours and curfews and the courting was public. For hours we walked, hand in hand, in the secluded Holcomb Garden. I guess you could say she was my first true love. I thought she was the one, but she wanted to play the field, she said. There was this Teke, he took her sailing out on Geist and that was all she wrote. She never looked back. Broke my heart. I took to wondering Indianapolis, writing poems on demand down on the Circle. Would you like a poem today, I would ask a stranger passing by. A what, on what? the stranger would answer. On anything I would beg. Ok then give me a poem about Indiana the stranger would say. Indiana, I repeated? And then I would begin…

I have to ask: could you write our readers a poem-on-demand right now about Indiana?

Well, I could but I need a few things first. I need a subject. I could write one on Indiana, I suppose, but the whole exercise of the RKO Poets–a group I co-founded in the 70’s at IU–was to write an instant PERSONAL poem. Also it costs 25 cents. Our slogan was: A poem must not mean but be 25 cents. So if you want one, let’s see the cold hard cash.

I can give you that. How about bibliophilia as a subject, and are you willing to extend me a quarter’s worth of credit until the reading?


The love of bibs.
The big plastic ones
with the splayed out lobster graphic
all red and
snapping after the crumbs of
letters spilling
from your mouth
of words undigested
slightly masticated
rich morsels
pulp and paste
boldly sansarifed and flip flopping
also red with reading.

That’s fantastic. I think I’m going to read that on Tuesday as part of your intro. Which, speaking of Tuesday, the reading is to celebrate new books, and you have a new book. Tell us about that.

It is called Four for a Quarter and it is a collection of 44 fictions about things that have to do with 4–the four winds, the four seasons, the four chambers of the heart, 4H club, four blood types, Mount Rushmore, the Fantastic Four, etc.

That’s an excellent premise. Maybe a bit dated, as those machines are still around, but now it’s 4 photos for a couple dollars or something crazy. Definitely not just a quarter anymore.

I actually used to love those photo strip machines, because as you can probably guess, one of my favorite movies as a kid was Karate Kid, and I’ve always held the position that a date is not a date without getting in one of those photo booths and getting a strip of cute photos. Do you remember that? Did you watch Karate Kid?

Yes, I did. Many movies have used the photo booth. The French film Amelie comes to mind. But romantic montage is made fir the photo booth and vice versatile. I like Ralph of KK but he is also in movie called Crossroads where the character name is Martone. And of course he is in My Cousin Vinnie!

Ah yes. Crossroads. That’s the movie where Ralph played guitar against the devil, yeah? How much would you say that’s influenced your writing–playing guitar against the devil, I mean?

Well, I am all for doing the work at the crossroads. My patron is not the devil but Hermes, god of thieves, of bankers, of transmission of all kinds. Hermes is the mediating hero, the confuser of categories, the breaker of boundaries that by breaking them then redraws them. The crossroads is were it’s at!

Well, you’re in luck! The Murphy Building, where Vouched Presents is located, is actually at the corner of a major crossroads of Prospect, Virginia, and Shelby Streets, not to mention it’s in Indiana, the designated “Crossroads of America.”

With that in mind, do you have anything you’d like to say to tonights attendees, or to people considering being attendees tonight?

I’ve arrived in Fountain Square and am thinking about rolling a game of duck pins! Lots of construction going on and the square shaping up! I’d say come on down. Get lost doing it. Then, get found!

Awful Interview: Jill Christman

4 Oct

Jill Christman is the first person to be invited back to read at tonight’s Vouched Presents, and I’m glad to have her back to celebrate the re-release of her memoir Darkroom: A Family Exposure tonight at Big Car Gallery. She has a charisma at the mic that I’ve seen in few others, and her words are equally as smart and charming. Get to Big Car Gallery tonight to celebrate with us!

You read at a Vouched Presents reading a few months ago, and people seemed to become completely enamored with you and your writing. It was amazing to see. What do you think makes you so enamoring?

Aren’t you sweet! You know, this is a question my husband (the poet Mark Neely) sometimes wonders about when something I’ve said or done elicits a positive human reaction. He shakes his head, smiles a tad too bemusedly for my taste, and says, “People like you. I don’t understand it, but they do.” There you go. Straight from the lips of the man who’s supposed to love me best in this world.

Or, maybe better posed, for what reasons ideally do you hope someone would become enamored with you?

Well, as I think my first Vouched reading made abundantly and inappropriately clear: my surprising skills with a nicely weighted dart and my stunning prose, naturally.

But seriously, Chris, don’t you think we should turn this one around and ask why it is we are all so enamored of you?

Ha. I don’t think we should, actually. Even if it might be a bit of an ego-boost, I’m a bit terrified of the answers, to be honest.

Instead of that, let’s talk instead about Alabama. Tell me something about Alabama that you’ve never written in any memoir or essay.

Okay, Bama it is, but I’ll tell you that I have always admired your genuine and untainted love of words and books. So there you go.

Actually, now that you ask, I realize I haven’t written much about Alabama, despite the fact that it was there that my own world of words spread like kudzu beyond my wildest imaginings. Let’s see. Do you know that game “Three Lies”? I’ll tell you three things and you guess which one is the lie.

When I lived in Alabama. . .

1) I had a Charlie’s Angel themed disco party and just when I thought things were wrapping up, they ramped up. Literally. An unnamed writer dressed as Evil Knievel asked me if I had any rubbing alcohol, and before I knew it, there was a flaming ramp in my front yard and he was jumping the prone body of another unnamed writer.

2) I attended a reading by a famous writer that went on so long and was so wretched that I dropped to my hands and knees and crawled, unnoticed, from the room.

3) A young male neighbor with a pack of pit bulls, closely shorn hair, and alarmingly blue eyes, kicked in the hood of the car of a gentleman caller of mine. The police responded to my call, but did nothing. In the morning, my smiling neighbor approached me at the chainlink fence dividing our driveways and asked, meekly, “You ain’t mad at me, are you?”

Why is it that all of these seem so entirely feasible to me? I’m going to say the 2nd is the lie because while it seems most plausible, doesn’t contain as many specific details. Although, you being a writer yourself, would know how heavily specific details weigh in the consideration of the veracity of tales. But, without wanting to get into a “Never challenge a Sicilian when death is on the line,” style circle of reasoning, I’ll go with my first choice: number 2 is the lie.

You win the prize! #2 is the lie, and your deductive reasoning, of course, is flawless. Silly me. I shouldn’t have let lazy writing give me away. I should have added that this same writer threw a rock-star fit and insisted she have her hotel room changed–because the styrofoam container in which she’d had her bbq ribs delivered would not fit neatly into the provided trash receptacle in her room–which is nutty, but true. All these years later, though, I *wish* I’d crawled from the room. It would have been the appropriate human response to a 2 1/2 hour reading, don’t you think?

A 2 1/2 hour reading by 1 reader? How important did she think she was?

Exactly. Gruesome.

I would chuck someone from the pulpit if they tried to read that long at Presents.

Speaking of, as the first person to have read once before at Vouched Presents, what are you looking most forward to in returning to read?

I certainly think that the big hook from the curtains would be the appropriate response to a reading of that duration. Here’s my tip for all readers: leave them wanting more (not wanting to crawl from the room).

What am I looking forward to? Everything! The opportunity to read to the smart, savvy Vouched Presents crowd, and to share the lectern with such an extraordinary line up of writers, including a former professor and my very own husband (two *different* fellow readers). There’s a zippy energy and a love of words in that Big Car Gallery and I can’t wait to jump in. Thanks for inviting me, Christopher.

Vouched Presents: a Night of Book Releases – October 4th!

7 Sep

This is going to be an incredible night of readers, and I know I say that every time, but I hope that makes it no less valuable here: Martone’s quirkiness, Henley’s reality, Neely’s quiet reflections, Christman’s energy and charisma (you remember her from a few readings ago, don’t you?).

This is a special reading for a few reasons:

  1. This reading marks almost a year to the date that I launched the Vouched Presents reading series last October with the Artifice Magazine Reading Tour.
  2. Martone, Henley, and Christman are all releasing new books! Engine Books will be on hand with copies of Henley’s latest! And each author will be on hand to sign that shiny new copy! And, while Neely’s chapbook Four of a Kind has been out a few months, I plan to celebrate the recent announcement of his forthcoming publication of Beasts of the Hill due out next spring!
  3. Sadly, this is going to be the last Vouched Presents for awhile, as I’m going to take a few months hiatus to work on some personal projects that have been getting neglected, so I hope to see all of you there, or else you’ll have to wait until Spring to hear wonderful words from the Vouched pulpit!

Vouched Presents Indy is a free fundraiser for Second Story Indy, an organization that connects local youth with literature and encourages expression and learning through creative writing.

Come to the Murph tonight; see art, buy books!

2 Sep

As with every other First Friday, you know where I’ll be to come check out my books on tap! I’ll have my table set up outside Big Car Gallery tonight, so I hope to see your shining faces. I’ve been lame lately, and haven’t added any new titles to the table for anyone who was there last month, but if you’ve not been around for a couple months, you’ll have some fresh words waiting for you. I’m reading some incredible words right now from small presses, so you can bet in the next couple months, you’ll see some new covers on the table.

Also tonight at Big Car is an amazing gallery opening of Aaron Scamihorn and Jason Roemer’s Freaks & Geeks showing that looks absolutely incredible. Just look at the flyer. Bask in it.

Do I need to say anything more? Come see me tonight! I like you!

We Had a Party: Vouched Presents Recap

22 Jul

It seems almost pointless at this point to post a recap of last Monday’s Vouched Presents DOGZPLOT Literature Party, since Barry posted a rad top 10 of the evening at the DOGZPLOT tour blog, and Sean Lovelace posted all glow and beaming at his blog, and contributor and table extraordinaire Tyler Gobble had kind and awesome things to say at his.

At the height of the evening I counted 85 shining faces, which was rad to see so many out, rad to see such a crowd at a silly little reading, despite the heat wave which made quick work of the Service Center’s aging A/C and went to work on the crowd and readers, and poor Matt Mullins, drenched in sweat and only at the mic a few minutes, and how the heat and the sweat became a part of everything, how it reminded me of basement shows, the ceiling dripping, people shouting with the lyrics, sweat skin and anthems, man.

And thanks to Flat 12 with their blond ale on hand, and Scratch Truck with their Scratch Burger, that piece of wonder meat, bacon marmalade and gorgonzola, majesty belly with scratch-made banana pudding, “Oh, there’s bananas at the bottom,” Ashley said, “There’s bananas. At the bottom,” she said.

And Barry says Indy buys books, and hell yeah, Indy loves books. People come to Indy and they see everyone consuming books, and always such surprise, always such wonder. Indy loves books, look at Indy swarming the table, look at Tyler looking pretty behind the Vouched table, and thanks so much to him because without him, I’d be dead, I’d not have survived the reading keeping everything running, going smooth, and having to mind the table, too, oh hell nah, but Tyler, man, Tyler’s the man, man. Thank you, Tyler.

And all the readers were such bright bodies, such bright words. I was glad they way their words floated out into the shine and the shimmer of the sun through the windows, and the heat, sweat, swelter, but they all shined on, their words wonderful, thanks to all the readers who read, I can’t show all your faces, but you can see them at the Big Car Flickr set where all these pictures are from.

Everyone made this event what I wanted and hoped for, thanks be to the readers, the awesome sponsors: Yelp!, Scratch Truck, Big Car, Writer’s Center of Indiana, NUVO, The Lit Pub, Flat 12, sunnyoutside press:, thanks to the audience with resolve, with summer drenched bodies, thank you for coming out for laughing for enduring the summer for buying books for supporting words for helping me believe in my city in what I’m trying to accomplish with Vouched in what things can be.

Did I mention how many of you there were? There were so many of you. Look at all of you believers.

Thank you. Goodbye.

Tonight’s the night, DOGZPLOT Lit Party!

18 Jul

Get your drink on with some Flat 12 beer!

Get your food on with Fat Sammies Ciao Wagon and Scratch Food Truck!

Get your book on with Vouched Books, Writer’s Center of Indiana, and sunnyoutside press!

Get your words on with Sean Lovelace, Roxane Gay, Barry Graham, Matt Mullins, Jesus Angel Garcia, Steve Himmer, Micah Ling, Laura Adamczyk, Jim Walker, John Clark, Jessica Dyer, Kevin McKelvey, Layne Ransom, and Bryan Furuness!

I hope to see you there!