Tag Archives: Creative Loafing

A Very Vouched Thank You For a Very Vouched Birthday.

26 Jul

Man oh man, it’s hard to believe it’s been a week since the 2nd Very Vouched Birthday party at the Goatfarm. I’d really like to take a moment to say thank you to all of those involved. (There were a lot of people involved!)

First-off, a tremendous thank you to the hardworking team at the Wren’s Nest and their high school editorial team for volunteering throughout the evening’s festivities! Without their help the event would have disintegrated into chaos! Most notably I would like to thank my partner-in-planning, Jessie Matheson, the organization’s Education Director. Her visionary work with the Wren’s Nest  brought  great focus and energy to the festivities, and her assistance in matching our readers with their reading selections was absolutely indispensable.

Speaking of indispensable…


Answer: Probably sad, somewhere crying!

They drove all the way down from Indiana [and up from Tallahassee] to help out with the event and party hardy! That is dedication! That is friendship! They ran the table without a hitch! I am eternally in their debt!

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Notable things that pertain to this event that start with the letter “G”:



Here’s a fact: Vouched Atlanta would be a shadow of what it is if it weren’t for the  unending support and assistance that we’ve received from the good folks at the Goatfarm over the course of the past few years. Their crew is a total dream to work with — taking care of all of the production that goes into the venue for our readings (staging! press! chairs! lights! sound! booze!). Even better – they really, really believe in Vouched. It’s a total honor to be affiliated with them. I’m excited to continue working with them in the years to come.

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HUGE thank you’s to champions of literature Matt Bell and Blake Butler for highlighting the evening with their work and words, and for supporting independent literature with more passion and fervor than any other authors I know. This was mentioned at the party, but… my first two book orders for Vouched Books Atlanta were for How They Were Found and Scorch Atlas. It’s been really amazing to watch Blake and Matt’s writing gain momentum over the past two years. Hosting them both was a humbling honor.

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THANK YOU to Myke Johns and Jayne O’Connor for co-hosting throughout the evening. You charmed everyone’s pants off!

Many many thank yous to the local authors and tutors who read the work of the KIPP Scribes: Sue Gilman, Patrick Shaffner, Jessie Matheson, Rachael Maddux, Johnny Drago, Julian Modugno, John Carroll, Terra McVoy, Thomas Wheatley, Jason Mallory, Jamie Allen, Myke Johns, Brooke Hatfield, Lain Shakespeare, Bruce Covey, Amy Herschleb, Molly Dickinson, Jayne O’Connor, Amelia Lerner, and Amy McDaniel. You really brought the stories to life and it meant so much to the scribes in attendance to hear that!

Maybe one of my favorite parts of the evening was revealing the GORGEOUS 2nd Vouched Birthday poster designed by Lacey Valentini and screen-printed by Brett Andrew Miotti of the Peregrine Consortium. Lacey has designed the bulk of our promotional collateral over the past two years and is solely responsible for the visual identity and brand that Vouched Atlanta has. The poster stands as a tribute to that. If you weren’t able to order or purchase one at the event – don’t worry! A limited number are still available for purchase. You can do that here.


Thank you also to the evening’s sponsors, whose contributions and donations really brought the community together: Scoutmob, Creative Loafing, BURNAWAY, Marmalade Bakeshop, BANG! Arts and Promotions, Atlanta Movie Tours, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Dad’s Garage, The High Museum, The Inman Park Squirrel Census, Wonderroot, and MOCA GA.

A heartfelt thanks to the artists who so generously donated their artwork to our silent art auction and to BURNAWAY for their assistance in organizing it: Brooke Hatfield, Lydia Walls, John Carroll, Bethany Collins, Nathan Sharratt, and Jessica Caldas.

Thank you to the local organizations who helped spread the word! BANG! Arts and Promotion, Scoutmob, AM 1690, Creative Loafing, Common Creative, ArtsATL, BURNAWAY, Criminal Records, Write Club Atlanta, Scene Missing Magazine and John Carroll for our third awful interview.

Last but not least, thank you to the Atlanta creative community at large for your unbridled enthusiasm for words. You make everything worth it.

Tonight! The Creative Loafing Fiction Contest reveals the meaning of Life!

10 Jan


I’m really excited to be setting up the Vouched table at Creative Loafing’s Fiction contest again tonight. Last year’s party was full of shenanigans, and there’s no doubt this year’s will have more of the same. You may wonder what makes me so confident. Well here’s a list.

  1. It’s freezies!
  2. Not only is it free to get in, but there’s FREE PIZZA
  3. Write Club Atlanta will have a mini-bout.
  4. The winners will be reading!
  5. Creative Loafing is donating their sales to the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
  6. Sans Abri is playing tunes.
  7. I’ll be there slinging books, duh.

See you tonight! 7pm at the Highland Ballroom.

ATL Bookmarks @ Creative Loafing: 7 Atlanta Literary Events To Hit This Week

12 Nov

Here’s a list of this week’s literary happenings up at Creative Loafing! The VouchedATL table will be set up at two of the seven events listed: this Wednesday at Write Club Atlanta ch. 18: Turkeys and other Foul Things and WE AIM TO MAKE YOU SO EXCITED! (Kill Your Darlings and VouchedATL present readings from Nick Sturm, Molly Brodak, Jenny Sadre-Orafai, Kory Oliver, Laura Straub, and P.I. Navarro).

Read more about these and more events at Creative Loafing.

Awful Interview: Melysa Martinez

4 Apr

Melysa Martinez is a total badass. She’s a badass the way that Sarah Connor is a badass, and that comparison is not to be made lightly. Granted, she hasn’t had the opportunity to go out and slay any T-1000’s yet, but there’s no doubt in me that she has what it takes.

Between her column Are You Shaved with Creative Loafing, her work with Kill Your Darlings , and her work appearing  in places such as LA Weekly After Dark, Nerve.com, and CBS Radio Melysa Martinez is a very busy lady. I couldn’t be more excited to have her on the line-up for the next Vouched Atlanta Reading. You should come and hear her. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be in her good graces for when Judgement Day comes.

So, Melysa. Why do you write?
I write because I need the release. And because I don’t want to forget. Nor know how to shut up.

Did you ever read anything from the Goosebump series? If so, which book was your favorite? If not, were there any book series that really resonated with you? Maybe Boxcar Children, Julie of the Wolves, or Encyclopedia Brown?

OMG! Goosebumps!!! YES! But, actually, now that I think about it, only in memory did I love that series. I don’t remember any details. Honestly, my favorite books/series when I was a young girl were: Sweet Valley Twins, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, anything by Judy Blume, and, for some reason, I was obsessed with Mark Twain and dead set on reading Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the first grade. I remember struggling to read it and having a dictionary on hand. I don’t think I finished it. But at the top of the list of faves was Anne Frank. She was my idol. I wanted to grow up to be just like her: vulnerable, strong, and hungry for more.

Oh man, I loved Anne Frank’s Diary as well. It made me over analyze/critique all of my diary entries. Did you keep a diary when you were younger? Did it have a key? Was it full of secrets?

Without a doubt, I had a diary growing up as a little girl. Several, of course. Actually, my mom just shipped all my old diaries (age 7-13ish) to me about a month ago. It was an extremely surreal experience, to reconnect with old emotions. I remember being such a happy little girl — and I was — but the diaries recount details I’d forgotten: insecurities and feeling ugly and not liked by the “popular” boys; rating how cute the boys were in my class on a scale of 1-10 (hypocritical?); old clippings from newspapers and magazines regarding gay rights; articles about the women’s movement; dreams of taking over the world with my words. Really, I guess not much has changed about me since then. Haha.

I think it’s good that we stay somewhat consistent in character throughout the course of our lives. Don’t you agree? Also, who was ranked #1?

Definitely. I mean, obviously we all evolve as we grow older, but sometimes, as we age, we see people/friends/etc. who seem to not like who they are and seem to strive to become an idea of something, instead of embracing who they are deep inside and who they are meant to be. There was a while there, sometime around high school and college, where I used to tell myself to shut up when it came to men. I know I can be overwhelming sometimes, and can be heavy with my opinions, and talk a lot, but then I realized one day that I never wanted to be with people who don’t love me for who I am, obnoxious or not. As for who was #1: Christopher Weihe. He had olive skin and blue eyes. He was my “first boyfriend” back in junior high. We later became best friends. He was sweet and smart and we used to make crab cakes from scratch together late at night. When I left Puerto Rico, he would go over and visit my mom and take her to lunch. Can’t beat that kind of friendship.

Personally, I’m very glad that you came to that realization! You’re awesome. Christopher sounds like he was too. Gotta love a guy who brings your mother lunch-total winner!
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or do you prefer horses?

Can’t do cats. I recently hung out with a guy who had cats and thought to myself, This will never work. I’m not putting my dog out for a man and his pussy. I’m a dog person. They’re affectionate. (Not saying cats cannot be.) I pretend I’m a hardass because I amuse myself (easily), but I’m affectionate, and I like that my dog will come and hug me after a long day. Horses are awesome, too. I used to ride every Sunday in the rainforest in Puerto Rico after church when I was a little girl. And I took equestrian classes. Animals overall, even the ones I don’t really dig, are awesome in my book.

Wait… you used to ride horses in a rainforest after church? That sounds magical. Tell me more.

Haha. Yeah, it was awesome. I am agnostic, but was raised in the Catholic church as a child. Every Sunday my parents and I would go to church, followed by a visit to the bakery across the street for some Cuban sandwiches and Puerto Rican pastries, and then we’d drive to the coast and go horseback riding in the rainforest. Vegetation everywhere. Going through rivers and tall palm trees all around. Then we’d go to the beach, and wrap up the day eating delicious cod fish fritters and roasted pork and fresh coconut water straight from it’s shell. Those are some of my favorite memories.

Two questions stem from this: 1. What’s it like being the most interesting woman in the world (for serious)? 2. Was growing up in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel (that was set in Puerto Rico instead of Columbia) as awesome as I always imagined it would be (very awesome)?

Hahahaha. Well, let’s not go crazy now! I’m not all that interesting. In fact, I have made it a point lately to step more outside my comfort zone and not just immerse myself in my usual interests. But yeah, Puerto Rico was a great place to grow up. Nothing quite as magical as Marquez, but it’s a lively place, and despite my parents relatively strict ways, they allowed me freedom to explore and trusted me. The drinking age is 18, although not enforced, and back in high school our parents (at least mine, and seemingly that of most of my friends) trusted us to go out at night and play. Overall, we were all good kids. We kept out of trouble. We just wanted to party and laugh.

Speaking of party…how pumped are you for the reading on Friday the 6th? What are you most excited about?

I AM SUPER PUMPED! Hmmm … what am I most excited for? I think I’m most excited about meeting the readers coming in from out-of-state (Christopher Newgent , Tyler Gobble, Brian Oliu, Matt Bell), and seeing Jesse Bradley in person again since forever ago. Apparently a lot of us are whisky peeps, so something tells me things will get rowdy — before, during, and/or after the reading. And just the reading, in general, is something I’m looking forward to. Hearing people’s words and thoughts and emotions, and sharing my words with them as well. I love that Atlanta has an abundance of readings going on. It really makes me proud to call ATL my home, sweet home.

Bluebird Books Bus

2 Nov

Mitzi Gordon & the Bluebird Books Bus

I was down in Tampa this past weekend and what came across my eyes? A story about a new mobile book operation called Bluebird Books. Think of the old bookmobile meeting the food truck craze and you’ve got Bluebird Books.

Mitzi Gordon, an artist and writer in the Tampa region, has transformed an old Bluebird Bus into a mobile bookstore. She’s building a “mobile station of inspiration.” The bookstore will house mostly art books and experimental fiction and will hit all the Tampa Bay hotspots. There are some really intriguing pics on her blog that detail the transformation of the old bus into a cool mobile reading lounge.

Seems like an exceptional idea. Read more about Bluebird Books at this Creative Loafing article.

Thanks Creative Loafing!

20 Oct

So many thank you’s to Atlanta’s Creative Loafing (and  Wyatt Williams) for writing this feature on VouchedATL for their Arts Issue, released today! It’s a honor to be coupled with so many phenomenal arts efforts in Atlanta.

Here’s an excerpt where we discuss Matt Bell’s How They Were Found, among other things:

The small-press books that Straub sells don’t have big marketing departments running promotions in newspapers or buying prominent placement in retailers like Barnes & Noble. In fact, you might be hard-pressed to find a copy of them anywhere else in town. Prior to starting Vouched, Straub read Matt Bell’s How They Were Found, a collection of short stories published on an imprint of Midwest nonprofit publisher Dzanc Books. “I love that book, and it was frustrating going to bookstores and not being able to find it really anywhere in the city,” she says.

As the cost of publishing a small run of books has declined, independent publishers have taken a cue from the DIY ethos that emerged from punk and indie rock record labels a few decades ago. They’re publishing work by adventurous young authors writing unabashedly contemporary work often deemed too risky or unusual by big publishing houses.

Read the rest of the article at Creative Loafing’s site, along with articles about what’s going on with the arts in Atlanta (so many awesome things!).