Tag Archives: Where We’ll Be

Strange Things Have Happened Here: Vouched Presents ( + The Rumpus + Fiction Advocate!)

3 Jan

We’re so excited to team up with The Rumpus, 826 Valencia, and Fiction Advocate TOMORROW for a night of fun readings from our favorite writers! It’s all your literary dreams come true, packed into San Francisco’s foremost Independent Pirate Supply Store.

Plus: a Vouched table full of new goodies (including freebies!) and a GUARANTEED ACCEPTANCE table. What does that mean? Come find out! It’s like the exact opposite of going home for the holidays!

Strange Things Flier image

Readings by:

Vladimir Kozlov

Maisha Z. Johnson

Siamak Vossoughi

Joshua Merchant

The Rumpus is a place where people come to be themselves through their writing, to tell their stories or speak their minds in the most artful and authentic way they know how, and to invite each of you, as readers, commenters or future contributors, to do the same. What we have in common is a passion for fantastic writing that’s brave, passionate and true (and sometimes very, very funny). http://therumpus.net/

Fiction Advocate is a litblog and micropress founded in 2009. http://fictionadvocate.com/

826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen 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. http://826valencia.org/

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/682658425184925/

A Very Vouched San Francisco Birthday Party FAQ

22 Aug

After blitzing the internet with Raffle Prize Announcements, Awful Interviews, and other promotional things, I realize you may have some questions about the upcoming Vouched San Francisco festivities. So here’s our third ever Vouched Presents FAQ for our first ever Vouched SF birthday.


When does this shin-dig start?  

6pm, approximately. I estimate readings to begin between 6:15 and 6:30.

Is there a cost for admission?

Nope, you can attend for free! That being said, there will be things for sale: merchandise from 826 Valencia (the world’s Premiere Independent Pirate Supply Store), books from Vouched and our readers, and of course, drinks and more drinks at the bar. Every $5 you spend at the birthday party (on Vouched or 826 Merchandise) gets you an raffle ticket for one of our sweet prizes! And a portion of drink and book sales (and 100% of 826 merch sales) goes to support community programs at 826 Valencia!

What are the totally sweet raffle prizes?

Oh, you want a list? Fine. Here you go:

  • Ticket vouchers for you and a friend to Literary Death Match, plus five (5) Cyrano-de-Bergerac-style texts from world-renowned love and dating expert Adrian Todd Zuniga for you to send to someone you like (or whoever you want–we aren’t here to boss you around)
  • An 826 Valencia gift pack!
  • Everything our intern found on the streets of the Mission in one day!
  • A gift certificate for a free haircut at Edo Salon
  • A sweet gift pack from Litography
  • Surprise gift pack from famed comedy bad boy and/or family man Scott Simpson!
  • A book gift pack from The Rumpus!
  • [Get stood up on] a date with Dave Eggers!
  • Vouched Books gift pack!
  • A year-long book-of-the-month membership to Vouched Books!

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 826 Valencia 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!)

Wait, so who is reading?

The evening will start out with the re-launch of Portuguese Artists Colony, so as you come in, you will vote on writing prompts to give to the four live writers. Then, you watch (and Michael Mullen, songwriter for Pocket Shelley and The Size Queens, will make beautiful music) as they have 10 minutes to turn out a beautiful response to that prompt. They read what they wrote, and you get to vote on the piece you like best!

Our live writers:

Jenny Bitner

Heather Bourbeau

Kwan Booth

Casey Childers

Our featured readers:

Maisha Z. Johnson

Scott Simpson

Maw Shein Win

Sarah Griff

Tim Toaster Henderson

Jelal Huyler

Amy Berkowitz

Where do my donations go?

All donations will go to the 826 Valencia. Vouched Books will not receive any of the money donated.

Where can I learn more about 826 Valencia?  

You can learn more about 826 Valencia here!

I heard there will be a chapbook-making station and a pile of donuts. Is this true?

Our chapbook-making station will be run by the delightful Jason Schenheit! We will also have a poetry station and a photobooth for taking wedding portraits with the sea (we are talking about pirates, after all). Every rumor you have heard about the donuts is true.

What’s the Milk Bar, is there milk?

The Milk Bar is a beautiful bar and event venue in the Haight. This event is BYOM.

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

Yes, there will be balloons. There will also be a bear, though he is unlikely to harm you.

Are we going to party? Really?

Yes. DUH.

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.


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.

Artlantis is this Saturday!

31 May

Tomorrow VouchedATL will be setting up at the ARTLANTIS FESTIVAL! This year we’ll be in booth 22 with Hyde Atlanta. Here’s a handy map for you to find us with:



Things you can anticipate in our booth:

• Fun

• Lemonade

• New titles galore! (from places like Featherproof, Octopus, Artifice, and more!)

• Myself & Jayne O’Connor

• Impromptu readings from Atlanta-area authors throughout the day!

Hope to see you there! Read more about the fun-filled fest at their facebook page.


Awful Interview: Molly Brodak (Redux)

10 Mar

Molly Brodak

You probably remember Molly Brodak because last time she was Awfully Interviewed we discovered she was not only a Molly Brodak but also the last Unicorn (aka: Amalthea). Molly Brodak is still a revelation, and probably, yes, still the Unicorn. Since we last spoke she has been surrounded by a flurry of words, confectioner’s sugar, sprinkles, and glitter. These experiments resulted in her latest chapbook Essay on Parts of Day (Horseless Press) – a really stunning collection that will cause something to bloom inside you as you read. Molly will be reading at the Animal Bodies Release Party at Youngblood on March 14th.

So Molly, your latest chap is called Essay on Parts of Day. What’s your favorite part of day?

Hhhm, probably the morning is the best-looking part of day. But the part where I sit on the couch with a blanket is the best-feeling part of day.

Which can really be any time of the day, right? Are you a fan of naps? If so- do you prefer couch naps to bed naps?

Couch-blanket time can be anytime, which makes it, like, outside of time. BEYOND time. Naps… naps are hard. Sometimes I feel much worse after taking naps, sometimes better, so it seems like a real gamble. This is how I gamble. With naps. My life is full of danger and excitement.

Casinos would be much more tempting places if they incorporated blanketed couches- don’t you agree?

Yes that would be bad for me. Plus with a buffet nearby always that would be really, really bad for me. They could set up “nap roulette” rooms where you could take your chances with a nap, then eat some buffet, win or lose. I hope no one who is into investing in concept casinos is reading this.

That’s actually Vouched’s exact target audience. Buffets are really intimidating to me. Have you ever been to a Golden Corral?

Have I…ever…Been…to Golden Corral?? The Trough? You are now talking about my favorite restaurant. How could it possibly be intimidating? It’s true that buffets can be kind of stressful in some ways. But I always seem to manage.

Is it called the trough? I hadn’t heard that before! What’s your first go-to at a breakfast buffet? I usually go straight to the Belgian Waffles, when they’re available.

This is a real place.

The Trough

Well I think just my sister and I call it the Trough. I feel like a pig knocking against other pigs in the chute when I go there! Yes Belgian Waffles are a good choice. Pancakes get sort of rubbery if they sit for too long. Sausage gets filmy and resistant. Eggs get glacial and start to feel doomed. The large tub of yogurt giggles when you walk; no one wants it. Bacon is okay with difficulties. Biscuits think of themselves as asteroids. The syrup winds up under a protective sheet of itself.

Wow, that’s really beautiful, Molly. Do you feel that your relationship with your writing is similar to your relationship with your cooking, or are they different beasts entirely?

They are pretty different beasts. I really like writing recipes for baked goods because I like codes and patterns and proportions, so there’s probably some similarity in poetry but I try to not think about that too much because it seems corny. I like to bake because I want to make these weird things exist in the world that don’t exist yet, so probably that is like poems too.

What’s the most innovative thing you’ve ever baked?

My boyfriend Blake is always trying to come up with difficult baking challenges for me, which I love. So the weirdest things I make are usually responses to his challenges. Once he asked me for spherical cookie so I made a mold by wrapping foil around a baseball and filling the mold with dough with a marshmallow baked inside (the marshmallow melts away during baking, leaving a hollow center I injected with frosting). One of my favorite weird cookies is a variation on a tuile cookie where I take really thin batter and “screenprint” it across shapes cut out of foam. They come out incredibly thin, then I stack them with frosting to make a sort of 3-d shape. Last spring I made strawberries this way, maybe this year I’ll make little bananas.

If you were to describe the upcoming reading as a confection- what would it be?

A parfait! Duh! With a LOT of layers so you need a LONG spoon.

An announcement!

27 Feb


Running a Vouched table has its restrictions- Christopher & Tyler can attest to this. It is a labor of love that would prove cumbersome otherwise- lugging a table and an oversized rubbermaid of books into different venues, setting up and tearing down. Often, when I side-shuffle with the rubbermaid back to my car after an event, I ponder the limitations of the guerrilla bookstore – how restricted we are by the size, portability, and durability of the books we carry.

Opening a bookstore would contradict the heart of Vouched. It is SO key that we’re nomadic. We have no overhead! No bills to worry about! No employees, really, aside from ourselves! We can keep our price points low and set up the table on a whim if we like. Often, in the Spring and Summer, I contemplate just setting up with some lemonade (+bourbon) on any ol’ sidewalk. We have the freedom to do that.

Still, it is a vexation that certain titles just don’t work with the nature of our guerrilla bookstores. It’s something I’ve struggled with since launching here. That is until Youngblood Boutique approached me a few weeks ago about carrying some of our wares permanently in their store.

Youngblood is a staple here. Located right along the main drag of the Poncey Highlands, they’ve been kicking ass since 2003 by offering a broad variety of fresh work from local and national artists and artisans. Really, their mission is  a broader version of our own. They’ve been fervent supporters of Vouched since we launched here in Atlanta- going so far as to donate their space for our launch reading in July 2011. Here’s a picture from that.


As of March 14th a special run of Vouched Books will be regularly available at the boutique. Being there opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for what can be sold- it’s a thrill to bring a whole new body of literature to the city through this partnership.

To celebrate- we’re throwing a party– a release party taboot! We’re also celebrating the release of David Courtright’s beautiful chapbook of poetry Animal Bodies– lovingly designed, hand-sewn & assembled collection of poetry from Two Steps Press in Athens, GA. It will stir your insides! Our readers for the evening? David Courtright, Molly Brodak, Bruce Covey, and Maggie Ginestra. Plus, there will be music from Christ, Lord! All of this goodness will take place on Thursday, March 14th. Readings will commence at 7:30 p.m.

Here’s a promotional video for the chapbook.

The next few weeks will be full of reviews, interviews, etc. to get you as pumped as I am!

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! *



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?


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.

Awful Interview: The Return of the Holiday Hangover

3 Jan


It’s the return of the Holiday Hangover! You may recall the event that HydeATL and I threw last year to cope with our post-holiday blues. Well, we’re going to battle with them again. Once again, here is a medley of responses to Holiday-themed Awful Interview questions from some of the evening’s readers. It’s kind of like a casserole, but with more words. The Holiday Hangover will take place at the Highland Ballroom this Saturday, January 5th at 8pm. Hope to see you there!

Where do snowmen go when they die?

Lauren Traetto: I’m pretty sure snowmen live forever in a dormant state until you put a top hat on their heads and they begin to dance around. Or until you pretend that one is a parson who will marry you and your sweetheart, like in the song “Winter Wonderland.” Have you ever looked into the lyrics of that song? The couple actually pretends that a snowman is a specific clergyman from their community and have a two way conversation with it. That’s fucked up. Later they have a delusion that he is a circus clown who the neighborhood kids beat to a pulp.

Julian Modugno: The water cycle.

Tony Jenkins: All the melted snow is used by mixologists in seasonal, period-correct cocktails that will set you back $15 each.

What winter warmer does Santa keep in his flask?

Noah Gardenswartz: The blood of Jewish children.

Tony Jenkins: A single-malt scotch that is at least 18-years-old. Santa is more sophisticated than people give him credit for.

Jayne O’Connor: Peppermint schnapps. He’s not the hard ass you think he is.

What is that cranberry stuff anyway?

Julian Modugno: This seems to be the sort of question better asked to a Christian.

Lauren Traetto: Holiday art.  A delightful sculpture that is at once delicious, nutritious, AND beautiful–all while delivering a biting commentary on emotional manipulation, consumption, and production during the holiday season. But as for the ingredients, it’s quite possibly made out of snowman pulp after the neighborhood kids have gotten to them. Or reindeer hooves.

If you were a character in a classic holiday movie, who would you be? Why?

Noah Gardenswartz: I’d be Tim Allen in The Santa Clause because Tim Allen gets all the pussy.

Laura Straub: Howard Langston, obviously

Who would win in a Christmas-Carol-off: Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby?

Lauren Traetto: Jon Moskowitz once made a great mashup of Frank Sinatra and Notorious B.I.G. songs.  Anybody with Biggie in his corner wins. No question.

Tony Jenkins: Bing Crosby was great, but I’m not sure I could ever pick against Sinatra, no matter the competition.

Jayne O’Connor: Frank Sinatra is the Chairman of my board.

(*editorial note* Frank Sinatra won unanimously.) 

What’s your most uncomfortable Christmas memory? 

Julian Modugno: Watching all those horny hens peck at the corpses of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

Tony Jenkins: Christmas 2012 was uncomfortable as hell, since I had ear surgery three days before. Nothing like singing “Here Comes Santa Claus” as blood drips out of your ear and down your neck.

When Santa was in trouble Rudolph used his nose to guide Santa’s sled. Which of your attributes would be helpful if Santa was in trouble?

Jayne O’Connor: I have a pretty nice set of headlights myself.

Noah Gardenswartz: I’m usually high, and could eat whatever milk and cookies he doesn’t want.

Julian Modugno: Whichever trait of mine Santa trusted, I can assure you it would lead to his eventual downfall.

Explain the game of Dreidel in 200 words or less.

Tony Jenkins: You spin the Dreidel really hard and whoever it lands on has to take off their clothes. La’ Heim!! Wait. I’m wrong. It’s actually “whomever.”

Jayne O’Connor: You spin it and win chocolate gold!

Name three additional uses for fruit cake. 

Lauren Traetto: 1. Ballast 2. Jack stand 3. Castaway-style imaginary friend

Julian Modugno: 1. thing that takes up space in your fridge to make it more efficient. 2. easy punchline on a three-camera sitcom 3. homophobic slur

Noah Gardenswartz: 1. Give it to your worst enemy. 2.To give your neighbor’s dog diarrhea. 3. Throw it in the middle of the street and surround it by caution tape and make it a residential dada art exhibit.

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.