Wet, Hot, Freerange Summer

Iceberg lettuce in the prison cafeteria! Stevie Nicks! Fertility! Fire fetishists! Kids scribbling on hotel paper! Yoga Janet! Flower-childhood! Despite some wack tornado watch alerts, the June 1st installment of Freerange was a hit!

The night began with J.E. REICH blowing our minds with an honest, poignant essay confronting miscarriage and mother-daughter relationships (who says happy hour and reproduction can’t mix?). Next, JACKSON TAYLOR read the prologue from his riveting book, The Blue Orchard, a novel based on the life of his grandmother Verna Krone, a Pennsylvanian who, with only an eighth grade education managed to put herself through nursing school and, years later, found herself on trial for assisting a prominent black doctor with abortions. Jax noted that Walmart reneged on their deal to sell his book because it involved “ABORTIONS!” and “RACE RELATIONS!”, but we loved it. So suck it, Walmart.

Following Taylor, the long-legged and uber-talented BRANDI NEAL shared a breathtaking story about the passing of her father, an alcoholic Vietnam vet. It was amazing, to say the least. Keep your eye out for this writer, people. After our sprited book raffle, poet DAVID MCLOUGHLIN took the stage and shared several pieces–one, which was my favorite–about a guy in Florida who could only be turned on by fire. It was a brilliant piece.

Next, new momma PIPER KERMAN held court as she recounted her experience as an inmate in a low-security women’s prison; she read a lively and educational (in the category of “street smart”) excerpt about a near-fight in the salad bar line. Finally, literary goddess DARCEY STEINKE shared a passage from her upcoming novel as told by a young girl living in a motel, observing the grown-up headaches around her. From the stage, Darcey told us that the forthcoming novel derives from many of her childhood experiences.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next show on July 6th, where we’ll be featuring vegan funnyman & Last Comic Standing finalist MYQ KAPLAN, author of Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl, STACY PERSHALL, Brooklyn-based poet/premiere star of the Spoken Word genre JON SANDS, super-hot novelist DIANA SPECHLER (Skinny, Who By Fire), and author of the anticipated book of essays, Legs Get Led Astray, author CHLOE CALDWELL.

Be there or be square.