A Review, A Con, and Theatre Stories

Random updates to publishing ventures this weekend!

My short story “Steam & Hot Air” was praised in a writeup of Gallery of Curiosities on the blog Steampunk Way of Life. Thanks, folks!

I went to Bouchercon here in NOLA this weekend, got some signed Ken Wishnia books, had to snark on a guy for expressing surprise that we’re not a blight-addled swampscape a decade after Katrina, and got handed an entire pint bottle of whiskey by what I sure hope was someone officially employed on the con’s behalf. Hm.

This Sunday also marked the publication of two books I’ve contributed to! Longing is Esoterotica’s third anthology which includes a style parody of a favorite author of mine and a (rare!) actual confessional essay. Beyond Desire is a reissue of their first anthology which removes some material from performers who’ve parted ways and includes the scripts to our two Fringe shows. Our collective stories about the production of these shows could probably run longer than the scripts themselves, but I’ll share two of my favorites.

esoanthologies

One night during our first show, Pervspectives, some of the cast and I noticed a table near the front with two “high roller” types seated at it. They were an older couple who looked like they’d just cabbed over from a televised poker tournament at Harrah’s — guy in a silk shirt and swoopy sunglasses, woman in a cocktail dress, both wearing really sparkly necklaces. We figured they were probably going to be enthusiastic audience members, if a bit loud.

Since it was a work of immersive theatre, I began the show by standing up from my seat at the bar and asking “What kind of a person really goes to one of those fetish nights, anyways?” I make my way through the venue delivering the rest of the monologue telling people what they’re in for, which ends with me at the front of the stage facing the audience. I glance over at the high rollers during my last couple lines and they’re completely stone-faced.

I end my bit by gesturing towards Alice in the crowd, who begins her piece. She’s dressed kind of provocatively, but nothing that wouldn’t be acceptable in a PG-13 movie. As I slunk off to the backstage area, the couple looked genuinely scandalized. Clutching their cubic zirconia! Keep in mind the anthology cover up there? That was our show’s poster, it was in all the Fringe programs and taped to the front door of the venue. We weren’t looking to surprise people with the show’s material. We’re all about informed consent.

During the piece after Alice, the couple made the usual scrape-chair-while-standing exit to announce how disappointed they were that a show advertised by a midriff and riding crop would contain sexual content. Our door guy gave them a smile and nod on their way out, then let in another couple who happened to be outside. The first couple didn’t even ask for a refund, so technically we still had a sold out show and two stray smokers had an enjoyable evening courtesy of naive tourists.

Beyond Desire, on the other hand? A gentleman came up to the cast after our first night and said he’d seen a lot of local theatre, but ours was the only play where he needed to step out and have a cigarette after a pivotal moment.

I think I’m more proud of the second story, honestly. Let us send you out for a smoke too.

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