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ART Basil King Critique Exhibitions Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) News Poetry Prose Prose Pros series Readings Writing

NEWS: Events, Publications, and a Show — November 2014

November 6 at 6:30.   Basil will read from his new book, The Spoken Word/The Painted Hand (Marsh Hawk Press, 20l4*) and his old friend Hettie Jones will read some of her not-yet published short fictions.  They are both being presented by Prose Pros at Side Walk Café, Avenue A @ 6th Street. (Free, donations requested.)

Front cover of King's The Spoken Word/The Painted Hand
Front cover of King’s The Spoken Word/The Painted Hand


November 16 at 3:00Martha King and Basil King will read from new work published in Local Knowledge, Fall 2014, a biannual literary magazine featuring art, photographs, poetry, and prose of many kinds and variations. Basil is represented by “Basil’s Lifeboat” from his “Learning to Draw” series. Martha appears twice: in a note on dead cats and in “It Starts to Drizzle,” a history of her zine Giants Play Well in the Drizzle. Gala magazine launch & reading at Swift Hibernian, 34 East 4th Street, between Bowery and Lafayette.(Free, purchase of magazine requested.)

Martha King with her copy of Local Knowledge, fall 2014
Martha King with her copy of Local Knowledge, fall 2014


November 20, 21, 22, and 23.  Three evening performances at 7:30 and one final matinee at 3:00.   Basil will be the Narrator in “Black Mountain Songs” – a program of music by seven young composers, inspired by artists associated with Black Mountain College.  The Brooklyn Youth Chorus sings. Part of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual NEXT WAVE festival. Tickets sell out quickly. If you want to attend, please connect with BAM.


A painting by Basil King (from his “Looking for the Green Man” series) will be in the BAM lobby exhibition until January 2015.

*There will be a reading and book launch for Marsh Hawk Press’s full fall list in December. http://www.marshhawkpress.org/BKing3.html




Martha King Prose Prose Pros series Readings Writing

Ver Gangen Bangen Heit a bust as a sound file

Sorry, friends!  The CD of  our SideWalk show on August 2 was a wash.  Technical gremlins, even before I got my fingers on it.  So no MP3 – let alone a YouTube item.

Here’s a snippet. No sound. No pictures. See previous post for names of contributors.  What’s below is up to you and however you hear/see/imagine Elinor Nauen, Mike DeCapite, Francis Levy, and Martha King in concert:

[Elinor] Tabitha pressed her face again the cold skin of the mirror. I wish it would snow, she thought. I love making snow angels. Washing her hands in the sink took all her concentration, soaping each finger. She thought of her fosters taking her to see the water lilies at the Botanical Gardens. She walked between them holding their hands.

[Mike] The lilies floated across their pond of shallow water; each stalk had six petals like long white fingers.

[Elinor] She’d clipped Danielle’s nails, holding the dead girl’s hand in her own, the fingers still warm. But the way they curled reminded her of petals beginning to wilt. The sound the clippers made. Hawkins cupping his hand to catch them.

[Mike & Francis] Come on, Come on, Come On, Come on, and Take It!

[Mike] “Tabitha!” Hawkins barreled down the hall, ripped open the bathroom door, and punched her in the small of her back. In the mirror she could see the toothpaste bubbles spatter, the surprise in her eyes.

In the near distance Shiv could see the splayed legs of the camel and the panting dogs, muzzles smudged with blood and eyes glowing through the heat. They were the first satisfied animals he’d seen in weeks.

[Francis] I wanna see me some vagina before you get in the ring with him.

[Martha] It is Thursday now and I didn’t work at all on this yesterday, but as I was coming to bed around twelve-thirty or one last night, Cathy spoke the following phrases to me:

[Elinor] “Who are you?”

[Mike] “Are you from a book?”

[Francis] “Tomorrow you can meet the owner of the house.”

[Elinor & Mike] “Is someone asleep?”


Martha King Prose Prose Pros series Readings Writing


There are other spellings…this is the one Andrei Codrescu has embraced.  She, She Here, the iconic spinner of tales and excursions, of conversations long into the night.  Why is she our ever-fascinating icon?

Weak words can save lives?  Hers did.  A story to postpone annihilation?  Don’t we all tell that tale?  What, indeed, gets you through the night?

No one will be surprised by my confession that I’ve never read the Torah.  But I’ve sure stared fascinated at the pages perused by Orthodox seat mates on the F train: those small squares of text surrounded by littler and still littler frames of notes and commentary – hypertext ages before computers made layering possible. Take a look at a page or two of Whatever Gets You Through the Night.   Like Sheherezade herself, Codrescu weaves all available fact and fiction into a looping braid, connecting here, and breaking there, and spinning, spinning (don’t stop!) those old familiar dramas of empty jars, and unruly Djinns, cheating merchants, princes in transsexual disguise, lusty romps and titillations.  Wait!   Wait!!

No one should be surprised that ‘uprooted’ means one works with the roots.  Why do these stories persist? As so many scholars and translators and entertainers, whose works are cited in Andrei’s compulsive footnote wrap-around, have wondered, the question is immaterial.  We’re waiting for the dénouement, the grand revelation, the mega-orgasm – and she makes us WAIT.

No one should be surprised to recognize that Sheherezad’s great subject is death – or how she or we might put it off.   Are there only a thousand and one ways?  Does it truly end in a baby?  That’s far from sure.  Much more important, she and Andrei imply, did you have any fun?

Andrei moved to New York in 1967 after many previous moves and before many others.  Where was I that year?  In Manhattan, about to leave the Lower East Side, and move to Brooklyn into a former SRO row house, still stinking of dehydrated mice and desiccated cockroach shells.  Baz and I had our work cut out to make habitation for ourselves and our children!We’ve moved on since, though I am still living in Brooklyn.

Andrei Codrescu, in spite of a little remark he made on All Things Considered about the great good that The Rapture would accomplish, still does NPR commentaries. What else?  Film. Books. Poems.  His online Exquisite Corpse.  Songs too, they say.  I’ve yet to sample The CD of Storm Songs with the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars.  He doesn’t live in New Orleans now, he decamped ten minutes before Katrina, and resides in a cave with no zip code somewhere in Arkansas.   Enjoying the romps of free range chickens.  Or life among the post-humans. Or is he standing by in a pleasant ditch to let p-h’s pass by along the road?

Whatever, he’ll take you along on Sheherezad’s path.  Come to Side Walk Café at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 8, 2011.  Andrei will be there reading stories at Prose Pros, along with Elinor Nauen. Don’t miss it!

*The book cover image is from the website of Princeton University Press http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9392.html  where the book is available in print & eformats. Or check a local bookstore.


Martha King Prose Prose Pros series Readings

Coming this Thursday – Prose Pros does it again Levenberg and Simmons

We’ve put another odd couple together, although Diane (Simmons) and Mitch (Levenberg) actually know each other. Mitch is coffeeshop counters in the city, subways, garbage cans going crash in the night, misconceptions…. Diane is pickup trucks with bad alternators, roadside waitresses prone to being stiffed on tips. This happensThursday, November 3, at 6:30 – at the ever so hospitable Side Walk Café, Avenue A at 6th Street. See you there!