This week’s episode of Risk! — the podcast hosted by Kevin Allison, a comedian, storyteller and member of one of my all-time favorite sketch groups The State — includes my account of a traumatic experience from my childhood. Many thanks to Kevin and Risk! audio editor Jeff Barr for working with me on this story and for creating the sound design. (Coincidentally, the song that closes out the piece is “Trouble” by Battleme, who is currently opening for Veruca Salt — one of my favorite bands growing up — during their reunion tour.) Titled “3 Women,” the episode also features inspiring tales of discovery and survival from stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito and feminist sex educator Betty Dodson, whose company I’m honored to share. You can stream or download the podcast here. My story starts at the 20:06 mark, but I highly recommend you listen to the entire episode for the full Risk! experience.
I’ll be reading some new nonfiction at Lamprophic on Friday, July 18th, at 8:00 p.m. at Bar Thalia (2537 Broadway, NYC), along with Christopher Cappelluti, Diana Hamilton, Sarah Sala and Nancy Hightower.
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Next Tuesday, July 1st, I’m performing at the NoName Super Storytellers Edition, hosted by Michele Carlo and Eric Vetter! The show takes place at Word Up Books way uptown in Washington Heights, and the theme of this month’s edition is NAKED. The lineup also includes Marlene Nichols, Caitlin Brodnick, Lynn Bixenspan, Alyssa Pinsker and Mark Pagán, with music by Miles Alexander Blue Spruce. Full info:
NoName @ WordUp Super Storytellers Edition: NAKED
2113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165th St.)
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Our theme this month, in case you haven’t already guessed…NAKED—Literally or figuratively, emotionally or physically, carnal or confessional, stripped down or stripped away.
Featuring stories from:
PLUS superstar guest storyteller from L.A., the fantabulous MARLENE NICHOLS…
DOUBLE PLUS music from MILES ALEXANDER
YOU! Yes, you! Put your name in our “Magic Hat” and get our minutes to do anything your little NAKED heart desires…figuratively, of course ;)
"Dream big and let your imagination guide you, even if you end up dressing as a flower or a sexually transmitted disease. They may think it’s a little strange. They may laugh at you. But just do it. Secondly, surround yourself with brilliance. The brilliance of those you love being around and the brilliance of their talent. … But in the end, the core of what you are and where you are is where your heart is, and that is those who you love and who love you. So I want to thank especially my dad for teaching me about the power of ideas, imagination and science; my mum who taught me about music and compassion; my amazing kids … they inspire me and make me very proud; and most of all the person who has to suffer the most for the life that I’ve chosen, my incredible wife, Maeve. … Watch out for music. It should come with a health warning. It can make you feel so alive, so connected to the people around you and connected to what you are inside. And it can make you think that the world should and could be a much better place. And occasionally it can make you very happy."
Peter Gabriel, at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
"I once started a detective story to make money—but I couldn’t get the murder to take place!"
— Mary McCarthy (via theparisreview)
"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me."
— Jenny Joseph, "Warning: When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple"
It’s disappointing to me that well-known comedians I admire are going after a Boston-based freelance writer for trying to make the most out of being denied an actual interview, which would have allowed her to do her comparably low-paying job. The general consensus from these critics is that Macaulay Culkin and his joke band Pizza Underground are off limits from mockery because they’re “just having fun” and that taking the opportunity to comment on the pretentiousness of celebrity is “bitter” and “mean-spirited.” Ironically, these comedians utilize the same type of humor in their acts, but I guess it’s OK because they’re the little guys fighting against the big, bad media and faceless corporations. I see two problems with that logic: One of the comedians has 1.6 million Twitter followers, has appeared on network television programs and has starred in major motion pictures, and the other has 98,700 Twitter followers, has written for cable television and used to yell at and insult complete strangers on the phone weekly for his radio show, which was broadcast to (I’m guessing) hundreds of thousands of listeners via podcast.
Meanwhile, Boston Magazine has 63,300 Twitter followers, and my friend is a freelance writer with 675 Twitter followers who got laid off from a small weekly alternative newspaper two years ago and has trying to make a living writing about books and pop culture, which is all any of us are attempting to do—earn money for the thing that we enjoy. So maybe these comedians should step back and examine what they’re doing when they take someone to task on the Internet. Even if they have the most intelligent, respectful fan base in the world, they’re basically throwing fresh meat to the rabid wild animals that are online commenters who have attacked her for everything from her journalistic integrity to her first name (seriously??!!), all for what? Because she wrote something you think is stupid on a regional website about MACAULAY CULKIN, the millionaire child actor and star of the “Home Alone” franchise? Who’s really Goliath in this scenario?
I’m overjoyed to be part of this fantastic lineup at Freerange Nonfiction Reading Series on Tuesday, March 25th, at Culturefix (9 Clinton Street, New York, NY) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). It’s free!
Lizz Winstead (author of “Lizz Free or Die: Essays,” co-creator of “The Daily Show”)
Clifford Thompson (novelist, author of “Love for Sale and Other Essays”)
Morgan Parker (poet, author of “Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night”)
Melynda Fuller (essayist, freelancer for Bust and Bookslut.com)
Jeb Gleason-Allured (fiction writer, contributor to “Have a NYC 2” and “All Hands On: A THE2NDHAND Reader”)
Amber Drea (that’s me!)
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