Tuesday, October 29, 2019

POKRASS' Flash fiction, magic of loved and lost, humans and creatures.





THE DOG SEATED NEXT TO ME by Meg Pokrass (Pelekinesis, September 15, 2019.)

Pokrass' flash fiction has the magic of loved and lost, humans and creatures.

Imagine Flannery O'Connor would enjoy the dark wit of Meg Pokrass' THE DOG SEATED NEXT TO ME (Pelekinesis, September 2019). Here the usual mysteries; love, youth, age, the games people play with themselves and others, the texture of time and our bodies, are given strange life. Pokrass often writes about us as creatures. The wilds we are and inhabit may refer to "familiars." Canine, avian, insect qualities are guides of sorts for the women relating stories. One shelters under her lover's wing. Another disappoints her husband when she falls for a blue tongued squink instead of the idea of a new baby.  Some samples below.

The Rescue

He told her how his parakeet died, all at once, in the middle of a regular day. A bird holocaust. She could see, behind his words, such gorgeous, frantic color that she held his hand. There were so many stories he'd never tell her about other departures. He was busy trying to make her laugh, reaching for a joke, and it would work! She'd laugh her fluttery heart out, hand it to him from the tip of her tree.

Infestation

There was a large cockroach living in my heart, clinking its tender little legs, plotting escape. People's hearts are heavy with bugs they won't admit. Mine remembered everything--the early days of my marriage, dreams of growing old while holding fingers. Driving to Monterey, after his affair, I told my husband about the cockroach. "Smart, but not very optimistic," I said.

There's something about driving to a beautiful place, not looking directly at each other, watching the highway. He said, "I understand. There's a cockroach inside me too."

That night, I felt the tiniest part of me scurrying out, eager to be seen. His sudden disclosure had made my head spin. Under the motel sign, I heard two hearts chirping. We made love for the first time in years, the angels trying to bring us back to each other--as if we recognized a friend in the dark.

For those asking 'What is flash fiction?'  Wikipedia defines as  ..."a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development." Microfiction is an old form employed not just in English by Chekhov, H.P. Lovecraft, Hemingway, Cortazar, Vonnegut, P.K. Dick, Bertolt Brecht and Franz Kafka.

There are many writers in Spanish, including Oscar Esquivas and Argentina's Ana Maria Shua. In the Arab speaking world, there is Nobel Prize winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz. Oddly, only two women, Shua and Lydia Davis were mentioned, though I believe Flannery O'Connor wrote microfiction.  Peter Cherches' minimalist stories in Condensed Book (1986) are clever enigmatic fun.  

Take a look at THE DOG SEATED NEXT TO ME (Pelekinesis)

S.W.





Saturday, October 26, 2019

Quiet Enjoyment by Richard Curtis, NY Real Estate dramedy to November 3rd!





Quiet Enjoyment by Richard Curtis
Directed by Marcus Gualberto
October 18 to November 3rd, Playroom Theater

If real estate is God in New York, it rules few neighborhoods as ostentatiously as the Upper East Side, the zipcode of landed wealth; bejeweled wives, hipster mistresses, and much real Chanel. Perhaps less fashionable these days than Downtown's arty tech money but for durable property value--no contest.

In Quiet Enjoyment Richard Curtis takes on a ritual of this God, a "closing" on a 5 million dollar penthouse, which goes farcically wrong. Directed with sly humor by Marcus Gualberto, the transfer of a co-op between husband and wife becomes a contest of "Karma", also the name of the husband's mistress with a mission to disrupt.. As played by Megan Simard, Karma's a cosmic goldigger, whose sexual power, divinely derived from Kundalini yoga, makes real sparks.

Her foil is not the betrayed wife Juliana (Jamie Lee Kearns) being compensated by the property at zero cost,but legal associate, Meredith Cudlip (Samantha Mercado Tudda). Mercado Tudda's Cudlup, is the aspiring soul of this proceeding. Earnestly, compulsively she enacts the sacred ritual of much legal paper. With hilarious self-control, she invests the signing with a solemnity for the legal system and her own future. Her martial arts maneuvers, stunningly choreographed by Ruth Guimera, are akin to a palace guard in a Samurai movie.

Jaime Lee Kearn's Juliana, entitled and neglected, succeeds as a poignant straight woman, unappreciated for the value she's added to her husband's life. As beneficiary, she might seem ridiculous as the "wronged" wife--but she realilistically fears eviction!  Kris Paredes as Dana, Juliana's sister and lawyer, appears all about sisterly protection.  Paredes plays her as both vulnerable and a force to be reckoned with.

The women in Curtis' dramedy seem defensive with good cause. Their male antagonists, Peter (Mark A. Daly) and Bimsky (Mario Claudio) wear male privilege like a second skin. Peter, the moneyed white male with mysterious and perhaps disastrous business in the Cayman Islands, is played with madcap befuddlement by Daly. Bimsky, an outrageous "natural" man, a substitute for Peter's lawyer,
is marvelously played with a sense of truth and embarassment as he revels in his physical ailments and appetites.

The deux a machina in this cauldron is Paula Gates, who plays both Tammy, Peter's Assistant, and Martha, Meredith's boss, head of the lawfirm. Without her, the play could not go on or end. And she's played as a kind of comic anti-goddess, a relief in the churning activity. Quiet Enjoyment may be a legal right of a lease holder, but there's no guarantees...

S.W.

 Mark Daly, Jaime Lee Karns
 Megan Simard
 Samantha Mercado Tudda, Mario Claudio, Simard
 Simard, Claudio, Kris Paredes
Closing

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Don the Con: A Kid's book of Trumpian Humor for Adults! Very fun. See video on Kickstarter page

I have never before posted about a Kickstarter book but this one is so fun. By award winning children's book author Roseanne Greenfield and wonderful illustrator David Juarez, this is both original and very familiar!  Perfect for 2020 and the adult child in your life!  
S.W.



Don the ConA Kid’s book of Trumpian Humor for Adults!
 “With facts, our boy was not too picky.
War is peace…let’s not get sticky!”

Dive into a ‘swamp’ of tantrums, misdeeds and muddled understandings as a schoolyard bully embarks on a steep learning curve that takes him all the way through high school—only to discover what most learn in kindergarten! This wickedly-witty parody sings with lilting rhyme and is illustrated with satirical spice!  Woven into the text are current political mainstays: immigration, border walls, climate change, Russian collusion, fake information and more!  “He was soon loaded down with pounds of bling. These Russian kids are the genuine thing!”’

This is a call to endure the last year of Trump’s tantrums with the best armor we have at our disposal:  humor, wit, and a democratic ending!  Visit us at: 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dontheconbook/don-the-con 

to help publish this 26-page soft cover picture book that delivers THE BEST LAUGH OF 2020 that will carry us through to next November!

About the author     
Roseanne Greenfield is an award-winning author of 16 children's books that celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. Roseanne’s awards include New York Public Library’s 100 Best Books List, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best, USA Today’s Best Holiday Book for Kids, California Reading Association Honor (Eureka!) Book, Best Latino-Themed Picture Book and more.  Roseanne teaches and has given author talks and writing workshops in numerous cities in the US and abroad.  You can see more of Roseanne’s books at www.greenfield-thong.com 

About the illustrator     
David Juarez is a storyboard artist, concept illustrator, and educator who enjoys sharing the joy of artistic expression in his community and beyond. He has studied at Pasadena's Art Center and in England.  A seasoned visual storyteller, he has lent his talents to the advertising and entertainment industries, helping craft the stories for striking campaigns and enthralling narratives.  David is a strong believer in "Doing what you can, where you can" to help those in need.  He sees this project as a great opportunity to address today's important issues through art and comedy.  You can reach out to David via his website. https://robotspaceninja.blogspot.com/

For more info:  www.donthecon.com.