Props for Chico literature, two film series to remember, Avenue 9 Gallery and a mess of weekly DEVOtions
Give it up for the written word It started with me saying to myself last week, “I don’t talk enough about the lit scene in the column. I wonder if there’s anything going on?” You know where this is heading. Of course, there are a ton of things going on. Just this week:
• Chico State’s Humanities Center and Writer’s Voice series host two poets at the 1078 Gallery, Friday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. Kevin Prufer, winner of three Pushcart Prizes, will read from his latest book of poetry, National Anthem, which was named one of 2008’s top five books of poetry by Publisher’s Weekly. Joining Prufer will be Chico State professor Troy Jollimore, winner of the 2006 Book Critics Circle Award for his Tom Thomson in Purgatory.
• A just-off-the-press book of poetry was left on my desk this week. Vowed is a collection of poems by CN&R sales honcho Alec Binyon, and though I would have expected that my clever friend might have offered some sort of smart-ass left-wing rant or ruminations on the bleeps and bloops of analog synthesizers, turns out homeboy’s got soul. As the subhead explains, these are “poems of lust, love, commitment and family,” and in them Binyon takes time to stop and look and appreciate the beauty while also trying to comprehend his overflowing life as an ambitious young man with a wife, two children, a demanding job and a head full of ideas. It’s a sweet and heartfelt collection, and you can buy a copy for yourself at Lyon Books in downtown Chico.
Here’s a taste, from the poem on the last page titled “Freedom”: I wear my freedom on funky ties I buy at thrift stores / Eventually, I will wear it as a crown on long gray hair / and a strange house in the forest with a hidden driveway, a well, chickens, a large garden and my wife who will paint for hours every day / drinking through pots and pots of coffee.
(Go to lyonbooks.com and click on the “Read Chico’s Local Authors!” link at the top of the page for more local works.)
• Local poet, Webmaster (upliftingthoughts.org) and man-about-town Mark Guttman just had his one-act play, The Dark Forest, produced earlier this month at the Rebel Verses Festival of New Works in New York City. It’s Guttman’s second one-act to be chosen for the fest (his first, Sonny Wakes Up, ran in 2007).
Guttman described the piece as “a dreamlike, poetic, dark kind of play,” and added that he had lost hope for its being chosen when the notification deadline came and went. A couple weeks later, the organizers called and said that the poetry of his work had been gnawing at their brains and they had to pick it. Join Arts DEVO in raising a glass to Guttman … and to gnawing poetry.
• Speaking of one-act plays, the Blue Room is making a final call to all playwrights for its annual Fresh Ink Festival of New Works. Deadline to submit original one-acts is Wednesday, April 1. Call 895-3749 or visit blueroomtheatre.com for info.
• Turner Award for Excellence ceremony: Avenue 9 Gallery receives 2009 award today (March 26), 7 p.m., at Janet Turner Print Museum.
• Mute Witness CD-release party: The harmonizing four-piece invites all their singing friends to the party at Duffy’s (Friday, March 27, 9 p.m.) to cover songs of their choices in between the Mute Witness rock. Live karaoke stars will include Pat Hull, the Ford bros from The Secret Stolen, Aubrey Debauchery, Handsome Gorgeous, Chris Keene and many more.
• 10 10 20: Buy 10-inch-by-10-inch pieces for $20 at the Chico State student art sale. Works on display March 30-April 3, with reserve purchase starting April 1, 12:30 p.m.; reception and awards April 1, 5:30 p.m. Ayres 105, on the university campus.
• New Art from Rathburn Studios: Doug Rathburn’s glowing metal sculptures at Paradise Lost Saturday, April 3, 6 p.m.