Friday, June 1, 2012

Letters in the Mail

I've been catching up on written correspondence, sending cards, letters, packages. Such a wonderful way to stay in touch. Electronic communication never feels quite the same. It has no fingerprints. No stray bit of cottonwood or ash that blew into the envelope accidentally.

This coming Monday, 4 June 2012 at 6:30 pm, I'll be part of The Rumpus celebration of the letter at The Verdi Club (2424 Mariposa Street), 6:30pm. Performers include Lorelei Lee, Ariana Reines, MariNaomi, Nato Green, David Berkeley and The Rumpus Ensemble Players. The host is Stephen Elliott.

Here's an excerpt from my "Dear Reader" letter:

"...and the nice wholesome boy who might have been bleeding to death right at that moment--who knows?--was waiting for you all that time, in his pajamas."

Come to the Verdi Club to hear the rest!

American Goths

My friend Harry Leeds sent me this photo of him with shovel in hand, gardening with his uncle in Vermont. It's a great time of year to be out of doors, working in the dirt. Since I live on the 4th floor of an apartment building, my gardening is restricted to a few potted plants. But while I was in Iowa, I ventured out into the countryside with novelist Andrew Sean Greer. We didn't do any hoeing to speak of, but we did stop at the house Grant Wood used as a centerpiece for his painting American Gothic, and we made our own homage to this paragon of American regionalism.

Not surprisingly, I first knew this classic painting through one of its parody versions: the tableau at the end of the opening credits for "Green Acres," starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Most people, it seems, encounter Wood's iconic imagery initially through a wry reinterpretation of it. There are American Gothic-esque photos, cartoons, paintings, and film clips that pair up Miss Piggy & Kermit, Mickey Mouse & Minnie, Bill & Hilary Clinton, Michelle & Barack Obama, Barbie & Ken, Beavis & Butthead and a host of others. In fact, the folks at the American Gothic house in Wapello County, Iowa, have outfits for you to slip into, and they'll even take your photo. As if that weren't enough country hospitality for you, you can buy home-baked pie from the woman who lives inside.