Fireside Follies

The time flies by quickly. I couldn’t believe it had been a month since I attended the first of the Fireside Follies reading series. My feet were taking me down the familiar route “warehouse on the right, warehouse on the left” to my most favorite fire place in Bushwick, Brooklyn Fireproof.

1. Fish-eyed: Cassandra Katsiaficas: “…when I was looking for my favorite pen to write in my purse, I found a tiny Budha who is smiling and eating, so I smiled back at him.” 2. Alyson Paty & Friend.

Mike Lala and Eric Nelson, the co-perpetrators of the finest Bushwick reading series, were tempting all the bookworms with a stellar constellation of readers: Christy Road, Melissa Broder, Cassandra Katsiaficas, Danniel Schooneebek, and Alyson Paty.

Cassandra Katsiaficas is a founding member of Numu Arts Collective, poet, painter, jewelry and big plans maker.

Danniel Schooneebek (L) & Alyson Paty (R)

Danniel Schooneebek and Alyson Paty have a collaboration poetry project going on. They write so-called “torch poems.” Each separately writes 5 lines without discussing them with the other in order to come up with sentimental unrequited love poems. In addition, both Danniel and Alyson read poems unrelated to the collaborative project. Danniel frequently experiments with form. His work includes poems in the form of itinerary, manifesto or apology.

Melissa Broder is a shiny poet star! She reads a couple of poems, some from her book When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother, and also some that were published elsewhere. To listen to Melissa’s poems is like to hold two fingers on the pulse of the city life, todayness, sarcasm, pop culture and generation of 20 something.

Melissa Broder (L) & Christy Road (R)

Christy Road sits in the front row. She is a punk with Cuban origins. She is holding her latest illustrated novel Bad Habits, a manuscript of an upcoming piece, and a laptop. She explains that Bad Habits is an autobiography. It’s a story of a gay woman coming to New York; she is from a Cuban family recovering from an abusive heterosexual relationship. While reading, Christy projects her illustrations. Her confession takes me aback with its frankness. Christy is direct, simply describing reality the way it is, without any pathos or sentiments, causing me shivers on the spine. Her illustrations remind me of a comic noir, enhancing the effect of the story. Christy is true and has so much to tell through visual arts inspired into writing.

Saturdays Fireside Follies made me happy, indicating the way the series could follow — in line with the spirit of the neighborhood, exploding with truthfulness, creativity, confession, new forms, exploration, extreme, erasing the line between the forms of art.

–Katarina Hybenova is a writer and a photographer based in Brooklyn, the author of

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