We Love Franklin Park

1. Laina Yoswein, who works at a non-profit, & Margarita Korol, who writes and works for Jewcy.com. To read about her take on The Franklin Park Reading Series, and also to hear more about the amazing series curator, Penina Roth, go here. 2. Victoria Comella, a publicist at Penguin, & Mary Barbour, who helps with Freerange, which is a monthly nonfiction reading series.

Last night was the Valentine’s Day installment of the monthly Franklin Park Reading Series. To get in the mood for love, the series featured love stories, and the bar was selling a special Love Potion, which was a serious bitch drink made of vodka, gin, prosecco, and grenadine, along with the usual $4 pints. You could liquor up your date on the cheap! Or, if you preferred, liquor up yourself to drown out the pain of being a loser who is unworthy of anyone’s love.

I entered the bar right on time at 8 pm, and it was already standing room only. The crowd was refreshingly diverse, especially for the literary world: young litsters, older people (one of whom told me, loudly, to HUSHHHHH!!!!!!!!! as I was collecting the last bits of info on one of the subjects of the photographs), and even a family with their young child.

1. Hannah Marie, with reader Milton Washington, who may have been trying to steal her away from her boyfriend while they were in line for the bathroom. Washington says, “BUY THIS SHIT WHEN IT DROPS.” 2. Reader David McLoghlin & Richard Prins. Both of them are MFA students at NYU.

Okay, on to the readers…

Milton Washington, who is adopted, was born in Korea, and got kicked out of Midwestern University, read a part from his forthcoming memoir that, according to him, no one would read even if they bought his book: the prologue. In it, we found out the set up for the rest of the book, which was Washington’s search for his birth mother.

David McLoghlin, a poet, read to us a New York poem, an Irish poem, a Spanish poem (or two?), and a Spanish-Irish poem, as well as a “straight-forward break up poem.” Well, the break-up poem was originally a love poem, but then they broke up, so McLoghlin changed the ending. One of the poems had a lot to do with the folklore in Northwest Spain, which featured a lot of witchcraft, and I found it to be particularly… enchanting (GET IT?! LOL).

1. Jessica, who works at the Normal Mailer Writers Colony, & Nika. 2. Chris Loughran, who told me he wrote the Declaration of Independance (he looks pretty good for his age, huh?), Ross Scarano, who writes for Complex Magazine, & Steven Grassel, who has never written anything.

Mira Ptacin, a nonfiction writer, read “Roy G Biv,” which was about a trip she took to Puerto Rico with her husband. Their wedding was supposed to be a shotgun wedding; Ptacin got pregnant three months after they began dating. Except then she miscarried, but they got married anyway, and this led to some interesting marital tension. Also we also got to hear about cactii shaped like dildos.

Alison Espach read from her new novel, The Adults. We heard about Mr. Basketball, a sexy high school teacher, and the school’s Halloween in Spring dance, which involved teenagers dressing up as slutty bananas and getting drunk on sweet vermouth. Also: drunk teachers, presidents of England, meat being thrown out windows, and blackmail — not necessarily in that order.

Colson Whitehead read from Sag Harbor, a novel in which, if you read the reviews, “nothing happens.” The love in this selection wasn’t romantic, exactly: instead, it was the love of one boy for frozen food. Whitehead also read an essay addressed to T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock from the fictitious-party-guide-guru Rick Davis. Advice given to Prufrock: stop being such a buzzkill, go by a cool nickname like The Rock, read The Secret, and rock that bald head, because some women find bald dudes to be sexy. After all, “a bald head is like the tip of a penis.”

1. The man of the evening: Mr. Colson Whitehead, signing autographs for adoring fans. 2. Author Teddy Wayne & reader Alison Espach. Wayne is proudly holding Espach’s new novel.

–Julia Jackson is working on her MFA in fiction at Brooklyn College, and is a regular contributor for Electric Dish.

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