Saturday, January 17, 2009

About Last Night

I arrived at the church, a converted house by a pond, nestled off the roads among pine trees at 6:30 and was directed to a table to set up. The reception was warm and friendly. Paul McAuliffe and Chris Arrant and his wife Melissa welcomed me. People began arriving soon, and snacking from the refreshment table. It was good to see Lynn Wallace again and catch up, and I talked briefly to artist Jim Davis and took his photo.

The event began with a number of songs by Jeanine "Dr. Jazz" Normand, from Fairhope, Ala. She played jazz, boogie-woogie, blues, and more, and the crowd enjoyed her quite a bit.

I was up next. I read "A Tangled Skein," the third chapter of my novel, "Welcome to the Dawning of a New Century." I was glad to hear the laughter in all the right places, and folks seemed very pleased with the story. They asked questions after, and I talked about some of the sources of inspiration for the tale.

I don't have a picture of that, but I took a photo MySpace-style of Chris and me afterward. Chris is a talented writer, with loads of comics and journalism credits. Most recently, he was tasked to adapt a Tori Amos song into comic form for the "Comic Book Tattoo" collection.

My friend Lynn followed up with several of the poems that will soon be published by Pottersville Press. They're the work of a lifetime, and very moving, often funny, sometimes dark. I really enjoyed his delivery and the background he gave for each one.

Next up were dancers from Panama City Belly Dance. They gave us history lessons on each type of dance they performed, with each member of the troupe doing something very different from the others. One of the dancers used Gothic clothing and danced to "Sleep Isabella," a song by the steampunk band Abney Park (one of my current favorites).

The leader of the group performed a snake dance with what appeared to be a rattle snake, but which was actually a gray rat snake. When she announced her intention to dance with a snake, a man behind me asked his friend, "Do they have a back door in this place?" Then he said, "Where do you reckon they want one?" He left until she was finished and the snake was back in its basket. The group finished the night with a group dance. Here are some images:

Check on Monday for video from the event, including some of the dancers and Lynn reading a poem.
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