Here’s a picture of me shaking hands with Guy Benjamin Brookshire, author of The Universe War. We were onstage in Athens, GA.
In July, I went on a five city tour with Matt Cook to support the release of Proving Nothing to Anyone. We went to Boston, Amherst, Philly, Baltimore and Brooklyn. We had a pretty great time, with many highlights and many jokes. I was the driver. Matt read in a Scottish bar in Boston, at Flying Object in western Mass, a dive bar called “The Dive” in Philadelphia, a converted bodega in Baltimore and, in Brooklyn, to a packed house at Mellow Pages.
I kept meaning to post about the trip but never did and now I’ve forgotten most of the jokes.
Before that happens again, having returned two days ago from a tour to push Edward Mullany’s book, Figures for an Apocalypse, and John Dermot Woods’s book, Activities, I’m committing some details to blogsterity.
We were joined on the road by dapper Guy Benjamin Brookshire (pictured above), whose collage chapbook, The Universe War, lives in color right smack dab here.
Preliminaries out of the way, here are the details:
- John came to Baltimore (from Brooklyn) with his wife and daughter and we met up on Saturday for lunch and stuff.
- Edward and Anjali (who are married) came in before the reading at Justin Sirois’s “Cabin/Fire” series and we all met up there. It was starting to rain but there was a fire going.
- We passed out stickers and postcards. Anjali told me about her idea to raffle off a copy of Edward and John’s book by choosing a tweet. Audience members were told to tweet anything about our show using the hashtag #EdwardAdamJohn, and she would pick a winner at random. We did this at every show. It was fun.
- After John and Edward performed (Edward read for a bristling 20 minutes), everyone hung out around Justin’s fire pit. I met Edward’s brother, who is two years older. He has an Australian accent. I liked him a lot.
- The next day I picked up John from his hotel and drove his wife and daughter to the bus and they went back to Brooklyn.
- Joe Young and John and I rounded up Edward and Anjali and we headed to DC.
- In DC we met up with the Lucky Funeral poets, whose tour was taking them to many of the same cities we were going to. We crossed paths at the Three Tents series in Dupont Circle. They put on a good show—I especially liked Niina Pollari’s funny poems—but we became their sworn enemies and promised to tell all the other cities not to attend their reading. (They’re still at it. Don’t go see them if you are in these places.)
- We returned to Baltimore and we played some cards. John won.
- On Monday what did we do? I don’t remember, **UPDATE** but John just reminded me. It is very clear now. John made chicken stew. We went to the grocery store and bought a ton of ingredients (twice, cuz it called for thighs AND wings). As we did this, John read from the copy of Cook’s Illustrated he had with him, giving us the backstory about chicken stew—Americans love chicken so it’s peculiar that we don’t have a good chicken stew. But John figured it out. His meal was DELICIOUS. (I think I forgot because I spent much of the day grading student projects.) **END UPDATE** but in the evening John and Edward performed for my class and talked about online journals and getting started with publishing. Then Anjali talked about her work in digital media, and there was a Q&A, and it was interesting. Then they stayed for an extra and watched as the students delivered presentations about online journals, like PANK and Diagram and The Lascaux Review.
- After that, John and Edward and Anjali and I met up with Sarah Jean Alexander and Spencer Madsen and lots of Baltimoreans—Kimball, Jamie, Carissa and Randolph, Caryn, Shantell—and we made a movie in which Spencer beats me in ping pong. We did this late into the night. I don’t know how anyone went to work the next day.
- The next day we went to work on some more movie shooting. Then we went to Norfolk, VA and read at a cool house series run by Andrew Squitiro. There was a great mood among the audience, who were mostly MFA students at Old Dominion. We read with Caleb True, a friendly and funny guy. Bestie Dave NeSmith was in the house and we came up with an app for PGP that will take the world by storm.
- At this reading, the three of us did our whole show for the first time. The whole show went like this: Adam sings a welcoming theme song; Edward reads for 6 minutes with a projection of his drawings behind him; John presents his new comic, A Natural Family; Adam reads the first six pages of his novel, The Sun Also Rises; Edward reads again; John presents his lumberjacks comic.
- After that we went to a bar and I was going to do open mic standup but then, crazy like foxes, we drove to Charlotte, NC. Edward managed the six hour drive while John and I snoozed and Anjali tried to keep him up with conversation. It was amazing.
- At 5am we arrived at the estate of Guy Benjamin Brookshire—his parents—and he sleepily tucked us in. After a few hours of sleep, we ate breakfast with Ben’s mother. I had met Ben a couple times before, but this was when I really got to know him. It was all very funny. His first name is Guy but we call him Ben.
- Then John crashed the car into Ben’s parents’ house and we went to Athens, GA.
- In Athens we met up with Amy McDaniel and her friend Jenny and John’s friend Chris and we went to eat at Chris’s fancy restaurant. Amy and I shared the fish special. The waitress spilled a tray of drinks on Ben. Ben’s suit looked porous. Chris bought everyone’s drinks. We headed across the street to read at The World Famous, a slick, small rock club.
- This was when I first got to see Ben perform The Universe War. He used a
- At the World Famous, I chilled with world famous poet Daniel Bailey and his wife Elizabeth Taddonio. They run Champion of the Couch which I just was looking at and thought looked cool.
- Then I went to Atlanta with Amy. In the middle of sleeping I had some sort of night terror?
- The next night I went to see Amy read at a release party for the new Safety Third chapbook. I love to watch Amy read. Plus our tour was mostly all men reading, so it was nice to hear from four women. Amy read her meditation poem and during the part where she asks for a joke like your father would tell, I heard Jamie Iredell across the room tell a joke like his father would tell. I didn’t know Jamie was there. That was neat.
- We met back up with Edward and John and Anjali and Ben, who had stayed the night in Athens, at that reading. We watched a bit of the world series.
In the morning, Amy made a huge brunch for eight people. French toast with a banana sauce and quiche and piles of bacon and a salad and muffins. It was a feat. A delicious feat.
- And then we went to the Cyclorama, a big circular painting that you rotate through and learn about the Civil War. Particularly about the Battle of Atlanta. Atlanta lost.
- That night we gave our final reading at Amy’s house, the 421. Amy set out several bales of hay in the backyard and we got a campfire going. Mark Leidner joined the Edward, Adam and John Show (and Ben!) and read a long poem about the line “dance like no one’s watching.” Mark made a trailer for John’s book and John had drawn an image for Mark’s book, so it was nice for things to come together like this.
Here’s a picture of Mark reading in front of a projection of the image John drew for his book:
- After the reading, Amy threw a huge party featuring Popeye’s chicken and caviar. It was a reward level for PGP’s Kickstarter. It was, like the brunch from a few hours before, a delicious feat.
- And as that party died down, we all moved to sit around the campfire. The night got smaller. We talked about the tour and the show and I wished we could keep going.
- The next day, Edward, Anjali and John were gone.
Huge thanks to Edward, Anjali and John—the best traveling companions ever!
Here are the lyrics to the theme song:
It’s the Edward, Adam and John show …
We got Edward’s book,
I think that it’s poetry
But take a look,
It might be short stories.
And then we got,
by John Dermot Woods
it’s a comic book
cuz I’m on tour
with Edward and John
It’s the Edward, Adam and John show!