Monthly Archive for March, 2011

Ryan Van Meter Reads From If You Knew Then What I Know Now 4/28

Apr ’11
7:00 pm

In fourteen linked essays, If You Knew Then What I Know Now reinvents the memoir with all-encompassing empathy—for bully and bullied alike. A father pitches baseballs at his hapless son, and a grandmother watches with silent forbearance as the same slim, quiet boy sets the table dressed in a blue satin dress. Another essay explores origins of the word “faggot,” and its etymological connection to “flaming queen.” This deft collection maps the unremarkable landscapes of childhood with compassion and precision, allowing awkwardness its own beauty.

Ryan Van Meter holds an MA in creative writing from DePaul University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from The University of Iowa. His essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, and Fourth Genre, among others, and been selected for anthologies including Best American Essays 2009. In the summer of 2009, he was awarded a residency at the MacDowell Colony. He currently lives in California where he is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at The University of San Francisco.

“Ryan Van Meter’s is both a charming and wounding intelligence. To read a book this observant, this fiercely honest, and this effortlessly beautiful is to feel the very pulse of contemporary American essays.”

—John D’Agata

For more info:

Thursday , April 28th, 7 pm

Flint Expat Poets Larry O. Dean and Sarah Carson Read 4/29

Apr ’11
7:00 pm

Larry O. Dean reads from his just-released chapbooks, About the Author (Mindmade Books) and abbrev (Beard of Bees), as well as new and collected works. He was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where he worked with Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Michael Moore. He attended the University of Michigan, where he won three Hopwood Awards in Creative Writing, and Murray State University’s low-residency MFA program. He teaches literature and composition, and is a Poet-in-Residence in the Chicago Public Schools through the Poetry Center of Chicago’s Hands on Stanzas program. Dean was a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for teaching excellence in 2004. Selected magazine publications include Berkeley Poetry Review, Passages North, Big Bridge, Keyhole, OCHO, Dinosaur Bees, and Used Furniture Review. His work has been widely anthologized, and translated into Chinese, Italian, and Spanish.
“In About the Author, Larry O. Dean’s anti-author’s note poems do what the author’s note never sets out to do, that is tell us what really makes the most sense. These funny and elegant poems about assertion and negation, give us a poet pushing the edges of his own new genre. The reader is in for an enjoyable and revelatory ride.” –Mark Statman, Tourist at a Miracle (poems) and co-translator, Poet in New York (Federico Garcia Lorca)

“When the author is Larry O. Dean, the odds are the book is very, very good indeed. Like his books that preceded it, About the Author is funny and insightful and has a sneaky way of making serious sense through all the cleverness. Reading this book is smiling with the author while he gives you something new to think about. And, serious though he may be, he never lets you lose the grin. Outstanding!” –Charlie Newman, author of deadmachinecity

In addition, Dean is a singer-songwriter, working both solo as well as with several ‘hard pop’ bands. His numerous critically-acclaimed albums include Throw the Lions to the Christians (1997) and Sir Slob (2001); Public Displays of Affection (1998) and Fables in Slang (2001), with Post Office; Gentrification Is Theft (2002), with The Me Decade; and Fun with a Purpose (2009), with The Injured Parties. He is currently working with producer, Chris Stamey (of The dB’s) on his third solo album, titled Good Grief. Since 2001 he has hosted and performed at the monthly songwriter showcase he created, Folk You!

Dean will be joined by fellow Flint expat, Sarah Carson, associate editor at RHINO and the Communications Specialist at Switchback Books. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Diagram, Epiphany, Limestone, Poet Lore, Strange Machine, and Slipstream, among others. She is the author of two chapbooks: Before Onstar (Etched Press, 2010) and Twenty-Two (Finishing Line Press, 2011).
Copies of the poets’ most recent works will be available for purchase and for signing at this event.

For more info: contact or

Fri, Apr 29th, 7PM

Fame and Disgrace: Christopher Smit Reads From The Exile of Britney Spears 4/23

Apr ’11
7:00 pm

Over the course of her decade-long career in the music industry, Britney Spears has both fascinated and repelled the American public, first as an international pop icon, then as a media spectacle gleefully criticized for her rocky marriage and bizarre actions, including shaving her head. The Exile of Britney Spears A Tale of 21st Century Consumption charts the pop star’s rise and fall (and rise again?), illustrating American popular culture’s thirst for—and complicity in—celebrity disgrace. While there have been many takes on Britney, Chris Smit uncovers the psychological and social aspects of the uniquely American spectacle of fame and disgrace.

Just in time for her new album.

Christopher Smit, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His newest book is The Exile of Britney Spears: A Tale of 21st Century Consumption (Intellect/University of Chicago Press, 2011). His work on disability, aesthetics, culture, and popular music can be found in a variety of texts and journals. He is also an award-winning singer-songwriter and musician who currently fronts the band The New Midwest. For more on his work, to read his blog, and hear/download his music, please visit

For more info: University of Chicago Press Books

Saturday, April 23, 7:00 PM

Calling All Nerdy Sluts & Slutty Nerds: Shappy Seasholtz & Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz Read at Quimbys

Apr ’11
7:00 pm

Poets Shappy Seasholtz and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz have had a pretty incredible last few months. In August, they left New York City (their home for the eight years) to move to Philadelphia, where Aptowicz had been awarded the 2010-2011 ArtsEdge Writer-in-Residency at the University of Pennsylvania– the first time that the honor had been given to a slam poet.

In October 2010, Seasholtz won the slot to represent Philadelphia at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships, where he competed in December, placing in the top 10 after the first night of competition. In November 2010, it was announced that Aptowicz had been awarded a 2011 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. And in 2011, a combined total of five books of poetry – covering the couple’s compete back catalogue – are being released on two separate independent presses.

Shappy Seasholtz’s Spoken Nerd Revolution (Pennmanship Books, 2011) covers Seasholtz’s 20 year history in Performance Poetry. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s Hot Teen Slut – her memoir-in-verse about the year she spent as a writer for porn – is one of four books by Cristin being re-issued in expanded editions by Write Bloody Publishing..

“Reading Spoken Nerd Revolution was like looking in a fun house mirror, letting us laugh at and relish in our own oddity.  He makes nerd beautiful. Shappy pees on the shoes of the accepted poetic stereotypes.  He’s not writing the verses that will be dissected into eulogies and greeting cards, or blasted atop break beats until the meaning is lost.   These are real words, from a hilariously cynical and sincere person.  Everyone needs a Shappy in their life..” – John Hancock, The Legendary

“When Aptowicz graduated from college, she got a job as porn editor. Hot Teen Slut are the poems she wrote about that time. The poems are as much about that first foray into the real world as they are about the day-to-day life of a porn editor. They are funny and painful and funny. I understand that what I’m about to say might seem a little nuts to poetry pros, but I’m going to say it anyway: I have found the greatest book of poetry ever written.” – Melissa Lion, Bookslut

Quimbys is proud to be welcoming Shaptowicz back! Special guests and refreshments will be provided!

For more info: and

Sat, Apr 16th, 7pm

Weekly Top 10

Thanks to everybody who planned, attended, ran and supported Chicago Zine Fest last weekend. It was super fun! Tonight Josh Alan Friedman will be here at 7pm to celebrate the release of his book Black Cracker.

1. OK OK You Smote Me Stories by Al Burian $3.00 – Quimby’s alum and international zine curmudgeon Al Burian has crafted a new zine exclusively for the store, the second in our “Quimby’s Exclusive” line of periodicals. In OK OK You Smote Me, Al takes us around the corner to his mayhem-prone stint on Wicker Park’s Dean Street, unhexing his way-too-hexed apartment and watching the tumult as Old Chicago takes a scraggly, low-level “stand” against encroaching yuppie “neighborhood improvement”. Compelling, humorous and wistful, with that trademark Burn Collector balance of heart and snark. -EF

2. Burn Collector #15 by Al Burian (Microcosm) $3.00 – With contributions from Anne Elizabeth Moore and Liam Warfield.

3. Cometbus #54 In China With Green Day by Aaron Cometbus $4.00

4. Bitch #50 $5.95

5. Cinema Sewer #24 by Robin Bougie $4.00 – Robin Bougie once again goes in and digs up the dirt behind the sleaze. This issue has a lot of interviews taking on the history and legalization of porn, muderous scandals, scandalous scoundrels and a review of Hausu, perhaps the best Japanese film ever made. Cinema Sewer is pure smut in the butt, the sort of zine that somehow delivers on all of it’s craziest promises. -EF

6. Filling the Void: Interviews About Quitting Drinking and Using (Doris Press) $4.00 – This zine is so solid it’s like it’s made out of rocks. Cindy from Doris Zine has collected seven interviews here that discuss sobering up from DIY and non-religious perspectives. A great and resourceful thing to have if you or someone you know is trying to clean up their act and is maybe feeling frustrated with traditional modes of support and process. Just a great and resourceful zine to have in general. -EF

7. Too Far (mini comic) $6.00

8. Boobs by Sam Sharpe $3.00

9. Cartooning Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press) $13.00 – Don’t miss Ivan Brunetti at our sister store, Chicago Comics, on 4/1.

10. Juxtapoz #123 Apr 11 $5.99