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Tyler E. Boudreau Reads From Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

Written by Marine Corps veteran Tyler Boudreau, Packing Inferno (Feral House) traces his 12-year career as a Marine, from boot camp in South Carolina to the first siege on Fallujah in 2004.  Boudreau’s transformation from eager recruit, to a professional-minded Marine torn between an intense desire to experience combat and a growing skepticism about the  operations in which he is participating, and finally to a Commanding Officer who lost faith in the mission, is told in deeply personal detail. Boudreau, an Iraq war veteran grappling head on with the psychological trauma left by war, refuses to be silent. His transformation is reflective of the broader American discontent about a war and occupation with no end in sight, and no moral compass left to guide it.

Packing Inferno digs deep in to the morass of the Iraq war as only a veteran of the conflict can. With rare candor, Boudreau’s account takes readers into the experience of war and all its contradictions. Early in his tour he embraced the call to win “hearts and minds,” politely waving at each Iraqi he met. Yet he confesses that, “most of the Marines, like me, were hungry for blood,” and recounts the unbridled joy he felt after he first saw combat. Eventually Boudreau relates the creeping skepticism that set in at the impossible task of distinguishing civilians from combatants.

Slowly he comes to believe that American military forces are only creating more insurgents with each attack, and that the war’s inevitable consequence is irreversible turmoil in Iraq and even civil war. Back in the U.S. in 2005, preparing for a second tour in Iraq, Boudreau realizes he loves his Marines more than the mission, and feels professionally obligated to relinquish his command and resign his commission. Boudreau’s final assignment as a Marine is not on the battlefield, but as the OIC of 2d Marine Regiment’s rear echelon, assigned the unenviable task of alerting the families of wounded Marines.  It is during this time, in what he describes as the most difficult job he’s ever done, that Boudreau notices the overwhelming numbers of service members returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress. Boudreau starts to wonder why it is never part of his script to tell a mother or a father that, “Your boy is coming home with a broken heart.” If Boudreau left the Marines in 2005, his battles had only begun. From chronic insomnia to sudden bursts of rage, Packing Inferno takes us inside the mind of a soldier struggling to make peace with the demons of war. Boudreau calls on readers not to avert their eyes from the ugly psychological wounds carried by many veterans and to declare loud and clear, “War did this.”

Tyler Boudreau, a twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry, was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as Assistant Operation Officer for an infantry battalion. Following the deployment he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of a rifle company and was preparing to return to Iraq when he resigned his commission because of his growing reservations about the war. He is the founder of Collaborative Revolution, a new not-for-profit humanitarian project to assist Iraqi refugees and immigrants resettled in the US. He maintains a blog at: www.deeperthanwars.blogspot.com

There’s Something Wrong With Chess Event

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

A Dual Release Party For THE2NDHAND broadsheet no. 32,

featuring a short story by Patrick Somerville

& Greg Gerke’s There’s Something Wrong With Sven

Patrick Somerville is the Chicago-based author of a novel, “The Cradle,” out this year, and the “Trouble” collection of shorts. His “A Game I Once Enjoyed,” a short about a chance chess match between two neighbors during the biggest snowstorm of the year, is the featured piece in THE2NDHAND’s 32nd broadsheet, released here. Somerville has been widely reviewed and praised. “The Cradle” even showed up earlier this year in the staid New York Times Book Review, yet he remains true to the roots of his work’s genesis as a mainstay of Chicago’s indie-lit scene. To read selections from his work, interrogate some of the reviews out there, and get in touch, visit his website, www.patricksomerville.com.

THE2NDHAND contributor Greg Gerke lives and writes in Buffalo, N.Y., where he penned the flash-fiction collection “There’s Something Wrong With Sven” — out this year from BlazeVox Books. His work in fiction has appeared variously in several mags, including Rosebud, Fourteen Hills, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, and THE2NDHAND. Writing in the Buffalo News, journalist and book critic R.D. Pohl described the new collection as “a picaresque gambol through many of the leading tropes of contemporary American storytelling from the manic to the gothic, absurdist romance to mock epic parody, Rashomon-effect reverie to tavern patron’s tall tale.” This versatile writer brings his bombast to Chicago in a stop on a multicity tour in support of the book. Visit www.greggerke.com for more.

Spencer Dew, based in Chicago, authored the 2008 “Songs of Insurgency” collection, out from Vagabond Press, and his shorts have appeared in great frequency in some of America’s best online and print lit mags, included, meagerly, THE2NDHAND. Amy Woods Butler (also, incidentally, more recently a contributor to THE2NDHAND) last said the stories in Dew’s collection “pound through the apathy and delusions of our post-9/11 world with the force of a jackhammer.” His delivery, too, honed through regular readings in Chicago and around the country, is unparalleled in its energy. Visit www.spencerdew.com for links to pieces of his prolific online lit presence. (Dew authored THE2NDHAND’S 30th, Winter 2008-09 broadsheet, “Gives Birth to Monsters.”)

C.T. Ballentine, THE2NDHAND’s Chicago editor, will host. Ballentine’s the creator of several one-off and short-run zine projects, including an audio zine (“Radio Plays”) and the occasional “Aftercrossword Special” for his own work. Prior to joining THE2NDHAND as an editor, the mag published his serialized novella “Friedrich Nietzsche Waits for a Date.” Visit www.the2ndhand.com/archive/fried1.html for the first installment.

Onsmith & Nudd at Quimby’s!

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

Ice cream, buzzing flies, cow udders, double-tongues, jarred brains, twisted limbs, floating heads, mysteriously sheathed meat-slugs, severed arms, eyeballs, and shrunken-head fishing lures.  Welcome to the graphic underbelly of Onsmith & Nudd, a cartoonish netherworld of darkly comic doom.  Witness the mushy quadruple-stacked heads that form the menacing totem pole-like Head Heaps.  Or the freshly staked heads and weird diseased udder worship of Monkey Nudd Wine. Together as friends,  Onsmith & Nudd made close to 1000 prints this year, plenty to sift through, scour and pick apart with a fine toothed bone.  Many of these prints, mostly silk screens,  will be on view and available at Quimby’s in addition to Onsmith & Nudd’s extensive back catalog of zines, mini-comics, miscellaneous multiples, video editions, posters, flyers and original art. As an extra added bonus, visitors are invited to participate in Onsmith & Nudd’s newest collaborative body of work, Horde of the Flies: An Infestation.  Many large sheets of paper will be provided so that Quimby’s guests may draw between 1 and 1000 flies that will eventually culminate in a massive swarm of pesky winged insects.  Examples, materials and sources will be provided.

Also, Nudd will be releasing the first two volumes of R.U.B., a new DVD zine that features in-camera edited documentaries of local artists.  Volume I focuses on local kinetic sculptor Nick Black.  Watch Nick as he tinkers with his thriftstore-found animatronic toys, rearranging them into hilarious monstrosities.  His studio is a treasure trove of weird parts and pieces, a dizzying labyrinth of plastic and cheapness, and it’s all captured here on home video!!!  Volume II contains a video about Keith Herzik, local artist, zine-maker and, most notably, screen printer.  Keith began making screen prints fifteen years ago for local gigs, but has transcended the limitations of that form tremendously.  Although he remains quite underground, Keith’s influence on younger artists has been immeasurable.  Indeed, he is not only one of Chicago’s most prolific image makers and most gifted draftsmen, but also an outrageously daring colorist.  Watch him banter, print and give us a tour of his shop, the Alamo Igloo, right here on home video!!!

Finally!  Years in the making, Corpus Corpus 2 is finally here!  A compilation zine with a notorious line-up, curated and printed by Paul Nudd, Corpus Corpus 2 contains thirty pages of mind and bowel blowing graphic mayhem.  Mariano Chavez, Anne Van Der Linden, Gregory Jacobsen, Bruno Richard, Mike Diana, Edith Sloat, Sophie Greenstalk, Kristen Romaniszak, Onsmith, and Ryan Travis Christian join forces in a fully lathered orgy of primal muck.   Silkscreened covers, some hand-tinted, and limited to 100 copies, Corpus Corpus 2 will not be around for long.   These suckers will be snarfed!

Paul Nudd was born in Harpenden, England in 1976. He graduated in 2001 with an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, Western Exhibitions, Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. His website is http://www.paulnudd.com .

Onsmith is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Chicago. His comics, prints, and illustrations have appeared in The Chicago Reader, Vice Magazine, both volumes of Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, and may also be viewed at http://www.onsmithcomics.blogspot.com He most recently began showing his art in galleries as well as curating a show of comics.

Dave Reidy and Friends Host a Quaroke Reading

Jul ’09
6:45 pm


Dave Reidy’s collection of fiction, entitled Captive Audience (IgPublishing) features, among other stories, the award-winning story “The Regular.” And that particular piece is about arty nerdy introverts doing karaoke. In Chicago. In a neighborhood that sounds suspiciously like Wicker Park.

What better way to welcome this new collection of punchy literature with a night of Quimby’s Quaraoke? KJ (that’s karaoke disc jockey, folks) services will be provided by Shameless Karaoke, a husband-wife team composed of, well, arty nerdy introverts who met doing karaoke. In Chicago.

Also appearing: Claire Zulkey, Megan Stielstra and Mark Bazer

“Dave Reidy’s matchless reports from the heart of twenty-first century America, a landscape of technological obsession and performance anxiety (in many forms), are elegant, precise, cool, and funny. Here is a young writer from whom we can expect much in the future.” -David Leavitt, Author of The Indian Clerk

Dave Reidy’s fiction has appeared in Pindeldyboz and The MacGuffin. In 2007, Charles D’Ambrosio chose Reidy’s story “The Regular” as winner of the Emerging Writers Network Short Story Competition. Captive Audience, a collection of short stories about performers, is his first book.

For more info: http://www.davereidy.com


Jason Buhrmester Reads Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery

Jul ’09
7:00 pm


In Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery, Inked magazine editor Jason Buhrmester tells the conceivably true tale of a group of small-time crooks who, against all odds, manage to pull off one of the most infamous fleeces in classic rock’s history.

Hours before the final show of their 1973 U.S. tour, the members of Led Zeppelin find all the cash missing from their safe deposit box at the Drake Hotel in New York City. The $203,000 robbery was never solved. Now, in Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery, Inked magazine editor Jason Buhrmester tells the story. In this book of fiction, slacker Patrick returns home with the plan for one last crazy scam. He gathers his slacker buddies—Alex, Frenchy, and Keith—and convinces them to take a break from their crappy jobs, getting high, and jacking car stereos to plot an improbable robbery of Led Zeppelin. Nothing quite goes as planned, and the guys find themselves mixed up with Backwoods Billy, the psychotic, born-again leader of the Holy Ghosts Christian motorcycle gang and various other adventures, in this tale that just might shed light on one of the biggest capers in rock and roll history.

“Almost Famous meets Reservoir Dogs in Inked editor Buhrmester’s debut novel about a quartet of wannabe young criminals who probably should’ve stayed in school. Buhrmester demonstrates…a heartfelt affection for all that rocks. Casual music fans will enjoy the heck out of this hilarious and gritty tale; rock fanatics will adore it.” —Kirkus Reviews

Former editor at Playboy and current editor at Inked, Jason Buhrmester has been published in Spin, Wired, the Village Voice, and other publications. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he is working on his second novel and listening to Black Sabbath.

A helpful review of the book is here.