It ended with long discussion of the reasons folks tend to depart the scene of a reading when there’s a band upcoming, in this case the wonderful Balthrop, Alabama, a Brooklyn band featuring 12 (or more) members whose freak-folk leanings had at least one of the readers (indeed the only one remaining) marveling at the unlikely beauty of the goings-on at the local bookshop, which is to say nothing of the reading, a large success as well, driven into the night by newish THE2NDHAND contributor Alec Niedenthal (pictured, above), who delivered three shorts that rivaled the best stuff we’ve heard lately from the experimentalist crowd. The pseudonymous Atlanta writer ‘Peepshow Girl’, having had a root canal, offered her “Diary of a Phone Sex Operator” story to the Left Hand’s Erin ‘Soapy’ Jones (pictured, below), whose delivery was spot-on and polished, and longtime THE2NDHAND broadsheet contributor Nadria Tucker read a brand-new Dos Passos(think Manhattan Transfer)-esque piece following several characters around South Side Birmingham, Ala. . . Susannah Felts and I read a collaborative “Facebook Fiction,” a romance of errors told between two mistaken lovers’ status updates and back-and-forth wall posts.
In the end (and keep in mind this comes from an ape with long experience in attempting to combine live lit and music, to some [however exceedingly little] success), we figured there were four reasons folks leave readings before the band starts, no matter quite how good they (the folks or the band) are.
But perhaps the host of the reading (ahem…) wasn’t up-front enough in his insistence that the band was coming up next, couldn’t you stick around a while, please. In fact, that was probably the single biggest factor virtually no one stuck around, after No. 3 above.
To Balthrop, Alabama: we are sorry even we had to leave in the middle of your first song, for reasons Nos. 1 & 2 above, mostly. Please forgive us. Until next time.