Nerves of Steel Feb. 1 at the Empty Bottle

Harold Ray may get his record contract yet. A new month brings a new venue for THE2NDHAND’s So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel? performance series — Chicago’s Empty Bottle is the destination, and here are the details:

*Nerves alumnus Bob Rok brings the ruckus

Also featuring:
*Past T2Her Ling Ma
*Daniel Shapiro + friends
*The irreplaceable Chris Bower

Hosted by the one and only Harold Ray w/ deliciously beautiful house band Good Evening

Here’s a little taste of what’s in store, with vid of Ray’s monologue and Good Evening’s opening number, shot at our October edition at the Hungry Brain. Enjoy.

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Nerves of Steel 2012: Jan. 3 at Hungry Brain

So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel? Audience and performer both will be proving it yet again in the new year — the third day of it, to be exact. Nerves is THE2NDHAND’s Chicago variety series, well into its second year at the Hungry Brain, in which fiction writers, poets, standups, manifestoers, pamphleteers and others are asked to do something outside the bounds of the norm, whether leaving behind the page and pen or picking it up and doing some live origami or …

Be there: Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 8 p.m. on, Jan. 3. Awesome lineup this time round, as always hosted by the charismatic (in more ways than eight) Harold Ray, freshly juiced from a West Virginia Christmas homecoming.

And featuring:
Appalachian death songs by poet Philip Jenks
The suburban angst of Knee Jerk editor Steve Tartaglione
The infamous screeds of past T2H contributor Ling Ma
Bald ambition with Bruce Neal
& Book deck poetry by writer Alexis Buryk

Hip-hop troupe Skech185
Nerves house band Good Evening

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Nerves of Steel returns Dec. 6 w/ Jac Jemc, Natalie Edwards…

After a years’ worth of shows at the Hungry Brain, after the old home week blowout with longtime T2Hers Joe Meno, Marc Baez, Fred Sasaki, C.T. Ballentine and our humble editor (oh a-and Harold Ray, but of course, made his indelible mark on the October night, too), we’re back with a fancy program Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Hungry Brain. Following check out the deets. Follow the links for more about/from the performers.

So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel?

8 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, 2011
@Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, Chicago, FREE

Blonde Ambition by Jac Jemc (whose first novel is due next year and who published this story in THE2NDHAND a couple years back)
Stand-up w/ a hand-up (your arse) w/ Natalie Edwards
Advice for the Damned from Irby + Ian
Some Kind of Wonderful: Mason Johnson & Daniel Shapiro

MUSIC BY: Harold Ray & the Post-Revolutionary Letdowns, w/ variations on shooting yerself in the face & how it don’t hurt
& HOUSE BAND Good Evening

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Busy several days for ‘All Hands On’ upcoming

We’ve got work to do, with a daylong festival in Nashville on Saturday, a drive to Chicago on Sunday for readings Monday and Tuesday evening at Quimby’s and Hungry Brain, respectively, then back Wednesday. It’s all in the name of celebration of 10 and more years of writing published in these halls, which makes it sweet indeed. Below is a listing of the events upcoming, with links to
more information for those interested. Hope to see you out at one.

And here’s a picture from All Hands On‘s first Chicago date this past Monday — with featured writers Lauren Pretnar, Heather Palmer and Mike Zapata at Katerina’s on Irving Park Road. Jacob Knabb snapped it, of Zapata wearing a most apropos t-shirt for a T2H event, I’d say. Apes unite!

NASHVILLE: Saturday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Handmade and Bound Zine Festival, Watkins College of Art & Design, 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN. THE2NDHAND will be tabling with the new book and a new broadsheet and editor Todd Dills will be giving a workshop tour through THE2NDHAND’s history in a practical, conception-to-nuts-and-bolts-type program titled “Toward a self-sufficient, long-lived zine”, 12:30 in room 503: http://handmadeboundnashville.com

CHICAGO: Monday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.: All Hands On released at Quimby’s Books, 1854 W. North Ave., Chicago, featuring AHO contributors Jonathan Messinger (Time Out books editor, Featherproof publisher, Hiding Out author), Jill Summers and Kate Duva, as well as THE2NDHAND editor Todd Dills: http://the2ndhand.com/THE2NDHANDTXT/all-hands-on-launched-at-quimbys-oct-3/

CHICAGO: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 8:30 p.m.: All Hands On @ So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel?, THE2NDHAND’s monthly variety show at Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, Chicago. This month’s installment brings together longtime THE2NDHANDers with new faces, featuring AHO contributors Joe Meno (The Great Perhaps, Hairstyles of the Damned), Rob Funderburk (visual artist/designer, formerly THE2NDHAND’s design man), THE2NDHAND coeditor C.T. Ballentine, editor Todd Dills, Fred Sasaki and Marc Baez. Also featuring Chicago writer Matt Pine, music by Young Coconut, and Nerves host Harold Ray: http://the2ndhand.com/THE2NDHANDTXT/nerves-of-steels-special-all-hands-on-edition-tuesday-oct-4/

For performer bios and more information about these events, visit http://the2ndhand.com/THE2NDHANDTXT/category/events
For more information about the new All Hands On anthology, available in both print ($16) and ebook ($6) versions, visit http://the2ndhand.com/THE2NDHANDTXT/books

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Nerves of Steel’s special ‘All Hands On’ edition Tuesday, Oct. 4

Though we be in the business of the creation of new things, it’s old-home-place week at So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel? Oct. 4 at Hungry Brain, with THE2NDHAND editor Todd Dills, former design man and janitor emeritus Rob Funderburk, writer Joe Meno and a cast of sundry others on hand for a run through the past, present and future. Harold Ray, as always, plays hosts to this reunion of the Chicago Stupidists. Prepare to be browbeaten by Stupidist Manifestos, live art, maybe some ukulele and exquisite storytelling, no doubt, as we celebrate the release of All Hands On: THE2NDHAND After 10.

Here’s the digs:

Live viz-art by Rob Funderburk, former THE2NDHAND illustrator and design man, known for murals, interior performance spaces, paintings, and more, Funderburk’s illustrations are featured in All Hands On.

Master swordsman Joe Meno (depicted here in an illustration by Rob Funderburk featured in All Hands On), author most recently of the novel The Great Perhaps. (And also: Hairstyles of the Damned, The Boy Detective Fails, a few different short story collections as well as stories going back to THE2NDHAND’s third issue.)

T2H coeditor C.T. Ballentine (featured also in All Hands On) with his band Young Coconut.

And T2H editor Todd Dills up from Nashville to perform with a crew of T2H writers including Balletine, Matt Pine and others. Leather may be involved. Perhaps pink bandanas.

All Hands On contributors Marc Baez and Nerves alumnus Fred Sasaki round out the blowout.

ALL HANDS ON @ So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel?, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, Chicago — Tuesday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m.

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Nerves of Steel July 5 back at Hungry Brain in Chi

This installment of THE2NDHAND’s Chicago “So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel?” performance series brings host Harold Ray back from the home front in West Virginia to Chicago for an evening program combining two fiction writers, a poet, comic duo and more than one band for more of the now prototypical mixture sure to rattle your sensibility, if you had one. The show gets started after 8 p.m. at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, Chicago on Tuesday, July 5. This installment features:

**A live performance of Jennifer Karmin’s Aaaaalice, with friends.
**Tales of the sins of notable Chicagoans told by Michael Czyzniejewski, author of Elephants in Our Bedroom
**An experimental freakout w/ extended kazoo patriotics by the Post-revolutionary Letdowns
**Song & dance w/ the comedic team of the Puterbaugh Sisters
**Wizardry by James Kennedy
**And house band Good Evening

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Nerves of Steel goes to West Virginia June 7

So you think you have nerves of steel?, THE2NDHAND’s performance series shattering the boundaries and volume top limits, respectively, of the written page and the spoken word, follows its host Harold Ray back to his home state for a summer family reunion @ The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St., Charleston, W.Va., (304) 345-3914 — 8 p.m. Tuesday June 7.

Barry Graham, author of The National Virginity Pledge and Nothing or Next to Nothing.

Richie “Ray Gene Bull” Tipton, an Appalachian musician, writer, soothsayer and social barometer. Tipton both screamed and crooned through the mic in his career as the front man for a southern-fried hard-rock band and a one-man, one-microphone, one-guitar performer.

McClanahan and Angel Babies (www.hollerpresents.com). Scott McClanahan is the writer of StoriesStories II, and Stories V! His novel Hill William will be published by New York Tyrant books in Spring 2012. Angel Babies will begin recording their first album in 2011.

Nerves alumnus Ben Tanzer is the author of the books 99 Problems and You Can Make Him Like You, the forthcoming novella My Father’s House, and the humor collection This American Life.

House Band: Jay Hill & The Dirty Coal River Band is an Appalachian, dirt-stomping band with a “honky-tonk and roll” sound that mimics the heart and soul of the whiskey-soaked moan of a dimly lit barroom wedged between the hills and rail tracks of southern West Virginia.

Next stop (oh we wish) Nashville…

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SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE NERVES OF STEEL, May 3 @ Chicago’s Hungry Brain

Nerves of Steel: Beating the page. Eating the mic. Join T2H janitor Harold Ray for the (count ‘em) 7th edition of our multivifluous performance series at the Hungry Brain (they ain’t kicked Ray out yet?), this with a solid lineup of music, comedy and lit. Hit the poster image for a pdf for passing around, and the links for more info on the performers, one and wonderful all. Go!

Tuesday, May 3, 8:30 p.m.
@ Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, Chicago

MUSIC: Lamon Manuel of Tomorrow Kings
Katie Knaub & erstwhile and extant Nerves house band Good Evening

WRITERS: Rachel YoderAmy Schleunes
COMEDIC MADNESS w/ Hornet Homily author Patrick Culliton (Check out his Depressive Weatherman Twitter feed.)

And a public service announcement by Mr. Ian Belknap

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SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE NERVES OF STEEL? drops April 5 @ Hungry Brain

The next installment of THE2NDHAND’s Chicago Nerves of Steel reading series, taking reading to new levels, skyrockets April 5 after 8 p.m. at Hungry Brain on Belmont.
**A Public service announcement by Bitches Gotta Eat blogger Samantha Irby
**Poet Joshua Corey
**Stand-up by Carter Edwards
***& Novelist/Fiction Madman Davis Schneiderman

With music by Katie Knaub (expect more Harold Ray duets here) and Save The Clocktower, the latter a Chicago-based trio that merges electronics, live instrumentation, vocal harmonies, and catchy songwriting to create a pop/electronica blend. Check out their sophomore album Carousel or find them on Facebook.

For a pdf of the flyer, click the poster below. Spread the word.

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STEEL proclamation, or A NERVES manifesto, or WE WELL know now who’s got it

Let it be known that when there are challengers there are challengers. One calls to front brain wellsprings of people power sweeping certain distant locales and our own calcified North American adventures of yore, perhaps also in my mind at least the brightening though perhaps still quite dim star of Califone in the pantheon of candidates for Band of a Particular Generation of Which I Am Part, stiff competition for the most consistent, at least, or Radiohead.

Chicago insurgent Mason Johnson came into the Hungry Brain last Tuesday night planning on out-Nerving — or, perhaps, out-Steeling — our own Harold Ray, host of the Nerves of Steel performance series and, well, one tough son of a bitch. Johnson went so far as to build his own parodic event flyer in which he proclaimed his prowess, and there was much online verbal abuse hurled back and forth in the run-up to the event. WWF/E-style theatrics — razorblades, chest-thumping, neck-tendon-tightening growling, etc. — seemed the order of the day.

Needless to say, as results are clear from the picture above (that’s Ray in the wifebeater, Johnson in the karate outfit getting whipped; pic from Untoward mag), the ever-more-lit West Virginian Ray emerged triumphant, a victory Untoward Mag attributed to his “mountain man’s grit,” among other things. Get over there and read their account.

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