Archive for the shorts Category

Flash Panic!

Posted in A Life in the Day, Cool places in New York, The EXPERIENCE! on 27/08/2010 by todcrouch

Flash in the Panic!  12 writers, one page each!

August 25th, Nowhere Bar 8 pm.

I was asked to read for Charlie Vasquez’s Panic Reading Series, which is always a fun experience.  The fun and challenging part of this particular event was using only one page and one side to tell a story.  I read from “The only life I ever intentionally ruined”, but the other pieces stood out far more.

Some of the highlights from this particular line-up gave the right amount of sizzle or hilarity.  Rachel Kramer Bussel, hostess of the In the Flesh Reading Series, read  about being inspired from a Brookyln bar called “Cokey’s” (Yes, that’s exactly what its name implies) by opening a cupcake shop that provided oral satisfaction to women, both above and below the belt.  The exceedingly handsome Tomas Rafael Montavalo curled the toes of many with his poem about taking it, twisting the plot with a strap-on.  Gabrielle Rivera blew my mind as she came late to the mike from the bathroom (her friend still waiting inside) and blasted us with a hilarious story called “Fingerbang”, recounting her first fingerfuck in a bowling alley.  Garrett Ford read a lovelorn scene from one of his previous plays and Charlie Vasquez read from his new book Contraband.  Matthew K. Johnson read a sexy little piece, with the help of some expanded margins, with his relatable brand of compelling sexual anxiety.  Newcomer to the mike was the Nowhere Bartender, Patrick Kelleher, who told of us of his first day on the job at East Village gay bar fixture Boiler Room in the 90s.  Bar Manager John Williams closed out the show by unfolding this endlessly enormous page, still sticking to the guidelines–he could have read for hours off of it, but surprised us with something short and sweet.

we ran smoothly.  Whereas Charlie usually introduces us with a brief bio, he asked us where we were from and the direction of our work.  I explained by background and how I was usually long-winded, then looked up to see Charlie completely disappear from my side.  The fast and loose outline we went in was a nice change of pace, in the building suspense of what and who we would experience next, ourselves included.  

I was under the impression that a page would last a minute, but among the writers we ran smoothly.  I know I’m leaving out some people–I have to get better at recording these events as I attend them.  At the reading,   Kierkergaard’s dog ate Shroedenger’s Cat.


Brion Gysin is Alive and Well and Living on the Bowery

Posted in A Life in the Day, Cool places in New York, Nerding Out, The EXPERIENCE! on 27/08/2010 by todcrouch

He is that he is, and is that he is he.

Brion Gysin: Dream Machine

New Museum 7/7/10–10/3/10

As one of the most intriguing contemporary artistic Shamen of the 20th century, who believes as Brian Eno does– that art serves a purpose we have not evolved into yet.  As a painter, a novelist, a magician, a subversive, inventor and a restaurateur, he never really achieved commercial success, and still chugged along as though life was just another short-term gig,  just passing through.

I was first exposed to Gysin through my love of Burroughs, where I read  Gysin’s “The Process”, which was a most uncomfortable book to read, only because it was the first novel that ever read ME.    There’s the old Nietzschen phrase of staring  into the void that stares back, but to capture this in book form is downright pornographic, or retro-voyeuristic–like watching yourself being watched like a cam2cam, but about fifty years before computers.

I wandered into the New Museum on the Bowery, nearly a contradiction of terms, to chat up the ticket taker and make my way to the second floor, where Brion’s work commands respect.  Split into several rooms on the second floor, one stands amid the encased and numerous notebooks while being assaulted by one room of his film, “Towers Open Fire!” while in another room, his public performance of his sound poetry plays to a slide show in a darkened room.  The guests seemed to have little in common, save for this obscure artist of word and image.

Gysin made a point in an interview conducted by Genesis P. Orridge-Breyer wayback when where he mentioned that his paintings were best viewed when stoned, since he was stoned himself while creating it.  Thereby the art, when viewed by the stoned, recreates the mind-senses of the artist in the viewer and acts as a clean telepathic link between time, space, and mind.  Of course it sounds like hippie talk until it happens to you.  Surrounded by the paintings and collages resemble floor plans, architectural layouts, Max Ernst-esque landscapes–mixing in with lines of Arabic, French, or English.  But I’d researched all this before and other people are better at hyping up art.  I was here for The Dream Machine.

Epileptics need not apply.

In a small black room in the middle, various throw pillows surrounded the cylindrical twirling object. An art school girl sat with headphones to my left, while an old New York hippie sat smiling opposite, also wearing headphones, as The Museum supplied music which enhanced the kaleidoscopic qualities of the vision-creating device.  Calligraphy lined the inner chamber.  I sat down before the legendary object and closed my eyes.  I was unusually self-conscious about partaking in this, the way some would submit themselves to an i-doser tune.  The flicker device allows the mind to enter a dreamlike state, giving the individual waking dreams.

Like this on an Imax in strobe effect.

It was almost a shame to end it.  For a few minutes after, I felt as though my eyes were still vibrating from the experience.  There’s a few sites online that claim to be digital Dream Machines, by turning flickering a white screen, but these often feel harsh as opposed to the smooth contours of the original.

I left, alone into the bright streets, but somehow feeling Gysin walking with me through New York, taking his favorite roads, mapped out by a painting.

The Only Life I Ever Intentionally Ruined

Posted in Flash, shorts on 21/08/2010 by todcrouch

I grew up in a hard-hitting white-knuckle town, where the boy scouts burned crosses in people’s yards for impure blood and got badges for it.  My principle was the head of the KKK and they expelled the local faggot because when they’s throwin’ pennies at him, he was the reason for all that unruly behavior.  And we were some hard-hitting faggots who didn’t take no guff from nobody, penny-welts and all.  Nobody gives a shit out there, and can’t reach out far enough for a hand to tell us it’s all… going to be…okay…and that’s the daily American life for most of us, alone and on the defensive.  And then I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Some faggot-hating freshman leaned over on the school bus home on the wrong day at the wrong time, when I told him the truth.  Quarterback Jim was boning my good gay friend on the sidelines.  Gay Jason called Quarterback Jim from my house, and I listened in.  Wildfire took notes on how to spread more quickly from a maelstrom of teenage gossip.  By five o’clock, a posse arrived at my mother’s house, though I no longer lived there.  I very nearly skipped school the next day, but decided to get at it with all the chagrin of the doomed.

Thrown into High School Politics, I denied outing myself—for it would merely discredit me in the eyes of thine enemy. Teachers could barely maintain control during my classes as I fielded the PR catastrophe of outing Gay Jason, which was no secret to anyone—for he boned  every dude at that school, except for me of course.  As my credibility was attacked, my first failed love turned turned against me, telling everyone I wanted him to pee in my butt.  Since Internet porn had yet to prove this impossible, I sprung this physical impossibility on my health teacher.  “Coach, is it possible to pee in someone’s butt?”  Flustered, and knowing every detail about the current scandal said simply, “No.  That’s impossible.”  I thanked him in front of my detractors, proving my lover-turned-hater a complete idiot.

We ate silently while flecks of cooked carrots came our way until Quarterback Jim came at us in a fury of curses as his close friend, camping neighbor, and wrestling partner, Wrestler Armando pulled Quarterback Jim suspiciously away from us.  Wrestler Armando told the fallen star it just wasn’t worth it.  Wrestler Armando now fell into question aswell, sending everyone into a Lavender scare: suddenly everyone was gay. But yeah, Armando was totally tappin’ that, too.  We left the outed football player in tears and walked through the gymnasium and into the loudest hate rally ever: pennies chimed off the basketball court and deafened louder than any pep rally or homecoming game win.  At the other end of the hall, our stout Principal waited, arms crossed and scowling because of the mess we made, and forbade us from ever coming into the gymnasium again.

We had to run home that day, chased by a pitchfork-wielding mob.  Everyone has pitchforks in the Midwest.

Coach pulled the football team aside at practice and said, “Not anymore.  Kids die from stuff like this and what you are doing is very illegal.  If I hear so much of a word to those kids from you, you’re not only off the football team, but you’re expelled for the rest of the year.”  Looks like Coach wasn’t all bad.  He didn’t even bust us for having such a good time playing baseball after smoking weed in the parking lot.  We were enjoying sports, finally.

Well, Gay Jason ended up on the Ricki Lake Show.  Wrestler Armando got married, had two kids, works at a fitness center and goes camping with his buddies.  A lot.  Quarterback Jim was the most scorned man in high school, unable to get laid his senior year and throughout most of his college—too gay for the girls and too much of a hypocrite for the boys, what there were of us.  I sometimes feel bad about ruining his life, but it just goes to show Quentin Crisp was right:  Some roughs are really queer, and some queers are really rough.


Posted in Flash on 10/05/2010 by todcrouch

Once upon a time, my pirate father and I were stranded on an island.   He had a bag of rations, as did I.  After three weeks,  I killed him.  Only natural for an eight year old.  When I ravaged his rations, I only found stones in his bags.  When I ate him, I understood sacrifice and never stopped sacrificing.

The Forty Year Old Hipster

Posted in Flash, shorts on 10/05/2010 by todcrouch

That tandem bike you’re riding alone after you broke up with your bartender girlfriend really takes you down a notch, don’t it? And your blazer with the elbow pads and Buddy Holly glasses (or as you call them “elvis costello glasses”) just make you look like an even more undateable, pathetic douchebag.  Say hi to all those neighbors you have in shittown, buddy.

Catering at The Consuuuuurvatory

Posted in Flash, shorts on 10/05/2010 by todcrouch

In my white dinner jacket, I avoid the lusty attempted eyeraping of misinformed cougars.  Sadly, they are dairy cows to milk.  They could never survive in the wild.

Whore envy #2

Posted in Flash, shorts on 10/05/2010 by todcrouch

Oh, the ex-boyfriend that I never got over, why do you poke me?  Do you do so to rekindle what we had together that you gave up for a college crush who left you out to dry and which my wrath will delete you from my friend list for ever?  Are you starting a slow burn to put this bitch In heat? It doesn’t matter.   Delete, my long lost love, where we can be eternally in each other’s trash bins and finally agree on something.