Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fashion Page

With all the literary blogs, writing classes, and how-to-write books, it's odd that nobody has ever covered the all-important topic of What to Wear to a Reading. You won't find this topic in Vanity Fair or Gentleman's Quarterly. Strunk and White neglected to mention it in The Elements of Style.

And then there's the subtopic of What to Wear When Reading at a Bar. The answer, as seen in La Honda at our most recent reading at Sullivan's Pub, is: It depends.

You could go East Coast Bohemian, like Norman from Maine:You could go Steve Jobs style, like Tom Lichtenberg:which is a modification of basic beatnik coffeehouse style:
There's the T shirt and gloves approach, as with Thomas Krempetz:There's the slovenly blue jeans style, as modeled by Joe Cottonwood.

And then there's my favorite, the Whatever Style, and I bless these young women for displaying such plumage:

Reading at a bar tends to deflate pretensions and bring literature down to earth. The feedback is immediate and very honest. It's a great way to shape your writing skills, just as playing in a bar band has been the starting point for many a fine musician. The readings at Sullivan's have been as varied as the plumage. Several of the readers are too young to order a drink (and too wise to try), but their talents are striking, and it's fun to mix them with old hacks like myself. We've got a good thing going here.


  1. We have a similar hangout here that hosts an open mic night. It consists of musicians—either solo or in a group of two or three— who are given a certain amount of time to perform. What I love most is the age range in the audience and performers—from Gen Y to Silent Generation.

  2. Yes - mixing ages is a great way to combine enthusiasm and experience. And everybody learns from it.

    My son is a musician who used to play at open mics in San Francisco, where there is an over-abundance of musical talent. He watched as well as played and learned who he liked and who was available - and formed his present band that way.