For months now, I’ve been trying to get to one of the Vermin on the Mount readings down in LA's Chinatown. I finally made it last Saturday, the series’ one-year anniversary. Most readings are, unfortunately, pretty boring, but the inimitable Jim Ruland knows how to put on a bash (the event is held in the upstairs lounge of the Mountain Bar on Gin Ling Way) and get you all cultured up in the process.
The evening’s first reader, Jacob Forman, did a story titled “Lake Hollywood” (you can read it in the current issue of Bomb magazine). I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but soon found myself succumbing—Forman is a skillful storyteller. By the end I was listening intently to every word. Chicana poet Lizz Huerta was next. Before beginning, she made everyone in the audience stand and scream together on the count of three. Then again. Louder. And again. It sounds nutty, but was exhilarating (though you had to wonder what the folks in the bar downstairs made of it). When the last drop of air left our lungs, Lizz smiled broadly and said, “Didn’t that feel good?” It did. Hearing her read her excellent poems was even better.
After the break (which included a raffle and, for those who could handle it, more alcohol) Wendy Molyneux, a contributor to McSweeny's and regular performer at Improv Olympic West read an amusing piece about wedding nerves. Last up was TEV’s regular book reviewer, Daniel Olivas, who treated us to selections from his collection Devil Talk.
What a great evening. Really. Vermin rolls around again in September. Be sure to check it out.