Monday, December 26, 2011

Jan. 17: The Doghouse Edition

Your host is writing this in December, too early to have any resolutions for the new year. Certainly too early to feel shitty about not keeping them. But this ain't my first rodeo, so I can tell you that sooner or later, I will smell bullshit on these rosy expectations. When are we doing Speakeasy in January? The 17th? Oh, yeah. More than enough time for a few impulsive decisions and late-morning regrets.

So here's my gift of advice to you as the new year rolls in, all shiny and smug with possibility: Start your apologies early. Hell, it might be the last chance you have. Ask anybody in AA - you gotta say you're sorry before you can move on. And you may as well do it at Speakeasy, because our theme for the month will be Apologies. (Unless you're in AA, then you should probably stay well away from Will's Pub.) Writers in January are invited to give us their tales of regret. Of shame. Their done-somebody-wrong-songs, their screwed-the-pooch sestinas. "Love means never having to say you're sorry?" Riiight. Come to Will's on the 17th and get a full night of rebuttals for that moldy little chestnut.
Christian Drake

One thing we ain't the least bit sorry about, though, is booking our featured poet for January: Christian Drake. Nationally, Christian's got more than enough cred for our little one-horse reading. A dangerous presence on national slam poetry teams from California to Massachusetts, his interests and inspirations include man-eating tigers, very large trees and period sex. Not good enough for you? We've also got Christian to thank for the semi-bi-wheneverannual Toast-Off competitions we've been conducting here at Speakeasy and the Orlando Fringe. Ample reason to give him a raucous welcome back to the stage at Will's.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dec. 20: The Gimme Edition

Here at Speakeasy, we have most definitely taken sides in the War on Christmas. Santa vs. Jesus? Not only does our boy have a significant weight advantage - he's got a philosophical one as well. Under Santa, the world is an orderly place: Be good, do homework, brush teeth, get loot. Repeat yearly. What other force could keep a country full of sugar-bombed youth in line? Certainly not the complicated ethos we had to grind through a whole other day of school on Sunday for. At their core, the shysters and politicians of this land have not made a pact with Satan. They've forsaken the one they made with Santa.

But it's all the same carrot hanging out there, right? Greed. And Gordon Gekko's mojo is not only the prime mover for every hour of overtime since Sears-Roebuck first hung a wreath - it's the theme for Speakeasy this December. Come all ye faithful writers, and let the only thing you share on Dec. 20 be your tales of Scroogely splendor. Well, that, and a decent tip for Bartender Bob. Let's not get out of hand.

But if you are in the giving mood (Santa forbid), then how's this for a party: This Speakeasy will also be our first ever White Elephant Bookshelf Bash. Got a book you need cleared off your shelf? Wrap it up, bring it along and add it to the pile. Every one of our readers will get to pick their own gift from under the tree, and believe me - your host has been stocking up some damn good books, from the rare to the ridiculous.

That's 9 p.m. Dec. 20 at Will's Pub, boys and girls. Belly up for a night that will ensure you sleep right through those three pesky ghosts.

- Tod

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nov. 15: The Household Edition

Home: It's where the heart is, and your couch, and your porn. It might be a mansion, or a cardboard box. If you're an idealist in New York, it might be a spot on the street with a thousand other people. If you're an American in 1492, you might even have to sail across a whole ocean and steal it from some prairie arabs. In short, ain't nobody can tell you where yours is.

So hey, why don't you tell us? On Nov. 15, Speakeasy challenges its writers to invite us in. Take our coats. Throw us a cold one from the fridge, and tackle the subject of Home, whatever that may mean. Who needs the second-hand drama of the Thanksgiving table? For a couple hours at least, let's hang our hats at Will's Pub and create a little of our own.

One thing we've learned from Thanksgiving, though (and every single Speakeasy) - nothing loosens the tongue like a little booze. So we're kicking off this month with another round of your host's favorite drinking game, the Toast-Off. See eight of Orlando's glibbest guys and gals face-off in an increasingly blurry game of competitive toasting. If you haven't seen one before, either at Will's or onstage at the Orlando Fringe, trust us: you're in for a good time. No celebrity judges this time, boys and girls. Just eight drinkers versus a loud and opinionated audience. Moo hoo ha ha.

Your host, on the other hand, will still likely be drunk. I'll be competing in Orlando's second Literary Deathmatch on Nov. 13 against the likes of Kat Dixon, Rachel Kapitan and J. Christopher Silvia. If you saw the inaugural LDM at Urban ReThink, you know there's no good reason not to come to this one, people. Hit the link and get your tickets toot suite.

- Tod

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct. 18: The Monstrous Edition

Well, so much for the original idea for this month's theme. I don't know about the three of you reading this, but it's been kind of a weird October so far for your host. And though I don't have any Halloween plans, I could really use a decent mask.

Because that's really what we're rolling down those costume store aisles for, right? A rental on the new you? A role you don't even have to play that well because hey, it's only for one night? We let our inner child float up to the top of a gutful of booze to shout that catchphrase we actually believed back in the day. Then we vomit him onto the sidewalk and stagger home in our Ninja Turtle shell. (Or for you downtown ladies: Our "sexy" Ninja Turtle shell.)

Oh hell, where was I going with this? Heroes? No. Monsters. That's it.

For this all-hallowed October Speakeasy, our writers are invited to hold forth on the subject of Monsters. Fun fact that you pagans already know: Despite the glut of Casey Anthonys and Donald Trumps that will choke Orange Avenue this year, Halloween was actually invented to drive away the ghosts and goblins. But here at Will's Pub, for one night, on Oct. 18, we're giving them safe harbor. Give us your tales of scaly abominations, of moonlight transformations. Step up and hit that mike with a Godzilla howl. And oh yes, hit the bar as necessary. Nothing like a night like this to get rid of the pain of being a man.

- Tod

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sept. 20: The Blue Collar Edition

September, huh? Enjoy that Labor Day, then. One day of freedom from the firm and inappropriate grasp of the Man. One day without the clock ticking away those seconds to Friday like little whip cracks in your ear. How's that hot dog taste now? Like despair? Try some horseradish.

Then try a little Speakeasy. On Sept. 20, we invite our writers to take on a subject that has it coming: Work. Follow the lead of that great labor organizer Johnny Paycheck, take that job and shove it ... right down the ear-holes of our overworked audience. Sex, violence, alien life? All those things are great inspiration for writing, but unless your name is William Shatner, you don't spend 40 hours a week plus overtime doing them. So let's get together at your favorite bar and mine and do what folks do at a bar: Bitch about our jobs. You probably shouldn't invite that hottie from human resources this month, though. Just a tip.

- Tod

Phoreshadowing phootnote: School in August, Work in September ... Well, I wonder what we've got lined up in October for Halloween? Hmm. Hmmmmm. Hm. Shrug.

I know what we've got planned in November, though.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Aug. 23: The A+ Edition

Sometimes it's great to be an adult. Especially that particular week in August, when the future leaders of our country pause in their masturbations, sigh, and drag their pimply knuckles out to the bus stop to absorb whatever droplets of wisdom their teachers can squeeze from the stone of the education budget.

Yes, it's back to school time - both for them and for us. For August, the writers of Speakeasy will be challenged to tell us what they learned in school. For those of us that are still there, this should be a cinch. (Your host can barely remember it, but he's not exempt.) So sharpen up those No. 2's, Poindexter. Give us your financial aid tragedies, your tales of classroom boners - hell, this would even be the time to break out your old high school journal. A blackboard will be provided that you may show your work. Or dick drawings.

And let's not forget: This month, Speakeasy is appropriately tardy. We'll be the fourth (NOT the third) Tuesday this time, owing to a music booking at Will's. Ah, getting bullied by shouty dudes with guitars. Takes me right back to 6th period.

- Tod

Monday, June 27, 2011

July 19: The Karaoke Edition

Let's face it, y'all: Spoken word people are frustrated singers. Not many of us grew up bouncing on our bed, lip-syncing Gil Scott-Heron or Maggie Estep (not enough of us, anyway). So here we are, years later, no roadies or groupies ... but at least they're listening to the words. Right?

But let's put on our big boy pants and acknowledge the inspiration, shall we? For July, we're doing what all great musicians have done since before Elvis: Stealin'. Specifically, we're stealin' J. Bradley's gimmick and doing poems and stories about a song. See, J's working on a book where each poem is based on an Afghan Whigs song and ... what? J. Who? Get over here and get to know him, then come back. Try and keep up, people. Jeez.

Anyway, easy theme, right? Pick a song. Write a little something about what it means to you, where you were when you first heard it. Re-arrange/riff on/fuck up the lyrics. Sound like fun? Get on over to Will's Pub on July 19 at 9 p.m. to taste our musical fruits. (Cue fart noise.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 21: The Housebroken Edition

Your host has never been a dog person. Or a cat person, or anything, really. I'm really more of an uncle about pets - I love other people's animals, and they seem to like me, but I've lived with enough roommate's critters to know they're an awfully expensive route to affection. Beats a strip club habit though, and at least they'll sleep with you afterward.

Still, animals can tell us a lot about ourselves. They're one of the few tangible examples of unconditional love (well, dogs are) and they're how a lot of people first learn about death (my first and only gerbil once crawled into my mini-billiards table and never came out, sob). And so it is that the theme for June is Pets. This is either going to be a particularly hilarious or heartbreaking Speakeasy; probably a little of both. You know how we do.

Bonus: For the second month in a row, we've got someone I think is going to be a mighty fine feature performer. Teacher and poet Robert Walker will be joining us for an extended set, riding high off the publication of "The Bouyancy of It All," his debut collection. His rockstar credentials are enhanced by the fact that he's bringing his brother along to back up his set on drums. Not bongos, you useless hippie. Real man-size drums. But hey, he already had us at "bouyancy." Need a little more convincing? Solid interview here with Walker, including some samples of his poetry.

So it's settled, then? 9 p.m.-ish this Tuesday, June 21? Splendid. We'll see you then.

- Tod

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 17: The Playtime Edition

This just in from our researchers at Speakeasy Institute: Winning is not actually everything. Matter is composed of bajillions of tiny objects flying around, frequently bumping into bigger objects and exploding, or "losing," thereby delivering energy to the universe. Losers are filling the hungry bellies of winners in the jungles, or sinking into the earth to to be squeezed into the oil we need to more effectively operate our winning machines.

Long story short: Games are important, and that's why games are the subject of our Speakeasy for May. From Rock-paper-scissors to Call of Duty, Marco Polo to that thing we do where we pretend not to sell weapons to bad guys, everybody plays. Poets and writers are invited to sign up for the open mike and give their take on games and gamers of every rank and flavor. Level up on May 17 at Will's Pub (where else?) around 9 p.m. Free as usual.

Bonus plugs! Your harried host will be reading his short stories at the first ever edition of There Will Be Words on May 10 at Urban ReThink. And - 24 hours after this month's Speakeasy - it's the kickoff of the Orlando Fringe Festival, featuring Tod's Poetry Smackdown and a special edition of the Toast-Off on the outdoor stage. And be sure to drop by the Poetry Vending Machine, where plenty of Speakeasy regulars will be marinating in beer throughout the Festival.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

April 19: The Unnatural Edition

Holy crap, do we have a lot of people to thank for this past Speakeasy. Great crowd and consistently solid readers, not least of which were our last-minute guests from Burrow Press. Special thanks to Ryan Rivas, Jana Waring and Gene Albamonte for dropping by. We'll be seeing them again, with any luck. Little taste of what you missed? Head over to Jana's blog for the full text of Gene's offering for The Divine Edition.

Bit of a long breather between Speakeasies this time, owing to an early week for March. Plenty of time for you to tackle the theme for April, then: Man vs. Nature. Thanks to Arnie Ellis and Curtis Meyer for this one, in which we turn for inspiration to that mother of all mothers ... Gaia. Like most moms, she has her hot flashes, occasionally smothers us and has an amaaaazing rack.

No, wait. That's your Mom. Anyway. Earth week or no earth week, April 19 is the day to show that bitch what's up. Writers are challenged to address the theme of conflict against the natural world. What animal would you most like to fight? What fast-food franchise would best serve the rainforest? You get the idea. And to really rub it in, you should go ahead and write your piece on a dead tree.

April 19! 9:30! Will's Pub, where else?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Divine Edition

Good Lord, it's been a long time between updates. And speaking of the Lord ... Speakeasy comes at you a week early this month with The Divine Edition. March 8, the monthly theme is religion. Why? Hey, the last few themes (sex, murder) have been something everybody can agree on. Let's get something in there that might start a war or two, shall we?

In the meantime (or post-time, in case I end up sleeping on this blog for another month), feel free to send in any pics from Speakeasies past, or even poems and stories if you don't mind throwing them out there. I'll post 'em up and we can all see how they look in the cold light of morning.

Keep on,