The secret’s out. The next Vermin on the Mount is being sponsored by Opium Magazine – an excellent online humor magazine published by Todd Zuniga out of New York – to celebrate the publication of their first print edition. We cooked up the idea this spring at Charles Bukowski’s old hangout shortly after the Swink/Vermin collaboration during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Here's what he has to say about the upcoming event:
VOTM: What's A Whopping Collection of Fanatical Literary Brilliance?
TZ: It's actually OpiumMagazine.print #1, but the thing was too whopping (272 pages), too brilliant (53 contributors) and too fanatical (this can't be quantified) not to bear this subtitle. Plus, we like making fun of ourselves.
VOTM: When did you start Opium?
TZ: We kicked it off on February 5, 2001. It looked like this for quite awhile (we accidentally killed the original logo), but still managed to catch a bit of fire. Then, after the $99 American Dollar Redesign Contest, it looked like this. Now, almost four and a half years later, it's in its current form. Wild times.
VOTM: Are you a drug addict?
TZ: Weirdly, no. Though I carry the heroin chic physique. The site has rarely published any story involving drugs, even. We aim for cool and calm and surprising. Drugs are only one of those.
VOTM: What can we expect from the Opium/Vermin collaboration in September?
TZ: Ballyhoo, hijinks, shenaniganism, sex in the bathrooms, wishes coming true, beautiful people, irony without the ironists, ironing, placation and more humor than one would expect. Alternately, a reading with some pretty outstanding writers touching stage. And a few man hugs.
VOTM: How can I get a copy of issue #1?
TZ: Ask for it by name at the local Winn-Dixie! Or, go here and pay through Paypal. Easy-peasy.
It’s been a somnolent summer for some, but not for the Legion of Vermin:
Lisa Glatt will read from her new collection of short stories on Thursday July 28 at the Long Beach Museum of Art and on Friday July 29 at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach. Hit the link for details.
Ben Ehrenreich’s review of Salvador Plascencia’s novel People of Paper appears in the LA Weekly. Plascencia will be reading at 826LA on Friday July 22 but you have to RSVP to (310) 305-8418 or rsvp @ 826 dot com. Also reading is Verminoid Josh Bearman.
Todd Taylor, the hardest-working man in punk rock, took some time out of his schedule to eat chicken and donuts with me on a tour of Manchester Avenue. My essay about the odyssey will appear in the soon-to-be-released Hobart Travel Issue, but you can check out Todd’s pics now.
Irregular? Check. Irreverent? Double check. But the success of Vermin on the Mount is due to the eclectic mix of readers who take the stage. I'm willing to wager that Vermin on the Mount is the only reading series in town to feature a screenwriter reading a short story, a poet leading the audience in primal screams, a comedienne reading an essay, and a lawyer with the California Justice Department reading tales of the weird and the fantastic.
This is Jacob Forman reading from his excellent story "Lake Hollywood." His legs are long. He is probably a really good swimmer.
Here's the incomparable Lizz Huerta with the elegant one, Mark Sarvas. Mark is wearing a shirt that reads. "I'm blogging this." (Mark pretends to be a curmugeon, but deep down there's a hipster with a closet full of snarky t-shirts waiting to bust out.) Lizz is wearing, well, if you missed it, you missed it, but she's not called Scanda-Lizz for nothing.
Here's Daniel Olivas scowling into his book minutes after I revealed his other life as a crimefighter. Daniel, apparently, doesn't sleep, for in addition to writing books, he pens amazing reviews, and blogs.
Why this is this man so sad? This is Josh and he helps out with Vermin on the Mount. Handing out raffle tickets, minding the merch table, and generally being helpful when help is needed. On Saturday evening he got his bike stolen in Chinatown. This is a bummer because Josh is one of the good green citizens of LA who bikes to work, regularly uses the MTA, and doesn't own a car. The bike is a red Schwinn and was ganked in broad daylight outside a Vietnamese restaurant on Broadway. (Yes, it was locked.) If you have any info or, even better, a cheap/spare bike for sale/you're not using, please shoot me an email.
On Sunday July 17th, aka the day after Verminator, I'll be reading at the Knitting Factory as part of Palabrazilla. What's a Palabrazilla, you ask? It's a two-night event featuring writers from LA's multitude of reading series. Check out the site, and then come see me in Hollywood on Sunday.