A Review, A Con, and Theatre Stories

Random updates to publishing ventures this weekend!

My short story “Steam & Hot Air” was praised in a writeup of Gallery of Curiosities on the blog Steampunk Way of Life. Thanks, folks!

I went to Bouchercon here in NOLA this weekend, got some signed Ken Wishnia books, had to snark on a guy for expressing surprise that we’re not a blight-addled swampscape a decade after Katrina, and got handed an entire pint bottle of whiskey by what I sure hope was someone officially employed on the con’s behalf. Hm.

This Sunday also marked the publication of two books I’ve contributed to! Longing is Esoterotica’s third anthology which includes a style parody of a favorite author of mine and a (rare!) actual confessional essay. Beyond Desire is a reissue of their first anthology which removes some material from performers who’ve parted ways and includes the scripts to our two Fringe shows. Our collective stories about the production of these shows could probably run longer than the scripts themselves, but I’ll share two of my favorites.

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Anything’s Game

To the tune of Anything Goes. The upbeat musical version, not the slow sappy Sinatra version.
Here’s a good reference.

Anything’s Game
in the style of Cole Porter
by Zach Bartlett

Times have changed —
social mores have evolved a bit
since the time women couldn’t hit
on folks they liked out in public.
But today,
if women wish to be so upfront,
they can hit on any one they want!
(Did you think I was gonna say c-nt?)

In olden days, your bros cockblocking
was looked on as something shocking
but now they claim: anything’s game.

Lotharios who could sext better
n0w brly use enuf lttrs
or misspell your name, ’cause anything’s game.

If shirt collars popped you like,
if feels copped you like,
if bases slid you like,
if lengths fibbed you like,
if that “nice guy” you don’t like
becomes a jealous tyke,
you should just tell him that he’s laaame.

If you come home from work too early
and I’m in bed with your friend Shirley?
Honey, let me explain! She told me anything’s game!
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“Beyond Desire” Preview

Here’s a couple of the parts I’d written for Esoterotica’s upcoming Fringe Festival show. They’re from separate parts of the play, but I didn’t want to publish anybody else’s writing and these make a somewhat coherent scene when stitched together. Find our show times right here on the New Orleans Fringe Festival website!


Character B:
So after taking some internet pickup artist’s advice about “peacocking,” I wound up sitting in Flannagan’s wearing a boater hat for forty-five minutes while the rest of the bar was enthusiastically not talking to me. I was frustrated by that point, I went over and pitched the dumb thing out the window. Shortly after I returned to my seat, you came over.

You told me your friends had said to avoid that weirdo in the 1920s hat. I confessed that I actually was that weirdo. Your eyes flicked upwards and you said, “apparently not anymore.” I offered to buy you a drink if the bartender accepted haypennies.

You smiled. No, more than that, you got it. Both the joke and the drink.

Character A:
You were clearly no pickup artist. I couldn’t tell if you were naturally charming or just smiled when you were really nervous, but I liked what I saw either way.

We spent a couple hours discovering and discussing mutual interests, one amusing tangent leading to another almost seamlessly, only interrupted when someone put an entire Danzig album on the jukebox. We both made faces at hearing that, and you said there was a patio out back we could escape to. I said that I didn’t smoke. Showing your smile, which was definitely nerves then, you said that you didn’t either. . .


Character A:
I have a really plush pillowtop mattress at my apartment, the kind where you lay down and feel yourself slowly sinking in for a second or two, and I’ve gotten really used to sleeping on it. So the first night we spent at your place I didn’t want to ruin the evening by sounding really nitpicky but GOOD GOD, it’s like your bed is made out of park benches!

Unlike you, that mattress was not giving at all.

I tried sleeping on my back, how I normally do, but after a couple minutes of laying like that I could feel my spine scoliosing itself trying to escape the discomfort. I’d never really been a side sleeper, but since I did want to be around in the morning, I decided to give it a try.

There’s something to the ratios of our bodies that made it work, I think. With our height difference, my arm fell at just the right angle to lay over the contour if your waist and hips comfortably, moreso than if it were just empty mattress there. You were already asleep by that point, but your hand moved overtop mine unconsciously. I couldn’t have rolled over or tried another position after that, but I didn’t need to. We fit together. I slept through the night.

“Pervspectives” Monologue

The following monologue opened Esoterotica’s first play, Pervspectives, on four sold-out nights at the 2013 New Orleans FringeFest. Since I have both a deep voice and a total lack of personal kink, we decided my best role would be the somewhat-removed narrator. In the context of the fetish party, he was that one guy who’s always hanging around the edges watching everybody without getting involved.


Experienced Voyeur: [making his way through the crowd] What kind of person really goes to one of those fetish nights anyways? Aren’t they just filled with that one guy you knew in high school, that weird kid who always wore Godsmack t-shirts and black jorts?

Actually, plenty of people you know likely have some sort of sexual kink. We all have our own personal indulgences that shouldn’t concern others, right? Most of us just don’t obsess over ours to the point where it becomes our sole defining personality trait, like it did with that kid in the Godsmack shirt. It’s completely possible for someone to head out to the club on Saturday night, have an acquaintance go hog-wild on their back with a slotted spoon, and then just. . . show up to work on Monday like everybody else. You’d never know unless you asked why they’re not leaning back in their chair.

Show of hands–has anybody here been with a partner who wanted to try some Cinemax-style “light bondage” with a couple wispy scarves tied around their wrists? [he observes the crowd] See? Some of you folks are already on the bandwagon even if you don’t know what a munch is. And now that you know who these people are, with your consent, we’d like to show you a little more of them!

[single unamused laugh from Merch Girl]

Not in that way. You’re invited to eavesdrop on an evening at Pervspectives, a long-standing event in the local kink community! Stay a little while and you’ll voyeuristically observe the innermost thoughts, desires, and rationales of its attendees. Everybody from fetish veterans looking for something to suit their particular taste to enthusiastic, if occasionally confused, newcomers. All are welcome here–even folks like you and I who only want to watch.

So, setting the scene, it looks to be just about ten o’clock. The doors are open, bottles are being chilled, the party is in motion–or restrained if that’s your thing–and certain guests have already begun making eyes at others. Be polite if one notices you, she’s certainly not going to bite. . . unless you ask nicely.