Two weeks ago on September 3rd, The Satellite version of The Green Lantern Press assembled a book release party at The Whistler for The North Georgia Gazette—a book (mostly) of newspapers written by sailors onboard the HMS Hecla and Griper in the beginning of the 19th Century, while the ships were landlocked in the Arctic Circle in search of the Northwest Passage.

Below, after a brief introduction on the work, Basia Kapolka, the Green Lantern’s resident actor reads a poetic selection from one of the newspapers by a sailor named Wakeham entitled, “Reflections on Seeing the Sun Set for a Period of Three Months or More.”

– posted by Lily

Minutes: Overheard

September 15, 2009

posted & written by Caroline Picard

thick

As I walked down Honore last night there was a woman eating ice cream. She walked with two others, a woman and a man. They also ate ice cream. The first woman, while scooping some of the ice cream from the disposable cup and into her mouth remarked: “Human milk is just much sweeter than cowmilk.”

Brendan Short on The Parlor

September 14, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

September’s reader, Brandon Short is now posted on the Parlor website. Which is to say you should check it out! Go here for more-

Brendan Short is the author of “Dream City,” which has been called “powerful” (Chicago magazine) and “complex and compelling…highly recommended” (Library Journal). He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. His stories and poems have appeared in several literary journals, including The Literary Review and River Styx. A former writer-in-residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., he currently lives in the Chicago area. Please visit his website, http://www.brendanshort.net.

In this episode of The Parlor, Brendan reads from his debut novel, “Dream City” (MacAdam/Cage), which follows dreamer Michael Halligan from a childhood in Depression-era Chicago through an adulthood spent trying to collect the comic-book stories he loved as a kid and make sense of an arbitrary and unkind world.

Mexico City February 2009

September 13, 2009

Dear all, after a long absence, I am returning to The Green Lantern blog.  Many of you may not know who I am, but for those of you who do (and you may remember me as an oft-posting assistant editor of The Green Lantern Press) I apologize for my absence and hope to make up for it in coming posts.

For the moment, I am holed up in the apartment of a woman named Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee (http://www.acupuncture-coll.ac.uk/?i=39010) in the 17th Arrondissement of Paris.  She left for Lisbon Friday morning which makes three (3) days without face to face human contact with any non-stranger.

Apart from spending a lot of time watching Battlestar Galactica on the Internet, and playing standards and show tunes on Elisabeth’s magnificently untuned piano, I have been transcribing and rewriting my notes from a recent trip to Mexico in the hopes of eventually creating a book-length quasi-non-fictional journal of the voyage, its purpose, and its conclusions.

So I thought I’d share with you all a bit from today:

Colonia Coyoacan, Mexico City

Colonia Coyoacan, Mexico City

Mexico City, February, 2009

So there I sat at El Parnaso bookstore, waiting for Moramay, my guide to the underworld, who never showed, translating the first chapter of Genesis.  After I had waited a couple of hours and fully given up hope of Moramay ever returning, I left the bookstore café and walked all around a fountain that had a symbol of the sun on one side and symbol of the moon on the other.  Looking for language in everything, I found no answers.  I walked back and forth in the general direction of the Metro.  I eventually realized that I was walking through an area I had walked through that morning, lost, hallucinating, considering the possibility of attaining knowledge of good and evil.  As I was walking through these now familiar streets, I stumbled upon the closed up church I had seen upon beginning that morning.  Now, however, it was not closed up and its doors stood open, light emitting from its windows.  There was nothing for me to do except go inside.  I walked through the great doors and found a man in long robes and a congregation of worshippers seated, watching him.  Everyone was speaking in the holy language of Spanish.  Everyone listened, and breathed and sometimes repeated what the man in robes said, or spoke along with him.  A woman came around with a basket and I put 2 pesos in as a symbol of my interior goodness.  Eventually, the worshippers stood and formed a line to take communion.  Being a jew, I had never taken communion before, but a man put a hand on my shoulder as he passed me and beckoned me with his eyes so I followed.  Each worhipper received a small round cracker and then circled to the back of the room.  I was worried I would drop the cracker or lick the old man’s hand as I took the cracker.  But I didn’t.  I took the cracker, pretending to be a Catholic.  I couldn’t help noticing that Jesus is almost completely nude.  Only his penis remains covered.  It occurred to me that if a woman were hanging from the cross how sexual it would seem.  I returned to my seat, trying to follow the reading and the singing happening in a language I could barely understand.  A man siting next to me said, “Bonjour” and asked me in French if I were French.  I replied “No” in French and the man smiled at me sexually.  The whole time I felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

– Lily

posted by Caroline Picard

We got this super awesome review in this week’s TimeOut Chicago which is due out (in print) tomorrow…anyway, I thought I’d share the first paragraph to whet the appetite, so to speak. What follows was written by Jonathan Messinger…. (photos courtesy of Sonnenzimmer)

lr_gazette2

Anonymous critics may have found their ultimate playground in the comments sections of countless websites, but cowardly griping is no 21st-century invention. In fact, in 1819, a sailor saw an opportunity to namelessly sound off in a letter to the editor of The North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle, complaining that the theater scene had grown too concerned with putting up new work and had forgotten the old favorites.

Of course, we’re willing to cut “A Looker-On” (as he called himself) a little slack, given the risk of retribution. He was in a more closed community, being one of 92 men stranded just off the Baffin Bay in the winter, waiting out the season on two ships moored to the ice.

Royal Navy vessels Hecla and Gripere made the voyage from England in 1819, attempting to find the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. The ships had been prepped to wait out the winter months: Heavy cloths covered their decks, and they were stocked with fuel, food and provisions to last them through. But Lt. William Edward Parry knew the men would need to keep themselves busy, so he commissioned The Chronicle, designed to report the good news of the camp, and plays to provide entertainment (which stuck in A Looker-On’s craw). The North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle was produced in numerous editions, a historical document that doubles as historical oddity, and brought back to print by Chicago’s Green Lantern Press.

Minutes (Chicago-on-the-bus)

September 10, 2009

posted and written by Caroline Picard

I just wanted to recount this amazing conversation I overheard on the bus last weekend. The woman was speaking to herself, though by the way she spoke, the way she paused in between phrases it sounded as though she was speaking to another. She also sounded very calm and a little tender, as though she spoke to a younger sibling (she was 45 or so).

“Oh, I see. She’s an underling employee.

“The only one who would wear that is a gay man or a designer.

“He never loved us anyway. Only when he gets drunk.

“I don’t think she is mentally sound. I think she is very good at stealing.

“You can take a stroll down memory lane. Through your childhood.

“But to make judgements he comes at the world from an elite perspective. Someday I’ll be able to afford that.

“She’s brilliant and you’re stupid. Now get out. I’ll tell you I’ve certainly gotten into enough trouble in my life.

“I would have thought that just milling around the show room would have got you at least six thousand dollars.”

and then she got off the bus.

Dancing Young Men and Octopii

September 9, 2009

posted & written by Caroline Picard

Last week we released the North Georgia Gazette. As part of that release, we had two readings–one at The Whistler, the other at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park. At The Whistler, Basia Kapolka read on behalf of the Gazette, reciting a poem about the setting of the sun for three months. John Huston followed with a lecture about his recent expedition to the Arctic and after that Lily Robert-Foley read some passages from her end notes. We were lucky enough to see Devin King read as well–he had prepared a response to the Gazette (it’s awesome: it involves ghosts and villianized octupii and Victor Hugo) and I will post part of that response below, encouraging all of you to follow it up to his blog, Dancing Young Men From High Windows. After that, Nick Butcher from Sonnenzimmer played with Jason Stein. The whole thing was fantastic (I thought) and while an awkward MC, I had a great time.

Devin also read this piece at 57th Street Books–a nice gathering, slightly more intimate, there was an old couple in the corner who chuckled periodically. Another girl eating a sandwich. Anyway. Many thanks to our hosts for letting us have the reading, both were exceedingly gracious (Paul (the bartender and mastermind drink gourmet), for instance, would shake his cocktails in the basement stairwell to avoid making noise–I couldn’t believe how considerate)….and of course to all participants, helpers, proofreaders and contributors: here’s to a job well done and thank you thank you thank you.

octopus-400

Victor Hugo’s Last Musical

The musical’s grand opener is called, “We belong to the night,” and then there’s the famous actor Hooper, done up in a pelt but looking like a bat, bounding on all fours, giggling, his back to the curtain, trying to find a dark, circular, puzzle image. There is a detachment in his gambol, a kind of stoicism of the present; the alternately accusing and mutely questioning face of a dead man is all that describes his strange twisting associative dance. All features belong to the actor, Hooper, himself: a force utterly deployed in the world at any given moment, entirely characterized by its full set of features.
§
Ever since the philosophers distinguished the living from the non-living children have seemed to display an extensive capacity for awe and wonder along with their horror, a horror that remains distinctly consistent, arising from an experience of cognitive dread which cannot be escaped or evaded. At times Hooper’s actions on the stage suggest that all humans takes things “as” what they are, the actor claims that even blindly using a hammer takes it “as” a hammer. It was such an unusual and unlikely event, this musical; like when the centaur is mated with the cheetah, and their off-spring is not some hellish monstrosity, but a thoroughbred colt able to carry us for half a century and more.
§
In the autumn of 1853 Victor Hugo’s family began talking to ghosts. The American habit of table-tapping had reached Europe a few months earlier and the Hugos, bored and in exile, began by contacting their child Leopoldine, who had drowned in a boating accident ten years earlier. At first a sarcastic patriarch, Victor became enthralled by the practice and eventually would talk to Dante, Shakespeare, Moliere, Aeschylus, Galileo, Moses, Jesus Christ, St. Augustine, Voltaire, and Death itself.

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