A Night With Chuck -- Hooo boy, was Auntie's the place to be last Thursday night for Chuck Palahniuk's reading. With the biggest crowd they've ever had for an event (and that's including homeboy Sherman Alexie), the reading attracted more than 350 people. As we'd hoped, Palahniuk read his infamous Playboy short story "Guts," a tale so visceral, disturbing and disgusting (albeit hilarious) it's reputedly caused more than 40 people to faint at readings across the nation. Sure enough, two people passed out at Auntie's, one hitting his head on a bookshelf on the way down and requiring emergency medical attention. Unaware of what was happening out in the audience, the sweetly self-effacing Palahniuk followed up his reading with a mightily entertaining Q & amp;A involving such prizes as fake severed limbs, tiaras and five-foot-tall gerbera daisies. A good time was had by all, and we'd like to commend the staff at Auntie's for bringing not only such a provocative and entertaining author to town, but streamlining what could have been complete and utter chaos.
Salman and Sedaris -- This just in: The lineup for next year's Get Lit! festival has just been announced, and we're pleased to note that the 2005 headliners include Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, Rita Dove, Robert Bly and Bob Edwards. Rushdie, as some of you may recall, lived with a price on his head for nine years after being condemned by the Ayatollah Khomeini following the publication of The Satanic Verses. As for Sedaris, he was the sold-out hit at Get Lit! two years ago; this year he'll be reading from his new collection, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. We're also looking forward to hearing longtime NPR's Morning Edition host Bob Edwards talk about the state of contemporary journalism. Tickets go on sale in September; we'll keep you posted.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik -- A little night music indeed will be wafting through the trees on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as Connoisseur Concerts presents two performances of "Mozart at Manito" on the lawn east of Duncan Gardens. The highlight will no doubt be William Berry's original tribute to Manito's first 100 years. Tickets still available: $10 general admission or $25 for table seating (with dessert and coffee). Visit www.ticketswest.com for reservations.
And More Classical News... -- Just in time for their upcoming Royal Fireworks concert, Allegro announces the hiring of a new Executive Director Carla J. Warren. Artistic directors Beverly Biggs and David Dutton will continue to serve in an artistic capacity; Warren previously served as the director of development for U of I's College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. Says Biggs: "This is a very big, happy step for us." Congratulations!