Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday-night recap at Get Lit:
At the Bing for the triple short story readings, longtime Selected Shorts host Isaiah Sheffer amused the crowd (and made up for the lack of live musicians) by humming the theme from the Sunday-afternoon NPR show (piano and cellos both!). He made a joke about the show usually being recorded on New York's Upper West Side, but that traveling to Spokane involved journeying to the nation's real Upper West Side. (Sheffer and his two fellow readers have a similar gig in Missoula tonight.)
Sheffer explained that the Father's Day themed stories weren't going to be "sentimental stories about Dear Old Dad."
Then James Naughton (who played Ally McBeal's dad on TV) read John Updike's "Learn a Trade," about a man whose father had discouraged any sign of creativity in his younger self -- and who then finds himself being an old ant-creativity curmudgeon with his own children.
Susanna Thompson read "Creeping" from Maxine Swann's Flower Children, about a hippie father and his kids; Sheffer concluded with Roald Dahl's "Waste." The show will be broadcast in June.
Saturday morning at Auntie's:
Randall Platt read from her YA novel Hellie Jondoe, about a 13-year-old pickpocket in 1918 New York who gets placed on an orphan train and ends up in Pendleton, Oregon. (The orphan trains swept up homeless kids and plunked them down in the West, in an effort to find them homes; this went on for 80 years up to the Depression.)
Victor Lodato's reading made it clear that Mathilda Savitch is a New York/New Jersey girl with an attitude, full of spiritual pondering. A playwright, Lodato started writing a monologue in the voice of a 13-year-old girl -- it just came to him, kept getting longer and longer. Obviously, it wasn't a play, so he ended up writing his first novel. It wasn't until months later, after months of writing Mattie monologues, that she told him that her sister had died -- and that from there, he decided that the aftermath of the older sister's death would provide the novel's structure. Lodato says that he has both a new play and a new novel on his work desk back in Tucson -- but that the novel is winning out.