(Tired thoughts; fantastic ULA show; undergrounders entering the Overdog arena filled with a hostile Overdog crowd; Philly chapter leaving all its spending money in New York.)
There's no other way to depict it except as a success after we presented a wide variety of underground writers, with wild entertainment, to an enthusiastic crowd outside Columbia U's Miller Theater last night. We showed what genuine literature connecting to the general public is about. We made our point, easily distributed large stacks of informational flyers to members of our very curious audience, and brought underground writers together with New York journalists.
Kudos to Jack Saunders; to New York writers Richard Kostelanetz and Yarrow Regan; to ULAer Mark Sonnenfeld; to poets Natalie Felix and Sean Terreri; to all-purpose helper Mike King; to street performer poet Eric "Jelly Boy the Clown," who stole the show inside and out; to his brother Matt and photog friend Jeff; to my colleagues in staging the event, Patrick King and the perpetual motion stick of dynamite Frank Walsh; and to all those at our event to read, watch, or, like ex-ULAer Will Ratblood, to protest our protest. (Special thanks to ULA behind-the-scenes supporters who funded our excursion and sent us tickets.) Even the police and security people outside were friendly.
As for the tumultuous occurrences afterward (capped off by my being invited back inside Miller Theater after having been escorted out)-- there's too much to address right now.
I'll say only this: A huge gulf exists between their kind of writer and ours; we don't understand them and they don't understand us; our separate ideas of what the presentation of literature should do come from different universes. Striking to me is how they (and their affluent genteel audience) can't see themselves as we see them, rigidly trapped in their roles and routines, very un-beatlike!, their regulated constipated obsolete failed schedule (their event like all such events a failure as an event from start to finish) so fixed in concrete they could never vary from it even when there was no other choice BUT to vary from it by putting aside another 50 minutes of restricted boring phoniness and starting the questions, bringing on the discussion-- the debate-- after it'd already begun. Robots enclosed in plexiglass cells from which they can't break out. (Yet a couple of them did break out-- maybe we're starting to get our points across.)
Journalists get it. The momentum in the lit world is all with us. The excitement is all with US. The show is where WE are. We're a new kind of writer and old-style lit people best get used to it.