The first public reading was on December 8, 2005, in connection with a benefit at the Little Red Schoolhouse, in Manhattan. I read the first few pages of the book, a section I mentally refer to as "Random Bullets,” and then I read the essay called “Under The Freeway.” While I was in a bad mood, I was pretty happy with how it went – and I wished I had recorded it. Since there couldn’t be a real book tour, why not have a virtual one? Why not make digital recordings of readings available? I envisioned a Podcast, basically, that would be cool both for me as a guy trying to peddle a book, and for potential readers who wanted a free sample.
The second reading was March 1, 2006, in Savannah, where E & I happened to be staying for a little while. I read “Random Bullets,” and the essay called “Carnival.” I recorded it, but the recording didn’t really come out – and that’s just as well, because I was terrible that night. The third reading was March 14, 2006, at Mo Pitkin’s, in New York. I read “Random Bullets” again, and then I read an essay called “Luncheon.” This went pretty well, but only the “Random Bullets recording came out.
So, here you go.
First up, me reading “Random Bullets” at Mo Pitkin’s. Before reading this piece I always gave a short preamble about how this stuff was written before Katrina, and certain things sound different now, as a result of that, than they sounded when they were written. The reading lasts about five minutes. I say at the start that it was written at the beginning of January 2000; of course what I meant to say was January 1, 2000. I’m not a particularly great reader, I’m no David Sedaris or whatever, but on the other hand, I have attended readings by very famous writers that I am certain were more boring than this. Actually I’m not completely certain, because although I did start to listen to each recording to make sure the sound quality is okay, I quickly stopped, because listening to myself is embarrassing. Anyway here it is.
“Random Bullets,” Live at Mo Pitkin’s.
Finally, on March 28, 2006, I read at the National Arts Club, in New York City, for an audience made up of members of the Dutch Treat Club. This time I read “Luncheon,” and went okay, and the recording worked. The interesting thing about this is that “Luncheon” is in some ways about people with nothing better to do wasting time at a long lunch. The Dutch Treat Club actually seems to be dedicated to this very idea. Nevertheless, they were very nice. But it may be interesting to have that background should you choose to listen. Here’s that; it lasts about 12 and a half minutes.
“Luncheon,” Live at the National Arts Club.
I use an Apple computer, so things may be different with Windows, but basically on my machine if you click, it will open a new browser window and play the audio (worth knowing if you're at work or whatever). If hold down the "option" key and click, the sound file should download to your desktop, and if you want you can move it over into iTunes and listen to it at, say, the gym, or while dancing about in the streets, or whatever. For what it's worth, I've since found two Podcasts tied to live readings at specific venues -- Tattered Cover in Denver, and Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn. I recorded these with my third-generation (that is, out of date) iPod, and a cheap attachment called an iTalk. If I were doing a tour, I'd read different parts of the book on each stop, creating a Podcast the re-created the entire book through live readings -- and then turn that into a "live" audio book! But instead, I’m just posting these two recordings here, and skipping the Podcast notion, for the simple reason that the readings for this book are over, and future installments are pretty unlikely.