I realize the tour updates stopped around my exciting trip to see The Hobbit. That's because I got sick in Pensacola, and by the time we finally chilled in Athens, I was bedridden. Tour colds certainly happen, though I got my butt out of bed for every reading, thank you very much. Our Pensacola reading was better-attended than I could have hoped for, especially for such a muggy day, and much love to the organizers for getting the word out. The space was also just a cool radical spot, with all their sales going to the local Books to Prisons. Ben and Dziga were on point, as usual. I did a cold reading of "Dead Teenagers," which is an intense story to just start reading the middle of in front of strangers. I don't know if it went over too well, honestly, but it was worth a short. Super receptive audience, overall.
Afterward, we hung out with some established Pensacola punks. The kind with jobs and kids. We caught pizza at this restaurant that was in the basement of an old insane asylum. The upper floors were supposedly like a horror movie set, with gurneys and wheelchairs and cells. The middle floors were also pretty scary; rooms rented out to artists, filled with surreal paintings of puppy dogs. Or so I'm told, as a description of the place was enough to keep me downstairs, drinking my beer. A trip to the bathroom was enpugh to creep me out. WHY IS THERE A CELL WITH BARS IN THE BATHROOM?!? Needless to say, this old spot was a popular hangout for the Pensacola punks we were rolling with, back in their youth. One of the guys had this super-cute kid named Ignacius, who showed Dziga his karate moves. The walls of the pizza joint were covered in pictures of pizza slices that little kids could color with decorations. About a third of them were from kids, but most were done by adults. I liked the Kimbo Slice (decorated to look like the famed backyard brawler) and the Vanilla Slice (decorated to look like the reviled rapper). But the absolute best was the two slices put together and made into a Spy vs. Spy drawing. It looked just like something out of Mad Magazine. I wish I took a picture. Ben made his slice into a mutant monster pizza slice threatening New York or some such city. The waitress loved it, and put it up, and told us how she was constantly having to take down stuff like Slutty Slice and Crackhead Slice.
Speaking of pizza, our breakfast dinner itinerary was literally Waffle House in the morning and pizza in the evening. At every stop. That is not an exaggeration. Ben and Dziga love diners and pizza.
The folks we crashed with were cool. They lived in a real-ass punk apartment, filled with all sorts of monster movie and serial killer and vampire ephemera. I opted out of drinking beer until dawn with everybody else, as we had to drive and all. I will be honest: I wasn't too jazzed about sleeping on a couch with no blanket, my face buried in a Chester Cheetah pillow, while some random goth dude in a Skinny Puppy shirt decides the best course of action is blare his industrial music at two in the morning. I woke up sick and not rested at all. But you don't slag people who show you hospitality, so I won't. Just, y'know, it was two in the morning.
We left at noon for Athens, but didn't factor in the time change. Ben drove pretty much the whole way. We didn't factor in the time change and ended up rolling into Athens an hour late and reeking. We needed showers badly. The Athens reading, which was in a bar, was small but good. I read part of "Assistant." We hurried through it, as we were already late, and we had to clear by 8 so a band could set up (band didn't show up until 10, by the way). Athens is a gorgeous little town, filled with all sorts of boutiques and shops, and the college kids were out in full force, serenading us with arbly renditions of "Kiss From a Rose" at the karaoke bar.
The lady hosting us was, I believe, an Anthropology PhD, the wife of one of Ben and Dzig's friends in New Orleans. We had pizza with some Anthro majors. Two of Dzig's friends--a couple who lived in Athens--came to the reading, and I overheard them telling him about how they watched wrestling, and how Vince McMahon is an amoral scumbag, and the hilarious faces he made during his wife's concession speech after she lost the Connecticut senate race, and blew $90 million of his money.
And this shit is hilarious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2BXtzC6fMI. Oh my god, look at Vince's face! The big, tragic sigh is gold. The eyeroll is gold. But I think my favorite part is Shame McMahon on the side, trying hard not to bust a gut at his dad. They literally wasted $90 million of their personal money. Hilarious.
And thank Zeus, Hera, and Demeter she lost. Can you imagine that old carny Vince having a hand in politics? Sometimes prayers are answered.
But I digress. I heard them talking about wrestling and had to jump in with: "OHMIGOD I LOVE RASSLIN! THE AMERICAN DREAM DUTH-TAY RHODES! RICK FLAIR! THE FOUR HORSEMEN! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Then me and this dude tag teamed telling Dzig the last thirty years of pro wrestling history.
Best part of the night, hands down.
More reminiscences soon.