Monthly Archives: October 2013

Christine Byl, author of Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods @ Tiny Terra Ferma

dirt workThurs., Nov. 7th, 7pm @ Tiny Terra Firma 

In Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, Christine Byl tells the story of her years working as a “traildog” in the National Parks of Montana and Alaska. On Thursday, November 7th Byl will share her experiences at Tiny Terra Ferma for a book reading and signing, co-sponsored by The Spiral Bookcase.

Throughout her memoir, Byl explores the language, tools, skills, and fraternity of traildog work, writing candidly about the harsh living conditions, injuries, and insecurities that come with the job. A complete novice when she started at Glacier National Park at the age of twenty-two, Byl quickly learned how to clear brush, dig ditches, build bridges, clean up after forest fires and blast snow. Divided into six sections, each chapter in Dirt Work begins with a profile of a toolasso ciated in the trailwork in that particular region. In a field traditionally dominated by men, Byl learns firsthand about the division between mental and physical labor. She questions the common assumptions about “men’s work” and “women’s work,” while dealing with criticism from her male coworkers and handling her own insecurities on the job. However in time these insecurities make her stronger, giving her an appreciation for working with her own hands and making time for nature.

After working on the trails for over sixteen years, Byl now lives and works in Alaska with her husband Gabe, where they run a trail-design and construction business. What started out as a post-graduation summer gig turned into a decades-long job, where Byl, who was once a novice, eventually became a leader and mentor to other trail dogs. She writes about her education in the woods and how “a strong body can usher in mental clarity. Noticing how the world works keeps you open to it.”

Pretzel Park Fall Festival!


The American Poetry Review feat. Bruce Smith @Urban Jungle



Saturday Oct. 19 · 9:30pm
Urban Jungle, 1526 E Passyunk Ave.
Invite friends on Facebook here.

Founded in 1972 in Philadelphia, The American Poetry Review is dedicated to reaching a worldwide audience with a diverse array of the best contemporary poetry and literary prose, and has presented the work of over 2,000 writers, among whom there are nine Nobel Prize laureates and forty-three Pulitzer Prize winners.

For this special evening, join us as APR contributors Bruce Smith, Daisy Fried, Sebastian Agudelo, Jason Schneiderman, and Jaamil Kosoko all read.

Originally from Philadelphia, Bruce Smith is the author of several books of poems, including The Other Lover (2000), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Influenced by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, Smith’s poetry moves like jazz, incorporating images and narratives into a startling, musically unified whole. In a 2007 interview, Smith explained his poetry’s aspiration to song: “When the language works to seduce and . . . move us, when it works its blues on us, bounces us and trembles us, makes us swerve from our upright and rational propositions . . . we are thinking and listening at the same time or really listening and not thinking, like a good song does.”

Daisy Fried is the author of Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice(2013), praised by the New York Times as “commanding…biting and hilarious;” as well as My Brother is Getting Arrested Again(2006) and She Didn’t Mean to Do It (2000), all from University of Pittsburgh Press.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Striking Surface (Ashland Poetry Press, 2010) and Sublimation Point (Four Way Books, 2004). “Sweet, funny, sad, true…like a perfect pop song, [these poems] makes the listener glad to be alive.” – Wayne Koestenbaum

Sebastian Agudelo is the author of Each Chartered Street (2013) and To the Bone, selected by Mark Doty as the winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize in 2008. “Both poet and chef, Agudelo scrubs and knifes language with utmost skill…. perhaps nowhere since Proust do lines stoke or stroke the senses with such clarity and sensuality as they do here…”–Gary Joseph Cohen from Lana Turner

Originally from Detroit, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian-American curator, producer, poet, choreographer, and performance artist. He was a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.

Wesley Stace, Gabriel Roth, & Tom Moon @Urban Jungle




Wesley Stace was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1965, and educated at the King’s School, Canterbury, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He released 17 albums under the name John Wesley Harding. His new album, Self-Titled, for which he has returned to his given name, is released by Yep Roc, September 2013. He has also published three novels.

Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders, his variety show based at City Winery in NYC, has recently launched on NPR. Since the Cabinet’s inception in 2009, the show has become a virtual who’s who of contemporary performers, writers, and comedians. It’s “one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer” (New Yorker), “a brilliant evening of laid-back fun” (Village Voice), and “one of the most whip-smart variety shows on the market” (Portland Tribune). Additional shows will air in 2014. Stace has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, and Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), among many others. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists. Most recently, he co-wrote Eleanor Friedberger’s Personal Record.

Gabriel Roth was a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian and now works as a writer and software developer. In his debut novel, The Unknowns, he introduces us to Eric Muller, who’s been trying to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. He also happens to be a character who’s flawed, funny, irresistibly endearing, going straight into the pantheon of unlikely heroes. With an unblinking eye for the absurdities and horrors of contemporary life, Gabriel Roth gives us a hilarious and heartbreaking meditation on self consciousness, memory, and love.

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die(Workman Publishing), and a contributor to other books includingThe Final Four of Everything. A saxophonist whose professional credits include stints on cruise ships and several tours with the Maynard Ferguson orchestra, Moon served as music critic at thePhiladelphia Inquirer from 1988 until 2004. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Blender, Spin, Vibe, Harp and other publications, and has won several awards, including two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism awards. He has contributed to NPR’s All Things Considered since 1996.

Saturday Oct. 19 · 8pm
Urban Jungle, 1526 E Passyunk Ave.
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215 Featured Reading : Katherine Hill & Nathaniel Popkin @Circle of Hope




Please join us for this special reading with two of Philadelphia’s most vital fiction authors, on the eve of the publication ofNathaniel Popkin’s Lion and Leopard (The Head & The Hand Press).

Katherine Hill wrote The Violet Hour (Scribner 2013), a novel about an ambitious but fractured American family, while living and working in Philadelphia. Set primarily in a suburban DC funeral home on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, the book has been heralded by O Magazine, People Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Post, among others. Katherine’s short fiction has been published by AGNI, Colorado Review, The Common, n+1, Philadelphia Stories, and Word Riot, and her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including The Believer, Bookforum, The Paris Review Daily, Philadelphia City Paper, Poets & Writers, the San Francisco Chronicle, and theWall Street Journal Speakeasy. A former speechwriter at the University of Pennsylvania, she has taught writing at Philadelphia University, Mighty Writers in South Philadelphia, and the PEN Prison Writing Program in New England. She is currently an assistant editor at Barrelhouse and lives with her husband in Princeton, New Jersey.

In Nathaniel Popkin’s Lion and Leopard, releasing in November 2013, the tragic demise of John Lewis Krimmel marks a flashpoint point between the young artist’s European-influenced Romanticism and the Philadelphia art establishment long dominated by the formidable portraitist Charles Willson Peale. Peale’s single-minded crusade to define American art through a dogma of reason and moral clarity clashes with the self-taught Krimmel’s subversive notion that art must seduce the viewer–not lecture her–and it must touch the realm of the unknown. When Krimmel finishes a painting so intriguing that it is acquired by the art collector Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, Krimmel is accused by his powerful enemies of being a fraud. This sets off a maelstrom of events leading to a tragic fire, accusations of plagiarism, and a fateful confrontation with Peale that will have unthinkable consequences.

Friday Oct. 18 · 8:30pm
Circle Of Hope, 2009 Frankford Ave.
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Writers’ Night in America @Underground Arts




Thursday Oct 17, 9:30PM
Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street
Invite friends on Facebook here.

Hosted by writer/folksinger TJ Kong, Writers Night In America is a monthly event wherein the inimitable host features writers reading, and then chatting. Each writer reads a piece or two, and then Kong conducts a short and snappy interview, chat-show style. For this special 215 Fest edition, Kong will be a house band as he hears from and talks with a wide variety of local and national writers, including Nicholson BakerBruce GrahamSarah Rose EtterNicolas EspositoJacqueline GoldfingerElizabeth ScanlonBrian Warfield and more.

The house band will be The Can Jam Band. They are a TJ Kong side project that includes the bassist from Kong – Joshua J.A.M Machiz, Alex Maio on drums, Chris Aschman on steel drum and trumpet and Frankie Velardo on guitar and lead vocals. They are a never-ending ball of energy playing the hits like they have been locked inside of a shuttered basement for 25 years.

The Spiral Masquerade




Calling all authors, poets, comedians, actors, and musicians! For the spooky month of October, we are replacing our monthly Salon with an Open Mic MASQUERADE! Join us in costume for cocktails, conversation, and your chance to shine in the spotlight. (Note to self – find a spotlight.)

Costumed Revelers will have the first chance to sign up for Open Mic, starting at 6pm. Regular folk (what, no costume?) can start signing up at 7pm. Start time is 730pm.

SO figure out your costume now, and RSVP here for this spectacular escapade!

Kids’ Day in Pretzel Park with Special Guest – Author K.B. Laugheed!

spiritSaturday, Oct 19th, 1030am-2pm

The Spiral Bookcase is happy to bring you a special story time in Pretzel Park : held during the wonderfully new and delicious Farmers’ Market*.

At 1030am Storyteller Amanda will be reading a selection of fun kids’ books and leading a sing a long. We will be setting up in Pretzel Park on a comfy quilt. At 11am Amanda will lead a kids’ movement session, perfect to stretch those legs and start the morning right.

Special Guest author K.B. Laugheed will be in the park from 12pm-2pm, promoting her sensational new novel, The Spirit Keeper (Plume, $16.00). This book, set in Pennsylvania, is a great read for older kids as well as for adults. Ms. Laugheed will be reading an excerpt from the book, and signing copies. Books will be available for sale in the park. (Rain location is The Spiral Bookcase)

The Spirit Keeper is a riveting historical adventure which begins in 1747 when the frontier Pennsylvania home of 17-year-old Katie O’Toole is attacked by Indians. Though Katie longs to return to the civilized comforts of colonial Philadelphia, she suddenly finds herself a captive of strange savages, being carried ever deeper into the wild center of the American continent.

Check out the book trailer here:

*The Farmers’ Market is the newest initiative from the Manayunk Roxborough Food Co-Op. We are strong supporters of the Co-Op and you can be too – join the movement on facebook : Manayunk Roxborough Food Co-Op.

First Friday with Manayunk Calligraphy!



First Friday, October 4th, 6pm – 9pm

For the next First Friday in Manayunk, join us for an opening reception featuring Manayunk Calligraphy. GORGEOUS lettered pieces, all available for purchase during the month of October. (hint – get started on that holiday shopping!) Kimberly is planning on making some literary related prints, so be sure to pick them up before they disappear.

Dead Bards of Philadelphia Open Poetry Night

Friday, October 11th, 730pm-930pm

A relaxed engagement for those with a love of language and poetry. Bring your own poems to share, and/or poems of your favorite authors. Meet & greet begins at 7:30pm, readings at 8:00pm.  (Join our meetup group.)