The Midsummer Mic

On Friday we promised that the July edition of our Lion & Pirate Unplugged open mic would be extra special—and we keep our promises! We celebrated the twenty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in fine style, with wonderful performances from familiar faces, four fantastic debut acts, and a very special guest.

Our special guest was awesome Australian comedian and self-described “inspiration boner killer” Stella Young. If you’re in need of a little hilarity, you should most definitely watch Stella in action below. Topics discussed include the stupidity of race-walking (“that one that looks like they’re all busting to get to the same toilet”) and the perils of grocery shopping—and there’s also a little bit of wheelchair synchronized swimming thrown in for good measure!

We also enjoyed performances from some talented newcomers—let’s give a warm Malvern welcome to George Moreno, Wayne Napier, Katy Battistoni, and Amy Litzinger:

And we were thrilled to see the return of some ol’ Lion and Pirate favorites—Susie Angel, Shaniqua Esparza, Juan Munoz, and Felipe Archer:

Thanks to VSA Texas, Pen2Paper, Stella Young, and all the Lion and Pirate performers—y’all are a joy to host, and as always you brought a ton of energy and talent to our stage (even our hard-to-please pirate was caught nodding approvingly throughout the evening). Our next open mic will be on Friday, August 22nd… can’t wait to see you there!

Saturday Celebrations

If the heat is getting you down (RealFeel® 473°?) and you’re in urgent need of an energizing weekend shindig, we’ve got just the ticket! Tomorrow night we’re bringing you an extra special edition of our monthly Lion & Pirate Unplugged open mic event…

Together with VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper creative writing contest, we’ll be celebrating the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed by President George H. Bush on July 26th, 1990, the ADA gives people with disabilities protections similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, age, sex, and religion. The ADA is a comprehensive piece of legislation—you can read the full text of the Act here—that assures equal opportunity for people with disabilities to access such necessities as employment, transportation, and government services.

And what better way to commemorate the anniversary of this landmark legislation than with a very special guest? We’re thrilled to announce that tomorrow’s open mic will be rocked by Australian comedian, journalist, and knitting enthusiast Stella Young. If you want a sneak peek of Stella in action, check out this recent TED talk, in which she explains why being in a wheelchair doesn’t automatically turn her into “a noble inspiration to all humanity.”

Yup, Stella will be a tough act to follow, but don’t let that discourage you from coming on down to Malvern Books and taking part. Musicians and writers of all ages and abilities will be warmly welcomed to our stage. (And, since we’re celebrating, cake will be warmly welcomed too. We like cake.) See you tomorrow at 7pm!

GG Allin: Live Fast Die

Malvern Books’ resident music expert and much loved staff member, Adam, very sadly passed away on Sunday night. His enthusiasm for music was remarkable and Adam’s contributions to the blog will be much missed by everyone at Malvern. He was working on this piece about punk rock singer-songwriter GG Allin, and we wanted to share it with you. 

GG AllinFor this edition’s musical review I decided to write about someone that not many people may know about, but who has nonetheless left a searing permanent mark on the punk rock scene that will never be forgotten. GG Allin was a notorious punk rock singer who played in several bands, the most remembered being GG Allin And The Murder Junkies. GG Allin was a true rebel, if ever there was such a thing. He did not care in any way about what the majority of society thought of him. He was filled with an almost psychotic rage and hatred towards mainstream culture, the government, the police, and society in general. He made this clear in many of his highly controversial songs, such as “I Hate People,” “I’m A Rapist,” “I Kill Everything I Fuck,” and “My Prison Walls.” GG Allin spent three years in prison after he allegedly raped a girl, burned her with a lighter, and drank some of her blood after cutting her with a knife. GG always claimed that the act was consensual and that the girl had in fact also drunk some of his blood. Regardless, the court believed the woman’s testimony and Allin was sentenced to serve three years. During interviews with various reporters, GG Allin stated that his time in prison only made him even more spiteful and angry towards society and that he would not stop acting this way until he was dead.

During concerts, GG Allin would do things that earned him national notoriety and made many people afraid to attend his shows. He generally would strip naked during the first few songs, after which he would tend to take a beer bottle and smash it over his head, and then proceed to cut his flesh with the broken glass. After this, the drunk and bleeding GG Allin would run out into the audience and physically attack the people attending his show. GG Allin was once quoted in an interview as saying, “My mind is a machine gun, my body is the bullets, and my audience is the target.”

For the last several years of his life, GG Allin had told the public that he was planning on killing himself on stage during a concert and that he was going to shoot at the audience members as well before doing so. This brought a lot of attention to the underground punk rocker, and he soon became one of the most feared and disliked figures in music. GG Allin would go on talk shows such as Geraldo and Jerry Springer, where he would be confronted by the show’s host as well as many distraught and concerned audience members who were appalled by GG and everything he stood for. GG did not mince words with these people. He constantly insulted and criticized the parents who were telling him he was a sick man and that they didn’t want their children to have anything to do with him. On one show he was quoted as telling the audience that their children belonged to him and he was going to make them do anything he wanted to.

All this just bolstered GG’s name in the media and the music scene, but his antics also came at a cost. His notoriously violent behavior during performances, along with the threat he’d made about committing suicide on stage after shooting at random concert goers, meant that a significant number of clubs did not want him performing at their venues.

GG Allin died in 1993 at the age of thirty-six of an accidental heroin overdose.

The Magic of Mirov

Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate is back with another top-notch reading recommendation for all you poetry fiends…

Hider RoserBen Mirov is a cloud. His book HIDER ROSER is a downpour of rainbows made of colors that have no names. The poems inside pound you in the face softly and honestly like a fuzzy blanket. The poems pound you in the mirror until you recognize yourself. The poems are love letters playing with jellyfish in the surf at night. To keep you safe. To keep us safe. What do you want? These poems are that. Or not. Either way this book is alive and raised by the sweetest of wolves to act like itself. “Now open your eyes. / Not those eyes. / The eyes inside you.”

Letters to Lil

It’s perhaps not surprising that Malvern’s music maven, Adam, has a lil’ rap-related reading recommendation for you all…

Dear Lil WayneDear Lil Wayne is a humorous compilation of letters/prose poems sent by the author Lauren Ireland to her musical icon, rapper Lil Wayne, who was incarcerated at Rikers Island for possession of marijuana and possession of an illegal firearm at the time. (Lil Wayne never bothered to write back to her.) There are certain excerpts from this series of letters that are so hilariously bizarre they will make you laugh out loud. Dear Lil Wayne is a must-read for anyone in search of a fun and amusing book.

Words To Go For

For those of you craving a little Swedish poetry in your lives, here’s a recommendation from Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate. (NB. Taylor is also editor-in-chief of smoking glue gun, so you know he has impeccable taste in all things literary!)

You Go the WordsYou Go the Words by Gunnar Björling, translated by Fredrik Hertzberg
(Poetry, Action Books)

This collection of poems explores the power of the absence of words through hypnotic rhythms and lyrical minimalism. Although much of his lexicon is comprised of seemingly insignificant words like like-the-that-it-you-if-as-and, Björling’s emotional territory is immense and cuts to the heart and shimmers erotically. Large amounts of white space and disjunctive syntax come together to form a work in ten parts that, thanks to Fredrik Hertzberg’s supple and nimble translations, can be consumed in an afternoon or savored for days on end.