In the days before our Super Super Tuesday event (gig?) at the Nomad, Paper Darts got some really good press about the show. Most interesting among the blurbs was Gregory J. Scott's opinion that Paper Darts "treat[s] [our] readings like rock shows," which I had then thought was, though complimentary, a little overstated. How could a reading be like a rock show? It's like some hip Mad Hatter had posed me a modern riddle without an answer.
But then, after watching Lindsay Hunter read her story "Like," ending every few sentences by emphasising a word with a gutteral, savagely sexy, growling grunt, which eventually fell into a rhythm that hypnotized me, I actually thought to myself (and embarrassingly enough told her in a sort-of-drunk manner), This is like seeing Hole in 1995, and started viewing the event in a different light.
Though literary readings may not ever be exactly the same as seeing a killer band perform live, does a good reading have what it takes to be similar in some respects to a rock show?
While most readings don't have music, some of them do. I just saw a spoken word reading recently where there was music playing while the poet was reading. That's hip hop, dawg. Super Super Tuesday featured Amelia Gray singing, so we definitely had it.
I'm not going to say that drugs make a good rock show, because that's just not true. But when I think "rock and roll" it usually comes with the words "sex" and "drugs" preceding it, so it sould be on this list. I don't make the rules. While Dessa had mentioned overhearing a discussion about drugs in the bathroom, I'd like to draw your attention to something a little less nefarious: alcohol. It's a drug, and it is ever-present. I do believe that a good reading can always use a little bit of alcohol. Also, say no to drugs (real drugs, not alcohol).
Do people really have sex at rock shows? Probably, I guess. People will get to sexing just about anywhere if the mood is right. Were there people knocking boots at our reading? Those bathrooms are pretty small, so I'm guessing not. However, I did see two young and lovely ladies canoodling all night near the front of the stage.
People did it for the Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson. People have done it for Chuck Palahniuk. (For much different reasons, of course, but it counts.) Though no one fainted at Super Super Tuesday, there were a lot of awkward fan moments for me that made me want to faint.