Envy and New Beginnings: AWP in Chicago, A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, Two Small Lit Presses, and One Big Movement

First off: I cannot stand that I am not on my way to Chicago today. Tomorrow, nearly every author, publisher, and indie lit magazine that I drool over in my bed at night is going to be at AWP. Most of them are sharing tables together. (BLOOM and LLF? Table # 726.) Half of them are doing readings together. (PANK, Mudluscious Press, and Annalemma: March 1st, Beauty Bar, 7 PM. Matthew R. K. Haynes-Kekahuna of Educe, Max Wolf Valerio, and Charles Rice-Gonzales: Center on Halsted, March 1st, 7 PM. And don’t forget about this.) And I, in my jealousy, hate them all. Are you going? I hate you, too.

Here’s something else phenomenal that I wish was happening near me: a Broadway-revival of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Directed by Emily Mann, the revival casts Blair Underwood as Stanley, Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche DuBois, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stella, and Wood Harris as Mitch. Original score by Terence Blanchard!

A new literary magazine to queer up: Alisha Sommer is starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund her new literary journal, Blackberry. By centralizing the work of African-American women, Blackberry aims to “to expose readers to the diversity of the black woman’s experience and strengthen the black female voice in both the mainstream and independent markets”. The inaugural issue, “Skin Deep”, is expected to launch this summer; submissions due March 15.

I heard about Blackberry through Specter Magazine, another up and coming litmag founded by mensah demarry and Athena Dixon. (Specter’s tagline: “we want outcasts.”) Specter recently put out a call for a special issue, edited by Rion Amilcar Scott : homo-hop, anyone?

On projects of a wider scope, the PEN American Center, the ACLU, and director/producer Doug Liman are teaming up together for a reading and film project opposing torture. Through the ongoing Reckoning With Torture project, “ordinary Americans stand side-by-side with actors, writers, and former military interrogators and intelligence officers in a reading of official documents that reveal the scope and cost of America’s post-9/11 torture program.” Go here to find out how to do your own reading.


Photo:  Blair Underwood