On April 16th 2008, I took the day off and headed into the city — the Village, to be exact — to see horror masters Jack Ketchum and P.D. Cacek perform live readings of their works. KGB Bar is a pretty renowned institution when it comes to live performances by writers and poets. It has that dimlighted, hip, semi-beatnik kind of style, crossed with the feel of an old man’s bar. It’s small but stylish, too, reminiscent of socialist artist hangouts. It’s located at 85 East 4th Street, just off of 2nd Avenue, second floor.
*KGB Bar Logo*
*KGB Bar Interior; Second Floor*
It wasn’t overcrowded or anything like that. I got there around six, left at nine. Some of the pictures were taken by me, and others such as Gordon Linzner and Linda Addison, (Bram Stoker winner of: ‘Being Full Of Light, Insubstantial’). I congratulated Linda on winning the 2007 Bram Stoker Award. Also up in the mix was Gerard Houarner, a prolific author in his own right; he edits Space & Time Magazine and writes a monthly blog column for Storyteller’s Unplugged. Matthew Kressel, of Sybil’s Garage, co-hosted the event with Ellen Datlow. And just by chance, I happened to be seated at the end of the bar with science fiction author, Mercurio Rivera, who has a story in Interzone #214.
*Lawrence Dagstine with Bram Stoker Winner P.D. Cacek*
*Lawrence Dagstine with Four-Time
Bram Stoker Winner Jack Ketchum*
P.D. Cacek read from a short story with a young person’s narrative. She went on first at seven o’ clock. After that, there was a short intermission where authors and editors could mingle a bit, while Jack Ketchum made his way to the small podium in back. Jack read from three pieces, one of which was a monologue in a female narrative, and this was supposedly originally written for his novel, THE LOST (now a motion picture). The third piece he read was a story from what he called his “VHS Days”. He has a great voice, knows how to entertain the reader and his listeners, while mixing humor in all at the same time. I’m telling you, the man is pure genius…
*Lawrence Dagstine with Editor Ellen Datlow*
I also got to take pictures and talk with the Industry’s finest editor; and probably one of the best in the world. Ellen Datlow. At first, when I approached her, I was a little shy, because it had always been a dream of mine to talk to Ellen. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was fiction editor for OMNI Magazine. And back in the 1980’s, thanks to influential people like her, I don’t think I would have chosen writing as my career path. At first, I addressed her, “Ms. Datlow…” – but she quickly said, “Please, call me Ellen.”
A wonderful and memorable night indeed. I got to meet three icons. I stocked up on reading material for me and my son; Jack Ketchum and P.D. Cacek were nice enough to autograph it to him for when he’s old enough to read horror. I also noticed something else. These people were not only pleasant, but they were down-to-earth. And I realize now that’s what writing is about. It’s not always about how much money you make, who is better than this one, I’m going to be famous overnight. It’s about being nice and appreciating the artform.
Being a writer is about being down to earth. It’s about being human. It’s about being yourself.
Until my next entry,
Lawrence R. Dagstine
Other New Entries: “Readings & Reviews” (photographs archived)