Sunday, April 01, 2007

A lack of posting as I was off competing against other old fat people, as well as some old in-shape people who just make me sick.

The Mystery Lover's Bookstore and WDUQ's Festival of Mystery has their list of authors (including yours truly) posted for the Monday, May 7, 2007 par-tay. Tickets are a reasonable $7 and hundreds have all ready been purchased. Attendance is capped, so you may want to make your purchase now.

I’m not too big on charities – in fact I avoid the people who call on the phone and scoff at the Save the Children commercials. But, when the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked me to be part of their annual “Behind Bars for Good” campaign, I agreed. Why? Quite simply, they asked. It’s been a good year for me, and I believe that those who have a lot of good luck in their careers, health, and family have an obligation to step up to the plate.

So, yeah, I’m asking you to donate some cash to the group, but since I know you, you heartless animals, I’m sweetening the pot a little.

Make a $25 donation and I’ll write a poem for you – you specify the setting, style, whatever. You want a love sonnet to give to your special friend. Done. A ghazal about a gazelle? Super. A haiku about Western PA roadkill? Already working on it. No filthy limericks though. Even a guy like a me has some standards.

For $50 you get an inscribed copy of any of my books – the noir Small Brutal Incidents, or the more scholarly Jack Kerouac: A Biography or The Beat Generation.

$150 buys you a full on reading for you or your group – no amount of participants too big or too small. Want me to bring my dog and pony show to your Easter dinner so you can ask where I got my ideas as you scarf down spiral cut ham? I’ll be there. Need a speaker for your rotary, elks, moose, water buffalo lodge or whatever? Pony up the cash and watch me dance.

Finally, big spender, if that’s still not enough, $500 buys you an appearance as a character in my next book, another brooding noir set in Erie, PA. Amaze your friends when you casually turn to page 48, say and point yourself out, or “mistakenly” leave it out on coffee table (confidentially, I hear Philip Roth does the same thing with Harlot’s Ghost all the time).

So call 724-742-1710 and make that donation now (making sure that you tell them it’s for Michael Dittman’s bail). If you have questions or comments, shoot me a line at or give me a call at 724-827-8711 X 8251
Click here to visit my Participant Page.

If I could go to only one faith based concert this year, it would be Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Music 2007. Insert your own pre-destination joke here.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has collected the city's Poetry Month events.

Bob Hoover profiles Pittsburgh's poetry publishers.

The Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society has announced their 2007-08 season

How does one get to sing at the Met? How about an audition?:
If you can type your application, you can sing for us,” said Darren Keith Woods, the general director of the Fort Worth Opera and, on Feb. 3, one of three judges at the Philadelphia district round of an event that has been called the “American Idol” of the opera world. The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions offer tremendous exposure and, for up to five winners, prizes of $15,000.

While this article on photography expert Dusan Stulik is interesting, what's more telling is that the NYTimes has adopted the phrase "pre-digital" photography rather than "traditional" photography.

What's the difference between pork and well deserved earmarks? Your editor, I guess. When USA Today singled out the Oil Region National Heritage Area as a boondoggle, the News Herald slugged it as "Oil region captures media interest" while the Titusville Herald reported, "USA Today: Oil Region reliant on ‘pork’ .

An organization is being formed to protect, preserve and promote the education and study of prehistoric artifacts in the county.

Finally, let's load up with new music for the week ahead. I listen to a lot of "latin" music and while my tastes run more towards Cuba and Mexico, it's hard to avoid the guilty pleasure of a Dominican boy band.
God's Project

Download "Effa y yo" (mp3)
from "God's Project"
by Aventura
Premium Latin Music

Tony O'Neil and I share a publisher. He was also a sideman for the Brian Jonestown Massacre which has just released Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective
Tepid Peppermint Wonderland:  A Retrospective

Download "Open Heart Surgery" (mp3)
from "Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective"
by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Rubric Records

You can also check out the train wreck that was their band in the documentary DiG!

and this was really hard to ignore when it ended up in my mailbox (POB 1082 Franklin PA 16323 for those of you craving the exposure that only Venangago-go can provide):
Academy-award nominee and two-time Emmy winner Mare Winningham blazes a trail into the world of Jewish country bluegrass music. With a back-up band straight out of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' territory, Mare delivers an unprecedented take on traditional Jewish themes with a voice that's part Alison Kraus[sic], part Aimee Mann, and part Jewel.

Refuge Rock Sublime

Download "Valley Of The Dry Bones" (mp3)
Download "My Fixed Point" (mp3)
Download "The World To Come" (mp3)

by Mare Winningham
Craig 'n Company

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