poet who re-examined his religion is among four
self-published writers ready to read in a tavern once
known for its hair bands.
self-published authors seeking to shatter the cozy
coffeehouse image that readings sometimes conjure have
tapped into the House of Rock’s louder-than-anybody
reputation to present “Tales From the Graveyard
out the multimedia reading — featuring poetry and
prose from Chad Lewis, Andy Patrie, Jason Splichal and
Ken Szymanski — might polish the bar’s image, too.
was a stigma about the House of Rock, that this was a
loud, dumb metal bar,” said Joey Gunderson, who
handles the venue’s booking and promotions.
said the establishment earned its unofficial title as
the loudest tavern on Water Street in the ’80s when
it booked a steady slate of hair bands. Now, Gunderson
said he is working to offer “every aspect of music
April, the first such experiment featured Beat the
Donkey. The 10-piece percussion ensemble led by Cyro
Baptista mixes Brazilian, African and Indonesian
the Monday-night (June 6) reading promises to be
relatively low key (it is Monday night, after all),
Patrie — the most recently published of the four —
and his fellow performers aim to boost the energy
level and attract a different set of listeners.
we read at ECRAC (The State: Regional Arts Center),
it’s older people, patrons of the arts,” Patrie
at Destini Artworks and the Acoustic Cafe have
attracted school-age audiences. On June 6, Patrie
said, they’ll target the 20-something and
30-something crowd with a program propelled by
Lewis’ slide show and a keyboardist’s
contacted separately by e-mail, said the event could
change how people view book readings.
event will be cutting-edge, so I thought we should
push our own comfort zone while simultaneously
re-formatting what a book reading should be —
entertaining, exciting and fun,” Lewis wrote.
venue has prompted Patrie to rethink his
the past, I’d just have a rough idea of what I’m
going to read,” Patrie said. “This is going to be
a little more dynamic.”
tie in with the event’s title, all four authors are
exploring some of their darker work. Patrie’s
21-poem, 51-page collection — he printed 200 copies
this spring for about $600 — offers plenty of
said the title of his poetry collection, “A
Beautiful Accident,” refers partly to happy
accidents — such as his being adopted by a loving
family and his meeting his wife, Adrienne.
sparse and touching “Courtship,” for example,
describes his wedding proposal.
30, who grew up in Eau Claire and graduated from North
High School in 1993, exhibits a knack for writing
about emotional moments without becoming sappy. But
“A Beautiful Accident,” as Patrie wrote in the
book’s forward, also summarizes his view of the
in a booth at Mogie’s late Tuesday afternoon, Patrie
explained how, as an atheist, he now sees life itself
as a happy accident — an offshoot rather than an end
result of evolution.
I want to put my energy is into what can be
explained,” Patrie said.
could not conceptualize how (there was) an
all-powerful and all-knowing being out there and then
this is allowed to happen,” Patrie said. He referred
to the Catholic church’s refusal to accept issues
such as homosexuality, and to the idea that
Christianity is the only way to heaven.
the book’s introduction is upfront — “I would
like you to know that this book is about letting go of
a fear of dying and the superstitious notion of
punishments and rewards in some kind of afterlife,”
he wrote — Patrie said he avoids pushing his views
in the classroom.
do the poems loudly proclaim the message. Without the
explanation, the theme might be lost on the casual
collection ends with “About Living,” a reflection
of Patrie’s revised, more positive state of mind
regarding the end life. The poem ends:
those we create
the dark to atoms
fields of cosmos
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