Just got back from the Lawnchair reading. It takes place in a beautiful gallery space on a mezzanine level above the store, and is quite informal, not at all "Frightfully British!" as I may have made out...despite the image and language on the ads. (Shows you how one can be taken in by an image and projection-- indeed, my partner and I were the only ones who heeded the aviso and brought little folding chairs -- everybody else sat on the floor, which was clean and polished. But I appreciated my chair: I could play the guitar and read and be on their physical level in comfort. By all accounts (my own, first and foremost), my reading/performance went very well.
It was a great pleasure, too, to share the stage with such capable writers. (To see some of their work, follow the links in the post below.) Elise Moser is certainly one to watch. She has written some short stories that are absolutely dynamite. One, "Malke's Baby", was a winner of the 2004 CBC/QWF Quebec Short Story competition; the following year, "Allons Enfants de la Patrie" (a story I personally liked better) was given honourable mention. She has also published in some very good places. I look forward to her collection when it comes out. Her poetry too is strong. Thru the web link below, I especially like "Bag of Bags".
Claude Lalumiere's work I am less familiar with. He is very active in reviewing and editing as well as writing, has 13 stories published in various reviews and anthologies. He writes mainly sci-fi and fantasy stories, and has a remarkable eye and ear for the intense, surreal, and macabre. (Actually he has invented an interesting term for work he likes (I extract from an interview published in the reading chapbook) -- "transgressive fiction -- fiction that challenges consensus reality, while delving deep into the writer's ur-mythology (the set of personal subconscious stories and imagery that fuels the highly idiosyncratic fictions of obsessive, visionary writers)"
Jan, too, shows promise. While I find her work frequently needs editing, I believe it could soon evolve to a consistently high level.
Part II of "Frightfully English" will shortly appear, even though the arrow seems, in the case of this series, to have been aimed at an unfair target. (Well, pretty soft arrow... an extenuated arrow, if there is such a thing... foam rubber, perhaps? God, that sounds like such a limp phallus-- prosthetic at that! Expect some FEROCIOUS BARBS in the future. SWARD THRUSTS! LONG RANGE MISSILES! etc.)