The Monthly Rumpus: Last call at the Make-Out Room

The Monthly Rumpus: Last call at the Make-Out Room

The Monthly Rumpus, an offshoot of the San Francisco literary culture website, recently hosted its final party at the Make-Out Room after three years at the location. Stephen Elliott began the site as a way to spread the word about his 2009 memoir, “The Adderall Diaries”; the Monthly Rumpus, which featured readings and other performances, had long been the site’s primary source of income. However, this is no longer the case.

When the site was still in beta, Elliott began sending a daily e-mail to subscribers with links to some of the site’s featured articles. Known as the Daily Rumpus, this e-mail fast became what he calls “an overly personal” arena for free-ranging meditations on everything from the process of creation to current trends in publishing to, more recently, his foray into the film industry. (Elliott has just directed his first film, “Cherry,” and an adaptation of “The Adderall Diaries,” starring James Franco, is under way.)

The Rumpus’ latest feature is Letters in the Mail, for which authors such as Dave Eggers, Tao Lin and Nick Flynn write letters that are sent to subscribers on a near-weekly basis. Subscriptions ($5 per month) include letters often written by hand and photocopied; some, like the recent one by Matthew Zapruder, include original artwork (in Zapruder’s case, a poem) and, even, a return address. The Rumpus will now produce a quarterly event at the Verdi Club, beginning June 4, to accommodate both a growing audience and its burgeoning projects. For more information, go to
As part of a series at the Berkeley Art Museum called Re@ds, curated by David Brazil and Suzanne Stein, poet Brian Ang will present his work in relation to the music of Anthony Braxton. In an introduction to his work in the latest issue of the poetry journal Armed Cell, Ang writes of his current project, “Totality Cantos”: “The poem’s relentless paradoxes invoke contradictory positions to destroy their partialities and construct the context of totality. … The poem and totality are mutually enriching and insubordinate.” “Totality Cantos” deals with the synchronous aspects of modern knowledge in lines constrained to 10 or fewer words and reads like significant and urgent detritus. (5:30 p.m. Friday. $7, includes admission to the evening’s L@te program. Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way.)
Bang Out, the bimonthly submission-based reading series founded in 2008 by Amick Boone and Kevin Hobson, will have a show this week with the theme “Mix Tape.”

“We select the theme by thinking about what would make us want to write ourselves,” Boone says. “Sometimes the themes are inspired by what’s going on in the world, and sometimes they’re just prompts we think will generate work we want to read.”

Often, the selected work varies wildly. “We’re always interested in seeing how writers interpret our prompts, and we actually prefer to be surprised,” Hobson says. “We encourage any and all interpretations of the theme, and we tend to lean toward the more creative ones.”


Bang Out  encouraged musical submissions for this show: Performers will include Sarah Fran Wisby, Tiffany Higgins and Ariel Fintushel. After this show, Bang Out will take place at the Make-Out Room, beginning May 19; submissions are now open. (7 p.m. Friday. Free. Amnesia, 853 Valencia St. S.F.)

This article originally appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Photo by Michael Macor, The Chronicle