THE RUMPUS: a celebration of written correspondence

Mon Jun 4 12- Stephen Elliott + Isaac Fitzgerald hosted a special Rumpus to celebrate Letters in the Mail: A Celebration of Written Correspondence, featuring readings by Lorelei Lee, MariNaomi, Ariana Reines, D.A. Powell and a performance by The Rumpus Ensemble Players, music by David Berkeley and comedy by Nato Green.

Typewriters were set up in the Verdi Club, where The Rumpus now throws its SF parties, for guests to type letters to be included in Letters to Each Other (subscribers to Letters in the Mail send one in with a SASE and receive a handful of letters from other members. Follow that last link for Karen Duffin‘s thoughts – and statistics – from sorting through the first batch).

This was the first Rumpus since they stopped doing monthly shows, and it sort of felt like home had come home. Anne asked me if it made me miss the monthlies, but it didn’t, actually; I feel like it’s a really cool thing they don’t need to do the shows every month and it made it feel more special to me.

The readings were all excellent, but it was wonderful to see Lorelei read her letter because it was the first one I received in the mail and was already intimate; her reading was lovely and heartfelt and reinforced the personal nature of this project. I also thoroughly enjoyed Doug Powell’s rare “attempt at” prose (and the sensation of hearing a letter that had not yet been sent); MariNaomi read her letter, which featured some of her stunning comics (which you can see in the video) and Nato Green was smart and funny as ever. David Berkeley’s closing the night with Wilco’s Boxful of Letters was really rad for me, as I love that whole album. Oh, and you have to see the Ensemble Players!

The next Rumpus will be on July 27th to celebrate the release of Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of the Dear Sugar column she writes for The Rumpus (including some that are previously unpublished). The cost of the show is only $15, which includes the book! With readings by Elissa Bassist and Yuvi Zalkow, and music by Baby and the Luvies.

Photos by Debora Walker.