THE RUMPUS: pop culture steals you

(Evan Karp)

Don’t take it for granted. The Rumpus loves you from the start. It’s not just a theme. Monday, August 8 11 was an average event. Good poetry, good sex (scene), stand-up stand-up, excellent journalism, (intentional) bad poetry, angry letters to the editor, humorous letters back from the editor, a steampunk cellist… a sex raffle the bartenders kept winning and a roomful of beautiful, spoiled brats.

“This is the second month in a row attendance has been a bit low,” Isaac said to me at intermission. “What do you think: is it because it’s August? Because Steve‘s not here?” August is always slack. City Lights doesn’t schedule events at all, and neither does City Arts and Lectures. We all miss Stephen. And while I think both of these are factors, I suspect it’s something else that has the room only mostly full: we are so rich, so loved from the start by so many people that we think we can get our lovefix anywhere, any time.

We’re right. Until we take our admirers for granted too many times. It’s like this: from an editorial point of view, there are new events to cover every month. We do our best to cover them as soon as we can. Generally, we welcome new forums for creative expression. We do resist the general degeneration in which the majority of our nation (and the world, honestly) is engaged, after all. We have principles, damnit. Occasionally we miss one of the stalwarts. Hell, it’s been too long since we covered Writers With Drinks—almost always mind-melting.

This past Wednesday night, a local underground hero and future poet laureate of San Francisco Charlie Getter released his first official book, The Garrulous Progress: Selected Poems from 2004-2010. Naturally, we all got together at Viracocha and read some of Charlie’s poems and some of our own. Some said a few words. Our friend and Litseen staff writer Charles Kruger said the following:

Two years ago I came into this community, kind of lost, and a friend said to me, Well, let’s go to a book-making party. It was about 10 o’clock at night. We went into downtown San Francisco, in an alley, upstairs to this house; there were about 30 kids there, and this drunk guy, and a dog, and they were sitting around putting together a book of poems from 16th and Mission, and the drunk guy kept rushing up to people and saying “You read this! You read this aloud. You: read a poem. You: read a poem. And I thought: Who is this guy?

And it was like watching this mad gardener watering people. And every time he went by we would just sprout a little.

I’ll have more to say about that event soon, don’t worry (I’m still tearing up when I think about it), but for now my point is that I’m not sure exactly what the role of this website is. I know that just calling a spade a spade is sometimes not good enough. I know what I would like it to be.

Artist, Neighborhood Hero, Rumpus Comics Editor Paul Madonna published the second collection of his All Over Coffee series a few months ago. After 8 years of publishing the strip in the SF Chronicle, Paul has decided to collaborate with other writers to encourage the project to go off in different directions. Below is his most recent collaboration, with Rumpus managing editor Isaac Fitzgerald:

We react and act and only then do we realize where we stand. Then we react.

The night’s first reader was a poet from LA. He said, “It’s deeply humbling to come to San Francisco to read poetry. I feel a little bit like I’ve gone to South America and brought my own cocaine. From, like, Pasadena. Like going to Greece with my own statues.”

Don’t abuse cocaine just because the coca grows here, ok? If you were truly hungry you could watch any one of the videos below — or appended to any post in this site — and write a personal manifesto that could guide you for the rest of your life.


Brendan Constantine

Melissa Febos

Nato Green

Steve Fainaru

Steve Almond