WRITERS WITH DRINKS: utopia (thomas more would be proud)

Sat Feb 19 11, Makeout Room

(Maureen Blennerhassett)

What with some great human injustices persisting in the news today, the last word I would use to describe our society is utopia.

Given the disparate handpicked talent representing each corner of the writing world that come together each month for Writers With Drinks, the last thing I would do in trying to write this article is attempt to link them together with a theme.

Well, patient readers, I propose a glimpse into utopia via the words of a bunch of writers with drinks. Think Greek isle, silver lamé, ouzos, seahorses, legalized pot, wholesome food, employee-owned businesses, and for some … a rotund lover riding you from above.

A utopia in which the Center for Sex and Culture would be fully funded and able to provide judgment-free, factual information across the sexual spectrum.

MC/ringleader/vamp/improvisational mastermind Charlie Jane Anders is working for it. Each month she chooses a non-profit to receive all the proceeds from the wildly popular variety show. This month (and the next three): the Center for Sex and Culture. To better understand the charisma that is Charlie, check out this video:

Each performer last Saturday illustrated scenarios of bliss. Well, except Alex Koll, who was absolutely hilarious in his self-deprecating comedy. Seriously, I thought I’d heard every fat kid/Jewish joke in the book, but he had the room in stitches.

Ernest Callenbach read from Ecotopia, his novel of a sustainable utopian society published in 1975. To preface the excerpt: the narrator is a corrupt journalist from New York who boards a high speed train bound for San Francisco and sees his first glance of ecotopian society. After reading portions of the novel, he engages the audience to evaluate how we are doing on our march to ecotopia in present day. Impressively, most concepts he predicted in 1975 have materialized today. Check it out.

Reading “Jackpot” (from her book Baby Geisha), Trinie Dalton took us to a honeymoon in the Greek Isles. She sets the scene, describing yachts coasting in and out of a private beach inlet and people wearing clothing that implied nudity.

Some standout quotes:

“’I was into boobs,’ I said, ‘because I like how the word in singular is a palindrome.’”

“I consider my best friend a sister, which means I don’t always like her … how would I know what to fix if she didn’t go everywhere with me and point out all my flaws?”

“Treading water, I knew I’d be a good wife if I could be half as brave as my girlfriend, who has stuck a wider variety of objects up her crotch.”

Jason Morris (Spirits and Anchors) was introduced by Charlie as being a “god among poets,” and “published in more than one universe.” During the sequence of poems he read, Morris quips, “If it’s not hard, you’re not doing it correctly.”

Anders’s self confessed hero, Hanne Blank, first provided the instructions for a big girl to experience utopia by getting over it and getting on top, straight from the handbook Big Big Love II.

“Ask yourself, if having a hot, fat lady getting on top during sex is even in your fevered imagination any more likely to be the cause of grievous bodily harm than jumping off a mother fucking bridge with a rubber band tied to your ankles?”

Then Blank describes orgasmic heaven in “The Man in the White Shirt,”

“…a scent like bourbon and rosewater rises from her flushed skin…”

“Satiny bra cups rasp on rough knuckles as he works his way up the outside curves.”

I confess, utopian ideals are still too lofty for our modern age. However, to quote Charlie Anders, “A lot of our problems are needing to do with people needing to have a fucking orgasm … Sexual awareness is a form of healthcare. Maybe if the people who’re trying to take away our basic amenities would have a fucking orgasm, they would have more respect for humanity.”