Mike Arellano and Iain Oldman
Photograph by Andrea Bianchi
WORST WEEK EVER - MARCH 2014 March is a rather morose month, wouldn’t you say? It’s dangers are present throughout history, from the perils of “the Ides of March” to even more modern events, such as the meltdown at Three Mile Island (see: cover) and the annual, seemingly spontaneous athletic related mental illness, designated “March Madness”.
Photograph by Paul Somers
Let us guide you into this awful month with our celebration of the local arts, because you could use a break from the monochrome winter hell you’ve been stuck in, and let’s face it, February wasn’t too great unless you caught all the discount heart-shaped chocolate bargains. March won’t fare much better, but at least you can find comfort in the fact that it doesn’t get much worse than this. This is the Worst Week Ever.
WORST WEEK EVER
“Silhouettes of the Subconscious”
The Irony My short story with you turned into a novel; a veritable catalog of unsaid words, and misinterpreted phrases, forcing us to read between the lines. I flip back in an attempt to find the meaning -And realize I have lost the truth. I expected to be unsure in the beginning with unfamiliar characters, and unpredictable events. But tell me what to do now that Iâ€™ve reached the end and donâ€™t know where to turn. -Jessica Hazelwood
Photograph by Andrea Bianchi
“The Other Side”
The idea is to choose a random existing holiday each month. Iâ€™ll do a call for interest, then document the activity celebrating the holiday to share it with the world (as far as I can reach). --Brandy Somers
When Lucina opened her kitchen door to greet us with a warm hug and a smile, a sense of comfort came over me. She was wearing a pink pearl-button apron that made her feel like family. My grandmother (Nanny) had variations of this apron for every day of the week. And just like Lucina, she wore it as a uniform of sorts for her day-to-day living.
As I stepped into the kitchen a wave of bakery-esque sweetness smacked me in the face: freshly made cinnamon biscuits. Aw lawdy. Just hanginâ€™ out in that blue bowl on the table like it was their job.
I was immediately drawn to this unintentional still-life basking in the natural light. I swear though, in the half a moment it took me to press my shutter button, Lucina was elbow deep in a bowl of Maseca, flour and water. Full post, available in English and Spanish, here: Lucinaâ€™s Tortillas
Local Exhibits On display this month First Friday - March 7, 2014 *5:30 | St. Stephen’s Church | St. Stephen’s Singers Music Program *5pm-8pm | Spitzer Art Center | Sculptor Eric Kniss *5pm-8pm | Arts Council’s Darrin McHone Gallery | Lalla Essaydi: Contemporary Photography and Visions of Arab Identity *5pm-8pm | Wilson Downtown Gallery | Ragan McManus *5pm-7pm | Asbury UMC | Watercolor Artist Charles Raisner *6pm-9pm | Blue Nile upstairs | New Work by Lynda Bostrom *7pm-9pm | Blue Nile downstairs | Artist Teale Davies *5pm-8pm | Larkin Arts | Dancer/Performance Artist Amanda Hunt (PG-13ish) *5pm-7pm | Ruby’s Lounge at Clementine | Artist Sarah Gallahan *5pm-8pm | The Artful Dodger | Kappa Pi *5pm-8pm | Oasis | Potter Rudy Tucker
Photograph by Paul Somers
EVENTS YOU CAN’T MISS
Tuesday, March 11 9 PM @ Blue Nile Lurid Pictures Presents: A fundraiser for Repeater - a short film Bib-bi, Crab Action, Uncle Bengine With art auctions featuring works from Elliott Downs, Lynda Bostrom, and “Trip” Madison III The super talented folks at Lurid Pictures put together one hell of a show to drum up fundraising efforts for their upcoming short film project “Repeater”. We love the diversity of the sounds here: Crab Action, Uncle Bengine and Bib-bi (!) offer a little bit of something for everyone, and trust us, they all kill it, every time. The salacious allure of two dollar bourbon and beer really drives this one home, too, doesn’t it?
Friday, March 14 5-8 PM @ Larkin Arts Elliott Downs new gallery opening We’ve always enjoyed Elliott’s work (because how could anyone with a decent set of eyes or a functioning sense of humor not?) and now we’re super excited to see what he has worked up this time. Always refreshing, never dull or predictable, Elliott Downs’ galleries have quickly become a “can’t miss” event in Harrisonburg.
Tuesday, March 25 through Saturday, March 29 @ Court Square Theater Reel Change Film Festival Man, is Court Square Theater killing it this month or what? First, they are showing two documentaries we’re really excited to see: Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World (March 18 @ 7 PM) and The City Dark (March 24 @ 7 PM). Then, they went ahead and anchored the month with the third annual Reel Change Film Festival, featuring Watermark, William and the Windmill, and OMG GMO. Oh, and they’re showing the Academy Award-nominated The Act of Killing AND The Punk Singer, a documentary about prolific and celebrated punk pioneer Kathleen Hanna. Did we forget to mention that this is all FREE?! We simply can’t wait.
Friday, March 28 9 PM @ Blue Nile Waxahatchee + Radiator Hospital + Dead Professional We here at Worst Week Ever are still reeling from missing Waxahatchee last year at Macrock. Thankfully, Katie Crutchfield is making a new appearance at the Blue Nile, and we couldn’t be happier! Flanked by the talented Radiator Hospital and Dead Professional, this show will be the perfect primer for this years Macrock festival (don’t forget to buy your tickets). Don’t miss it!
Opening Day of Baseball Itâ€™s here, folks. As youâ€™re reading this, groundskeepers across America are trimming the outfields in every ballpark, weaving patterns and meticulously measuring the length of seemingly every blade of grass. Chalk is getting ground into a fine powder and postulated in perfectly symmetrical, measured lines. The smell of pine tar is fresh, the dreams of millions of fans are getting renewed, and hot dog cannons are getting loaded. Baseball is back, America, and is there anything more glorious than that? (Go Phils!)
Photograph by Paul Somers
“A Chance of Rain”
Photograph Jeremiah Morris
POETRY AND SHORT STORIES
Eye Paul Somers I have one eye thatâ€™s dry all the time and another that cries a million little eyes and each dripping a single tear like five million fingertips drip blood before wiping eyes and making sea water cresting with gulls flying over head and diving into schools of fish turning all at once with a feeling along their sides that doesnâ€™t know loneliness in life and wonâ€™t feel death when it comes.
Photograph by Andrea Bianchi
Journey of Indecision Naomi Scoville The problem with poetry is this: Once it’s written, you can kiss forgetting goodbye. I wrote him a poem once. Wasted breath, ink, paper, time, brain cells and (if you get right down to it) myself. Wasted potential. All could have been used to write the piece that will win me One thousand dollars and a plane ticket to Switzerland, or even just five bucks and a coupon to McDonald’sBuy One, Get One Free Big Macs. Instead, I lowered myself into the eternal abyss of suffering and “Why the fuck did I do that?”
Where many a poet has lingered, sipping hot tea and eating scones as every man and woman of word do in all reputable movies, scrawling elegant rhymes with feather pens, using five syllable words and ancient Latin, mysterious behind black berets and shabby plaid coats. Fuck That Shit. I hate tea and I don’t even know what’s in a scone, but I Love Words. The power of words. The ebb and flow of a scathingly beautiful sentence that can invoke tears, laughter, hatred, love, empathy, sorrow before the reader knows what’s happening. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, sharper than the gun you use to draw on people’s skin, cutting through their epidermis. Poetry exposes me in a way that drugs, booze, sex, and love never do. I am naked, cloaked with nothing but my own raw emotions, complete terror, and the unfailing knowledge that you can reject me.
I am NAKED, in a way that can’t be covered by bedsheets stained by a hundred other encounters you’ve had with dozens of different girls, passed into shadows and absent from view by the lack of light in your room. Vulnerable. Infinitely more than when I am lying flat on my back waiting, begging you to enter me, to find me worthy of your presence; when I am crushed beneath the fullness of your weight, struggling for breath, praying for it to end. Poetry is the grand revealing, the ultimate in truthsglaring white lights and a magnifying glass held above my flesh, a thousand photos of every single blemish on my body displayed for all to see. Yet again you have successfully exploited memade me believe for a second that you were worthy of my breath, ink, paper, time, brain cells, Poetry. And maybe, in some way you are—for now you have two.
Photograph by Andrea Bianchi
for Seamus Heaney Paul Somers
1. The earth is still soft and traces my feet in these woods. Tree bark is shrinking in tiny increments like a nearsilent ticking clock. The wind pushing past branches bent in the dense airâ€™s friction and tug; it is the whispers of winter and its regional heartache.
2. The wood of my memory checks A bead of sap is released Like a memory glistening and reflective of a time I still know; part of me stuck like a bug in that treeâ€™s blood; eyes frozen in their gaze of this light bending on the surface of a tiny golden bead of a past never ceasing. Oh emergence of former feelings I naively thought were gone stick inside of me and come out from the holes and cracks Iâ€™m slowly making when I think of everything that is gone or leaving.
Photograph by Ben Fraits
Check out Michael Trocchiaâ€™s The Fatherlands, released last month by Monkey Puzzle Press.
In Care of Others By Michael Trocchia
There was a structure inside the head of a man that looked like an apparition. The best of minds came from all over to study it and offer their expertise. The first understood it to be a phantom mind, one that nobody knew he lost, the man included. The second explained that the mind is itself a delusion, a matter of words at most, and that the trip to see this man had been a costly affair, and that that fact should weigh heavily on the shoulders of those who sent for him, and most heavily on the man. The third was out-of-practice and fearful and thus found another to look into the manâ€™s head.
This other made headway where others hadn’t. This other put together a team and assigned each member a specific area of the man’s head. The team worked all hours of the night. One would relieve the other while the others cooked the meals, chopped the firewood, and played games. This went on indefinitely and it proved successful for some lesser stretch of time. The man they studied, however, grew impatient. His restlessness was, of course, a symptom of the apparition in his head, so the best and worst of them argued. Thus, all proceeded as usual, with a slightly higher degree of discomfort and compromise where there once had been a negligible amount. There was time still for one other great mind to examine the man’s head. His was a mind brilliant to many and many knew he would solve the thing with a grace and intelligence known only in ancient times. He would have been there sooner, only his home in the plains had been lost in a fire along with his wife. He made no mention of these events; for before he arrived, he took himself aside and recalled careful promises he made, oaths he had sworn. “Look here,” he called out to the onlookers. “We have ourselves an anomaly, no question! But a mystery, I cannot say!” Then a boy shoved his way to the front of the onlookers. “That man is a fraud!” he shouted. “A fraud, I say!” The onlookers looked at him. There was a moment of perfect confusion. Who, after all, was a fraud? The man with the apparition in his head or
the man with the mind to explain it? The boy was pushed back, silenced, and given an indefinite time in exile for his insolence. Years went by, and the boy, night after night, pictured his return home. He was now a young man, who, owing to his weak physique, required the accompaniment of a nurse. She had heard of the accusation he made that one day, when he was just a boy and they an assembly. And she, like they, had not understood what he meant, nor asked him to speak of it, for she herself had made careful promises and took special care to keep them.
The Fatherlands is a series of short fictions and prose poems on the nature of fate and family, on time, estrangement, and the inscrutable. Excerpts have appeared in Tarpaulin Sky and Prick of the Spindle. Copies available from the publisher here or at local independent bookstores.
Trocchia will be reading selections from The Fatherlands at Black Swan Books & Music in Staunton - March 16, 2pm.
“For Those That Fly, and Those Who Never Flew”
Triumph of an Insertionist By Michael Trocchia
I tried to go and be great among them. I shoveled stones into an open question and from my hand the spade flew into a crowd of constant mourners. I cut my ambitions against the teeth of seven lovers. I interrupted the world at every step and was pardoned in the thick light of a landscape painted and left for thieves. I had the exquisite faith of circus men and made the drawings of diseased children appear masterful. I stood dapper outside a bank and waited for my love of money to take hold. In my adolescence I collected coins from forgotten peoples as they collected dust on the borders of war-torn territories. I avoided the evolution of machinery and made do with trickery and a cliffâ€™s edge. The heights whistled above me and I followed like a boy led by his own charm. The view had a chilling effect as I shifted from one facial expression to another.
I wore a coat of threadbare quotes on my way down from the highlands. I returned to town on a day not unlike Sunday and wept with an only child behind the stairwell. I swept the front stoop clean and delivered kind words to the postman. And when he and others turned a corner, I’d lose sight of my sight and the world would again angle low at my feet. In silk I sewed together the letters of my family’s name and, on a post high between huddles of athletes and con-men in decline, I hung the unpronounceable result like a thin black tie halving the broad chest of a balding rhetorician. In the late hours of a shared day I undressed someone’s wife as if unpinning night from its numberless stars. And under the starts of sun beyond a quiet pasture, I hummed along a country road and the wool of its black sheep lined the interiors of some lucid man’s dream. There was then a simple time when I found myself in a moving train—whipping across the white and icy hips of some northern prairie—observing the flakes of cracked faces pressed against the inhuman speed of things past. I placed my hand in the hands of so many seated strangers, as if some token of a new brotherhood might pass between us, and then I arrived securely somewhere like a man enclosed in his own sending.
I cleared out the cityâ€™s square with a deep and rotten laughter, borrowed from the tangled ancestries buried beneath it. And what remained but the spilling-over of fountains and a chipped house of worship, its door carried off like a shield lost to legend. Inside there was nothing of miracles, nothing of nails driven cleanly, nothing of honest looks beyond the stained-glass and candlelight. Beset by a cool helplessness and its echo, I wrapped the loose ends of a forgotten cause around my knuckles and knelt with what little humility I had left. A suppressed cry and a sound thought became a single thing in my mind. And as I rose I saw a figure outstretched in the first pew. I would know him only as an inserted man, chin buried in his chest and drooling noiselessly in his sleep.
Artwork by Greg Sultan
Saturnalia By Chad Gusler I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. —from Song of Myself, Walt Whitman Well I must say that I’m surprised to see you, but since you’re here, let me show you around. So these are the burgundy walls, the ones I told you about. The shades are a bit tattered, but they still manage to block most of the light and keep my room pleasurably dark. The prints up there on the cork strip were ripped from an art book from the library. Matisse, Mitchell, and Miro—they’re my very own paintings. I suppose I should remove that old fly strip tacked into the ceiling above the sink—not too appetizing!—but it’s the microphone I sing into when I wash my mugs. Would you like a seat? Let me just move this stack of books. And don’t let that Jesus get to you. He’s there on my desk behind my dictionary. See him? He’s perpetually dying, but when I adjust his crucifix he often takes a moment to motion at a pencil, and then I have to mark sentences and send them off to Google for interpretation. All the while Matisse’s blue nude watches me. I sometimes see her blink.
Do you know what my girlfriend told me before she left? That I have seasonal affective disorder. I know, I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I told her that I wasn’t sad, just thoughtful, but she told me to go to hell. I looked at Jesus and he smiled. Trickling water, tinkling ice, tricky light— embrace it all and say you’ll die for it! Speaking of which, yesterday a dying icicle dropped into the snow outside my window. I peeked through my shades, shook the ice in my glass, and watched the thing melt. My gin really needed some lime. These are the most voluptuous of numbers: 564-0553. Let me write them down. Don’t you agree? Fat, full, and sexy? All except the emaciated four, the four of the vinegared Christ. Three fives, one six, and a zero—they’re pregnant with intention. But the three...what is it? Half an eight? Or, if hinged, half a zero, the top portion slamming into the bottom, forming a perfect 0? Holly and mistletoe are a zero-sum game for winter mammals, but I punched in the phone number anyhow and was trembling before she even answered. That shellacked mobile was the one I was using when Sexy Numbers accused me of being arrogant. I hung it on my wall to remind me of our relationship, but I could say that I hung it on my relationship to remind me of our wall. I told her that I wasn’t arrogant, just self-assured. Sexy Numbers didn’t talk to me for a few days after that.
These here are the mirrors I collect. Lenses. Telescopes. Microscopes. Think about it: we have contraptions that capture light or spread it. I know a woman, a photographer and actual user of film, who plays with her aperture to keep light out or welcome it in. She clicks like a demon. I don’t have a camera, but whenever I use my mirror my reflection scatters like Paxil on a dispensary floor. I disperse. She gathers. I am set adrift. She’s an anchorite. I dine alone. She brings Light as her dinner guest. Her workroom is dark because light ruins her prints. You should see her: the dark presses against her body, but she feels its textures and moves gracefully through it, a lithesome dance done in homage to Light. She’s happy, and don’t you think it’s funny how she prefers the dark yet her favorite medium is light? Traitor. Now here is where I lay out my logic. See the knife and
see my arms? See the evergreens and see their scars? Smoke snuffs the flame and sticks to my jeans. Logic has a funny way of turning lies into truths and truths into lies and half-truths into metaphors, so let me ask you this: how far does an icicle have to drop before it pierces a man’s skull and kills him? Listen—can you hear it? Spring is whispering, taunting, “Unicorn, unicorn.” That is the old Mac where I talk to Sexy Numbers. I think she knows that she’s got sexy numbers. I mean, wouldn’t you if you had numbers like that? Hold on a sec. I’ll ask her out for coffee—she’s always online. Wait. Now she’s all LOL! Look! OK, let me tell her it’s just coffee, what’s the big deal? Ha! Now she wants to know why I’m scared of the phone. Can you believe it? I’ll tell her they’re just numbers. This is a photograph of Jane, my photographer friend. She tells me she is the nexus between light and meaning—it’s her mantra—and that we hold snapshots like candles to scare away the dark. I think she’s cruel because she has to capture light to set it free. Solstice candles flicker then disappear, but her photos burn hot. She photographs rotted gates. This one is a typical example. She gave this to me a few months ago. Here, you can hold it, but careful, the frame is sharp. Look— you can barely see the fence post that the gate swings on,
and see how the meadow fades into a dark forest at the gate? It’s so striking. Funny that the purpose of a gate is to differentiate space yet make it accessible. Janus. Two-faced god of gates. Now, I keep this pink crayon to remind me of the color of the sky the evening I rode with Jane to a photo shoot. It was cold that evening, and the clouds reflected the settling sun’s light. The water nearest the bank was frozen, but in the middle of the stream the ice had collapsed and the black water flowed freely. I crawled back into the car to watch her work. Later I asked her why bridges, and she said it’s because they cross something, like a gate I said, and she said sort of, only more so. Icy bridges. Headlights occasionally flashed in my face. White winters and green dragonflies: all is brittle and crumbly. Here are the nails to Sexy Numbers’ hammer. They’re a bit rusty, but still potent. She holds a university record in the hammer throw. She also told me that her deltoids are huge. I’ve never seen her live, mind you, so I can’t verify the deltoidic information, but I Googled her and it’s true, she does hold a record. Shall we call her Thor?
This is the film canister I keep to remind me of Jane’s darkroom. I store quarters in it, five dollar’s worth, enough for coffee and an onion bagel with cream cheese. And this framed Band-Aid was the one I used when Jane bloodied my mouth. We were in her dark studio, playing at being potential pictures. After my eyes adjusted I watched her move through the red light, performing her liturgy. How can we be so full of light when it’s so black? She believes she has succeeded in this. I wanted to touch her, wanted to slip inside her skin, spend some time there. Do you understand? She was so beautiful! I wanted to feel light. Her waist gave a little when I pulled her close. Her stomach was soft, her breath shallow. And then she hit me, an angular punch from a soft blurry woman. She blamed me for ruining her bridges. Here are my blue wool socks. Go ahead, lift my pant leg. Do you like them? There’s a red stripe around my calf. These socks remind me that I am not naked, nor am I adrift. They don’t stink at all—smell the Tide?—because I just washed them. Do you hear that water dripping? No? It’s not from the washer, nor is it from my sink. I’d shut it off immediately if I could only find its source.
Rocktown Poetry Circle
Photography by Danielle Campbell The Rocktown Poetry Circle celebrated its first ever Poetry Nite meeting on February 19th at Harrisonburgâ€™s Greenberrys Coffee. Coordinators, and local poets, Angela M. Carter and Susan Facknitz were expecting 15 participants, and were happily surprised to fill Greenberrys nearly to its capacity. The first meeting involved readings from the coordinators and several (very talented) JMU students.
In addition, Worst Week Ever gave an introduction to their present to Harrisonburg--a monthly webzine dedicated to the arts. WWE gave a short walkthrough of the webzineâ€™s format, history and gave us an inside scoop into what type of poetry they are seeking. The evening ended, on a very high note, with five open mic performances. Rocktown Poery Circle is a Spitzer Art Center initiative, created to increase a welcoming environment for beginners and those that have written for a lifetime. We welcome anyone and everyone to join us, whether you are a short prose writer--or not even a writer at all...(yet)!
Each meeting will include a unique writing-themed feature, and open mic. Features may include readings, workshops, fun group exercises, bring-your-fav poem nite, games nights with poetryrelated prizes or just informal chats about what it really means to be a writer.
Meetings are every 3rd Wednesday of each month at Greenberrys. *Location may change for some meetings, so please subscribe to Rocktown Poetry Circle Facebook for updates
Details and form: Click Here
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