LitHop PDX is Portland's own literary pub crawl, putting a local spin on the national LitCrawl model. The series debuted at last year's Wordstock; it was a "qualified success," I wrote at the time, featuring tons of great performers and a few logistical issues that came with trying to cram readings into places readings don't usually go.
This time around, LitHop has moved to to a new quadrant: The entirely free event runs from 7-10 pm tomorrow (Thurs June 12) on NE Alberta, with an afterparty at Radio Room. The night promises 54 authors at six locations, each location curated by a different literary organization or publisher. (There are even a couple of all-ages venues; hooray for that.)
I've picked out two or three readers at each location to spotlight here, but there are tons of worthy people who aren't on this list. For a complete lineup of participating authors, check out the website. Or just get drunk and wander the streets; I think that might be the idea.
Branch Whiskey & Bella Faccia Back Patio (2934 NE Alberta)
The Seattle-based small press brings down a crop of out-of-towners. I'm not familiar with most of them, but I'll warrant they're all worth your time, because... Seattle's literary scene is better than ours, guys. We've got 'em beat on comedy and comic books, but for bookstores, readings, and highly engaged audiences? They win.
8 pm: Tara Atkinson is co-founder of Seattle's terrific sounding APRIL (Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature) lit festival—in our sister paper The Stranger, Paul Constant makes a strong argument for hitting I-5 next time the fest rolls around.
8:30 pm: Stacey Levine won the 2009 Stranger Genius Award for literature; once again we turn to Paul Constant, who observed that her sentences "sound like something new, the alien cadences of someone who doesn't accept the received wisdom of how language is supposed to sound."
9:30 pm: Zhang Er is a poet and a professor at the Evergreen State College (where my geoducks at).
Bunk Bar & Via Chicago's back patio, 2017 NE Alberta (all ages)
Eraserhead Press specializes in "bizarro fiction"; this stage is where they put all the weirdos.
7 pm: Mykle Hansen is celebrating the release of his new book I, Slutbot, a pulpy novel about a robotic porn star presiding over the ruins of Las Vegas; it's narrated by her loyal typewriter.
9:30 pm: Jeff Burk's book Shatnerquake was described by Erik Henriksen in these very pages as "surreal and weird and funny, and it's also super violent, in the same food-coloring-plus-corn-syrup-equals-fake-blood sort of way as Evil Dead 2 or Bad Taste."
Cruzroom, 2338 NE Alberta (outside patio)
Hawthorne Books is a top-notch literary publisher; it's really no shock that they've put together an enticingly flashy lineup that even includes one of my personal literary heroes.
7 pm: Tom Spanbauer, aforementioned hero, presumably reading from his latest novel I Loved You More.
9 pm: Jay Ponteri recently picked up an Oregon Book Award for Wedlocked, his memoir about being infatuated with a woman who wasn't his wife.
Independent Publishing Resource Center
Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books, 2916 NE Alberta (all ages)
First off, I love that the IPRC's booked in an all-ages venue. Second, this lineup is absolutely aces.
7 pm: Zach Auburn was outed on LitHop's Facebook page as the pseudonymous author of the absolutely excellent self-published memoir Love Is Not Constantly Wondering if You're Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, so I guess it's okay for me to repeat that info here. Team Mercury are big, big fans of Zach's work.
8:30 pm: Michael Heald is the publisher of Perfect Day Publishing and a terrific writer in his own right; he's also very good at reading out loud.
9:30 pm: Emily Kendal Frey is one of Portland's most popular poets; a friend of mine spotted her at brunch the other day and got really excited but didn't say hello, which I believe is the urban dictionary definition of "Portland Famous."
The Knock Back Bar, 2315 NE Alberta
Unchaste Readers is a local series dedicated to showcasing women writers. All broads on this bill, including a couple out-of-towners.
9:30 pm: New York-based Paula Bomer is the author of the well-received story collection Inside Madeleine and the novel Nine Months; a recent profile in Adult described her writing as "dark and sometimes gruesome in its description of the exhausting task of being alive."
Anna Bannana's, 2403 NE Alberta (all ages)
I'm mostly unfamiliar with the writers in Publication Studio's lineup, which is actually pretty great: If an even t like this doesn't expose you to new writers, it's doing something wrong.
7 pm: Michael Harper edits the poetry journal Lexicon Polaroid, which we covered here. Readers include
8:15 pm: Rob Schlegel is an award-winning poet who's been published in fancy places like Boston Review, The Iowa Review, andNew American Writing.