ABRAHAM BURICKSON, ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE at Cornell’s Risley Hall, has been hosting local writers and musicians, as well as staging theatrical productions, in Risley’s Tammany Café, and tonight Burickson will host fiction writers David Nelson Pollock and Megan Coe at 7:30 p.m.
Pollock is a co-founding editor of and frequent contributor to the online and print journal Essays & Fictions, and his music and culture essays have appeared in The Ithaca Post since its inception last spring. Pollock often adopts the role of satirist in both fiction and nonfiction, and he has proved adept at blending the boundaries between the two when it suits him (no, he didn’t really get an interview with Kanye West last fall). In reappropriating widespread or marginal cultural trends and transforming them into biting farce, Pollock’s stories can veer into the realm of the fantastic, creating worlds in which John Steinbeck is an expressionist painter and governments create concentration camps to house the unproductive and morbidly depressed.
Things start out bad for his characters and just get worse: mediocre academics plunge into full blown alcoholism, dim-witted wage workers emerge as pedophiles, and dominant-submissive relationships morph into outright master-slave narratives. Though his worlds are so wildly imaginative as to border on fantasy, his characters are undoubtedly purged from the American underbelly: here are narrators who are helpless and detached witnesses to atrocity. Throughout, Pollock’s caustic humor and excruciating attention to craft provide ample reading pleasure, despite the discomfort of the subject matter.
His work has appeared in publications such as the Mississippi Review, LIT, and the Red Hen Press Anthology The Crucifix is Down. He is a graduate of the New School creative writing program and will be reading from his nearly completed novel, Self Abuse.
Joining him will be Megan Coe, whose favorite subjects to write about are the elderly and peculiar environments. She grew up in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. She worked at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and is currently an MFA student at Cornell University, where she teaches a class on the short story.
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DC-based heartthrobs Scythian are Ithaca favorites, and for good reason. Offering drinking songs and sing-a-longs they know how to whip a crowd into a frothy, sweaty party (9 p.m. Friday, at Castaways)
Social Media and Electro Diasporas, a panel on (post-)regional dance musics and their transformation through the internet (2:30 – 5:30 p.m. Saturday, in Tjaden Hall, Rm. 324, Cornell)
The Grady Girls, two sisters and their two cousins, play jigs, reels and other dance songs. Family ties are important to these women who have traveled far and wide (Cork, Limerick, Spain and beyond) to study and perform the traditional music of Ireland, music that has been an integral part of their lives since day one. With fiddles, flute and bodhran, the group will perform a benefit concert supporting efforts to stop the done attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan (6 p.m. Sunday, at Delilah’s on Cayuga).
With mustaches and laser beams, That 1 Guy sounds more like a Dr. Suess story than a rock act, but Mike Silverman, will entertain and entrance you. Like a mad scientist at work, Silverman turns practically everything but the kitchen sink into a musical instrument. His show last year was one of the most impressive to come to town. (9 p.m. Wednesday, at Castaways).