June 22, 2004

All Hands On

Edited by Todd Dills
When the Messenger is Hot
Elizabeth Crane

Vox Populi -- Another Printers Row Book Fair has come and gone, and we're all a little better because of it. My clearest impressions from this year's two-day festival include: the big blue-and-white Chicago Tribune tents, which added a pervasive air of suburbanized money to the proceedings; heavy-hitter writers (thanks to some of that suburbanized money, of course) like Jim Harrison, who leaned into the microphone in the echoing Winter Garden atop the Harold Washington Library and growled about God and sacrifice and open spaces and just where a guy could get a good steak in this town (Gibson's, he suggests); the young woman passing out inside and the young man passing out outside of the tent on Dearborn during Chuck Palahniuk's reading, and the river of fans who twisted around-the-corner and down-the-block for Palahniuk's autograph afterward; local poetry czar C.J. Laity posted at his table (or was he tabled at his post?); the Newtown Writers offering their own poems in a nearby tent; the peace and quiet of a creaky floored bookstore like Sandmeyer's; and the jousting, joyful freshness of the indie readings. I ducked into the first floor of Grace Place to catch Todd Dills and Elizabeth Crane reading from All Hands On and When the Messenger is Hot. I left considering a half-dozen different experiments I could and should try to push my own writing.


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