Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Literature as theatre

It seems someone in New York found a great idea of what to do with bad literature.

Performers -- comedians, authors, even drag queens -- get up in front of an audience and read selections from bad literature. "Since the series began in February, more than 40 books have been skewered. A $5 cover charge is imposed and, because of the subject matter, heavy drinking is encouraged."

Lit Lite is the brainchild of Kevin Malony and Grady Hendrix, both of whom stage productions for the Off Off Broadway theater company Tweed. Mr. Hendrix began the evening with a recitation from "Mission Compromised," Oliver North's military thriller.

"I am unfortunately one of those lonely sad people that reads a lot," said Mr. Hendrix in an interview, "and I've always been drawn to bad books." Asked why he prefers cringe-inducing texts to works from the literary canon Mr. Hendrix said, "Good literature is a little bit boring and precious." He pointed to Jonathan Franzen's "Corrections" and the works of David Foster Wallace to illustrate his point, saying he would rather curl up with "I Was a White Slave in Harlem," the autobiography of the drag queen Margo Howard-Howard.

It seems like someone could start a movement. Though I'm not sure I want to support anything that encourages bad writing.

Florent Morellet, owner of the popular meatpacking district diner Florent laughed through much of the show. "You know we could be doing this for centuries," he said, "There are so many bad books - it's an endless gold mine."

Though... it is nice to know the ones out there aren't going to waste...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mona. There used to be a contest to frame the worst opening line for a novel one could contrive. ("It was a dark and stormy night" was taking all the heat. Could anyone do worse?)
How I fought off the urge! I was tempted, but would not take the bait--not for fame, not for in-fame. But surely one could do worse, I mused. Surely I, yes I, would be up to that awesome task. Surely there is no ineptitude that could not be "done-one-better" upon. How about the following, then?
"It was a dorky stormy night. ..."

A fan.