Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Underground lit goes musical at Star Bar

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 2:59 PM

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Tonight, the boundaries of combing music and literature are being pushed to the limit when Tom Cheshire (Rent Boys, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, West End Motel) plays ringleader for an evening of music and readings at Star Bar.

Sure, just months ago, Cheshire debuted his first collection of poetry Just a Little Piece of Heartburn at Young Blood Gallery, then directed the party to the Highland inn Ballroom for impromptu readings and music. But bringing literature to the Star Bar, that’s something altogether different.

“The Star Bar is just a great, real rock club,” offers Matt DeBenedictis, founder of Safety Third Enterprises, which released Heartburn. “It’s sloppy. Things should be messy. It felt like the perfect setting,” he adds.

For a traditional reading, the Star Bar and its often rowdy clientele wouldn’t seem like a natural fit. However, like many of the other literary groups booking events around town (Vouched Books, Solar Anus, HydeATL, etc.) Safety Third isn’t pushing proper readings. Instead DeBenedectis has organized a lowbrow shindig that doesn’t just allow room for chaos, but absolutely encourages it.

“There’s a time when you want to see someone read very eloquently, very silent,” DeBenedictis adds. “But what’s better than reading some prose and then someone yells something out and you’ve got to roll with it as much as a stand-up comedian does? You might have to change what you’re reading, you might have to change a sentence up, feel the room.”

DeBenedictis, a writer himself, has employed that tactic at his previous two readings, and will probably do the same when he reads at Vouched Books and HydeATL’s Jan. 6 Holiday Hangover event, a round two of sorts to be held at the Star Bar as well.

Rearranging sentences will probably be the least of tonight’s improvisations, though. There will be multiple guests not included in the original lineup. He couldn’t name them because he’s not privy to all of Cheshire’s plans.

“I heard talk today that Bill Taft (Smoke, Hubcap City) is bringing a trumpet, but anyone who knows Bill Taft knows that it’s going to be completely unpredictable,” he says.

And anyone who knows Tom Cheshire knows he’s prone to the same kind of thing, and if DeBenedictis and his counterparts keep it up, Atlanta’s underground lit scene will earn a similar reputation.

Tom Cheshire and Friends. Free. 9 p.m. Star Bar, 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018.

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