Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #8
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Introduction by William P. Tandy
DOWN AND OUT by William P. Tandy
KNOW-NOTHING PARTY by Davida Breier
GETTING CRABBY by Dan Taylor
CURTIS McCARTHY by Harris Bud George
CHARACTERS: Skinny Strippers Topic by Matt Crocamo
THE FORMSTONE JUNGLE by William P. Tandy
THE MUSIC YOU DONT HEAR by William P. Tandy
LETTER No. 1 by William P. Tandy
THE FLEA by Harris Bud George
LETTER No. 2 by William P. Tandy
ALL EXPENSES PAID by William P. Tandy
LETTER No. 3 by William P. Tandy
BROKEN TREATY by William P. Tandy
BAWLMER HAIKU II by Jen Sanford
A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER by William P. Tandy
About the Contributors
The news crew arrived late in the morning.
I was one of a few local people in the know that had been singled out for a feature piece on zines - small-run, homebrewed publications like the one youre now holding in your hands. The segment was to be based around the recent opening of the new zine collection at the Cockeysville branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL).
The reporter and his cameraman stayed for an hour-and-a-half - an inordinately long time, I thought, for material that would be chopped down to a minute-and-a-half broadcast. Besides, I wasn't the only subject. They were also heading to the home of Dan Taylor - publisher of The Hungover Gourmet (and Smile, Hon contributor) - immediately afterward.
They filmed me reading. They filmed me writing. And they asked an awful lot of questions. To be honest, I only felt somewhat goaded once, when I had been very tempted to answer the question of why I thought anyone would want to read this stuff by asking why they thought anyone would be interested in watching a 90-second segment on zines at 10:00 on a Monday night in January.
But I didnt - I didn't have to. For as they packed up their wares and departed for Chez Taylor, I realized that I already knew the answer. . .
I went to the kitchen and marked the calendar.
Actually, both Dan Taylor and I had read at the grand opening of the BCPL zine collection in October 2005, and it so happened that it had in fact been our friend, Miriam DesHarnais - the librarian largely responsible for the collections existence (and whom they had already interviewed) - that sent the news crew in our direction.
By coincidence, the opening came on the heels of the publication of Smile, Hons first special issue - Giving Up the Ghost!, a collection of supernatural accounts from around the Baltimore area. The turnout for the opening was considerable - nearly 60 people - giving particular consideration to an otherwise shitty (weather-wise) Thursday night and a venue not on most folks way to anywhere. There were old friends, but a lot of new faces, too - like Jesse Walker, who subsequently published a fine article on zines at www.reason.com. In fact, I was so impressed with the apparent level of interest that I decided, with the publication of the next issue, to try something that I had never done: throw a release party.
In March, Eight-Stone Press published the second special issue of Smile, Hon, a sometimes gruesome, often funny little book of area rat encounters called Infestation! A few weeks later, I staged the first official Eight-Stone Press event - the Infestation! (Catch &) Release Party (or the rat party, as it came to be known) at Ryans Daughter Irish Pub in Belvedere Square. About 20 people showed up at Ryans Daughter that drizzling Tuesday night - including the elusive Latter Day Saint, who in spite of his religious handicap impressed me with his deep reverence for the juice of the barley. And the only thing more satisfying than the turnout was explaining to the management exactly why we had gathered at their fine establishment
I stayed up that cold Monday night in January, muddling through a local newscast that I would never otherwise have watched, with the singular hope of glimpsing my first televised brush with fame. Through reports of the days latest round of killings and diet fads, I waited in the flickering blue darkness to see which of my gems of wisdom had survived the TV news distillation process.
The segment came on about halfway through the hour. Dan, Miriam - each weighing in on their obsession. Shots of the library. And then, there I was.
Behind the reporter's voiceover, I read and wrote and put in my two cents. Until the question came - a Question of such monumental import that the Answer could only have come from the horse's mouth.
Its fantastic! my screen-self blurted.
And with a few more quick library shots and the reporters outro, it was all over.
To be honest, I cant remember exactly what I said for the rest of that hour-and-a-half any better than I could tell you what was so damn praiseworthy. And truthfully, I dont know why anyone reads Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! (though if youve read this far, you obviously have your own reasons) any better than I know why people rely on the TV news for information.
But what the hell? I got a story out of it.
And besides, the fact that you are reading - well, that is fantastic.
Copyright 2006 by William P. Tandy
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