Monday, April 12, 2010

OUTSTANDING 1st Local Writers' Open Mike at Paluca Trattoria, April 8th, 2010

A huge wooden lion sitting by the bicycle rack at the corner of Fisherman's Wharf pointed the way to the writers' meeting. The bottom rectangular portion of the sign had pictures of famous local writers. Over a dozen writers sat around a huge outdoor table overlooking the boats and occasional beast bobbing in Monterey Bay. One obnoxious seagull squawked his approval as writers read. Gwyn Weger, alias G.M. Weger, was the evening's feature local writer. She talked a little about her experience publishing East Garrison and introduced characters from her novel. Throughout the evening excerpts were read from Weger's thrilling "pregnant with danger" story to Pat Hanson's poignant "Invisible Grandparent" project to Wanda Sue Parrot's hilarious acting out of a creative rendition of Rapunzel. Each reader was given 5 minutes to read, except for the evening's feature writer. Weger read selections of East Garrison, including a few parts from the beginning chapter set on our own Fort Ord, where the protagonist's father, Jack, is introduced. Jack, the most controversial character in the novel, and some may say the most interesting, is a homeless messianic Vietnam veteran living in his van with his dog, smoking pot, and searching for truth in hieroglyphs and numerology, which he believes he's found in the nine points of the swastika. His daughter, Tracy, estranged from him for many years, is about to give birth for the first time. She's searching for resolution with her father. Weger also read from a section where Tracy and her Goddess-loving friend, Angela, go to the East Garrison (where the police don't patrol) looking for her father, Jack. Instead, they have a close encounter of the feline kind. Although Weger didn't give away the ending, she led the group up to a heart-stopping heroic moment before Angela is about to tackle her very large opponent to save her pregnant friend.

Throughout the evening beverages and a variety of food were served by the restaurant's excellent staff. Paluca Trattoria proved to be a perfect location for the event, which will be held monthly on the second Thursday from approximately 5:30 until as late as 8:00, depending on the number of readers, although this first night's readings didn't begin until 6pm and writers stayed until the restaurant's owner, Sal Tedesco, reminded the group to finish their orders because they were closing down. The last stragglers left after 9pm.
Note for those who want to attend next month: The parking lot by Fisherman's Wharf has free 2 hour parking for locals (living in Monterey County). All you have to do is show your ID. The people who stayed longest, 4 hours, group organizers Pat Hanson and Gwyn Weger, paid $2 to park in the lot.

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