Hosted by the creative nonfiction lit mag No Touching
, the bimonthly readings series alternates between spotlighting guests readers and promoting the free magazine's latest release. Admission costs $5.
Incorporated: February 2006
Fringe benefits: After listening to folks bare their souls onstage, you can skip right past the usual ice breakers and strike up real conversations during the post-reading revelry. Just remember: booze + an atmosphere of honesty means it might not be long before you're sharing your own stories.
When: The next reading will be mid-March at No Touching's still-undetermined new venue. For more details, check the website.
Up next: Watch the website to see who will be featured at the March reading.
Fact may well be stranger than fiction, but it can also be funnier, sillier and tear-jerkier. So thought Molly Each and Ira Booker, co-editors of No Touching magazine and co-hosts of the mag's reading series.
Each and Booker enrolled as graduate students at Columbia College, found themselves in all the same classes and sparked upon the idea of creating a creative nonfiction magazine. They even approached each other to work together at the same time. Fate quickly gave way to hard work as Each and Booker spent six months pulling the magazine together and then organizing a reading. Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, No Touching is getting ready to publish its fourth issue and host its next reading in a new home.
Centerstage sat down with Each to get her reflections on the past year, the line between fact and fiction and the books that make her go "Oh my gosh."
Why did you decide to focus No Touching on creative nonfiction? Ira and I both really like creative nonfiction, but we'd been finding that with creative nonfiction, everything kind of seemed to be the same. There wasn't an outlet for the kind of stories that we tell each other over a cup of coffee. We kind of thought everything was about dead grandmothers and dysfunctional childhoods. And those stories need to be out there, too, but we wanted to hear the stories about the first time you heard that one song and how that affected you today, or the first time you realized that race mattered in life.
Why'd you pick the name No Touching?
We started throwing around lines from Arrested Development and Ira said, "No Touching," which is a big catchphrase on the show. We both said, 'Oh, wait a minute.' We started thinking about how in the physical and the emotional sense, you're not supposed to touch in public. If someone touches your hand on the train you move your hand away. Crying on the train or laughing really hard—people look at you. So we liked the contrast there.
What's a No Touching After Dark reading like?
I think what has evolved is an anything-goes reading. We support the readers reading whatever they want. A lot of people use music. Two or three readings ago I read a song I wrote about listening to a song in Slovenia, and I had my friend play guitar with me and then read the dialogue with me. Amanda Snyder brought in capoeira dancers, and she had the dancers demonstrate the moves she was talking about.
Are you looking to move the readings to a bar?
Not to sound like a total boozehound but wherever we are it will be somewhere we can either provide our own drinks or have drinks, because it makes it more social. People just get into it a lot more when its more like a social gathering and less like a formal reading, which is what we like about No Touching. We have a couple readings and then we chill out for twenty minutes, where people can talk and laugh and do their own thing.
What nonfiction are you reading now that you're in love with?
Oh my gosh. I'm reading this book by Nick Hornby called Housekeeping Versus the Dirt. It's the absolute best book for readers because he keeps a list of all the books that he buys each month and then all the books that he's read each month and he talks about what motivated him to buy those books and then what motivated him to read the ones he read, which aren't always the same at all.