Maybe I'm just inspired after watching the debut of HBO's Carnivale, a mysterious series about a traveling band of sideshow freaks, but in Cincinnati's literary world something deliciously wicked this way comes. Behold the wondrous oddities within THE PERPETUAL MOTION ROADSHOW, pitching its tent at 8 p.m. Monday at Buzz Coffee Shop in Corryville. The Roadshow certainly has all the makings of a literary circus minus a bearded lady and a sword swallower. But who needs them when you have a masked, um, zinester on the scene? A group of three indie performers, each a wordsmith in his or her own right, hop in a car in Toronto and travel to seven cities in eight days. Strangely (and thankfully) one of the pit stops is Cincinnati. This is cotton candy confection for the senses, though not all the performers are toothache sweet. DR. WRED FRIGHT, the aforementioned man in the mask, who, as the press poster publicizes, will likely break into song a cappella while reading from the sixth installment of his serialized novel, The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, about a Garage Rock band. There'll also be a civil dose of JESSICA DISOBEDIENCE, a zinester for nine years, who'll read folk tales about loud music, beer, road trips and crushes from her latest, Safety Pin Girl.
Forming the Tribond is Toronto Hip Hopper, MORE OR LES, who purportedly ponders such enigmas as "What kinds of things can you roll with your homies?" as he raises support for his CD, I Only Stop for the Red Ants. Why red ants? Oh, who knows! This whole thing is just wonderfully perverse. A freak show? Sure, but only in the sense of beautifully original and creatively free thinkers. Surf rockers THE MALADROITS and self-proclaimed geek rappers CRACK HEIST provide the soundtrack for this leg with video images by MEESOO LEE. The Roadshow — admission is free — returns Tuesday Oct. 14 and an unconfirmed date in November, each with a different trio of acts. Step right up! For more info, visit www.nomediakings.net ...
One good freak deserves another. Hey, it's a cheap shot when segueing to Cincinnati Enquirer columnist PETER BRONSON, but sometimes cheap shots are worth taking. Bronson understands. After all, he's nothing if not opinionated. And to raise the ire of liberals everywhere, Bronson has collected some of his "greatest hits" — his words, not mine — into a singular volume, Cincinnati ... For Pete's Sake. There he shoots his poisoned darts at racial profiling, pro-choice, Jimmy Carter, Darwinism and John Lennon's "Imagine." And that's just a sample. I certainly don't have room to list all of his targets. That would be like running a list of the FBI's 100 Most Wanted. And Bronson, who'll sign his collection at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, has far more collars to make. The thing that's so infuriating about Bronson, even more than his rigid conservative stance, is what a good writer he is. The fact that I want to throw up after reading many of his columns is incidental. He's powerfully eloquent and concise, hitting his point with a brash intensity. See, it is possible (and at times necessary) to separate opinion from talent. Too bad Bronson is batting for the wrong team. 513-396-8960.
Matthew McIntosh's Well, comes together only to form a world of detachment, indifference, loneliness and hope. McIntosh's work is not for the plot-driven reader, and it's a better book for its meandering. It's certainly not the first time we've read anything in this "street anthropology" genre, but McIntosh's capacity for capturing true heartache, bewilderment and "the pain of living" is dead-on. (JESSICA TURNER)
A.M. Homes' The Safety of Objects: Few write about contemporary suburban life as knowingly as Homes. The stories within The Safety of Objects are as vivid as they are perverse — think mini versions of a Todd Solondz film, except affecting instead of cruel. (JASON GARGANO)