introducing readers to writers since 1995

June 09, 2004

Cupcake @ Lolita

by Ron Hogan

The Cupcake Series convenes on the second Tuesday of each month at the Lower East Side's Lolita (corner of Allen & Broome) so that two women writers can read from their work. There's not a whole lot of room in the basement, so the place was pretty packed, and justifiably so, as star bookblogger Maud Newton read a short story that's been accepted for publication by Swink. It was a hilarious tale about a sexually frustrated postal worker who spends his time recuperating from having all his deteriorating teeth extracted by surfing the web for porn while his wife's out running errands.

After a short intermission, T Cooper read from the opening chapters of her debut novel, Some of the Parts, introducing us to two of its protagonists, Arlene and the gender "freak" Isak, who revealed how sie got her job at a Coney Island sideshow:

The first lady to fill the geek's spot was a youngish bearded lady. But after her husband died in a tragic motorcyle accident on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the bearded lady went to San Francisco and opened a gay men's leather bar called, well, "Beard." The bearded lady after her was stricken with an aneurysm that left the right side of her body and face paralyzed, and so she became a psychic with her gypsy family in a storefront in Queeens instead. No one would say what happened to the snake lady who came after the second bearded lady (apparently she got into penetrating herself with the snakes, and then the act--and her life--went straight downhill from there). Then the woman with a tail protruding from the base of her spine found that she could make much more money as a prostitute, and so with no notice, up and left the show for Atlantic City.

And finally, before I came on board, there was the hermaphrodite whose family came and rescued her from the freak show one balmy summer night. So there I was.

But Cooper wasn't done yet--she also shared her contribution the The Believer's ongoing series of notes from authors about what's on their desk (though, oddly enough, her answer isn't actually on that page).

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