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Carl Watson w/ Michael Zerang

As a part of Chicago Filmmakers 50th Anniversary, David Hauptschein presents The Spoken Word Cafe

Carl Watson is a poet, fiction writer, playwright and critic. He grew up in Northwest Indiana and has since lived in Portland Oregon, New Orleans, Chicago, New York and Paris. He has traveled extensively in India and other parts east of the Atlantic. Watson has written cultural criticism and reviews for various journals including The Village Voice, NY Press, Downtown, Tribes, and The Williamsburg Observer. He is the author of several books of fiction, including Bricolage ex Machina (Lost Modern Press), Beneath the Empire of the Birds (Apathy Press), The Hotel of Irrevocable Acts (Autonomedia), and Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming, a novel published by Sensitive Skin Books. He has also published several collections of poetry, including Anarcadium Pan (Erie Street Press), Living for the Ecstasy Sect, Confessions of an Aspirin Eater, The Green Man (Apathy). His latest collection, Astral Botanica.

The novel Hotel des acts irrevocables (Gallimard) and the short story collections Sous l’empire des oiseaux, la vie psychosomatique, and Hank Stone et le coeur de craie (vagabonde) have been published in France. Vagabonde press published the novel Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming. Watson received the Kathy Acker Award for Fiction in 2012. Watson wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the autobiography of the outsider artist, Henry Darger. He continues to work with Darger’s manuscripts while publishing articles about his work. He teaches literature in the CUNY system, most recently at Baruch College.

Carl Watson will read his epic poem, HOUSE OF DOORS

with sonic accompaniment by Michael Zerang


Curated and Hosted by David Hauptschein

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Chicago Filmmakers, acclaimed writer and artist David Hauptschein is reviving his legendary “Spoken Word Café,” a series he ran at Chicago Filmmakers in the 80s-90s. In keeping with the show’s original mission, this event will feature an eclectic mélange of performers in a veritable circus of the spoken word. These world-class performers include artist/storyteller extraordinaire Tom Torluemke; actor, writer, and “mind guerilla” Lisa Roth; New York-based poet/novelist Carl Watson, who will declaim to the beat of renowned percussionist Michael Zerang; and the inimitable actor/writer Charles Pike, who will be performing David Hauptschein’s monologue, The Magnetic Eye.


Recollections, daydreams, dirty deeds, and ramblings from love to hate and back again.

Julie is a 50-year-old navigating the trials and pitfalls of a polyamorous lifestyle. Her mother and a cast of other characters join her tribulations and celebrations, each adding their own stories to the unfolding tale. The performance is a small snapshot from a larger piece; expect to be left with questions by the end!

A HOUSE OF DOORS by Carl Watson; musical accompaniment by Michael Zerang
In this epic poem, Watson examines the essentially transient and homeless nature of the human condition. He starts with the Big Bang and takes us through the last days of our universe. Watson’s work is full of stories, musings and the conversations of a single narrator meeting with others along the road to Heat Death. 

THE MAGNETIC EYE performed by Charles Pike; written David Hauptschein; directed by Julio Maria Martino 
Under the direction of London-based Martino, actor Charles Pike performs The Magnetic Eye, the third installment of Hauptschein’s notorious FRANK MONOLOGUES. In this episode, Frank, who is often the butt of the joke, embarks on an errand to Karl’s Family Shoes and Brookfield Optical, which quickly turns from the mundane to the menacing as he is thrust into a vertiginous loop from which he may never escape.

Carl Watson





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