Robinson Alone A good book of poetry is not hard to find—there's so much out there right now. But Kathleen Rooney's novel in verse, Robinson Alone, is one of the best books I've read this year. Full disclosure: we are pressmates. But that's not why I love this book. It feels like a conversation between the reader and the speaker, Robinson. Rooney takes the voice of Robinson (the creation of the poet Weldon Kees, who disappeared July 19, 1955—his car was found deserted on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge) and constructs a coast-to-coast journey, filling the gaps Kees never got the chance to. Though the narrative is fixed, the poems re-create Robinson's character honestly. Rooney is a Chicago poet and writer, and I recommend getting out there to see her read—she wears a fake mustache.
Danger 5 It was Friday night and I'd just enjoyed a fine glass of Buffalo Trace Bourbon (OK, three glasses. Get off my back, I can quit anytime!) when my comedy-video cowriter, Dave Schneider, suggested that we take a jaunt into the world of Hulu Recommendations. Before I could muster up the energy to slap him, we were knee-deep into the first episode of Danger 5, an Australian TV show set in a 1960s-inspired version of World War II. Danger 5 follows a team of five spies on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler and is the greatest thing to come out of Australia since Yahoo Serious (or perhaps the only thing to come out of Australia since Yahoo Serious). The first episode alone features a British eagle in a smoking jacket, a German shepherd puppet seduction scene, and the destruction of at least five national monuments. It's one of those shows that makes you wish you'd come up with the idea first. So your mission this evening is to pour yourself a glass (or three) of scotch, log onto Hulu, throw on all six episodes of Danger 5, and, of course, KILL HITLER!
Queer Comedy at Zanies If you live in Chicago, you've probably heard of Zanies, the comedy club in Old Town. They've been doing comedy there for more than 30 years. But what you may not know is that they have a monthly night of comedy featuring queer comics from Chicago and beyond. The event, now in its third season, is the brainchild of Chicago comedian-producer-genius Adam Guerino. I went to this month's show, where I got to see five very funny comedians. First was our brilliant host, Candy Lawrence, who's like Carol Burnett meets Jim Carrey meets a Golden Girl—sort of. Then came Drew Michael, a Gabe Kaplan-esque comedian, and then Robert Keller, whose Quebeçois French helps him give the greatest Celine Dion impression ever, followed by Guerino himself, whose stories about boyfriends and dating feel familiar but funny because they happen to him and not you. The night was headlined by James Adomian, whose political and social satire has been seen on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and at SXSW and whose 2012 debut album, Low Hangin' Fruit, was named a "lock" for comedy album of the year by LA Weekly. All of this was only $10 plus the standard two-drink minimum or food order per person. Part of the event's goal is to bring queer comedy to mainstream venues, and on the night I went it felt like it was working—the place was standing room only. More, please.