Sunday, October 28, 2012

Best readings for Halloween week: Dame Darcy, Simon Winchester, and the Naked Girls

Posted By on 10.28.12 at 10:00 AM

The multitalented Dame Darcy, who bills herself as "an illustrator, writer, fine artist, musician, filmmaker and animator," is probably best known for her long-running comic book series Meat Cake. Dame Darcy is in town to share tips from her Handbook for Hot Witches: Dame Darcy's Illustrated Guide to Magic, Love, and Creativity (Henry Holt and Co.), which offers advice on palm reading, crystal ball gazing, casting love spells, belly dancing, and banjo playing, among other witchy skills.

Dame Darcy at Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North, Mon 10/29, 7 PM, free. (There's also an exhibit of her artwork on 10/30 at Bert Green Fine Art, 8 S. Michigan.)

Author Simon Winchester (The Professor and the Madman et al) discusses his latest book, the gorgeously illustrated Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers). This is appropriate for the season, for skulls, as you know, form the uppermost portion of a skeleton, and skeletons are scary. Bypass your standard human skull for your costume and try to find one of these far more scary skulls (all featured among the hundreds in the book): black-footed albatross, white-chinned petrel, helmeted guineafowl, black-casqued hornbill, barracuda, warty frogfish, bicolored leaf-nosed bat, sun bear, southern sea lion, chinese water deer, or vervet monkey. (If you want kind of a cute skull for the kids, go with the meerkat.) You might be able to find a nice animal skull at Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities.

Simon Winchester at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Tue 10/30, 6 PM, free.


And lastly but certainly not leastly, Naked Girls Reading presents its annual Halloween-themed reading, Naked Ghouls Reading ("scaring our own pants off!"), in which the Naked Girls read "the scariest of scary tales, macabre moments and ghoulishly ghastly stories."

(I've seen the Naked Girls read, back in November 2010 for their first ever Literary Honors Award Gala, won by Chicagoan Patty Templeton. It's not as prurient as you might think: the Everleigh Club is a comfy setting with some couches to lounge on; there might be a naked woman on a swing. Then the Naked Girls walk out and disrobe—quite literally, as they entered in bathrobes and just casually slipped out of them, no stripteasey stuff—and you think, "Holy heck, they're naked!" But then they start reading and, after a while, you kinda forget that they're naked; they're really good readers and you get drawn into the story. Then all of a sudden you might think again, "Holy heck, they're naked! But they're really good readers." It comes and goes like that.)

The Naked Girls with 2010 Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors Award winner Patty Templeton
  • The Naked Girls with 2010 Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors Award winner Patty Templeton

Naked Ghouls Reading at Everleigh Social Club, 939 W. Randolph, Wed 10/31, 8 PM, $20, $35 for two, reservations required.

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