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Richie Narvaez reads "To Mistress" in New York

Dispatch from Richie Narvaez. You can admire the genius of "To Mistress" along with a bunch of other ear-churning tales of depravity, destruction, and puppy dogs in Out of the Gutter 8.

At first, Bar 82 in Manhattan seems like a dive where '80s dance songs play loud and (probably) ironically. But in the back, past the pool table and behind a metal door and then some curtains, is a comfy performance space, full of non-matching furniture, chair, couches, and kitsch with lived-in character, including a piano that has been padlocked shut. Artwork. Small bar. Lovingly dark.

Every two weeks there are readings hosted by the charmingly garrulous rogue Tim O'Mara (author of Sacrifice Fly). I had the privilege of reading there on January 28, a nasty, cold-rainy Monday night. But the Guinness at the bar was more than acceptable, and that helped me shake off the winter. In the back room, the synth beats of Shannon and Stacey Q (your favorite singers, just admit it) became faint, and the lights dimmed even more. That night other readers included Joyce Hanson (Bad Girl Blog), Arnine Cumsky Weiss (She Ain't Heavy), and Keith Dowd. As O’Mara noted, most of the readers read stories that highlighted "loveless sex."

I read my story "To Mistress," which the kind folks at Out of the Gutter were nice or foolish enough to publish in their most recent issue, bless them. My story also includes sex; in fact, it’s all about bondage and sadomasochism, perhaps loveless, perhaps not. But I was more concerned when I started reading words such as “masturbate” and “cumslut” to mixed company without having give much preface. But, in true New York fashion, they seemed fine with it, and anyway the place was so dark I couldn’t have seen a nunnishly disapproving face even if I wanted to. Afterward, there was applause and more Guinness.