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Zine Part 2: Eat My Shorts and Like It

david fairchild small

So, I forgot to mention in the first post on this zine that Venessa Monokian and I made this as part of the Miami-Dade County Public Library System’s Enter the Nineties exhibition. It’s in the permanent collection down there with zines by other writes and artists. Make sure to go visit it and hold this beauty in your hands.

Again, here’s the first part of Eat My Shorts and Like It. and the second half is after the jump.

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Zine Part 1: Eat My Shorts and Like It

eat my shorts and like it zine small

We’ve been talking and writing about the zine we made for weeks, brilliantly titled Eat My Shorts and Like It. I finally got it together to post this lovely little homage to the nineties, so you can check it out here or at the downtown library in Miami. Venessa Monokian and I are happy with this guy. He’s good. Good stuff. Enjoy your gander.

Tomorrow we’ll post the second half, so keep clicking in.

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Check out Venessa and Liz's zine tonight: Eat My Shorts! And LIKE IT!

eat my shorts and like it zine

Venessa Monokian and I have known each other and have been friends since the fourth grade. Like so, of course, when it came time to make a ’90s zine, we had to work on it together. Venessa did the visual stuff, and I did the writing for Eat My Shorts! And Like It. You’ll learn a lot about us both and maybe a little about yourself. This zine rules!

Come see it tonight at the Main Library at 101 W. Flagler Ave, Miami, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Then you can head over to Bar (28 NE 14 Street) for a drink and a dance with TBD!!!

There’s a full list of the other zine-makers after the jump.

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Send THL your most happy, sad, awkward, ugly, cute, slutty '90s moments for public display

TLC 90s

The talented artist and my childhood friend Venessa Monokian and I will be putting together a zine as part of a project for the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s Main Library. The library system around these parts is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (congrats!). In honor of this momentous occasion, they’re also paying homage to the 1990s, a big ten years for the library, apparently.

Venessa and I thought it’d be neat to include you and your stories in the THL-Venessa-Liz zine. We remember the ’90s fairly well, the first half of them, at least. You also probably remember something from that strange, tacky, opulent decade that you want to share with the world. Maybe it was losing your virginity or losing your first tooth. Perhaps it was innocently dancing to Paula Abdul, or maybe it was giving it to Paula Abdul. Either way, we’re open to your memories.

If you can, want to, or feel obligated to send us stories and pictures and stuff, just shoot us an email at Your tale will then likely be immortalized at the Enter the Nineties exhibition (on display in the Main Library from June 16 through September 13). It would be extremely radical of you.


A Few Poems by Yaddyra Peralta

poetry friday

Yaddyra Peralta will be reading at O, Miami’s finale reading on April 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the New World Center. The Mexican poet Carla Faesler is opening for W.S. Merwin’s, and Yaddyra will be reading English translations of her Spanish poems onstage.



A centipede in the shower this morning! Oh, the translucent antennae leading this writhing intrusivness into my air. You would have marveled at the distance it traveled from the yard and through the kitchen “Such tenacity,” you would have said: four-inch body over twenty-five feet, a pilgrimage no matter how many legs.


On our wall-too-wall carpets and ceramic tile, we forget the palimpsest we stand on, the ancient seabeds and broken arrowheads. The centipede is back, like a pulsing messenger from the dead. If you ever find one, forgo your first instinct to crush it. Gather it gently onto a newspaper or dustpan. Walk it back outside, feel yourself grow lighter with each subsequent step.

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BrO, Miami: my Twitter convo with Lady Pythons and Come On Bro where I'm the hero

I did something great for the world this week. I facilitated a poetry reading by O, Miami’s Scott Cunningham at weekly drinkfest Sun ‘n’ Fun. It’s this Saturday at Villa 221, 221 NE 17 Street.

I called it BrOMiami.

Read the Twitter feed:

Come On Bro wrote something I got lazy looking for.

Lady Pythons:
SoRawFestival gggggioo frorojas borschtfilmfest kokomolife yodoublem @seanpajot if all the rest of these peeps show up I will

COB wrote something I can’t find.

Lady Pythons:
@COB_comeonbro don’t make fun of my lingo bro, seriously bro #notcool

Bro im not for serious im just playeeng bro RT ladypythons: COB_comeonbro don’t make fun of my lingo bro, seriously bro #notcool

COB_comeonbro ladypythons you should go and read a bro-based poem. #BrOMiami

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Read It Because It's Good, Read It Because You Should

So Much Pretty

The confusion and self-loathing and sense of powerlessness that comes from either affiliation with abusers and aggressors, or with apathy and inaction, is a part of the masculine experience. Just as fear is a part of the feminine experience.
-Cara Hoffman, The Beginning of Men
(Blog posted 10/6/10)

I offer that quote to prove that Cara Hoffman understands men.  Hopefully the cultural landscape has changed enough that there won’t be a backlash against So Much Pretty, but some of the comments I see on a typical browse these days tell me she might be in for a rough ride. If So Much Pretty starts controversy, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. We could use more open dialog about how our culture perpetrates violence.

Her book is a brilliant piece of fiction, both for the author’s skill, and the story’s depth. It entertains even as it pushes buttons. It turns pages in a breathless narrative, while holding a mirror to how complacent we’ve become to the banality of evil. Hannah Arendt wrote that phrase in regards to nazis, but Hoffman’s novel tackles the violence that men commit against women.

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Ape House vs. Great House

Ape House vs. Great House

Nicole Krauss published History of Love the same year her husband Jonathan Safron Foer published Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. At the time, JSF was more critically lauded and better known than Krause, but that didn’t stop her from writing a far superior book. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is excellent, pitch-perfect, and a book I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone; History of Love is a beautiful piece of art with lines which have tattooed themselves on my brain.

This time out, Nicole Krauss’ Great House begs for comparison with Sara Gruen’s Ape House because of the titles and because I just read them both. Critics and readers who adored History of Love have been wondering for five years whether it was a fluke or a signpost. Fans of Water for Elephants have been anticipating Gruen’s Ape House as patiently as Pottermaniacs await the next movie.

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Sort of the Best Books of 2010


I’ve already squawked about two of the best books of 2010 for THL but both are worth squawking over again. Don’t take my word about Heidi Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky; it’s on more Top Ten, recommended, and Best of lists than “Toy Story 3.” Meanwhile, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet proves the mighty David Mitchell is capable of anything, including making his literary contemporaries look like amateurs.

One I haven’t mentioned here is Joyce Maynard’s The Good Daughters. A book so good it makes readers into instant fans, I find myself rehashing it every couple weeks as I suggest it to different readers. They return after reading it wearing the shining eyes and slack faces of the converted, and I’m sure I wear it myself. If hardcover prices cross your eyes, check out last year’s equally excellent Labor Day. Maynard is the real deal, folks.

Brock Clarke’s Exley takes place in Watertown, a short drive north of my hometown. I’ve found myself largely unable to write about Exley because every time I think of it, it’s like thinking about a favorite family member. Writing about it would cheapen the book for me, and I don’t want my words to lessen something I’m so fond of. Let’s just say it’s certainly worth reading.

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O, Miami's Random Act of Culture and a call to poets

If you missed the Patti Smith event at the Miami Book Fair International, all you have to do is watch this video and you might kind of know, but not actually feel, how neat it was to actually be there. Thanks to P. Scott Cunningham, Pete Borrebach, the Miami Poetry Collective, Knight Foundation, O, Miami, and all of us that read, Patti Smith received a really special welcome.

O, Miami, the first local monthlong poetry festival starting April 2011, is also gathering the names of poets in Miami-Dade County for a census. Sign up here before Feb. 28 if you write regularly, even if you’ve never been published. You’ll be asked to submit a short poem, a selection of the total entries will be compiled in an anthology. Just do it, and enjoy the video!

Random Act of Culture & Patti Smith from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.


John Waters, Patti Smith, Dave Eggers, Ian Frazier, and more at Miami Book Fair International
exhausting and awesome, waiting for next year

liz tracy john waters book fair miami

Obviously, we at THL love the Miami Book Fair International in a way this is sort of creepy and borderline obsessive. We held a week in honor of John Waters, Dirty Boy!, and to which a bunch of friends contributed their visions of the great man.

Sure, Waters said some things I’d heard him say before, but he also said things I’d never heard and gave advice to burgeoning filmmakers, like use your friends’ music, otherwise you’ll end up paying for the rights to use other songs. He spoke quite a bit about Divine (his parents owned a nursery and made him dress as Santa for Christmas), how he and Divine were asked to leave the beach in Kew West, because they just looked like perverts, one skinny, one large. How reading Tennessee Williams’ short stories as a kid saved his life. I also felt like there was hope for me when I read Tennessee Williams’ short stories and plays as a kid, with all of their oddities and strangenesses, and I’m a straight girl. A strange one, but whatever.

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Super comprehensive guide to the Miami Book Fair International

MBFI 2010

The Miami Book Fair International, now in it’s 27th year, begins this Sunday with its inaugural afternoon. MBFI is a week long event culminating with a two-day street festival, featuring over 300 authors (including THL favorite, John Waters!!!!!) and 200 vendors and exhibitors. Over the years, it has become one of the largest literary gatherings in the country. There’s a lot to take in and the Fairgoer’s Guide holds 27 pages of information, schedules, and tips. Here’s an insiders’ guide to help you sort through it all and make the most of Miami’s biggest book party.

How To Get There:
The book fair is hosted at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, Downtown. Yes, parking will be a bitch. There are plenty of garages, but I recommend parking offsite and making use of the MetroMover. This year, thanks to the Green Mobility Network, there will be a bike valet at the Yellow Entrance on 3rd street on Saturday, 11/19 and Sunday 11/20 from 10a.m.-6p.m. Bikers will receive $3 off their admission to the street fair.

An Evening With…
MBFI kicks off with the An Evening With… series. Each event in the series requires a $10 ticket that you must purchase on the book fair website

This year the confirmed authors are…

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Dirty Boy! Love letters to John Waters: A Call to Creeps for Submissions

john waters with flamingo

john waters with flamingo

Hello, The Heat Lightning readers and everyone else!

We’d like to welcome John Waters to South Florida, THL style, with love letters and stuff. We’ll be celebrating Dirty Boy! week at THL in honor of one of our heroes. For the first time ever, we will be taking submissions from all over the place and all of you to be posted on the site.

We are open to articles, drawings, cartoons, letters of love, admiration, hatred, fear, or whatever, as long as they’re about or in reference to John Waters, the most crude and brilliant of filmmakers and mixtape makers.

Waters will be at Miami Book Fair International on Nov. 17 to promote Role Models, his new book, which profiles the personalities of his favorites, including (my fav) Tennessee Williams and also a lesbian stripper (not the two together, unfortunately). This will be my third time seeing John Waters, but I’ll tell you all about it next week.

Dirty Boy!, Our tribute to John Waters, begins on Nov. 14. We will publish all of your notes and such, long or short, in some way. If we love your story, you get to be featured. Send submissions to

Participate, people!

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So November is National Novel Writing Month and I’m not doing it. I meant to, really – signed up and everything. Other things seem to keep getting in the way like, oh, eating. It has spawned quite the hilarious fake twitter feed though.

by , posted Nov 4, 09:19 PM

The Woman Who Wrote a Great Book

Girl Who Fell from the Sky

At her reading for Books & Books Coral Gables, Heidi R. Durrow said The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was rejected by thirty eight agents and publishers.  It’s hard to imagine thirty eight people looking at this haunting, spare, sadly beautiful novel and saying, “no one will care about this story,” but that’s how she characterized her rejection.

This book spoke to me as few do.  Have you felt, when you hear a song or watch a movie, like it was played or filmed just for you?  Despite the white-looking woman in the author’s photo (and the fact that Heidi Durrow is clearly bi-racial in person and casual photos while her Facebook and publisher’s publicity photograph headshots emphasize her white characteristics is a post in itself hell, a host of posts, I knew the author had to be mixed race.  Had to be.  Either that, or a researcher like none I’ve ever heard of.  Her novel nails what it feels like to be mixed among people who aren’t, skin to bone.

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The Pillars of the Earth: a review of sorts

pilars of the earth

One bright Saturday morning in September, I lightly packed my backpack and took the Metro down to the National Book Festival on the National Mall. I invited a select group of friends who I deemed sufficiently sophisticated and dedicated to the written word to accompany me to the festivities. Fortunately, book fairs are very easy to enjoy on one’s own, thanks very much.

Walking on the gravelly sidewalk adjacent to the lawn, I noticed a silver-maned chap speaking in front of a camera and an unpretentious woman holding a boom mike and a list of questions. I immediately pegged them for those sensationalists at C-SPAN. The man was smartly dressed in a navy blue suit that was somehow repellant to the clouds of dust kicked up by passers-by. I leaned over the cameraman’s shoulder and listened as the man talked in a soft British accent about writing a book to raise people’s interest in World War I. The interview ended moments later, and I moved on to the book sales tent with a tepid interest in figuring out who this dude is.

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Mr. Jeremy Glazer has written what has to be one of the best slice-of-life descriptions of living in Miami that I have ever read. Go read it right now.

by , posted Oct 21, 12:18 PM

The Word Made Flesh - Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

So my friend Eva Talmadge is both a) awesome and b) more punk rock than you. She and her friend Justin Taylor just came out with a book titled “The Word Made Flesh – Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide”

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