Context 27; Holiday Inn Worthington, 7007 N High St. Runs September 26-28. Registration details available at the Context website. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Context I ever went to and it's hands down my favorite science fiction convention/writer's workshop ever. I'm sorry the last few years have coincided with Gonerfest so I've been absent the last few years but it's in great hands and every year I hear great things. A world-renowned hospitality suite with fresh-made food almost worth the price of admission on its own. An always fascinating slate of panels including discussions of breaking into game writing, reading slush, and the expectations of subgenres.Guests of Honor include Jonathan Maberry, known for the Joe Ledger series; acclaimed editor Betsy Mitchell; and legendary game writer Lucien Soulban. The beating heart of this convention is the slate of writers' workshops, of which highlights include:
- Gary Braunbeck - one of my favorite short fiction writers and one of my favorite people in town - leads sessions on Reading Your Work Aloud, Characterization and Dialogue, Point of View, and Advanced Short Story Writing. He's easily the best writing teacher I've ever had and I've personally taken the first two listed, you can't go wrong here.
- Lucy Synder - also a phenomenal writer of prose and poetry and a favorite person of mine leads a session on Urban Fantasy and Supernatural Horror, she's one of the hottest writers in this hot genre. with her fourth novel in the Jessie Shimmer series, Devil's Field, due out later this year.
- Maurice Broaddus, editor of the phenomenal Dark Faith anthologies and a great short fiction writer, talks about Building Your Brand, sure to be fascinating.
- Things I'm less familiar with but I trust implicitly include great-looking workshops by Diana Botsford, Jennifer Brozek, and Jonathan Maberry
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz Week. If someone hasn't appealed to the powers that be for this week to be named for the three days of appearances by Aptowicz there has been a grave injustice. One of my favorite poets - Everything is Everything and The Year of No Mistakes are both perfect volumes from first line to last - and prose writers - her definitive history of the NYC poetry slam community, Words in Your Face is constantly refreshing and inspiring - is coming to town to promoter her new biography of Dr. Mutter, Dr. Mutter's Marvels. Her appearances are, in chronological order:
- 09/24/14 - Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High St. A featured set of her poems at my favorite poetry night in town, Writer's Block, run by Scott Woods and Louise Robertson. If you want to see the highest level of performance poetry these days, both Aptowicz and the regulars at Writer's Block, don't miss this. Starts at 8:00pm. $5 cover.
- 09/25/14 - Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High St. Getting Ink: A Workshop. A workshop on finding and placing your writing in appropriate venues led by Aptowicz whose publication list is staggering. Starts at 8:00pm. $10 cover.
- 09/26/14 - Book Loft, 631 S Third St. A reading and signing for Dr. Mutter's Marvels at one of the few remaining independent sellers of new books in town. This should be great at this Columbus institution.
September 23, 2014
Torche; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. Christopher Wood's Starwoods Presents is one of Columbus's gems bringing countless interesting metal and heavy music acts that might have skipped town or even, sometimes, Ohio otherwise. Torche is one of my favorites, especially their current lineup adopting members from St Louis band Shame Club adding some heavier groove to the nuanced, spiky guitar textures. Their 10th Anniversary tour, promising a retrospective from their entire career, should be a really special show. Broughton's Rules and Maranatha open. Starts at 8:00pm. $12 tickets available here.
September 24, 2014
Landlady; Double Happiness, 482 S Front St. New York's Adam Schatz is an endless font of ideas and inspiration, from his sideman work in Man Man and Zongo Junction to his jazz collective Father Figures to his terrific booking and promotion work with Search and Restore. But Landlady and especially their stunning second record, Upright Behavior, released this summer. It's one of the best extrapolations on the Talking Heads nervous art rock shot through with electric grooves template in many years and with songs like "Girl" that will stick in your head for hours. Expect this to destroy live. Fellow Brooklyn band Wild Leaves and Columbus singer-songwriter Terrence Russell Adams fill out this exceptionally strong for a weeknight bill. Starts at 8:00pm. $8 tickets available at Ticketfly.
Life Stinks; The Summit, 2210 Summit St. One of the bands I'm most looking forward to at Gonerfest this year and as A says, "If you're so inclined, you could do a Columbus Gonerfest and hit a good portion of bands we're seeing down there for about the same amount of money".Chad Kawamura from San Francisco's grinding punk band The Outdoorsmen's new band sounds a little like Crime, a little like The Stooges, but always finds some new shimmer in those well-worn sigils. Stacked bill of openers including Calgary's Hagface, similarly metallic and expansive locals Bloody Show, local punk duo Katherine, and local teen punk band Grrl Cheese. Starts at 8:00pm. $5 cover.
September 26, 2014
Ex-Cult; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. While not playing it this year - they're doing Cincinnati's Midpoint Music Fest instead - Memphis's Ex-Cult is one of my favorite bands to discover at past Gonerfests, and they've grown over the years (since their debut under the name Sex Cult) and honed their raw attack until pound for pound, night after night, they're one of the finest live rock bands you'll see. Touring their second record, Midnight Passenger, where the brooding travelogues are as interesting as the bashers, they're supported by some of this town's finest - The Ipps, Bloody Show, and Vegetative State. Starts at 9:00pm. $5 cover.
Mark Turner Quartet; Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. Mark Turner has the kind of saxophone tone that will stop you in your tracks if you have even half a pulse and his reemergence as a leader with his first record under his own name in 10 years or so, Lathe of Heaven, is brilliant. Turner leading a smoking quartet with trumpet player Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson in Columbus's best-sounding room for jazz will be really special. If you want to know how good a straight-forward jazz quartet can sound, in all senses, don't miss this. Starts at 8:00pm. $16 tickets here.