By Jay Winston Ritchie
I showed up to the Metatron Spring Launch with a large bag of Miss Vicki’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips, which made me very popular among those who like Miss Vicki’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips (everybody). I could tell from the amount of people who were at Drawn & Quarterly by 7 p.m.—on time—that the reading would be a memorable one. The atmosphere was cozy but energetic. A projector displayed what I thought was a slideshow of dolphins kissing dogs, but was actually just one picture of a dolphin kissing a dog.
Ashley Opheim and Guillaume Morissette (Metatron founders and managing editors) fulfilled David McGimpsey’s “lifelong dream” (unverified) of walking onstage to Taylor Swift. He opened the night with a selection from his forthcoming book of poetry Asbestos Heights – a fictional location on the island of Montreal that is, by my assessment, Ville d’Anjou’s answer to Yoknapatawpha County. McGimpsey’s tried and true method of lampooning poetry through metered, lyrical poetry was poignant and hilarious.
In my most recent and unusually constructive YouTube-hole I watched an interview with Dave Chappelle on Inside the Actor’s Studio. In his preamble to the Proust Questionnaire (“If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?”, etc.) James Lipton asserts that Chappelle has had “more honesty per square inch” than any other guest on the show. Sara Sutterlin had more honesty per square inch than any reader I have ever seen. Her reading solicited “aws” from the audience and could have gone on for much longer than it did. Her book is I Wanted to Be the Knife.
Third to read was billed only by his Twitter handle @mtlbagelboy, formerly @fairmountbagel, who “broke Twitter”/“started a Twitter war”/“some other neologism for an internet event” back in December. I was hoping @mtlbagelboy was secretly Guillaume or something, but alas. Luckily, the true Bagel Boy was obscenely funny and very original. He read satirical news stories from his newest project Pulp MTL, complete with pitch-perfect impressions of Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, Fire Chief Antoine von Flamme (fictional), and Manny Machado, owner of Romados (actually third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles).
Rollin’ in from the 6ix Sophia Katz ended the night on a melancholy note. Katz’s reading was unabashedly intimate, each poem a rainy little window into the life of this writer. Her final poem, the litany “God Is a Woman”, pursued a metaphysical quandary with precision and warmth. The Title of This Book Is an Inside Joke is her first book.
Guillaume had pretty much everyone from Drawn & Quarterly over at his place afterwards. It was really fun, I had some Sun Chips and some box wine and talked to people I hadn’t seen in a long time and remembered that my friends were wonderful.
I also tried a grape kiwi for the first time, courtesy of Daphne Cheyenne.
FOMO rating: Grape kiwi.