Thirsty Thursday

Met Pick: Cheap Beer and Prose

Where culture and cans of PBR collide.

By Laura Dannen March 11, 2010

The perfect combination.

Book readings don’t have to be dull, says Brian McGuigan as he rattles off some of the better anecdotes from past Cheap Beer and Prose nights at Richard Hugo House—where the cans of PBR cost $1 and the entertainment gets a little wacky.

“People get onstage with grocery bags from QFC and they throw groceries at the audience…”

“Just before Dave Schmader’s reading, his dog passed away. He was hit by a car right in front of Dave. Dave didn’t know what to do…so he emailed me later saying, can I bring a dog with me? He ends up bringing his dog’s best friend, a pug, onstage and proceeds to read his essay with the dog sitting in a chair, looking at the audience.”

But cheap beer doesn’t translate to cheap thrills. “It’s not a drunken silly fest, and it’s not stodgy,” says McGuigan, who in 2005 came up with an alternative to “pretentious, expensive” outings by selling dollar cups of wine at free poetry readings at Hugo House. “I think really good readings are performance art. That’s what I have in mind when I create events.”

Tonight’s CB&P lineup includes Janna Cawrse Esarey, author of travel memoir The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife; Jonathan Evison, whose All About Lulu won the 2009 Washington State Book Award for fiction; former Stranger theater critic and playwright Bret Fetzer; and Stacey Levine, a 2009 Stranger Genius Award winner and author of short story collection The Girl with Brown Fur.

Cheap Beer and Prose starts at 7 and ends with an open-mic session, which you can sign up for at the door. So much fun for just a couple bucks.

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