News on how to attend what is certain to be the dumbest book reading in Austin all year long.
Dumber & Dumber
If you go to Bad Dog Comedy Theater (110 E. Riverside Dr.; see Arts feature) on Tuesday, August 8, from 7-9pm, to see improvisational comedy troupe Monks' Night Out and Bill Crawford, author of Democrats Do the Dumbest Things and Republicans Do the Dumbest Things, you will laugh so hard that you will:
"Yeah," Crawford says of the above. "It will be a cross between the dumbest book reading and stand-up comedy. Politics is a lot about humor, and we've got all the dumb stuff there," like video of some of the dumbest moments of American political history, a mock debate, an election to decide whether Republicans or Democrats are dumber ("This is going to make worldwide news," Crawford assures me), and three historical characters from both parties who will respond to Crawford's questions. "I believe in giving equal time to the equally dumb parties," Crawford says. "I think I'm the only guy who's actually written two books making fun of both political parties. Our own Molly Ivins, of course, always makes great hay lambasting the Republicans, and Rush Limbaugh lambasts the Democrats, but I always think that's kind of quaint because when it comes down to it, as Will Rogers once said, you've got to admit that each party is dumber than the other." C-SPAN will be there taping the program, which is free. "We're encouraging everybody to come and have a few drinks. Politics really began in taverns," he points out. "The early American politicians did their political campaigning in taverns -- they'd get supporters drunk, they'd sing campaign songs, and by the time they wheeled them out in wheelbarrows down to their shacks to fall asleep, the American electorate usually voted hung over, I believe. So we're really trying to get back to the roots of American politics here."
The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at Middlebury College and Houghton Mifflin are joining together to begin publishing the winners of the Katharine Bakeless Nelson Prize, sponsored by Bread Loaf. Judges for the 2001 Bakeless Prize are Howard Norman for fiction; William Finnegan for creative nonfiction; and Carol Muske for poetry. The dates for submission for the 2001 Bakeless Prize are October 1-November 15, with the winners announced in April 2001. Submissions should be from writers whose work has not previously been published in book form. For more information, visit www.middlebury.edu/~blwc or write to Mr. Ian Pounds, Bakeless Coordinator, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753.