Thursday, August 23, 2012


Mark Brazaitis Wins the 2012 Gival Press Novel Award

Mark Brazaitis of Morgantown, West Virginia has won the 8th Annual Gival Press Novel Award for his novel Julia & Rodrigo. Brazaitis will receive $3,000.00 and his novel will be published in 2013.

Photo by Sheila Loftus.

Mark Brazaitis is the author of four books of fiction, including The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize, from the University of Notre Dame Press. He is also the author of a book of poems, The Other Language, winner of the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and technical trainer, he directs the Creative Writing Program at West Virginia University.

Advance Praise:
“This expressive, touching and at times wrenching novel tells the stories of two young people living in Guatemala during that country’s civil war. Teenagers Julia García and Rodrigo Rax meet at a school pageant and find that they are drawn to each other. Julia, the daughter of an engineer, lives in one of the few two-story houses in town. Rodrigo, who comes from less privilege, is a soccer star. But what begins as a love story soon becomes a struggle against circumstance. Julia and Rodrigo rise above old-fashioned customs of marriage and religious worship only to collide with events they cannot control. Ultimately, this finely crafted novel goes a long way toward answering the question of whether human free will can overcome fate, or God’s will.” —Thaddeus Rutkowski, final judge of the contest and author of Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse

Color a Crumbling Landscape
by Michael McGuire of Jalisco, Mexico.

by Gopal Balachandran of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Arlington Gets a Taste of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"

If you are in the mood for a rowdy evening of entertainment and don't mind a bit of naughty and nudity, then I couldn't recommend Signature Theatre's current production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" any stronger.

The cast has been extremely well chosen and the signing and choreography are superb. Karma Camp comes through like the Olympics and at least one of the male dancers, Jay Adriel, made me think of this past week's gymnists. Once again director Eric Schaeffer has taken something that is Texas but has made it Arlington, VA/DC style, with the talent and bods of exceptional male customers, as referred to in the musical.

Certainly Sherri L. Edelen as Miss Mona Stangley hits the mark and brings in the audience with her grace and warm voice, and the book by Larry L. King and Peter Masteron and the music and lyrics by Carol Hall make it a very pleasant evening. We root for Miss Mona and admire her business acumen. She along with Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd played by Thomas Adrian Simpson give us a taste of Texas and perhaps its politics, but somehow me thinks Texas hasn't been the only state that has turned a blind eye to the money-making prospects of bonding for money.

There are many fine scenes but two others to watch are Nova Y. Payton, who plays Jewel, and Tracy Lynn Olivera, playing Doatsy Mae.

So kick back, treat yourself to a light dinner at the Theatre and enjoy the play. It's well worth the escape we need at this time before the elections drive us crazy. In fact, I hope Signature extends the show beyond the Oct. 7th run.

Well done!

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