1.11.07: Mysterious Trumpeting Induces Disturbing Reflections w John Hodgman and Darin Strauss

John McCaffrey
Darin Strauss, John Hodgman, and The Co-presidents of Their Fan Club

1.11.07: "I'd just like to know where it's coming from?" was all Susan Chi, editor of KGB BAR LIT managed to mutter between bites of a cold falafel she'd smuggled into the event. "IT" was the ring of someone's cell phone, the kind that wouldn't shut off because the person couldn't find it. Yet, in true KGB spirit, it was enough to launch a series of demands by John Hodgman, who was reading at the time. The ringing turned out to be a text message. "Tell me what it says," Hodgman requested from the girl who owned the cell. Deadpan. "Write back her back. Tell her, 'I can't talk right now because I'm interrupting John Hodgman's reading.'" This, after another rousing and well-attended Behind the Book reading series, held the second Thursday of every month at KGB.

"Blogging (and Clogging) is Such Sweet Sorrow."-- William "Clyde" Shakespeare

The night's dais, put together by Behind the Book's Executive Director, Jo Umans, included a tantalizing duo: Darin Strauss, author of the Siamese-twin blockbuster, Chang & Eng; and John Hodgman, whose trivia-skewering new book, My Areas of Expertise, along with his regular appearances on "The Daily Show," and his role as the "PC" in the "I'm a PC-Apple" television ads, has turned him into that rare cross-ventilating, American cultural icon.

The Illustrious Ms. Chi
The Illustrious Ms. Chi

But, I thought it was funny that even Strauss and Hodgman, given their ample creative powers, were powerless to combat the odd trance that befell them and the crowd once the wafting trumpet notes-which seemed to emanate from the depths (Hell?)-engulfed the room. That ringing. That intrusion of technology, I guess. Yet, ironically it was the very same intrusion of technology that thankfully brought the PC man here. Hmmm. Too much to think about. "It was as if I was sitting in my therapist's office getting grilled about my abusive mother," one male audience member remarked. The man's twitching fingers had trouble gripping his Blackberry as he continued. "Each note was like a dig into my past. It freaked me out."

Ms. Chi, who grudgingly admitted that she often gets a side of hummus to go with her falafel, has vowed to get to the bottom of ending future trumpeting. "We'll do the usual investigating," she said. "You know, surveillance, wire taps, cultivating informants. We will locate every source…" Her tense gaze undermined an assuring grin. "Each cell will be muted." What won't be muted, however, are the strong, fresh literary voices springing out of KGB BAR each night. Kudos, Strauss and Hodgman, you truly were fantastic. -- John McCaffrey.

The KGB Audience
The KGB Audience


This evening's reading will be available soon on podcast. Please stay tuned!

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