Sep 132012
Drunken! Careening! Writers!
Kelli Dunham
Anne Elliott
Thaddeus Rutkowski
Sarah Schulman
Virginia Vitzthum
Reading Cheryl B.
Thursday, Sept. 20, 7pm
85 E. 4th St. FREE
cheryl Cheryl Burke was a journalist, poet, performer and playwright who came of age in the vibrant 1990s East Village art scene. Her performances at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, the National Arts Club, P.S. 122, St. Marks Poetry Project established Burke as a young luminary and during her career she performed at venues throughout the US and abroad. Her work was published in Ping Pong, BUST, KGB Bar Lit, Go Magazine, Velvet Park, and dozens of other journals and magazines, and anthologized in Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007), Reactions 5 (Pen & Inc, 2005), The Milk of Almonds: Italian-American Women Writers on Food & Culture (Feminist Press, 2002), The World in Us (St. Martins Press, 2000), Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache (Alyson Books, 2004), His Hands, His Tools, His Sex, His Dress (Haworth Press, 2001), among others.  Burke was a graduate of both New York University and The New School. She passed away at the age of 38 from complications related to treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My Awesome Place is her first book.


Kelli Dunham ( is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer nerd comic. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011 and author of four books of humorous non-fiction. Kelli has performed nationwide at LGBT pride events and even the occasional livestock auction. Both her comedy CDs, “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” and “Almost Pretty” are on regular rotation on Sirius Satellite Radio’s mainstream comedy station and she has appeared on Showtime and the Discovery Network. Kelli recently returned from a 12 day, 10 city tour of the Southern States via Megabus which included a 2 AM encounter with a pick-up truck full of homophobes in a Montgomery Alabama Speedy Check Cashing Parking Lot and an even scarier encounter with Sarah Palin. Kelli’s third comedy CD “Freak of Nurture: Why Is The Fat One Always Angry” is making its mad, mad way to a New York release this fall.

Anne Elliott has performed her poetry (with and without ukulele) at Lincoln Center, The Whitney Museum (with the Beats show), PS122, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s, and other venues.  She was a listed notable in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007, and her fiction has appeared in Hobart, Pindeldyboz, Opium, and other litmags and anthologies.  She blogs on writing, urban homesteading, and feral cat management at

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the novels Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. Haywire reached No. 1 on Small Press Distribution’s fiction best-seller list. Both Tetched and Roughhouse were finalists for a Members’ Choice Asian American Literary Award. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA. His writing has appeared in The Outlaw Bible of America Poetry and The New York Times. He was awarded a 2012 fellowship in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright and nonfiction writer. Her most recent books are The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to A Lost Imagination (U of California Press), Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences (The New Press), The Mere Future, a novel (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the forthcoming ISrael/Palestine and the Queer International (Duke University Press).

Virginia Vitzthum has written for publications including the Village Voice, Ms., the Washington City Paper, ELLE, alternet, Time Out New York, the Huffington Post and was a columnist for and for (as Emily Matewell). She’s also written two books, a play, and a screenplay; worked with several theater companies; and edited many publications. She currently edits Represent, a national magazine written by and for youth in foster care.


Official Publication Date October 23, 2012


cheryl's book cover

Topside Press imprint Topside Signature has announced that October 23, 2012 will be the official release date of My Awesome Place: The Autobiography Of Cheryl B. The autobiography offers a rare authentic glimpse into the electrifying arts scene of New York City’s East Village during the vibrant 1990s, through the eyes of the young writer during her rise to prominence as the spoken word artist known as Cheryl B.

In the months following her death, members of Burke’s close-knit writing group, who had met continuously for nine years, worked to compile her drafts, essays and emails into a completed manuscript which was eventually synthesized into its final form by Burke’s close friend, novelist Sarah Schulman. The book’s narrative, from a liminal space between fiction and memoir, tracks her struggle to translate her working class New Jersey roots and define herself as an artist against the backdrop of an unforgiving city, a series of disastrous girlfriends and boyfriends and an intense, intimate relationship with drugs and alcohol. By the time Burke emerged, sober, in 2001, she had witnessed-and made major contributions to- one of the most remarkable artistic transformations that New York City has ever experienced.


Order online or at your favorite independent bookseller.
Drunken! Careening! Writers! is a reading series based on the proposition that all readings should be by: 1) Good Writers; 2) Who read their work well; 3) Something in it makes people laugh (nervous laughter counts). And 15 minutes tops.For more information, email, visit, or follow me on Twitter @kwarnockny.

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