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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My First Trip to Cyberpunk Apocalypse

My first ever visit to Cyberpunk Apocalypse was on June 29th, 2014, and I didn't bring my camera. It was also a date, but I won't bore you with any of that boring romance stuff. Cyberpunk Apocalypse is "a cooperatively run not-for-profit organization dedicated to aiding and abetting writers and comic artists in Pittsburgh, PA and by extension the world". I had some trouble figuring out how to open the door, but after discovering the ability to knock it was all good. Former Rouper Seth LeDonne was there and my friend Tyler McAndrew was going to read; despite an unfamiliar space it was not at all alien.

The first reader was Laura Brun. She read some poems that dealt with feminist issues and working at a coffee shop. I really enjoyed all of these pieces. There was some vivid imagery of lying in the sun and a story about a creepy dude with weird teeth.

Tyler McAndrew, who I had toured Ohio with his band Toxic Parents, read second. He read six pages from his short story concerning a childhood friend who lived in a fictional reality of secret bunkers and runaway soldier children. They eventually got lost in the mountains and crossed a swamp via some old boards. Towards the end they entered the grey, whirring world of 90's internet porn/gore. This totally ruled! It was as if Tyler was a sleeper recalling a monthlong dream, despite a significant amount of truth and memoir to the tale.

Fiona Avocado, Cyberpunk's June visiting writer, read third, and seemingly last. She showed, via projector, panels from her comic/zine The Past Two Years. Based on the reading, the story seems to be about a woman who dreams about her own sexuality and how it might differ from what she would have expected it to be. The moon and a coyote feature as prominent symbols; the art is a stark black and white, influenced by print-making techniques. I bought both, the already released, The Past Two Years, and the new The Past Two Years Part Two. Check out her work here: http://fionavocado.com/ and read about the visiting writer program here: http://thecyberpunkapocalypse.tumblr.com/visiting.

Olivia Rose Mancing ended up reading last, being a second late (punk time vs. non-punk time [I've been guilty of this)]. She read two short works. The first story was about an ancient shoe repair store and the man who worked there, his skin made of 300-year old tanned leather, breathing air from an old world (sort of paraphrased from the story). Time passes and an accident occurs and the narrator questions some things she held to be true. The second story was much denser and I feel like I missed something towards the beginning, but it seemed to me to be hinting at a post-apocalyptic world, but the story used a lot of warm, family-ish imagery. Both of these were extremely well done; I'm not doing these real justice here

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