by Lenore LaNova
Since June, locals have been swarming to Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix for Bar Flies: A Monthly Reading Series. Last week, I made my way to the alleyway entrance of Valley Bar, the hippest addition to the downtown bar circuit to incorporate skeeball, for the event.
This month’s installment, curated by Amy Silverman, was titled “Eating Christmas.” Stories centered around the dishes that define our holidays. From the cookie politics of Phoenix’s historical neighborhoods to a drug-fueled Christmas caper, the participants shared a lot of laughter and even a couple of tears.
Amy Young kicked off the night with the tale of a hilarious heist involving holiday side dishes and crystal meth. Joy Young followed with “I’m Dreaming of a Meat Free Christmas,” a humorous examination of familial alienation and the love that keeps us coming back.
Robrt Pela’s “Cookie House” confronts tradition with panache as the author takes charge of a neighborhood bake sale and gets some surprising results. When Pela said, “Dolly Madison would have drank rat poison and flung herself off a bridge,” I wondered why we aren’t already best friends. Bossy perfectionists unite!
In “This Is All I Can Say with These Rules,” Tricia Parker creates a sense of continuity both in life and between Swedish meatballs and mathematics before Amy Silverman closed the evening with “Sincerely, Sophie,” a tribute to her daughter’s ongoing belief in Santa.
The stories were funny and moving; they held the audience entranced from the first performance to the very last. The next installment of Bar Flies takes place on January 7th. The topic for the evening is “9 to 5” so expected to be regaled with work-related antics until your sides threaten to split from laughter. More information on that event can be found here. For more information on Bar Flies head here.