When corporate-backed music took over the airwaves, the only option for up-and-coming bands was to espouse the do-it-yourself credo that has now become de rigueur in the punk scene. Other art forms such as the cinema and the circus had similar DIY movements that went mainstream -- think the Sundance Film Festival and the Jim Rose Circus.
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Though literary folk have long been self-publishing poems and novels, there hasn't been a nationwide network of independent-minded writers, until the Perpetual Motion Roadshow, which Jim Munroe founded to "showcase and propagate indie press alternatives to Rupert Murdoch-style consolidation," as he writes on the tour's Web site.
Every month a revolving band of literary troubadours surfs couches, drives questionable cars, and fends off word-obsessed groupies. This month's trio packs seven appearances into eight days and includes Todd Dills, editor of Chicago's The2NDHAND, who explained in a phone interview that he and his fellow raconteurs are enduring the rock 'n' roll lifestyle because they realize that there's a "need for an outlet for independent press folks."
But this isn't your father's poetry reading. Dills performs an ever-changing free-form improvisation that he describes as a "medley of short experimental pieces" collected from The2NDHAND, including such interestingly titled pieces as "110 Milestones in a Future Life" and "James Joyce Truck Sales." His Toronto-based tourmates are Liisa Ladouceur, who unleashes "sign poetry" cobbled together from words she's photographed on roadside billboards, and Ryan Kamstra, who's the "heir apparent to the dissenting tradition in Canadian poetry," according to press materials.
Together these bookish heroes make up for all the Paris Hilton bios crowding our bookstores. We'll take up Dills' rallying cry of "Literate Apes Unite" and urge you not to miss this erudite show.
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