Two bald men make out in the back of a bookstore with the lights down low. It’s not the sleazy porn shop you used to frequent on lonely Thursday nights, however—it’s the Sexy Bald Men Reading Series at Kate The Great’s Book Emporium, an Edgewater bookstore decorated with a series of oil paintings depicting a young boy’s first erection.
An art-school girl with too much eye makeup jumps when Mr. Mug busts out of a back room in nothing but a pair of red polka-dot boxer shorts, clutching a can of Heineken. The hairy-chested, bald-headed Mr. Mug walks slowly to a black podium where his co-host, Bobby the Superboy, stands gawking. “Why, Max, are you half naked?” the chinstrap-bearded Superboy asks. “Well, I get a little nervous before gigs like this,” Mr. Mug responds, taking a gulp of his beer. “I’ve always heard imagining yourself in your underwear is supposed to help. I said ‘The hell with imagination.’ I’ll just show up in my underwear.”
After Julia Borcherts’ short story portrayal of a marriage failing to the homosexual infidelities of both partners and a Satanist-themed coming-of-age story from Mr. Mug, the featured reader, Ira Brooker, is introduced. Brooker reads his sobering fictive account of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath told through the eyes of a New Orleans mortuary worker. “But a lot of these individuals the animals found before the people did,” he reads.
Later, in salute to the cofounder of SBM, Richard Santiago, who moved to Philly last spring, Mr. Mug and the Superboy tongue kiss for a good ten seconds. (Lex Sonne)