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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PLEASANT GEHMAN? 

Thursday, Feb 12 2009
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Love is a many-splendored, no-good, rotten thing, making Valentine's Day the most misery-inducing and suicide-provoking holiday this side of Christmas, so here are two local writers, Iris Berry and Annette Zilinskas, who'll leaven this weekend's oppressive gloom with considerable wit and a punk-rock–infused perspective. Iris Berry is a former member of the music/poetry troupe the Ringling Sisters and has released several poetry and short-story collections (Two Blocks East of Vine , Bad Blood & Bittersweets ) and spoken-word CDs ( Collect Calls , Life on the Edge in Stilettos ). While she's not a particularly lavish stylist, Berry captures the essence of the true, vanishing old Los Angeles in such poems as "The Garden of Allah" and "Hollywood & Blind," and charts the ups and downs of modern romance with deceptively simple, diary-like phrases ("My specialty/dramatic exits"). Her fellow Ringling Sister alum Annette Zilinskas might be better known as a fiery Linda Ronstadt/Wanda Jackson–style country-pop singer who was once an early member of the Bangles, but she's also an intriguingly talented, if frustratingly unprolific spoken-word performer. Zilinskas' short story "Grounded for the Summer" (from a 1993 Ringling Sisters single) is a funny yet casually insightful character sketch that deftly evokes the hazy daze of the late '70 by recounting her crush on a popular stoner dude at Mulholland Junior High School. "Yeah," she confesses, "I was a Val but with Huntington Beach potential." Stories Books & Café, 1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., Feb. 13, 8 p.m. (213) 413-3733.--Falling James Love is a many-splendored, no-good, rotten thing, making Valentine's Day the most misery-inducing and suicide-provoking holiday this side of Christmas, so here are two local writers, Iris Berry and Annette Zilinskas, who'll leaven this weekend's oppressive gloom with considerable wit and a punk-rock–infused perspective. Iris Berry is a former member of the music/poetry troupe the Ringling Sisters and has released several poetry and short-story collections (Two Blocks East of Vine , Bad Blood & Bittersweets ) and spoken-word CDs ( Collect Calls , Life on the Edge in Stilettos ). While she's not a particularly lavish stylist, Berry captures the essence of the true, vanishing old Los Angeles in such poems as "The Garden of Allah" and "Hollywood & Blind," and charts the ups and downs of modern romance with deceptively simple, diary-like phrases ("My specialty/dramatic exits"). Her fellow Ringling Sister alum Annette Zilinskas might be better known as a fiery Linda Ronstadt/Wanda Jackson–style country-pop singer who was once an early member of the Bangles, but she's also an intriguingly talented, if frustratingly unprolific spoken-word performer. Zilinskas' short story "Grounded for the Summer" (from a 1993 Ringling Sisters single) is a funny yet casually insightful character sketch that deftly evokes the hazy daze of the late '70 by recounting her crush on a popular stoner dude at Mulholland Junior High School. "Yeah," she confesses, "I was a Val but with Huntington Beach potential."
Fri., Feb. 13, 8 p.m., 2009
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