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Reading Series Census: The Loaded Canon

By on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 9:04 am

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
The series is called The Loaded Canon, which plays on the fact that we offer folks a boozy good time along with a wide variety of work from emerging writers.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Yours truly (Nathaniel Kressen). I found myself doing a lot of events in the city as a reader and itching to take the setting and sound quality up a notch. More importantly, there are a number of talented writers who aren’t getting the crowds they deserve yet. I wanted to create a forum for them that embraced everything I love about the NYC literary scene, and that became The Loaded Canon.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Our writers perform everything – novel excerpts, short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, even theater scripts featuring a full cast of actors. The one requirement is that the work be raw and unpublished at the time of performance.

To close out each event, we have a local band perform an unplugged set, which has typically been a rare treat as we tend to bring on rock acts that would otherwise perform electric.

Taken together, I think The Loaded Canon’s emphasis on new, untested work has become one of my favorite elements of the series, getting to witness something special that may not happen in the same way again.

What is the format of the series?
The fine people at Brooklyn Oenology Winery Tasting Room curate a flight of wine and cocktail pairings inspired by the pieces being read. We work our way through the readings, spotlighting each pairing as we go, then wrap up with a set by a featured musical act. There’s typically a break or two along the way so folks can hit up the bar and flip through the books, CD’s, and vinyl being sold by that night’s artists.

Where does the series take place?
Brooklyn Oenology Winery Tasting Room, located at 209 Wythe Avenue off the Brooklyn L – arguably the classiest venue willing to throw top shelf spirits at a bunch of writers and musicians plying their latest, untested work.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
The series is performed anywhere from 2-4 times a year. To date we haven’t kept a regular schedule simply because I’ve been busy revising my second novel Dahlia Cassandra. Now that the book’s heading for publication, I’m eager to refocus on the series and get some killer lineups together.

How long has the series been active?
Since 2013.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
Our barebones website can be found at We’re actually testing out a teaser trailer for the next event. It may fall completely flat, but once again, go raw or go home.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
So far we haven’t had the bandwidth to receive unsolicited submissions but if that changes we’ll announce it on our site. To date though we’ve had good luck creating varied, dynamic lineups simply by calling on artists we admire from the local literary and music scene, as well as the larger membership of the Greenpoint Writers Group, of which I’m a core member.

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Classy venue + booze pairings + killer talent = Timeless.

What distinguishes the series from others?
The fun time we have matching drinks to the pieces is likely the right answer, but I also take care setting the best possible reading order. If an audience can have a similar experience at our events as they would listening to a mixtape – each piece flowing out of the one before it and into the next – then as a whole the performers are going to bring out subtleties in each others’ work that might not be picked up on otherwise. That’s one of the best parts about doing The Loaded Canon for me, getting to really dig into unpublished writing from these incredible artists, all the more so because the public-at-large hasn’t gotten a chance to fall in love with it yet.

The next Loaded Canon reading is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at Brooklyn Oenology and features Dallas Athent, Karen Lillis, Christian A. Nieden, Luke Ohlson, Isaac Oliver, and Joanna Valente.



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