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Reading Series Census: Vapors

By on Tuesday, January 19th, 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.

Vapors series, photo provided by Melissa McDaniel

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
Vapors—the umbrella term for hysteria, mania, depression and other illnesses ascribed to women—is focused on historical concepts of madness and its treatments. The title also speaks to the nature of poetic performance, that it exists in a moment, that it can impact despite its ephemeral state.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
The series was founded and is currently run by Ruby Brunton and Melissa McDaniel.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Short prose, poetry, and performance art, although we are open to expanding to other mediums and genres.

What is the format of the series?
We invite 6-8 readers to read for ten minutes, with a short break in the middle of each reading.

Where does the series take place?
We move around. Our first reading took place at Silent Barn: a volunteer-run DIY venue and artists residency in Bushwick. Sadly, a fire destroyed part of their building in September, displacing their residents and damaging part of the performance space. We hope you’ll donate to their recovery efforts to help them get back on their feet.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
The series does not yet have a yearly schedule, but we aim for four or five readings per year.

How long has the series been active?
Since August, 2015.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
No official website yet, but you can find the info for upcoming readings on our personal pages: Ruby’s Twitter @rubybrunton & Tumblr, or Melissa’s Twitter @melissamcd29 & Tumblr.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
The majority of our readers are solicited. However, we are interested in hearing from talented new voices. Those who would like to read at a future event should attend the next Vapors reading and speak with us in person or email

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Vapors is still in its infancy. Our ultimate goal is to provide a platform for artists who struggle to find a place for themselves in the mainstream literary community, and a space to create and explore new work related to the theme.

What distinguishes the series from others?
Each event in this series is focused on a different aspect of madness, and we encourage our readers to explore this theme in their performances. We strive to feature diverse writers that have a unique perspective on madness and its implications.

The next Vapors reading is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at Babycastles and features Ruby Burton, Che Gosset, Melissa McDaniel, Muna Mire and Kristie Shoemaker.



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