Backyard reading series this Sunday!

Published on .

Backyard 2: The Gentleman's Companion 

  • Sunday, January 18th
  • 4:30 pm
  • 917 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710  
  • (Follow signs to back gate. Do not knock on front door.)
  • Free, though donations of cash or beer will be accepted.
  • Gate opens at 4:30, readings commence at 5:00, conspicuous consumption and rubbing of tweed-clad elbows follow. Ornate foods and surprising cocktails will be served.
  • Internet RSVP at:


The Gentleman's Companion is a two-book set my father gave me. First printed in 1939, and written by presumed gentleman Charles H. Baker Jr., the set bears the tagline "Around The World With Jigger, Beaker And Flask." One volume proclaims itself "An Exotic Drinking Book," the other "An Exotic Cookery Book." That second one is dedicated to the author's own digestive tract. Between (strong, strange, and often off-putting) recipes are accounts of the author's extensive travels; there are encounters with Hemingway and Faulkner, dangerous run-ins with natural forces in unfamiliar places, and a heavy dose of self-assured American imperialist racism.

Taking this nostalgic, offensive, and beguiling document as inspiration, this reading will explore the theme of gentlemen and what it might mean to share the company of one. What defines a gentleman…money, position, character? What becomes of the people the gentleman encounters, employs, or exploits? What happens when the gentleman leaves the manor and heads out into the delicate, complicated, and ungentle world?

Reader Bios

Liz Acosta is a pink haired feminist from Los Angeles who is currently terrorizing the streets of San Francisco with her refusal to let catcallers get away with being jerks. When she's not breathing fire, Liz likes to write about the struggle of learning to love again after the trauma of childhood abuse. Don't worry, she's not totally mopey though…she likes to ride her bike around the city pretending she's in the Death Star trench scene from "Star Wars" and she is almost exclusively powered by coffee and male tears.

MK Chavez is the author of Virgin Eyes (Zeitgeist Press) Visitation, Next Exit #9 (with John Sweet) and Pinnacle (Kendra Steiner Editions.) Recent and upcoming work can be found in Eleven Eleven, This is Poetry, Culture Magazine and Zone 3. She has been a fellow at Squaw Valley Writers Conference, Antioch Writers Workshop and VONA. She is co-founder/co-curator of the Berkeley based monthly reading series Lyrics & Dirges and one of the organizers of the Berkeley Poetry Festival.

Peter Tieryas Liu is the author of Watering Heaven (Signal 8 Press, 2012), and Bald New World (Perfect Edge Books, June 2014). Bald New World was recently nominated for the Folio Prize, listed as one of Buzzfeed's 15 Highly Anticipated Books of 2014, and was one of the Best Books of Summer 2014 from Publisher Weekly in a star review. He has a variety of work published in places like the Evergreen Review, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, Kyoto Journal, New Letters, and ZYZZYVA. He has also worked as a technical writer for LucasArts, the gaming division of LucasFilm.

Joe Trinkle lives in Philadelphia. He attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for Writing and was a founding member of the Allentown Writers Workshop. His work has appeared in places such as Pear Noir!, Birkensnake, Atticus Review, The Bygone Bureau, Crack the Spine, New Fraktur Arts Journal, and elsewhere.