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Coach House new book launch takes on Dance Cave

October 5th, 2011 · No Comments

By Nathaniel G. Moore

Simulated party atmosphere at the Coach House Books event at the Dance Cave (529 Bloor St. W.), a change from the norm for the popular publishing house. Courtesy Evan Munday.

The fall is a maelstrom of literary frenzy: the International Festival of Authors, Giller and Governor General Award nominations, Word on the Street, and a flood of book launches. But where in this vast city do publishers tend to roll the dice with their new heady wares?

The Gladstone Hotel, Supermarket, Garrison, Parts & Labour and Dora Keogh are among favourites with publishers. This fall, however, the ever-radical Annex-area publisher Coach House Books, known for their well-attended and it-status seasonal launches, have switched things up from their usual location.

Instead of having their new books and authors showcased at Revival (783 College St.), they have moved their fall launch to the heart of the Annex and the most unlikely of venues: the Dance Cave (529 Bloor St. W.).

So what will happen on Wednesday, October 5 when worlds collide?

The literary community was aghast at first, because it’s such a dark and seemingly contrary space to your average, meek book launch crowd. When the news hit Facebook, the comments went flying: “So who is DJing the new-wave hits after the readings?” or “Book dance party? Hells yes!” and “Well spin my head sideways. Coach House launch at ol’ Dance Cave? I remember being in University, working at a bar near Brunswick and afterwards, writing poetry in an old notebook, heading over to the Cave for a drink and dance, blacking out to high heaven, met my wife Deborah there too,” wrote Ray MacClaghlan, a poet.

The announcement caused a minor ruckus within the book community as they teleported themselves to the dank dance floor. “I can’t wait to dance to “The Book of Love” by The Monotones, and other such literary hits at the Coach House fall book dance party,” said Laurie Fuhr, a poet and editor from Calgary.

“Not only will we have readings from all our fabulous fall authors, it will be in the Dance Cave, so you can relive the glory days of your youth—if you’re not currently still living them,” said Evan Munday, Coach House’s publicist. “Also, we’ll have a mini photo booth. It will be like the best wedding ever, but with fantastic readings instead of the usual boring speeches and vows.”

Munday says he is confident that the space is right for two reasons: size and emotional impact. “For a lot of people, this is the first club they went to and actually enjoyed. A lot of people have fond memories of The Dance Cave.”

With six books launching, the night should be a full dose of literary bravado and excitement, plus the temptation of stealing a few dances with the wallflower book community. According to Munday, some authors are making a trek to attend. “Leigh Kotsilids from Colorado, Hughes is coming in from Wales, and Sina and David are coming in from Montreal,” he said.

Former longtime Annex resident Jenny Sampirisi, (who also works as managing editor of Book Thug) will take the TTC from her new digs in Bloor West Village to read from her new book of poetry Croak.

“I am absolutely nervous. This is my second book, but it’s my first book of poetry. After so many years in the poetry scene watching some phenomenal books enter and exit the spotlight, I know how little time a book has to make an impression. I’m also honest with myself about the content of the book. I know not everyone will have encountered something like it before and so I feel the pressure of giving life to the pages through my readings and performances of the book. I’m working right now to create an onstage Frogirl persona.”

There will be a musical element to the night as well. Comedian, poet and musician Dave McGimpsey, and Rob Benvie from the band the Dears will launch Li’l Bastard and Maintenance, respectively.

“I can’t believe it’s been seven years. In my defense, I’ve been busy, even if the results only trickle out. I tend to keep multiple things on the go at the same time, which leaves some on the back burner in the meantime,” Benvie explains. “While working on this book I’ve also been working on a bunch of other things, which might be an inefficient process but it keeps the coals fuming, if you know what I mean. I also tend to aim ambitiously with writing projects and make more work for myself than I should.”

Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of Wrong Bar a finalist for the 2010 Relit award.

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