March 22, 2019 | Lifestyle
“dear blueno,” a dramatic reading
not your average recitation
When I walked into the PW Upspace last Saturday, I was looking for a good time. And sure enough, Emily Tunkel delivered.
I came in with high expectations; I left with them exceeded. A crowd of around 30 people, all seated on wooden benches, seemed to agree, given the decibel level in the tiny room with dark walls.
When Tunkel took center stage, their audience waited with bated breath.
As they began to read (dramatically, of course), their performance was met with hoots of laughter and applause. Some audience members took ownership of the anonymous posts as they were read, others hooted in approval, some snapped, and some clapped. Overall, the soundscape was satisfyingly indicative of the success of the event—but it was not representative of the sheer grit and determination it took Tunkel to put together.
“I read through all 2500 of the posts,” Tunkel said, laughing. “My friend told me I wouldn’t do it, so I just thought, screw you, and did it to prove a point. It took two to three hours, but I was working at ResLife, and had a lot of free time in between.”
Like most great things in life, then, Tunkel’s reading was motivated by spite. Nonetheless, they did try to keep that very emotion out of the Upspace: “I tried to choose posts that were iconic, or funny. I didn’t want anything controversial. I only read out, like, two Buxton posts, and those were just funny ones.” Indeed, the audience seemed to approve one of these posts in particular:
“…You better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re f*cking dead, you domestic punk. I can be anywhere, anytime, and do drugs in over seven hundred ways. Not only am I extensively trained in doing coke….”
–A selected extract from post 807
The posts were well curated. However, post-curating wasn’t the extent of Tunkel’s preparation. They went the whole mile, even going as far as to buy a beret. “I’ve never worn a beret before,” they admitted, sheepishly. It was a stylish beret, nonetheless, so they chose well.
About the page itself, Tunkel acknowledged that it could be controversial, but also that “it’s important for people to have a place where they can voice their opinions anonymously.” As for their next reading, Tunkel isn’t sure when or where it will be—or even if it will be—but they’re toying with the idea of introducing more serious and controversial posts into the narrative.
“My goals for the next reading would honestly just be to have the same audience. You guys were a great audience.”
Now that’s what I call a hot take.