Tag Archives: Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood

An article I wrote is up on Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood

I love Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood; I think it’s one of the best on the Web, maybe because it’s so focused: it’s concerned with true stories that take place in New York City.

How Mr. Beller describes my piece:

“From Kobe, Japan to New York City (and Back Again)
As the young son of the American Consul-General to Japan’s industrial center, Meakin Armstrong endured anti-Vietnam War “Yankee, Go home!” protests, a best friend who hanged himself, and a sad lack of Frosted Flakes, for which Fruit Loops is no substitute. Growing up American in Japan must have seemed strange, but not as strange as coming home to encounter his own country for the first time, only to find out that he, like the Japanese, find the gaijin a little bit odious.”

I’ll be in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood on the 14th

I’ve been asked to participate in a reading tomorrow, the 14th. It’s for the Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood Reading series, at the Happy Ending Lounge on 302 Broome Street, at the intersection of Broome Street and Forsyth Streets.

Before going into details, I have to say I love the (I think) unintended pun on the Citysearch site, which calls the lounge the best new bar in the city, etc:

“Happy Ending’s former life was an erotic massage parlor and has now been transformed into a club with two floors, each with its own feel.”

From the publicity for the series:

We are very pleased to invite you and yours to the newest incarnation of the Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood reading series, beginning this Valentine’s Day (Thursday, Feb. 14) and continuing the second Thursday of every month at 8:00 pm. The location is Happy Ending.

Author and Open City Founding Editor Thomas Beller founded the Webby Award-nominated Web site mrbellersneighborhood.com in 2000. The site publishes stories about New York City life that follow in the tradition of Joseph Mitchell and E.B. White—slices of life, portraits of memorable characters, scandalous encounters with public decadence and heartwarming displays of civil courage.

Readers on February 14th are Laren Stover, Nora Maynard, and Meakin Armstrong. The host is Patrick Gallagher. The reading begins at 8:00 pm.

Nora Maynard’s work has appeared in The Rambler, CHOW, Apartment Therapy, and other publications. She has received fiction fellowships from the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center. In 2007 the Bronx Writers’ Center/Bronx Council on the Arts awarded her the Chapter One prize for an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Burnt Hill Road.

Laren Stover’s first novel Pluto, Animal Lover was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. She has written for The New York Observer, The New York Times, Bergdorf Goodman Magazine, Deutsche Vogue, and Bomb.

Meakin Armstrong is a screenwriter, magazine editor, and freelance writer working on his first novel, Kings of the Wild Frontier. Among the awards and grants he received is a “waitership” to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007. He is also contributor to the book, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (Dist U of Chicago Press, 2007) and is the fiction editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics (guernicamag.com).

Happy Ending is located at 302 Broome Street, at the intersection of Broome Street and Forsyth Street. The phone number is 212-334-9676

I smell children. . . (I’ve always loved this guy)

Those kids, it has always seemed to me, were damned insipid. They deserved everything they got. I remember thinking that when I was about six. They risked death for a lollipop.

Stupid kids.

I sighed through “Hushabye Mountain.” Still do. The world is no Hushabye Mountain, that’s for sure.

Anyway, the Child Catcher is a sort-of personal hero of mine, a great wallow in horror. The best character I know. He’s the boogie man, worse than a vampire, because he preys on children. And he rips them away from their parents. It’s so Anne Frank, really. How it must have terrified European parents in 1968, 23 years after the war. And note, too, that the parents dress in lederhosen.

Right now, I’m writing a short story about the Child Catcher, but am not quite pulling it off. . .

Interestingly, Ian Fleming didn’t pull it off, either.

His book, doesn’t even have the Child Catcher. In fact, it doesn’t even have the Baron; it’s a lackluster piece of hum-drumery of very low quality. Really, don’t bother. It’s just James Bond gadgets for kids. The family just rides around in France, for crying out loud.

I love it when movies are better than the book (Wizard of Oz, another one–there’s no Wicked Witch).

Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang was the second movie I ever saw (the first was something about a man who had befriended a shark). I saw it in some theater located on a high floor in Tokyo. I remember looking out the window in the lobby and seeing gigantic billboards. Below was all of Japan.

With me was my nanny, Miss Kim. I had no worries about Child Catchers in gentle Japan. If I was lost, it was easy to find my tall, Caucasian mother. My nephews, however, who grew up in South Carolina, were terrified by this scene.

Oh, their delicate horror.

On another note: Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd does “Hushabye Mountain.” It’s kind of Dark Side of the Rainbow.

Actually, THIS is Dark Side of the Rainbow

The background blah-blah

I’m a writer.


I’ve erased everything that was here because I found it so appalling.

I’ve never kept a diary (on a regular basis, that is) for the same reason.

I have had just about all I can take of myself. — S. N. Behrman

I write about books, movies, travel, and interesting people. I’ve written for both Maxim and Good Housekeeping (that’s a gamut), Reel.com, Time Out New York, Museums New York, Museums Boston, Four Seasons magazine, USAir Magazine, TV Guide, for a book called New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (2008, U of Chicago/Reaktion Books) and many others–most of which are not on the Internet.

I’ve been writing forever: I was an editor at my high school paper, and arts editor of my college paper, and even founded my school paper in 6th grade. I have an MFA from Columbia in screenwriting. My work has been (ugh) optioned. “Development Hell” it was. I also worked on countless short films. Such as this and this. I wrote and directed two sync-sound 16mm films that played such festivals as Chicago, and elsewhere.

I’m an editor for Guernica magazine , where I edit fiction, along with the occasional nonfiction piece.

I have blogged for Guernica HERE. Mostly the pieces are about Republicans. And they’re a rant. Yes, I know that.

Search my name, you’ll see I’m a signer of petitions (signed it–just one–in Union Square, unaware that it would be broadcast around the world.) And that I’ve written for magazines. Sometimes the stuff shouldn’t be on the Internet

Because I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it.

This shouldn’t be on the Internet either (because again, I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it).

Sometimes, it should

I write mostly because of these demons. They offered my a Faustian bargain: fun at school in exchange for 10 years of paying it off. Not on the internet: my fiction. That’s what I do. I’ve read here
and here

and here

and here

and here and elsewhere in little places around NYC.

I’ve also gotten a 2005 partial scholarship to Summer Literary Workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia.

and a 2006 Conference Grant
to here

And a “waitership” to Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007.

UPDATE: More about me in this autobiographical piece I wrote for the Web Site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, an essay called, “From Kobe, Japan to New York City (and Back Again)

Also have a few more stories out there on the Internet and a page on The Atlantic. This entry is an old one.