215 Festival | 2006

This was the official website for the 215 Festival from 2002 - 2006.
Content is from the site's 2006 archived pages.

If you have inadvertently ended up here while searching for the 251 Festival go to their current website found at: www.215festival.org/


Welcome to the 215 Festival!

The 215 Festival is Philadelphia's own home-grown literary festival, celebrating writers and writing, both local and national. This annual event was created to capture the spirit of cutting-edge literature as a performance genre all its own. The Festival is a showcase for performers that are as smartly engaging as a book, and authors that are as fun to watch as a band.


About Us

What is the 215 Festival?

The 215 Festival is Philadelphia's own home-grown literary arts festival, celebrating writers and writing, both local and national.

Events at the 215 Festival include readings, shows, and "cross-pollinated performances" held citywide in audi­tor­iums, bars, museums, and theaters. The Festival is a showcase for performers that are as smartly engaging as a book and authors that are as fun to watch as a band.

The 215 Festival began in 2001 as a two-night showcase for contemporary writers at the Free Library of Philadelphia dubbed the "McSweeney's Festival." Organized by Neal Pollack of McSweeney's Books, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Rosenbach Museum & Library, the 215 Festival featured literary readings, musical performances, and unusual literary tours, drawing more than 1,000 visitors over the course of the weekend. The success of this ad hoc event inspired some of the original participants to organize a yearly festival that captured its spirit of creative, cutting-edge literature as a performance genre all its own.

Since then, the Festival has grown each year, now running for three to five days in October and expanding to many venues across Philadelphia. Attendance has grown to as high as 2,500. The list of literary figures that have filled the Festival’s program reads like a who’s who of the most challenging, creative, and interesting writers of the day: Sarah Vowell, David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Lethem, Harvey Pekar, and Patti Smith, to name only a few, performing with musical artists like They Might Be Giants and One Ring Zero. But in addition to bringing in top-rated talent from beyond the city’s borders, the Festival has also provided a showcase for the best of Philadelphia talent to perform, invent, and collaborate. Local writers have been showcased by Painted Bride Quarterly and the Philadelphia Independent, and performers have included Thaddeus Phillip’s Lucidity Suitcase, Headlong Dance Theater, and local bands like the Wayward Wind and EDO.

The 215 Festival is about this synergy of talent, looking at literature as a point of departure for artists who use language—whether written, printed, sung, or spoken—as their primary medium. The spirit of the Festival flourishes at the borders where literature comes into contact with other art forms. Our aim is to encourage exploration “beyond the margins,” with all that can mean for the visual, tactile, and performing, as well as literary, arts.

The 215 Festival is a non-profit (501c3) organization. All donations to 215 Festival are totally tax deductible. If you are interested in becoming a 215 Festival Sponsor, please email us at: info@215festival.com.

My take: For those people who appreciate the written, spoken and visualized word, this festival is for you. I was in Philly checking in on several restaurant businesses that order all their janitorial supplies from the company I work for, CleanItSupplies, a wholesale janitorial and office supply company. As a sales rep I am committed to providing my/ the company's customers with top quality service and discounted janitorial supplies. Periodically I check in with certain customers to get feedback and to introduce some new product. On this particular visit I was promoting several new commercial mop buckets that I thought would be suitable for these restaurants. One of the restaurant owners I have become friends with suggest spending the evening at the 215 Festival. We saw the actress and writer Amy Sedaris along with David Rees, creator of the political comic strip, "Get Your War On", and John Coulton, the musician, and composer. It was great. Since then I try to schedule my business trips to Philadelphia during the 215 Festival. Go if you have the chance.



215 Festival Board of Directors
Mike Barsanti
Mary Richardson Graham
Elisa Ludwig
Sara Goddard, Past President (2003-2004)
Erin Mooney
Neal Pollack, Founder Emeritus
Arij Faruqi, Consigliere

2006 Festival Programmers
Jamie Bowers
Pearce Combest
Brendan Keegan
Laura Neuman
Sharon Thompsonowak

The 215 Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Samuel S. Fels Fund



2006 Schedule

The 215 Festival runs from October 5 through 8, 2006. This schedule is subject to change.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

215 Festival Kickoff:
Amy Sedaris WITH John Hodgman, John Coulton and David Rees

7 pm, Free Library of Philadelphia, 19th & Vine Streets, FREE

Multi-talented actress and writer Amy Sedaris will present her new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, with John Hodgman, host and curator of "The Little Gray Book Lectures," and author of The Areas of My Expertise. Also appearing: David Rees, creator of the political comic strip, Get Your War On, and John Coulton, musician, composer, and musical director of "The Little Gray Book Lectures."

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret at L'Etage

9pm, L'Etage, 2nd floor of Beau Monde, 6th & Bainbridge Streets, $10

Kick back at the official Kickoff after-party with the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, a bizarre monthly assemblage of Philadelphia's finest musicians, actors, chanteuses, and one-legged chickens, all led by Pig Iron Theatre Company's 6'4" (6'8" in heels) Dito van Reigersberg. This month's cabaret will welcome special guests The Walking Hellos, whose four Brooklyn musicians include Myla Goldberg, author of the bestselling Bee Season, and Val Opielski, whom Philly musicheads will remember from Krakatoa and the Lost Art of Puppet Orchestra. The cabaret will also feature a performance by those strange Philly kids, the Absinthe Drinkers, who spawn catchy, original songs from works of literature ancient and modern.

Bambi Gallery: Blush

5:30-9:30 pm, Bambi Gallery, 1817 Frankford Ave. (Fishtown), Philadelphia, FREE

Blush is... a sudden reddening of the face, a glance or look, a rosy wine, pink lady's rouge and so much more. At Bambi Gallery's opening for the art exhibition, Blush, artists explore language and show us all the things that one word can be.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Face Gut: Honeymilk Gallery

5-9 pm, Honeymilk Gallery, 37 N. 3rd St., Old City, FREE

It's First Friday, time for Face Gut - a collaboration between artists A.J. Purdy and Jason Hsu, combining their individual obsessions: stylized intestinal forms, and totemic face drawings. Often aiming toward an anti-aesthetic, Purdy and Hsu's drawings range from meticulous to crude and combine base of humor with subversive morbidity that is intricate, graphic and psychedelic. In conjunction with the 215 Festival, Honeymilk celebrates the bound book with a little library of zines by various artists including Face Gut visionaries Hsu and Purdy.

It With Flowers: Big Jar Gallery Opening

6-9 pm, Big Jar Books, 55 N. 2nd St., Old City, FREE

Curator Damian Weinkrantz presents an exhibition of visual storytellers featuring Jim Houser, Martha Rich, Mat Brinkman, Keith Shore, Andrew J. Wright, Keith Greiman, Joel Holland and Kyle Field.

David Ezra Stein Reads a Bedtime Story

7 pm, Molly's Bookstore, 1010 S. 9th St., South Philadelphia, FREE

Hey Kids! Come hear a bedtime story just like an old-fashioned radio show. Children's book author and illustrator, David Ezra Stein, will be present his new picture book, Cowboy Ned and Andy, as a live performance complete with music and sound effects. Come in your pajamas if you'd like, and join us for cookies and milk before going home to bed.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Volunteer with Books Through Bars

11am-3pm, Books Through Bars, 4722 Baltimore Ave., West Philadelphia, FREE

Start the day with a good deed! Help Books Through Bars sort and pack books to send to incarcerated people.

Taller Puertorriqueno's 20th Annual Book and Craft Fair

1-5 pm, Taller Puertorriqueno, 2721 N. 5th Street, North Philadelphia, FREE

Nuyorican poet, Victor Hernandez Cruz, will present his most recent poetry collection, The Mountain in the Sea, which incorporates Spanish and English as well as Arabic and North African traditions. Plus, storytelling, stilt-walking, local and Puerto Rican artisans, and workshops for the whole family. Also, the region's only fully bilingual bookshop will be open to explore.

Plan B. Press Showcase at Robin's Bookstore

2-4 pm, Robin's Bookstore, 108 S. 13th St., Center City, Philadelphia, FREE

Plan B Press peels back and inspects the layers of language as writers Jim Mancinelli, Sandy Crimmins, Ryan Eckes, and stevenallenmay read new work. Experimental synths, tapes, mixer, and horn from West Philadelphia's Rain of Belle Isle. Plan B Press is dedicated to publishing, promoting, and presenting the work of authors at the beginning of their careers.

Hobart Release Party

3-5 pm, Big Jar Books, 55 N. 2nd St., Old City, Philadelphia, FREE

Release party for the winner of Hobart's Short Flight/Long Drive Books minibook contest: Michelle Orange's The Sicily Papers, as well as the new issue of Hobart: Another Literary Journal. Michelle will read from the series of letters, written while traveling alone through Sicily. Readers will also include Hobart #6 contributors Douglas Light, Curtis Smith, Catherine Zeidler, and Hobart editor, Aaron Burch. There will also be a raffle and boombox!


Art Talk with Artblog and Friends

6 pm, Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street, South Philadelphia, FREE

Artblog creators, Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof, talk with other Philadelphia artists and independent organizations about the relationship between blogging and their projects. Also contemporary artists, Zoe Strauss and Mark Shetabi, discuss what it's like to be the subject of critical writing.

Comics! Comics! Comics!

4:30-6:30pm, Rocket Cat Cafe, 2001 Frankford Ave., Fishtown, Philadelphia, FREE

The editors of the comics journal, Comics Comics, present a conversation with Pshaw, David Heatley and Lauren Weinstein. Pshaw is the author of Strings Heatley is the author of Deadpan and Weinstein is the author of Inside Vineyland. Plus, a performance by artist Matthew Thurber and a guide to Comics Comics by Dan Nadel, Timothy Hodler and Frank Santoro. On exhibit at Rocket Cat: comics art by Alina Josan and Aaron Modavis.

Readings From the Abyss

7:00pm, Germ Books + Gallery, 308 E. Girard Ave., Fishtown, Philadelphia, FREE

Local talents will read selected literature (ancient to modern) about sinister things. From De Sade to Snodgrass, from Nietzsche to Crowley, the "banality" of evil will be thoroughly disproved. "When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you," but frankly we don't care.

Polly Wants a Murder: NYC Writers Mimic the Masters

9:00pm, Fiume (above Abyssinia), 229 S. 46th St., West Philadelphia, FREE

Writers are shape-shifters, changelings, chameleons. Philadelphia's own Kate Clifford along with NYC writers John Wray, Owen Kendall, Phil Kreniske and Adrian Van Young take this principle to a whole new level as they inhabit forebears from Stephen King to Jane Austen to explore the dark side of the human heart. Skullduggery, double-crossings and murder most foul will be the order of the day. No P.I.'s, no Homicide Squad and absolutely no children, unless, that is, they've read their Brothers Grimm.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Lovingly Bound: Small Press Book Fair and Reading from Soft Skull Press

1-5pm, Rosenbach Museum and Library, 2008-2010 DeLancey Place (between Pine and Spruce), Center City, Philadelphia, FREE

Shop for books, each one independently published and lovingly bound, at the 215 Festival's Small Press Book Fair. Browse tables from indie publishers, including Soft Skull Press and Philly's own Active Bladder, and stock up on bags, buttons, bookmarks and other literary-themed goods from local crafters. At 4pm, catch a reading by three Soft Skull authors, Jen Benka, CAConrad, and Mark Swartz.

Word On Sound: Readings from Robert Christgau and Francis Davis, with music by Jack Rose

3-5:30 pm, A.K.A. Music, 27 N. 2nd St., Old City, Philadelphia, FREE

"The Dean of American Rock Critics", Robert Christgau and jazz critic, Francis Davis will share from their careers in music writing. Plus a special performance by Fishtown's own Jack Rose, who blends American blues and folk styles with Eastern and Western elements. Catch these genre-defining voices in American pop culture and leading figure in the Weird American folk-blues scene on stage at A.K.A. Music for an afternoon of wit, constructive criticism, and of course -- music.

Amateur Spelling Bee and Festival Wrap Party, Hosted by April DeGideo

8pm-midnight, Tritone, 1508 South Street, FREE to get in, $5 to compete

A-P-P-O-G-G-I-A-T-U-R-A. We promise not to make it that difficult. Come celebrate the closing of the 215 Festival. Compete in the amateur spelling bee, hit the dance floor, or just sit back, have a drink and root for your favorite bookworm. The spelling bee will be hosted by word wiz and Ambler, PA native, April DeGideo, who was featured in the documentary Spellbound. The winner takes home a bundle of books and CDs from our performers.




Jen Benka

Jen BenkaJen Benka, author of the award-winning indy comic book Manya, combines poetry and politics in her work. She has worked for the National Abortion Rights League and co-organized a major reading in protest of the Occupation of Iraq during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. She has published poems in The Progressive, Ms. Magazine, La Petite Zine, Failbetter, Unpleasant Events Schedule, Tarapulin Sky (forthcoming), So to Speak, and Off Our Backs, and was the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Mat Brinkman

Mat BrinkmanMat Brinkman was born in Texas; lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He outputs various arts: printmaking, sculpture, film, music and became a comic artist who depicts lots of monsters, as can be seen in his comic MultiForce, a few of which are collected in Teratoid Heights, published by Highwater Books. Mat Brinkman is a founding member of the artist group Fort Thunder, a member of Forcefield (which showed at the Whitney 2002), publisher of the influential, (and free!) comic paper Paper Rodeo, and soundmaker with the band Mindflayer.

Aaron Burch

Aaron BurchAaron Burch is the editor of the literary journal Hobart ("Another Literary Journal") and has stories upcoming in Quick Fiction and Monkey Bicycle. He would like to hang out with you.

Robert Christgau

Robert ChristgauRobert Christgau, the architect of The Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll, book author, and self-proclaimed Dean of American Rock Critics, is as much an originator of the often-hysterical form as he is a practitioner.

photo credit: Julie Xanthos/The Village Voice

Kate Clifford

Kate CliffordKate Clifford grew up in Hell's Kitchen when it was still seedy. She has chased that elusive seediness to South Philadelphia, where she enjoys riding bikes, drinking coffee and talking to her neighbors.

C.A. Conrad

C.A. ConradC.A. Conrad's childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He escaped to Philadelphia the first chance he got, where he lives and writes today with the PhillySound poets. His books Advanced Elvis Course and The Frank Poems are forthcoming. He recently co-authored The B. Franklin Basement Tapes with Frank Sherlock for NEXUS Gallery in Philadelphia. C.A. Conrad will read from Deviant Propulsion.

photo credit: Greg Fuchs

Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan CoultonJonathan Coulton's songs about pedantic zombies, lovelorn evil geniuses, and depressed software engineers have made him a real life internet superstar. For the past year he has written a new song every week and released it for free as a podcast called "Thing a Week." In his spare time he is musical director for "The Little Gray Book Lectures" and Contributing Troubadour for Popular Science magazine.

Sandy Crimmins

Sandy CrimminsSandy Crimmins is a poet who has peformed with musicians, dancers and fire-eaters at bars, bookstores and festivals like the 215 and the Fringe. She has published poems in print, literary web zines, and anthologies including String Theory with Plan B Press in winter 2005.

Francis Davis

Francis DavisFrancis Davis, contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic Monthly, and jazz critic for The Village Voice has written for a variety of publications on subjects ranging from Hoagy Carmichael to the Velvet Underground. He is quite possibly the unflashiest journalist working - a rare honor right about now.

Ryan Eckes

Ryan Eckes Ryan Eckes is a poet, born and raised in Philadelphia. He currently studies and teaches at Temple University. He has a chapbook of poems that take place in the city forthcoming from Plan B Press.

Roberta Fallon

Roberta FallonRoberta Fallon has been art critic for Philadelphia Weekly for the last seven years and Philadelphia correspondent for artnet magazine since 2000. She has written for Art on Paper, Art Review, Art and Antiques and Azure magazines, and for the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine. Fallon has written numerous catalog and book essays. In 2003 she co-founded roberta fallon and libby rosof's artblog. She and Rosof have been collaborating artists for 17 years.

Kyle Field

Kyle FieldKyle Field lives the nomadic life, traveling throughout the west coast performing music under the moniker 'Little Wings'. He has been drawing for his whole life. He intends to keep drawing, making forts or costumes or dolls.

Jim Houser

Jim HouserJim Houser's paintings are the system by which he actively catalogs the images and noises which command his attention. His interests include: listening to the cadence of speech. science and science fiction. sickness and disease. plants and animals. sport. time travel. ghosts. the art of children. secrets. radio. codes and code breaking. words that sound beautiful and mean something terrible, words that sound horrible but mean something wonderful. codes and code breaking. He is a founding member of Space 1026, a Philadelphia-based artist collective. Gingko Press has published a book cataloging his life in the arts, called Babel, was published in 2005.

David Heatley

David HeatleyDavid Heatley is the author of My Brain is Hanging Upside Down, a collection of dream, portrait, and diary comics to be published by St. Martin's Press in the fall of 2007 and Overpeck, a short, dream-like graphic novella to be published by Fantagraphics Books. His comics and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney's, Kramer's Ergot, Nickelodeon Magazine, The Drama, Bette Noire, Denver Quarterly and MOME. His comic book series, Deadpan, was recently nominated for an Ignatz award.

John Hodgman

John HodgmanA frequent guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and public radio's This American Life, John Hodgman is the author of The Areas of My Expertise, an astounding compendium of faux truths. Dave Eggers comments, "His world is similar to our world, but better in that its geography is crossed by magic and hoboes and lies so odd and bold and true that they may even qualify as fiction." The host and curator of the eclectic literature and music series, "The Little Gray Book Lectures," Hodgman performs on stages nationwide and his writing appears in McSweeney’s, The New York Times and The Believer.

Jason Hsu

Jason Hsu Jason Hsu achieved full-grown height in the suburbs of Boston. One time, when he was 10 years old, he overheard a conversation between his older brother and cousin about condoms and thought they were having a discussion about conjoined houses. When he is not performing the monumental task of maintaining his composure he is making art. Currently Jason resides in Philadelphia.

Alina Josan

Alina JosanAlina Josan draws in Philadelphia, where she's lived for a long time, although people are always reminding her she has a Romanian accent.

Owen Kendall

Owen KendallOwen Kendall, a 24 year-old Canadian-American brought up in Pullman, Washington, is a man who hopes to one day be known as someone who could write and teach. He recently completed a bad first novel, a decent collection of short stories, and is at work on a novel length novella.

Phil Kreniske

Phil KreniskeFabulously obsessed with purple howler monkeys, belgian dark chocolate and the color blue, Phil Kreniske grew up in NYC. He composed a collection of short stories titled Choice Works, A Chrestomathy. Kreniske continues to write and publish online. Once or twice he went to the moon, rode an elephant and raced a cobra on a scooter. Only two of the last three statements are true.

Douglas Light

Douglas LightDouglas Light is the author of the novel East Fifth Bliss. His writing has appeared in Hobart, The Morning News, the Alaska Quarterly Review, failbetter, and Pindeldyboz. His fiction won an O. Henry Prize, and was selected for the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003.

Jim Mancinelli

Jim MancinelliJim Mancinelli, reborn at fifty, is a jazz-hound with Baroque ears, Beat eyes, and a touch of Zeppelin for color. He is the author of Primer (Squirrel Baby Press) as well as In Deep published by Plan B Press in 2004. Jim also published two poetic political broadsides, A Bundle of Sticks, and A Proud Son Writes Home, both are indictments of the Bush administration's policies and the oppression of the GLBT community. Jim has two-ongoing series of poems: one informed by the work of a true trip-master, Salvador Dali, and the other a series on aging, which continue to grow in number. Jim lives in Philadelphia.

Steven Allen May

Steven Allen MaySteven Allen May is a poet and performance artist. Creator of Bardfest in Berks County, PA and founder of Berks Bards, he also co-founded Plan B Press in 1998. May is the author of Plastic Sunrise (2003) and the assembler of Spontaneous Chili (2001). His next book, Sleeping Alone with Someone Else, will be released this year.

Aaron MoDavis

Aaron MoDavisAaron MoDavis was born in Bethlehem, PA in 1980. He has always drawn pictures of himself. He does free lance illustration and comics from time to time. He will be dead by 2070, easy. Probably buried in some crappy cemetery.

Michelle Orange

Michelle Orange Michelle Orange is a frequent contributor to McSweeney's and is the editor of "From the Notebook: The Unwritten Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald", a story collection appearing in Issue 22. Her essays have appeared in Salon and Best Sex Writing 2006, and her criticism appears regularly in The Globe and Mail and The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Brooklyn.


Pshaw is a Boston-based cartoonist and the author of books including Strings.

A.J. Purdy

A.J. PurdyA.J. Purdy grew up in beautiful Delaware. He enjoys making absurd drawings and zines, is a former member of the art collective Space 1026 and presently is living in Treviso Italy for a yearlong Graphics Program at the Fabrica Institute. It is believed in A.J. Purdy's past life he was no one important, so he really needs to make up for it in this one.

Rain of Belle Isle

Rain of Belle IsleRain of Belle Isle is the layered sounds of Dominic on synths and Sebastian Petsu on a mixer, cassette decks, and French horn. Through close listening to one another they create a variety of improvised ambient soundscapes ranging from haunting minimalism to dense chaos and ugliness; often within the same performance. Their influences include German techno, Italian horror soundtracks, black metal, and the peripheral sound within the rooms where they perform.

David Rees

David ReesDavid Rees’s profane and irreverent political comic strip, Get Your War On, is seen by millions of readers online, in Rolling Stone, and other publications weekly. Biting satire coupled with a keen news sense are the hallmarks of Rees’s clip-art comics, which skewer both politicians and the media with dead aim.

Martha Rich

Originally from Philadelphia, Martha Rich lived the typical, suburban life - until she followed her husband to Los Angeles where, just short of a picket fence and 2.5 children her average American life unraveled. To cope with divorce, fate lead her to an illustration class taught by the Clayton Brothers. They persuaded her to ditch the pantyhose world, quit her human resources job at Universal Studios and join the world of art. She graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design and is currently based in Pasadena obsessively painting undergarments, wigs, lobsters, and Loretta Lynn. Murphy Books has published a book featuring her inspired sketchbooks and paintings.

Jack Rose

Jack RoseJack Rose is a leading figure in the New Weird America folk-blues scene, and member of acclaimed psych-drone group, Pelt. His incomparable guitar style conjures ecstatic bursts of Robbie Basho, Henry Flynt, and John Fahey. Like Francis Davis, he is one of Philadelphia's living treasures.

Libby Rosof

Libby RosofLibby Rosof and Roberta Fallon created artblog in 2003. The now influential blog grew out of a 17-year collaboration as artists, which earned the pair commissions for public, temporary installations as well as a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts SOS grant. Rosof was founding editor of the Penn Current, the award-winning UPenn campus newspaper, and she has been a free-lance writer since 1972. Publications include the Pennsylvania Gazette, Ms. Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Frank Santoro

Frank Santoro was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His publications include Chimera, Incanto, Storeyville and Cold Heat. He lives and works in New York City.

Amy Sedaris

Amy SedarisThe multi-talented Amy Sedaris is many things: actress (Comedy Central’s Strangers with Candy, Sex and the City), film star (Bewitched, Maid in Manhattan), and yes, David Sedaris’s sister. The movie version of Strangers with Candy, in which she stars alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Philip Seymour Hoffman, recently played at your local theater. In I Like You, Sedaris serves up hospitality with a twist and includes the recipes for her popular cheese balls and cupcakes, sold at Joe Coffee in Manhattan.

Mark Shetabi

Mark ShetabiMark Shetabi creates installations and paintings that investigate the boundary between public and private space. The work contains multiple layers of representation, and a confusion of the model and reality is a desired end result.

image: Emergency Exit Staircase, MDF, plywood, acrylic, styrene, fluorescent lights and peephole lens, dimensions variable, 2004

Curtis Smith

Curtis SmithCurtis Smith's stories and essays have appeared in over forty literary reviews. He is the author of a novel and two collections of short-short stories. His next novel, Between Sound and Noise, should be out in early 2007. His new story collection will be released by Press 53 in late spring, 2007.

David Ezra Stein

David Ezra SteinAt age three or so, David Ezra Stein would grab any available adult by the hand and say "Wanna go to my room . . . read books?!"

26 years of doodling and daydreaming later, he works as an author/illustrator in his native New York, and has five original picture books on the way: the Cowboy Ned & Andy trilogy with Simon & Schuster, and two books with Penguin Putnam.

Zoe Strauss

Zoe StraussZoe Strauss is a Philadelphia photographer and installation artist.

photo credit: Roberta Fallon

Mark Swartz

Mark SwartzMark Swartz is the author of Instant Karma (City Lights, 2002). His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, The Believer, Bomb, Bookforum, the Chicago Reader, and other publications. Originally from Chicago, he lives in Forest Hills, Queens, with his wife and daughter.

Matthew Thurber

Matthew ThurberMatthew Thurber is an artist and musician living in Brooklyn. His comics have appeared in such publications as The Ganzfeld, Kramers Ergot, and The Drama, as well as numerous self published editions.

Adrian Van Young

Adrian Van YoungAdrian Van Young was born in Texas, which he often puts forth to explain his height. He has taught and developed two fiction workshops at the Brooklyn non-profit 826 NYC, crime and horror, respectively. He is midway through an epistolary novel entitled, The Immaculate Birth of Concepta Obregon, a magical realist exploration of the Dirty War in Argentina, and finds his hope and inspiration from the works of Cormac McCarthy and Edgar Allen Poe.

The Walking Hellos

The Walking HellosThe Walking Hellos are four Brooklyn musicians with eight instruments between them and a taste for mixing things up. A swirling vortex of guitar loops, plucky banjo, sweet vocals with a short temper and an accordion with a private dreamlife combine with vibrant bass, driving drums, and hip-shaking baritone guitar grooves to create a raucous blend of gorgeous, brainy music. The Walking Hellos are: Myla Goldberg (author of Bee Season), Val Opielski (Krakatoa, The Lost Art of Puppet Orchestra), Rose Thomson (Babe the Blue Ox, M Shanghai Band), and Heather Wagner (American Pistil, John Watts, Megababe, The Big Sleep).

Damian Weinkrantz

Damian WeinkrantzDamian Weinkrantz is an artist/curator residing in Philadelphia. His own work is heavily influenced by literature, science, history, comic books, sexual desires and general stomach churning anxiety. His work as a curator has been to provide new/younger collectors with affordable art from higher profile artists; artists both local and from around the world.

Lauren R. Weinstein

Lauren R. WeinsteinLauren R. Weinstein is the author of Inside Vineyland. In 2004, she received an Ignatz award and began work on a graphic novel with etchings called The Goddess of War. The story involves the title character quitting her job because wars are so confusing these days. Her comics and illustrations have appeared in Glamour, McSweeney's, The New York Times, LA Weekly, The Chicago Reader, The Stranger, Kramer's Ergot, Hotwire, Legal Action Comics, Scheherazade, and The Ganzfeld. Lauren has started work on a sequel to Girl Stories, tentatively titled Calamity. Her interests in music have led her to become the front woman in the band Flaming Fire.

John Wray

John Wray's first novel, The Right Hand of Sleep, was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and the winner of a Whiting Writer's Award. Canaan's Tongue, his second novel, has just been published by Vintage Contemporaries. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

Catherine Zeidler

Catherine ZeidlerCatherine Zeidler's fiction has appeared in Hobart and often appears scattered all over her bedroom floor. She has an MFA from the University of Michigan, works for the United Nations and lives in Brooklyn.





Media Room

Read (or listen to) what the media has said about the 215 Festival:

Lively Lit
Philadelphia Inquirer, Saturday, October 8, 2005

Writers and cartoonists, storytellers at literary fest
Philadelphia Daily News, October 7, 2005

Fall Book Quarterly '05
A multitude of articles about this year's 215 Festival. Check out "Lit From Within," the cover story about local literary magazines that will all be featured in Sunday's "Local Literary Voices" 215 Festival event at the Tritone. (The adjoining rundown entitled "Journal-isms" gives an overview of many of those magazines as well.) In "Honoring the Code," A&E; Editor Lori Hill profiles highlights from the Festival, and she interviews Editor-in-Chief (and "Bullets, Bylines, and Beer" Guest Curator) Duane Swierczynski. Tami Fertig explores "Jewish Exponents," which features Sunday's "Heebs in the House" event. And, for a little nostalgia, Zadie Smith, who headlined the Festival back in '03, is interviewed by Patrick Knowles.
Philadelphia City Paper, October 6, 2005.

Philadelphia Weekly, October 5, 2005

"The Trouble With Spikol: Renowns and Verbs"
Philadelphia Weekly, October 5, 2005

Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane
"The future of literature" with participants in the 215 panel "Formats Are For Losers." October 4, 2005. (Requires RealPlayer--go about 20 minutes into clip to find the beginning of the panel.)

Make Way for the 215 Festival
Philly Future

Roots Maneuver
Philadelphia City Paper "Artspicks," September 29, 2005

Managing Director Celeste DiNucci--video interview
Philly1.com, September 28, 2005 (Requires QuickTime)

Book ’Em
Philadelphia Weekly, September 29, 2004

My Novel Wants to Kill Your Mama - The 215 in 2003
Philadelphia City Paper, October 2, 2003

The 411 on 215
AAA World, October, 2003

Lit Up
Philadelphia City Paper, October 10, 2002
The 215 Festival has also been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, Metro, and on the radio on WHYY and WXPN. 

The 215 Festival is supported in part by The 215 Festival has also been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, Metro, and on the radio on WHYY and WXPN.  
The 215 Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Samuel S. Fels Fund

215 Festival - Remember reading?