The Furnace

One Writer. One Story. Read to completion (with vigor).

Excerpt from Anastacia Tolbert’s “The City”

by Anca Szilagyi

Anastacia Tolbert’s performance is next week at Hollow Earth Radio! Here’s a taste of her hybrid work “The City,” which takes Seattle as its main character:

you will take a week in this city to be a member of the i get depressed in winter club. you will wear your orange dress because the experts in the city say wear a spot of color, they say it with ginger in their mouths, like a mixture between eor and mary poppins.

Join us live at 2018 E. Union Street on Wednesday October 7th, 7 pm or tune in to at 7 pm PDT.11201865_1128279647201720_1500099205152925928_n

October 7: Anastacia Tolbert

by Anca Szilagyi


Join us Wednesday October 7, 2015 as we present Anastacia Tolbert’s hybrid work “The City” at Hollow Earth Radio from 7-8 pm.

“The City” takes Seattle as its main character, exploring a range of moods and personas through visceral, textured prose. Who is visible here, amidst the rain? Who has the right to belong? Tolbert explores the intersections and contradictions between what The City wants and what The City is, weaving us toward some kind of home. 

Anastacia Renee Tolbert is a queer super-shero of color moonlighting as a writer, performance artist and creative writing workshop facilitator.  She is Hugo House’s poet-in-residence and she has received awards and fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Jacks Straw, Ragdale and Artist Trust. Her Chapbook 26 (2015, Dancing Girl Press), is an abbreviated alphabet expression of the lower and uppercase lives of women and girls. Her one-woman show 9 Ounces debuted at The Project Room this year. 

This event is the second in the Furnace’s fourth season, riding the theme The Furnace Neighborhood, featuring work where setting plays a major role. The rest of the season will feature Seattle-based artists writing about or around Seattle: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and Christine Texeira.

Connect with the event on Facebook.

UPDATE: Tolbert will be joined by industrial improv group WINDOWSNINETYFIVESECONDEDITION!

Alan Sincic on Theater and Fiction

by Anca Szilagyi

Headshot.bmpOver on the Hugo House blog, Alan Sincic talks about the intersections of theater and fiction, and the mysterious shadow wall he will use in his performance workshop at Scribes, Hugo House’s teen writing program. He also gives us a taste of “Sugar,” the story he will perform at Hollow Earth Radio. Check out his delightful advice and insights, then join us on August 13 at 7 pm PDT!

Here’s that taste of “Sugar”:

Gotta be a word to capture the flavor of this whole enterprise – and by that I mean not Sugar alone, but every last one of us here strapped onto this whirligig of a planet. Rusted? Busted? Not broken irreparably – that would be too easy, no, but stuck. Stuck with a promise of perfection that’s always and forever just short of the means to fulfill it — the bow without the string, the crippled wing, the rowboat stuck out there in the middle of the meadow. It’s like we all been permanently epoxied into a shape that bears no resemblance to the dashing photo on the front of the box, to the set of instructions – Japanese, English, Hottentot, Urdu – slid up under the lid with (like a Gideon’s Bible at a stripper’s retreat) such a touching naiveté. A kludge, that’s what we are, every damn one of us

Letter Pressing Chapbooks with Bremelo Press

by Anca Szilagyi

Last week, Heather Jacob of Big Fiction and Corinne visited Lynda Sherman’s Bremelo Press to create the covers for “Sugar,” Alan Sincic’s chapbook. Here are some pictures from that fun day. Join us on August 13 at Hollow Earth Radio at 7 pm to get your hands on the lovely final product and hear the story spring to life with Alan’s performance!

August 13: The Furnace Artist in Residence Alan Sincic performs “Sugar”

by Anca Szilagyi

The covers of

The covers of “Sugar” being ferried from Bremelo Press, where Big Fiction is produced.

On Thursday August 13, 2015  we join forces with Big Fiction to present Alan Sincic and his story “Sugar” at Hollow Earth Radio from 7-8 pm.

Told in crackling prose, “Sugar” is the story of a “hobo” of a guard dog, a “veritable dynamo of decay” whose escape pulls her human companions from motel and factory floor to film drive-in and steamed up Coupe Deville windows–to contemplations of love. The performance will feature an original soundscape created by Seattle filmmaker Stephen Anunson.

Alan Sincic’s fiction roams the borderland between children and adults, poetry and prose, the page and the stage. He currently teaches at OCSA and Valencia College. He was the winner of Big Fiction’s  2014 Knickerbocker Prize and he’s performed most recently at The Orlando International Fringe Festival.

Sponsored by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Florida based writer Alan Sincic is the first recipient of The Furnace Residency, a partnership between The Furnace Reading Series and the Seattle-based literary journal Big Fiction to introduce a writer from outside Seattle to the community. This launches the Furnace’s fourth season, riding the theme The Furnace Neighborhood featuring work where setting plays a major role. The rest of the season will feature Seattle based artists writing about or around Seattle: Anastacia Tolbert, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and Christine Texeira.

Join us live at the Hollow Earth Radio performance space, 2018 A E Union Street, or tune in online at 7 pm PDT.

Connect with the event on Facebook.

This project could not happen without support from Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture. Thank you, OAC! We love you!

This project could not happen without support from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Thank you, OAC! We love you!

The Furnace Residency: A Collaboration with Big Fiction

by Anca Szilagyi


We are very excited to launch a new collaboration with the Seattle-based literary journal Big Fiction. Thanks to a grant from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Alan Sincic is the first recipient of The Furnace Residency. The project will introduce Alan to the Seattle literary scene and highlight the power of storytelling. Alan, winner of Big Fiction’s novella contest, will travel from Florida to perform a new piece with The Furnace Reading Series on August 13. He will partner with Seattle sound designer Stephen Anunson to create a multi media performance that merges literature and theater. An accomplished actor and teacher, Alan will also be leading a performance workshop for teens through Hugo House’s Scribes program the day before this event.

Alan Sincic’s fiction roams the borderland between children and adults, poetry and prose, the page and the stage. He currently teaches at OCSA and Valencia College. He was the winner of Big Fiction’s  2014 Knickerbocker Prize and he’s performed most recently at The Orlando International Fringe Festival.

Since both The Furnace and Big Fiction focus on expansive stories–literary works that have few venues in a landscape where brevity reigns–we’re stoked for this new collaboration. As the Furnace reaches to expand the richness of the Seattle community, nationally recognized Big Fiction looks forward to reaching more Seattle based writers and readers. This project will create a new opportunity for stories to come to life beyond the page. Alan Sincic’s performance at Hollow Earth Radio is free and open to the public. The youth workshop will take place before his performance and will encourage more youth to attend this all-ages event.

Please join us on Thursday, August 13 at Hollow Earth Radio!

Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher and the Shtick Figures

by Anca Szilagyi

In anticipation of Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s performance of “Fake Books” on Thursday, I asked her about her relationship to klezmer and writing.

AS: How did you get into klezmer? Does it influence or complement your writing? How?

LNR: I first heard klezmer music in college, living next door to a kibbutz. The kibbutz had a giant RV with “Merry Mitzvah Tank” lettering on it and it would park on our block and I could hear the music, but didn’t know what it was. I had played the clarinet growing up and had been exposed to classical, oompah, and the peppier cousin to oompah, the corridos of Northern Mexico and Texas. I am actually new to playing klezmer music; I found Bernice Maslan through an acquaintance at work; she is a musician and activist and director of several klezmer groups, as well as other genres. She hosts a monthly klezmer jam session that, when out performing, goes by the name Klez Chaos. She also created, designed, and maintains a website on the local klezmer music scene: Our ensemble for this performance is called The Schtick Figures and we come from all different traditions: classical and Baroque mandolins, Ukrainian music, klezmer, Sousa, jazz, and Irish music.

Music influences my emotional landscape and in that sense, it informs my writing. Klezmer, in particular, with the eastern modes and the proximity to the human voice, is moving to me, as well as, as they say on Bandstand, having a good beat that you can dance to :-) I am also interested in persona, or “schtick” and klezmer seems to me to strip away that outer layer, and that is what I’m trying to do in a written piece as well.

A Story Turned Rock Opera: Excerpt from “Fake Books” by Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

by Anca Szilagyi

Our next event, Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s story-turned-rock opera “Fake Books” is in just one week! Join us on May 14 at 7 pm, live at Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 E. Union Street, or online at Lisa’s bringing her klezmer troupe–get ready for tubas!

Here is a taste of what you’re in for:

Abstract: The anatomy of the Three Selves in the boom-and-bust town of Leavenworth, WA.


Background: “Everyone has three selves: the public self, the private self, and the secret self. “ —Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Results: The folk of the failing town pulled off an amazing feat of reinvention and risk; they restyled their entire, northwestern backwater town after a village in Bavaria. As the new facades, frontages, porticoes, and Mai pole were erected; a new public self was also constructed:  a persona, a version of the town meant for outsiders to view. It was a literal decision for two-facedness. Relative to the outside world, Leavenworth became a town that requires an audience.


Conclusion: In America’s Bavarian Village, one must don a costume, a dirndl or lederhosen, to work the tourist crowds. The secret life hides behind an extra layer of fake.

May 14: Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

by Anca Szilagyi

11061222_1032652336764452_2079847187134484052_oJoin us Thursday, May 14 for the story-turned-rock-opera “Fake Books” by Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher  from 7-8 pm  at the Hollow Earth Performance Space at 2018 A East Union Street. 

From the traditions of klezmer music, to the oompah music of her themed, facaded hometown of Leavenworth, Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s “Fake Books” explores public personas, secret selves, artifice, ardor, and amateurism in life, love, and art.

Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher is a writer raised in rural Washington State and now works as a copy editor in Seattle. She was recipient of the University of Washington’s Milliman Scholarship and the David Guterson Prize for fiction and has work published in Pacifica Literary Review and DIAGRAM. Lisa is currently working on a collection of collage essays about childhood in the small, Bavarian Village-themed town of Leavenworth, WA.

Join us live at the Hollow Earth Radio performance space or tune in at at 7 pm PST.

Call For Submissions: The Furnace Neighborhood

by Anca Szilagyi

We’re looking for  essays, fiction, and hybrid work that takes place in Seattle, particularly where the setting is a major aspect of the story. Though previously unpublished work is preferred, we will still consider work that has been previously published. Just let us know.

The Furnace takes place at Hollow Earth Radio, an independent radio station with a performance space. This is an opportunity to present your work in innovative ways. In what ways can the actual performance of the work enhance the written work? In the past authors have worked with musicians, vocalists, or created soundscapes that bring the piece to life. This is more than playing a song behind you as you read. It’s an opportunity to engage and tell a story, and as audience members, we can’t wait to listen.

To submit

We need a few things from you:

  1. A cover letter that explains ideas for performance and why The Furnace seems like the right venue for this piece.
  1. Please attach your story as a word document. Make sure your name, and word count appear at the top.
  1. Please include the genre and setting of the work in the subject line of your email. For example, “Fiction, Othello” or “Essay, Aurora Avenue” or “Hybrid, Cascade”.

Word count: between 4 and 6,000 words

Email to

DEADLINE: June 1, 2015


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