The Furnace

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

Tag: Buffy Aakaash

Buffy Aakaash on Poetry & Theater

by Anca Szilagyi

buffyAs we prepare for The Furnace Says Goodnight, Kyle Getz is interviewing Furnace contributors about their past performances. Next up is Buffy Aakaash, whose radio play “Last Night at Manuela’s” was generously supported by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Please join us at Hollow Earth Radio on Friday, December 2 at 8 pm for a special collaborative performance and party. Without further ado:

KG: You mentioned during your Q&A that you feel poetry and theatre share a metaphorical element. Can you talk about what this play, “Last Night at Manuela’s” represents to you?
BA: “Last Night at Manuela’s” was inspired by a poem I wrote called “Manuela’s Kitchen,” which was self-critical of my jaunts to Mexico, specifically one visit to a small palapa-style seafood restaurant run by an old woman named Manuela. Her son was a fisherman. Looking back on the experience I saw elements of myself as the annoying American tourist. But I also saw where beyond the clashing cultures there was a place we came together, and learned from each other. So, the poem was also in praise and in favor of a cultural intermingling that reveals the spirit that ties us all together, through laughter and sensual experience. I think that carried over nicely into the play. For the play to work, I had to find compassion for myself to avoid stereotyping the two main characters. So, the characters discovering and benefiting from an aspect of another culture they’d never experienced is an expression of self discovery in support of having compassion for oneself, and points to what can be learned when we step out of our cultural boxes.

KG: Looking back on your experience presenting your work at the Furnace, what stands out most to you?

BA: I could have done more to make “Manuela” into a radio play. I was concerned about maintaining the integrity of the stage play, but there are certain visual elements that needed to be understood. Fleshing out those visual aspects required the addition of either sounds or new lines for the characters. So, I guess what fascinated me most about the “Furnace” experience was the adaptation of a stage play for radio. It’s something I’d never had to do, but I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to think about the play in a new way. I also remember how I love working with actors on my own work, something that is generally frowned upon in the theater.


The Furnace Says Goodnight

by Anca Szilagyi

final-facebook-coverFriends! After a four-year run the Furnace will say goodnight. We are so grateful to the Seattle literary community. Join us on December 2nd, 8-10 pm at Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 A E Union St, or listen online live at

Party Details:

A performance of a single story
-Furnace writers are at work writing individual pieces that Corinne and Anca will weave into a single story and performed by the writers below, who we know you love.

Music Performances:
– Previous collaborators perform music
WINDOWS95SECONDEDITION (as seen with Anastacia Renee Tolbert)
The Shtick Figures (as seen with Lisa Nicholas Ritscher)

Contributing Writers and Performers:
Chelsea Werner-Jatzke
Lacey Jane Henson
Jeanine Walker
Catherine Smyka
Rae Diamond
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Alan Sincic
Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher
Aaron Counts
Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Anastacia Tolbert
Buffy Aakaash
Christine Texiera

Corinne and Anca love you forever but we are in our 30s and need to finish our books.

The series often gave a platform to writers who were not yet properly recognized in Seattle who then went on to become mainstays at other literary events. The series also gave a few well-known area writers the opportunity to innovate how they perform their work. With a desire to create a larger literary community, The Furnace invited readers from outside Seattle, such as essayist Brenda Miller from Bellingham, Kathlene Postma from Portland and Alan Sincic from Florida. Hollow Earth’s broadcast of each event created a new accessibility to readings that some people might not be able to attend and reached listeners across the country.

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About The Furnace

The Furnace Reading Series is a quarterly event that highlights one prose writer at a time. The Furnace is performed in front of a live audience and broadcast online at Hollow Earth Radio in an effort to integrate an ever spreading community. To complete the experience, audience members can hold the story in their hands with a professionally designed chapbook of the performer’s work.

Furnace History
Anca Szilagyi: August 2012 More Like Home Than Home
Buffy Aakaash: October 2012 The Last Night at Manuela’s
Rae Diamond: January 2013 Three Songs
Kathlene Postma: May 2013 Fetch
Lacey Jane Henson: August 2013 Trigger
Catherine Smyka: October 2013 Don’t Mess With Straight Girls
Nancy Jooyoun Kim: February 2014 My Piles
Brenda Miller: May 2014 We Regret To Inform You
Chelsea Werner-Jatzke: August 2014 Sweet Nothing: A Manifesto
Aaron Counts: October 2014 What Happened to Peace?
Jeanine Walker: February 2015 Polarities
Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher: May 2015 Fake Books
Alan Sincic: August 2015 (in partnership with Big Fiction and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture) Sugar
Anastacia Tolbert: October 2015, The City
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: February 2016, The Freezer Door
Christine Texeira: May 2016 Immanent Ghosthood

The Bushwick Book Club Presents Original Music Inspired by The Furnace – Video

by Anca Szilagyi

Back in March, we teamed up with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle for the APRIL festival. Three musicians wrote and performed three absolutely lovely songs inspired by the three pieces we’ve presented so far. Check out the videos here, and stay tuned for the recording of Kathlene Postma’s performance, which is still giving us chills.

At APRIL: The Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by The Furnace

by Anca Szilagyi

Come see us at APRIL’s Small Press Expo this Saturday, 11 am-4 pm at Richard Hugo House. We’ll have a table full of chapbooks and CDs from previous performances, and there’ll be a whole slew of other wonderful small publishers to check out. Annnd, be sure to see our event in the Hugo House theater 1:30-2:30. Musicians from the Bushwick Book Club Seattle have written original music inspired by the three pieces we’ve featured so far.

The performers:

Bradford Loomis marries grit and melody to dig to the roots of American folklore and speak of the raw reality of the human condition with soul, passion, and hope. Bradford will perform original music inspired by Anca Szilágyi’s story “More Like Home Than Home.”

On her critically acclaimed 2010 album, “Roses Guide to Time Travel”, Oklahoma native Nancy K. Dillon mapped the road West; the dusty highways that conjure up images like Kerouac’s road trips, traveling dustbowl carnivals, and free-spirited 70s hipsters. Inspired by Oklahoma/Texas troubadours Townes Van Zandt, Eric Taylor, and Kevin Welch, Dillon’s songs are short stories about the various characters that populate rural American life, as well as her own travels through the American West and beyond.  2013 will bring the release of Dillon’s latest creative sonic efforts in songs inspired by her exploration mapping her family’s origins throughout Scotland, Ireland, England and the New World on a brand new CD entitled “Game of Swans”. Nancy will perform original music inspired by Buffy Aakaash’s play “The Last Night at Manuela’s.”

Katrina Kope is a Seattle based singer/songwriter that has performed in and around the area for over 10 years as the Katrina Kope jazz Quartet, Soul/R&B with Soul Kata, and Reggae with Leisure Sounds and Roll:One. Currently, Katrina co-hosts the all improve “Sing it Live” Jam for vocalists at the Seamonster and is about to release an album with her pop/electronic band, Purr Gato. Katrina will perform original music inspired by Rae Diamond’s essay “Three Songs.”

The Last Night at Manuela’s – Video

by Anca Szilagyi

Video from Wednesday night’s performance of “The Last Night at Manuela’s” is available here. What a magical evening! Thanks to all who came down to Hollow Earth or tuned in online!

One format to another

by CM

The Furnace is this Wednesday, 6 pm at Hollow Earth Radio in the Central District. This time we are featuring a play “The Last Night at Manuela’s” by Buffy Aakaash. Something that is particularly interesting about his approach is that he is adapting the stage play to a radio play format. This is something that will be just as exciting to those in the audience as it will be to folks listening online.

What is that experience like? To take a piece of work meant for one format and then convert it to another? This afternoon, I got the author to weigh in.

CM: What are some of the things that come into consideration when you are adapting a play to a radio format? What do you imagine it will be like to watch that version live?
BUFFY: The main question that I asked myself in approaching the radio adaptation of “Manuela…” was, “What are the visual elements of the stage version that are crucial to the story being told?” For a listening-only audience, those things would need to be aurally fleshed out, either through added sound effects, or lines from the characters, commenting on the action going on. I used a little of both of those things. I think the excitement for a live radio studio audience is that they have the sense of being behind the scenes. They’ll be able to see me pushing buttons for the sound effects, and observe how the actors relate to one another in an un-staged reading. Of course, we’ll be adding some visual elements to give the studio audience a little something extra.

Morgan, Anca, and I will be talking to Buffy and the performers after to follow up on how this process turned out for them. Hope to see you there!

This Wednesday, October 3

6 pm

Hollow Earth Radio (2018 East Union Street–Central District)


by CM

It’s funny how the changes of the seasons go. In the summer it’s like work barely exists, we do the bare minimum, we party with friends, drink things in out door patios and look really good in sunglasses. In the fall people look real good in their sweaters and color coordination but we sure are busy. I know I felt like I got shot out of a cannon, but one of those really nice ones that lands you in a soft ball pit of readings and friends.

The Furnace is a week from today. That’s October 3 at 6 pm at Hollow Earth Radio. And it occurred to me that folks might need some encouragement to party and make it to a 6 pm event because here are the things that will happen:

  • You’ll actually get the same amount of work done as you would have if you bumbled around at work until 6.
  • Buffy Aakaash’s award winning play is beautiful and runs at about ten minutes, which means you get to go to all kinds of other events, like The Washington State Book Awards at Hugo House.
  • It means that you get to wear a cute outfit, and I promise that if you wear a cute outfit I will say so during the opening comments and then the whole internet will know that y’all are sittin there looking cute as hell.
  • This new book is going to have a yellow cover. Yellow is like the sun. The books, by the way, are available for sale at Elliot Bay, Left Bank Books and Bull Dog News. But if you make it to The Furnace on Wednesday October 3 you will get Buffy’s book first. You will have cred and bragging rights.
  • What better reason  is there to look good or look regular, or shlubby and drink Hot Chocolate and see a radio play happen live?

I can’t wait. Maybe my purse will match the chapbook.

Thank You Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs!

by Anca Szilagyi

We’re thrilled to be awarded funding from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs to support our next reading, Buffy Aakaash’s award-winning play “The Last Night at Manuela’s”. Buffy is adapting his play from stage to radio and will read alongside actors at Hollow Earth Radio before a live audience while Hollow Earth broadcasts the event on the internet during Morgan’s Martini Hour.  The play was first produced by the FUSION Theater Company as a winning entry in their annual short works festival, The Seven, held June 7-10, 2012 at The Cell Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Save the date: Wednesday, October 3, 6-7 pm (PST) at 2018 E. Union Street in Seattle or at