In conversation with host Katherine Lanpher, Erlandson cited Jim Harrison’s Letters to Yesenin as an inspiration for the structure of his own book. The three poems that he read were free-associative and at times awkward in their imagery, referencing everything from the music of Epic Soundtracks to self-help books on tape to the aftermath of Cobain’s suicide. Though some of the poems’ images were memorable: “the Melvins doing life-threatening Vivaldi,” for one. Erlandson’s demeanor was , sometimes reluctantly offering memories of his time in Hole, at others offering manifestoes and charged aphorisms. (“Everybody talks about the puppet, but no one talks about the hand!”)
Throughout the night, Auf der Maur and Erlandson teamed for a total of three songs, including a Jacques Brel cover, and “My Foggy Notion” from her solo debut. Erlandson began the night playing banjo, which prompted Erlandson to quip that Hole had been “known for its use of traditional instruments.” The mood of the night’s conversation ranged from collegial to cathartic; though their time in Hole had brought the three former members together, all three seemed much more eager to discuss their current projects than revisiting the past — even if, for two of the three present, those lines are somewhat blurred.
Lanpher made an unintentional “live through this” pun partway through the night, which led to an uneasy pause, followed by some awkward laughter. And at the end of the evening, Erlandson and Auf der Maur closed things out with a cover of The Smiths’ 1987 song “Paint a Vulgar Picture,” alluded to in the last of his poems to be read. With its references to a dead rock star and reissued albums, the choice may have hit a little too close to home; then again, that was probably the idea.