Articles by

<Jonny Diamond>

02/06/13 12:29pm

Brooklyns Lit Scene

  • The magic of storytelling (and booze).

Dear Writer Types, (and those of you who know and/or love writer types)

With an elemental regularity not dissimilar to the annual flooding of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, our beloved short fiction contest, Literary Upstart, is happening once again this spring, for the ninth year in a row, in Brooklyn, New York. Specifically, at the most wonderful PowerHouse Arena, in DUMBO (go there now and buy books, you jerks).

In order for the contest to be its usual highbrow/lowbrow fun-time spectacular, we need your submissions of short fiction NOW. If we like yours, you’ll end up reading it in front of the fanciest NYC literary people who ever lived, all for a chance at fame and riches. For more details, see below.

Writers are encouraged to submit their previously unpublished short fiction (a maximum of 1,300 words). THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE FIRST READING IS APRIL 12TH, AT NOON.

Semi-finalists, fifteen in total, will be invited to participate in one of three readings, in front of a live, lively audience, and a panel of judges comprised of members of the local literati.

The three semi-final winners will advance to our final reading, where they’ll vie for a cash prize, and publication in The L Magazine‘s annual Summer Fiction Issue.

Submission guidelines:
Entries (please limit yourself to two submissions) should be polished little labors of love of no more than 1,300 previously unpublished words. Content, style, subject, et cetera is at the discretion of the writer.

Kindly email submissions as an attached Word document in a standard, 12-point font to:
literaryupstart [at] thelmagazine [dot] com and put the words “LITERARY UPSTART” in the subject line.

While curlicues and bubble fonts make us blush, they also make our poor eyes bleed, so please keep it simple and please double space. Please include your name, the title of your story, and your email address, at least on the first page your story and perhaps even on subsequent pages.

Last, but not least, please remember that the live readings are a major component of this competition, so if you’re not living in the NYC area or cannot arrange to be here for a reading or two in spring and summer, you may wish to reconsider submitting your work.

Happy Writing,

The L Magazine

12/28/12 12:20pm


As some of you may recall, we recently solicited the help of our readers in choosing a new sex writer (we just love democracy that much), because we couldn’t make up our minds about our shortlist. We had wonderful contributions from Aiden Arata, Marie Calloway and Lacy Warner. So, with just under 50 percent of the vote (certified by impartial UN observers), your winner, and brand new L Magazine sex writer is…

12/26/12 1:20pm

Inside The L Magazine newsroom: Is there an ass-fucking angle we can add, for the SEO?

  • Inside The L Magazine newsroom: “Is there an ass-fucking angle we can add, for the SEO?”

Yes, it’s time for our final stab at the kind of low-effort/high-yield, year-end, best-of stories that can be assembled written while hungover and sad and newly fat from too much Christmas. (If you must know, I’m writing this in a disheveled, gravy-flecked Santa suit I found in a mall bathroom during a whiskey break. If you must.)

The good news is that there are far fewer sex stories in this year’s top ten. Or maybe that’s bad news for you. Truly, though, it’s always good to see, when compiling a list based on pageviews, a nice variety of the kinds of stories you put out on a daily basis. WE’RE NOT SWITCHING TO PORN JUST YET, PEOPLE. Read on for the ten most important internet stories you will ever encounter…

07/16/12 3:23pm


As terrified as I am of the emails we are going to get, we here at The L Magazine are looking for a young Brooklynite who goes on dates, has sex, and is willing to write about the whole sordid mess. If this is you, please send us a brief bio, charming cover letter, and links to your smart, funny, angry perfect writing (SEND TO:


06/29/12 1:01pm


The Reverend Billy and his wonderful rabble-rousing choir return to the Highline Ballroom this Sunday, to raise awareness about the Spectra Pipeline, a gas-delivery system with its sights on Manhattan. Go. Have fun, learn, dance out your anger…

The L Magazine: Over the past few years, you seem to have shifted focus a little from the general perils/evils of consumerism to the environmental degradations of corporate greed, specifically mountaintop removal and fracking. Why the change? And what’s next?

Reverend Billy: You get this sense they think they’ll find industrial energy absolutely anywhere: “Excuse me, what is the device that is attached to my front door? Oh, you’re harvesting the flammable microbes in our breath?” Mountaintop removal and fracking and tar sands: these are dangerous, but they’re already so absurd that we will need remedial science fiction classes to get a handle on the nature of the crime. It shouldn’t surprise us that they don’t think about the end of the world—why would that occur to them? It’s too mundane.

You brought your message (and your choir!) to Europe recently—what was the reception like, and how would you characterize the difference between here and there, in terms of resistance and activism?

It is a cliche that New York artists continue to be popular in Europe. We go to the UK, to Germany, and Barcelona, mostly… After this Highline Show I’ll return to London. The thing that keeps it alive is asking the question? How can I be useful. We always call up the activists and just listen to them. You need an apparently unstable faux televangelist Elvis impersonator? How about an agnostic gospel choir that makes harmonies out of radical lyrics. You want us? Where do we report….

This show at the Highline coalesces around resistance to the Spectra Pipeline. Tell me about the link between fracking and the pipeline…

Natural gas is poison, not renewable, not a bridge to solar and wind energy. Fracking is killing the solar and wind industries. The Spectra Energy Corporation of Houston, Texas gets its money up front from JPMorgan Chase. It’s a company with a BP-like safety record of leaks and explosions. All the jurisdictions along the path of the pipeline, from Bayonne and Jersey City to the West Village community boards… they are opposed to high pressure flammable gas coming into kitchens, routing along highways, under playgrounds. The off-gassing of Radon will cause lung cancer in New York. The connection with fracking? This natural gas is from the fracking wells in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Explosions under idyllic farms, down in the shale formations, is piped into our homes, where the poisoning of our bodies mirrors the poisoning of the land.

What, so far, do you see as the central lesson/legacy of the Occupy Movement?

The courage of direct community. Nothing is as radical as a healthy community. Such a thing, like a lot of New York neighborhoods, is considered an under-exploited market and is slated for attack by chain stores and police. OWS created community in public space in the shadow of the banks. We were feeding each other, making media, loaning out books, drumming and dancing and performing, voting on our beliefs. Community as public—not hidden—life. It turned out to everyone’s surprise that this was the great protest form. It drove the banks crazy. Living in public.

What can we do to move beyond the seemingly infinite sphere of influence wielded by multinational banks?

Block them with community. Continue to create economies that don’t involve the banks at all. Move our money out of the casino banks, away from fossil fuel and fossil debt. Support CSAs, farmer’s markets, barter, swap, thrift and family businesses. This is going forward in a silent revolution, partly because we have to—there aren’t jobs. Of course, when the banks actively attack, as in the case of the Spectra Pipeline, we must be as articulate and flamboyant as possible, and in the tradition of American change, risk everything to survive.

06/07/12 4:00am

Courtesy Reanimation Library

Kings County is, first and foremost, a variety show: comedy, music, storytelling, artisanal mayonnaise… basically everything that’s good about Brooklyn, on stage, to enjoy (or on your radio dial!). Brought to you by the patron saint of Intelligent New York Media, Kurt Andersen, and the ringmaster of smart (and funny) news, Daily Show Executive Producer Steve Bodow, Kings County will showcase the best of the borough in three live-to-air shows this summer, starting on June 10, at Galapagos Art Space. We asked the aforementioned cultural impresarios just what the hell they were thinking…

The L: So, you guys seem like you’re already pretty busy. Why’d you decide to do a live variety show, of all things? Why Brooklyn? Why now?
Kurt Andersen: A lot of reasons. We’ve done a bunch of live versions of my radio show, Studio 360, here in New York as well as in LA and Aspen and Seattle, and I discovered I really liked live audiences. Studio 360 is all about deep conversations with and stories about artists and performers, and I hankered to be a ringleader of a show that’s all about artists and performers *performing.* As for Brooklyn, it means I don’t have to leave the borough. And finally, I’m in awe of Steve Bodow, and the opportunity to make something with him was irresistible.

Steve Bodow: Oh, Kurt. You say the least plausible things…

For me it was, firstly, a chance to work with Kurt, whose legend of course blah blah blah… except for real. He knows culture broadly and deeply and he knows funny. And when we first started talking about this it seemed our instincts—what we’d like to do with a radio variety show, and just as crucially, what we hated about radio variety shows—were completely in sync. Why Brooklyn? Kind of obvious—it’s where the cultural action is. Not always literally, but you know. Why now? Because¬†with Portlandia already having thoroughly ridiculed everything we’re talking about, the timing seemed right.

KA: Also, the paydays in public radio are huge.

05/04/12 2:17pm

We’ve long had a pretty airtight formula here at The L for working out the next person to die in the vaunted rule of Three Celebrity Deaths at a Time. So, it is with great dismay that we tell you the third point in the triangle started by Levon Helm and Adam Yauch is none other than… Tom Waits. Though I’m willing to take alternate suggestions.

(And if you think this is too soon or immature, it’s the only I know how to process grief: glibly, on the internet. I can still remember the time and place when I unwrapped Licensed to Ill—vinyl!—and threw it down on the turntable. This sucks.)

04/27/12 1:16pm


The very notion of bottle service conjures nauseating images of too-shiny suits, too-tanned decolletage and too-loud music. This is not the case at Hotel Delmano, where they’ve just started offering mini bottle service, in the guise of DIY cocktail assemblages, that you can mix and tipple at your leisure (a little gin, a little tonic, a little gin, a little gin, a little gin…). On offer are small bottles of gin, vodka, Fernet, bourbon and rum, alongside the appropriate mixes. I honestly cannot think of a better way to kill an afternoon. Oh wait, yes I can: mixing your own cocktails at the bar accompanied by THE PERFECT BOOK. With that in mind, here are my suggested book pairings with Hotel Delmano’s mini bottle service.