First! The Corners of Their Mouth Zine is now available on Etsy! Get your copy today~ Half cookbook, half comic, 100% queer!
Death Rattle Writers Festival was so much fun, even if the drive was long as heck. We drove from Seattle to Baker City to Nampa, then headed out to Stanley for a trip to the hot springs, then back to Seattle, all in 3.5 days. I wanted to share some of my photos from Death Rattle as well as two amazing breakfasts we had in Nampa and in Stanley.
Death Rattle was born out of a hunger for more opportunity. It was born out of a frustration with the lack of unaffiliated, independent outlets for up and coming writers to share with a live audience. We are pushing the festival into existence so that aspiring writers have a place alongside professionals to celebrate their literary endeavors, and so audiences have fresh and compelling ways to look at themselves and their world.
The 2017 Death Rattle Writers Festival has developed into a raucous four day celebration of the literary arts: poetry, flash fiction, one act plays, hip-hop, short fiction, true live stories and more. The festival rolls through a variety of venues in Nampa, Idaho on October 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.
We believe that the Death Rattle Writers Festival represents a reverberation of raw speech and artistic opportunity in Idaho; lending voice to those in our community who are given little chance to speak. We want to make the invisible, visible. We want to make the impossible, possible. We want to make the unstimulated, stimulated.
We started our weekend at the Comic & Book Fair at Pre-Funk Nampa on Saturday. Death Rattle is primarily a writers’ festival, so there were a lot of poets in attendance in addition to artists and zine authors. It was a different vibe from Geek Girl Con for sure, but geeks and writers have a lot of overlap. I picked up a bunch of zines and I can’t wait to read them. We also asked our customers and colleagues to contribute to our “What is the queerest food?” list.
I can’t say enough about the positive queer-space atmosphere for the three events I attended: the Book Fair, Motherland: A Story Collage of Refugee Experiences, and the poetry reading Saturday evening, featuring keynote poet Serena Chopra, who blew us all away.*
Downtown Nampa is very cute, but I got the sense that people were staring at us. I’m not sure how much of that was “you aren’t from here” and how much was looking visibly queer/nonbinary. Once we got to our venues, we fit right into the rainbow of queer fashion, both subtle and loud. True fact: the three people in town I saw wearing lipstick were all part of Death Rattle. Nampa seems pretty similar to my hometown suburb in terms of the femme-o-meter, but I know what to expect at home; I don’t know what to expect in other towns.
Anyway, thanks to Pre-Funk Nampa for having a welcoming atmosphere and hosting the Book Fair. Thank you also for having a gender-neutral bathroom! The beer selection was excellent and the staff was very kind to us.
*We really wanted to go to the LGBTQIA event Sunday night but since we hadn’t been sure if we could get time off on Friday or Monday till the last minute, we didn’t budget our time to include that.
Flying M Coffee Garage
I especially want to thank Flying M Coffee Garage for being a beacon of light on a trip where literally every gas station we stopped in for gas and coffee along the way had some variant of Confederate-flag bumper stickers and cutesy anti-gun-control t-shirts (example: “I believe in gun control–I shoot with two hands”). By the end of the first day, we were super on edge because of the gas stations and all the staring and fretting about looking too queer/holding hands on the street. Then we entered the oasis of Flying M:: gender neutral bathrooms with collage art! Queer wedding cards! Sequin backpacks! A friendly atmosphere and lovely staff! I was so relieved.
Since we’d already eaten and had to leave right after for the poetry reading, we just got coffee, but we came back for brunch the following morning. Check out this housemade feast, which we got for $25:
2 yogurt bowls with blueberries and granola
Curry potato haystack
I can’t recommend this place highly enough, especially if you’re visibly queer and looking for food on the road. The food was incredible, and it was a feast for my little queer heart as well as my body.
Stanley Baking Company and Cafe
Robin planned a very nice mini-vacation for us in Stanley at the Mountain Village Resort, which is a hidden gem (please don’t tell the brogrammers). We had a beautiful scenic drive up to Stanley, which is in the Sawtooth National Forest, stopping frequently on scenic turnouts to enjoy the views.
Stanley has a population of 62 and is a off-the-beaten-path vacation spot for the warmer months. Our reservation came with one hour of hot-spring time per day, so we signed up for two slots: one the first evening at 7 pm and one at opening at 7 am the next morning. If you’re planning to eat in town, I’d recommend eating first or getting a slot earlier than 7 pm–we stayed in a little later than we meant to and the saloon closed at 9 before we could get drinks and dinner. We ended up having a beer, tea, and snacks in the motel and read more of The Night Watch.
The hot tub itself has a gorgeous view of the mountains–it’s in a shed with a couple single-stall changing rooms about a 5 minute walk from the hotel; up to 8 guests can be in at the same time. We got to watch the sun set in the mountains that night and then had a gorgeous view of the morning sun hitting the mountains the next day. The bath requires a bathing suit and is mixed gender. The water was the perfect temperature for the 13º F night.
Some of the folks from Boise whom we met in the bath recommended the Stanley Baking Co. & Cafe for breakfast. According to the other patrons, there’s usually a line out the door in the summer, but since we got there around 8:30 am in mid-autumn in 17ºF weather, we didn’t have to wait for long. Robin and I both ordered sourdough pancakes with eggs and bacon, which was a ton of food, just about right for a huge brunch before a long drive when we didn’t get to stop much for meals. Sourdough pancakes are pancakes made with unfed sourdough starter; neither of us had ever had them in a restaurant before, although Robin’s family makes them at home. The drive home was a bit stressful due to the timing, but I hope we can go back to Stanley for a longer stay next year.
Again, if you missed us at Geek Girl Con and Death Rattle, you can buy The Corners of Their Mouth (and Robin’s other art and zines) on their Etsy store here. We’re planning on writing a sequel sometime next year, and we’d love to know what sort of themes or recipes you might like to see!
Donate to Death Rattle Writers Festival here.
Donate or get involved with Geek Girl Con here.