The redoubtable Ken Babbs introduced this reporter to local writer Gregory Daurer aka singer and songwriter Gregory Ego, who will be appearing as the second featured performer in the now monthly (every first Monday at 7) Them Punk Arts variety shows at Mutiny Information Café hosted by myself and attended by a smattering of ever more unpredictable types wandered in off the street or saw our ad on Facebook, beating drums, blowing pipes, performing magic, doing improve acting reading from Shakespeare or giving a lesson on plumbing. Besides being a singer and writer of songs who plays a mean guitar, Mr. Daurer is the author of A Western Capitol Hill, a darkly comedic tale of lust and avarice, set in the New West, complete with bad sex, bad drugs, and bad rock ‘n’ roll; it’s barbed satire as applicable to our recent national zeitgeist as it is to the Mile High City. Daurer will also be performing a few of his songs at the event. His guitar playing is jagged and even tempered.
“Denver deserves satire that doesn’t present the city in the best of light,” Daurer says. “My novel, A Western Capitol Hill, spotlights Denver in a fashion similar to how A Confederacy of Dunces treats New Orleans, Portlandia pokes fun at Portland, and the films of John Waters dish out the violent and trashy sides of Baltimore. Similarly, my music takes on themes familiar within my fiction writing: loss, dislocation, off-kilter ideologies. The songs are witty, acerbic visions of life on this wonderful–yet heartbreaking–Planet Earth.” The first thing that happens in Daurer’s book is linkage of present or near present day Denver ethos with that of the early dwellers by invoking the timeless train spine riding the same land from ever since, and the prairie dogs who’ve been watching with ears perked beside their burrowed out holes for the same length of time, hosting readers into the perfect timeless bubble to digest his brand of humor. Then a collection of both legally and illegally medicated local characters dish the mythos of Colfax Ave. longest street in the west from within the battered hull of an accursed number Fifteen bus. At which point, readers are introduced to a city worker named Rafael employed to administer hallucinogenic poison to deter pigeons from crapping on the State capitol. “It scares the other birds away when one of them starts freaking out for no apparent reason. The pigeon that’s tripping its brains out might recover. But many don’t.” Then we meet the Senator who appeals to Jehovah concerning his flat tire, and meet the sympathetic Garrett, who doesn’t feel sure about anything, really, but keeps on going, day by day, in search of any driving reason to continue. Antidepressant drugs? Therapy? A change in diet? Readers will find themselves pleasantly engrossed in these characters’ interplay and entertained by their absurdity, each life a pixel in America’s postmodern Big Show.
Daurer records music under the moniker Gregory Ego, in addition to participating on the sonic collaboration Reverend Lead Pipe & His Pipe-Wielding Swingers. As a freelance writer and photographer, Daurer has been published by Juxtapoz, Salon, 5280, Headpress, The Huffington Post, Draft, Culture, and High Times. His interviews with noted authors (T.C. Boyle, Tom Robbins, William Gibson, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs) have been reprinted by, or cited within, scholarly books and a documentary film. A Western Capitol Hill is his first novel.