The After Show Blog

Spillers № 6 came around just when we all needed it. Whether it was post-election blues or holiday depression that needed eradicating, tonight’s short fiction performed its exorcism duties admirably. There were laughs and drinks (maple bourbon sours were mixed especially for the event by the fine bartenders at Crescent Ballroom) and great readings to be had. We like to think every person in the enthusiastic crowd of literature lovers walked away feeling a little better about the state of things.

The Spillers № 6 lineup was a mix of grizzled writing veterans and relative newcomers. And two of our Spillers–Justin Bigos and Erin Stalcup–made the trip from Flagstaff. And one of the Spillers was our own co-host Brian Dunn. Here’s who read what:

All of the stories were published in the Spillers № 6 chapbook along with the bonus story “Dead Man’s Revival” by Portland, Oregon-based author Susan DeFreitas.

If you couldn’t make it to downtown Phoenix Tuesday night to lift your spirits, the award-winning Spillers After Show podcast will do it for you. Come Monday we’ll start publishing the Spillers № 6 readings and exclusive interviews with the writers behind those stories.

Big thanks are due to the following folks for their help in making Spillers the must-see event it is:

  • All the good folks at Crescent Ballroom who are a pleasure to work with and incredibly flexible in response to our multitude of requests.
  • Event photographer Andrew Rogers.
  • Podcast sound editor Steve Wiesenthal.
  • Every Spillers alum from event № 1 to № 6 for braving the stage and bringing their best short fiction.
  • Wonderful and passionate and committed fiction fans like you who have embraced Spillers (and us) from the start. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Whew! That feels good.

Spillers hit its stride in 2016, and we’re already working feverishly on creating a bigger and better Spillers for 2017. Keep your eyes and ears open for what comes next, and we’ll see you for Spillers № 7 in the spring.


We’d like to claim Spillers № 5 embodied everything we envisioned Spillers could be when we launched it one year ago, but the truth is tonight exceeded any expectations we might have harbored in the beginning.

After Spillers № 1, nothing foreshadowed that in the next 12 calendar months, Spillers would:

  • Put a total of 29 talented Phoenix-area writers on stage in front of packed Crescent Ballroom crowds
  • Launch the Spillers After Show podcast with 32 episodes and iTunes distribution and inclusion on Phoenix New Times’ “10 Phoenix Podcasts You Have to Hear” list
  • Publish 3 Spillers chapbooks (№ 3, № 4, and № 5) containing the short stories read on each of those nights
  • Prove definitively that world-class fiction is being consistently produced right here in Phoenix

To celebrate, we had cake. More importantly, we also assembled a Spillers № 5 lineup of talented and prize-winning writers to read some phenomenal short fiction:

We weren’t the only ones with milestones on our minds. Mike McNally closed out the evening with his moving short story/meditative essay–written expressly for this event–commemorating his son leaving home for college.

And you great Phoenicians came out to experience it all. 150+ of you, a number unheard of for fiction readings. You bought the tickets, drank the Spillers cocktail (“The Crescent Royale”), and bought the chapbook. We love you, unabashedly, and appreciate the affection you’ve always shown Spillers.

Big thanks are due to everyone who helped make № 5 a must-attend event, so huge shout outs to:

  • Jake Friedman and Kelsey Pinckney from Four Chambers Press who facilitated author introductions, laid out the chapbook, and manned the merch table–thanks, guys!
  • All the good folks at Crescent Ballroom who are a pleasure to work with and incredibly flexible in response to our multitude of requests
  • Event photographer Andrew Rogers
  • Podcast sound editor Steve Wiesenthal
  • Every Spillers alum for braving the stage and helping build the event to what it is today

As much as we like seeing where we’ve been, our eye is fixed firmly on the future. Spillers № 6 is already a go for December 2016 and includes Spillers’ own Brian Dunn reading a new short story. It’s gonna be another great night for Phoenix and its flourishing literary scene. See you there!


Spillers № 4 proved Phoenix both a great city for literature and a great city, period.

First, the great literature part.

Fiction-hungry Phoenicians came out in droves to pack Crescent Ballroom’s expertly-appointed main room. The biggest Spillers audience yet had the good fortune to hear:

The Spillers were tremendous, the stories great, and the atmosphere incredibly supportive and receptive. To be there was to experience why Spillers has quickly become Phoenix’s premier short fiction storytelling event.

Highlights from Spillers № 4 include:

  • Selling out of the Spillers № 4 book that features each story read that night
  • Quaffing the super delicious Spillers cocktail (the “Pastor Lemonade“) mixed especially for the event by Crescent Ballroom’s barkeeps
  • Paul Mosier reading from a scroll (a scroll!)
  • Choosing Matt Bell’s walk-on music for him (listen to Matt’s live reading podcast episode to hear what we mean)
  • Spotting Spillers alums Ed Tankersley, Leah Newsom, Ed Kearns & David Nicol in the crowd

Now, the great city part.

Phoenix has rallied around Paul Mosier and family for his seven-year-old daughter’s fight with cancer. Paul is one of the original six writers from Spillers № 1, and it was an easy decision to donate Spillers № 4’s ticket sales proceeds to the Harmony Mosier GoFundMe campaign. Phoenix is populated with people who step up when friends and neighbors need it, and we’re proud to live and work among such generous folks.

Of course, such a special night doesn’t happen without a ton of work from dedicated individuals. We’d be remiss if we didn’t offer up big thanks to:

  • Dina at Crescent Ballroom for making the venue look so damn good
  • The Four Chambers duo of Kelsey Pinckney and Jake Friedman for manning the merch table and assisting the book printing
  • The entire Crescent Ballroom staff–bartenders, door people, sound guy–for being friendly and professional
  • Andrew Rogers for snapping all the photos
  • Steve Wiesenthal for editing the podcast

(Couldn’t make it to Spillers № 4? The Spillers After Show podcast has your back with soon-to-be-released episodes of the night’s live readings, plus exclusive author interviews with each Spiller. Joel Salcido’s reading of “Spirals” will drop on May 9th. After that, it’s a new podcast episode each week until Spillers № 5 in August.)

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who came out to support both Phoenix short fiction and Harmony Mosier. We’re honored to share with you some of the great literature being generated right here in our good city. Your attending the event, buying the book, and listening to the podcast makes it all possible.

The tremendous response to Spillers № 4 has us redoubling our efforts to make Spillers № 5 (August, 2016) the best thing we’ve done. We hope you’ll come along for the ride. See you there.


Spillers № 3 was a happening. So much so, we’re still basking in the euphoria of it.

The crowd that braved a chilly (by Phoenix standards) night to pack Crescent Ballroom witnessed a turning point for Phoenix’s premier short fiction event and were treated to the strongest top-to-bottom lineup of writers we’ve ever assembled:

  • Keith Rawson — “Temporary Man of the House”
  • Troy Farah — “A Curious Animal”
  • Ed Tankersley — “Until This Is Over”
  • Leah Newsom — “On Walking Downhill”
  • James David Nicol — “Wings”
  • Patrick Michael Finn — “The War in the Rack”

If you missed hearing these tremendous stories in person, the Spillers After Show podcast has you covered with soon-to-be-released episodes of the live readings (Keith Rawson reading “Temporary Man of the House” drops on February 8).

Spillers № 3 was also a night of firsts.

The Spillers № 3 book–the print version of the stories told–is our initial foray into publishing. It’s a limited edition (as of this writing, only a few remain) so get your copy before they’re gone.

We packed the ballroom at Crescent (the lounge could no longer hold us) with a standing-room-only crowd of short fiction fans.

After the show, we interviewed every writer for the Spillers After Show podcast. It was a blast. These episodes drop starting February 15th.

As if all the above new stuff wasn’t enough, mixologist Ryan at Crescent Ballroom created a delicious cocktail–the Spiller, of course–specifically for the event.

Whew! It’s easy to see why coming down from this one is going to take a bit.

Big thanks are in order:

  • To Dina and Andy and everyone at Crescent Ballroom
  • To our event photographer Barry Satterfield and Steve Wiesenthal, our podcast sound editor
  • To the writers who made Spillers № 3 a must-see event (we love you guys!)

And, of course, a huge thank you to everyone who came out to show their love for short fiction in Phoenix. It’s our honor to share the immense literary talent in our own backyard with all of you. Thanks for buying the book, listening to the Spillers After Show podcast, and just being so damn cool.

We’re not about to rest on our laurels. Spillers № 4 is booked for Monday, May 2nd, and we already have novelist Matt Bell (The Scrapper) and short-story wizard Tara Ison (Ball) signed up to spill. You don’t want to miss this one.


What could possibly complement attending Spillers and hearing Phoenix, Arizona’s most accomplished writers read their best original short fiction live?

The  Spillers After Show podcast, of course, where we (Brian & Robert) interview the same writers who graced the Spillers stage to find out more about them, their stories, and their unique writerly journals. It’s lively, fun, and always interesting–a must listen for any fan of short fiction. And the best part? You don’t even have to be in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona to enjoy it.



Spillers № 1 was a big, beautiful blur that left a warm afterglow of accomplishment in its wake, but it was a blur, nonetheless. There was a lot going on for your intrepid podcast hosts (Don’t know us? Hi, I’m Brian. That’s Robert over there.)

That night, we performed both emcee duties and read original short stories of our own. Spillers № 1 was the very definition of “Hey, kids. Let’s put on a show!” and the results were fantastic.

Spillers № 2 was all about introducing six new local authors to the same type of great audience that came out for Spillers № 1. And the night was a tremendous success. Another great crowd filled Crescent Ballroom’s lounge, and each writer brought his or her best stuff. Here was the lineup:

Ed Kearns – “Write Me Wrong”

Connor Rickett – “Coin Toss in a Diner”

Ryan Myers – “Out of Time”

Kelsey Pinckney – “Crying on My Birthday”

Gary Joshua Garrison – “The Husband of a Galaxy”

Ashley Naftule – “Sing for Your Supper”

Thanks to the above very talented writers for sharing their work and everyone who came out or otherwise helped out.

And if you missed Spillers № 2, you’re in luck! Spillers № 3 is happening on February 1, 2016. That’s the Monday night before (thankfully not after) the Super Bowl. Come out to Crescent Ballroom. Show starts at 8 PM sharp. We’ll be looking for ya.



It was an unqualified success! Spillers № 1 is in the books, and we couldn’t be happier with how the thing turned out.

We read our own original short stories and four additional local authors followed suit, offering up their best prose. The lineup was as follows:

Troy Darling — “Deke’s Prize”

Taylor Laura Jablonowski — “Clumsy, Unsure, Mildly Repulsed”

Robert Hoekman Jr — “Paint, Sandpaper, Futility”

Penelope Padmore — “The Blue Cheese Incident”

Brian Dunn — “Spit Take”

Paul Mosier — “Trip or Treat”

The lounge at Crescent Ballroom in beautiful downtown Phoenix, Arizona hosted the event, and we couldn’t have asked for a better venue.

Organizing anything with more than a few moving parts can be tricky, but the end resulting was incredibly rewarding. Thanks to the talented authors who participated and everyone who helped out.

If you were in the crowd, we sincerely thank you for supporting original short fiction in Phoenix. Who knows, this might become a regular thing.