There is something about literary readings that can feel a bit awkward and not that much fun. But Riot Act Reading Series takes the stick out of poetry's butt by infusing punk rock energy into the lit—two fine arts that work great together, with the presence of alcohol smoothing the way. Since 2006, Paul D. Dickinson, formerly of the legendary punk rock/art venue Speedboat Gallery, has been captain of this ship, along with his lovely co-host, Laura Brandenburg, both experts at keeping things rolling along. The Riot Act Reading Series shows are often quite racy, always with some hilarity thrown into the mix and live music capping off the events. With a few rare exceptions, performances are at the Turf Club, the dark room tinged with a bit of squalor and the smell of stale beer. Some of the Cities' most talented writers, such as Emily Carter, Alison McGhee, much of the Electric Arc Radio cast, and comedian Mary Mack, with her amazing mandolin and clarinet stylings, have graced the stage, making the experience of a poetry reading no longer strictly for hippies and intellectuals but for the punkest of crowds, too.