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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 24, 2007

Jonathan Ames performs stand-up as Writers' Workshop lecturer

Jonathan Ames, the Iowa Writers' Workshop visiting faculty member who has been a recurring guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman," will perform "An Afternoon of Stand-Up Tragedy and Comedy" at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building.

"I'll be doing two monologues, 'The Story of the Hairy Call,' and 'El Cid!'" Ames explains. "These monologues are kind of like what Spalding Gray used to do and they're from my old one-man show that played off-off-Broadway."

The free event is part of the Writers' Workshop faculty lecture series.

The hairy call is a sound invented in the fourth grade by Ames' boyhood friend Jonathan "Fat" Eder. "'The Story of the Hairy Call' recounts how the sound came into being and its unusual healing powers, but it is an oral tale that I've never written down, which is par for the course for oral tales," Ames explains.

Ames is the author of the novels "I Pass Like Night," "The Extra Man" and "Wake Up, Sir!" and the essay collections "What's Not to Love?" "My Less Than Secret Life" and "I Love You More Than You Know." And he launched the "Most Phallic Building" contest with an article in Slate.

He is the editor of "Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs." His next book, the graphic novel "The Alcoholic," with artwork by Dean Haspiel, will be published in 2008 by DC Comics.

"Wake Up, Sir!" and "The Extra Man" are in development as films, with Ames writing the screenplays. He adapted "What's Not to Love?" as a TV pilot for the Showtime network and he played himself. At the time, he said, "It's the role I've been waiting for!" Unfortunately, the pilot did not go to series -- Ames did not portray himself with enough accuracy, according to the network.

He is now at work on a TV pilot for HBO in which he will not play himself. This new pilot, "Bored to Death," is an adaptation of a story Ames recently published in McSweeney's.

He also has had two amateur boxing matches, fighting as "The Herring Wonder," and won a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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