The X-Centric Files
We're off to see the wizard of odd


The bizarro resume of self-confessed odd duck Hillary Carllp reads like a schizophrenic pop-culture fusion of the past 40 years: juggling teacher to Lucille Ball; dancer in the Olivia Newton-John vehicle Xanadu; member of the cult rock band Angel and the Reruns (which made a cameo appearance in the Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party); Web master for Jennifer Aniston's site and the Fresh Yarn online essay salon; fire eater on The Ellen Degeneres Show; and author of Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out, an intoxicating collection of teen essays that survived an entire bitch-slapping hour on Oprah. And that's just a short list.

On Thursday, May 4, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, the do-everything multimedia wizard will tell truthful tall tales from her new memoir, Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories From a Life Unaccording to Plan. In addition, Carlip and fellow eccentric, writer, and performance artist Tania Katan, will reenact the comedic juggling-and-song routine that won Carlip the first-ever perfect score on The Gong Show. According to Carlip -- whose writerly voice has been compared to that of fellow humorist David Sedaris -- an oddball is "somebody who feels like an outsider, but instead of feeling ashamed, celebrates it and lives a creative life. I'm happy to say that I lead a life where I do what I want."

The reading/performance begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 480-730-0205




Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan
by Hillary Carlip