Monday, June 30, 2008

Joe Young's Life as Written by Michael Kimball (on a postcard)

Joe Young's story is live at Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard). It's interesting to get a personal look at a writer whose flash fiction I have admired for years. Check it out. And check out the previous life stories as written by Michael Kimball while you're there. Eventually, a book of selected life stories will be published by Black Arrow Studio and Press in the fall of 2009. Kimball has been one busy dude lately, what with the documentary film I WILL SMASH YOU, writing another novel while gearing up for the US release of his latest novel Dear Everybody, and now writing life stories on postcards. I sent my life story in just yesterday. We'll see if Kimball can make a turd shine.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Submission Call: Haggard & Halloo Reviews

The editors of Haggard & Halloo, who normally run experimental poetry and occasionally fiction (like my letter of complaint to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (which is not totally fiction, I suppose)), will be running a week of reviews beginning June 29 (tomorrow), posting one each day, and they're still looking for reviews (excessive run-on acknowledged). They want reviews of anything. Preferably something not usually reviewed.

"Review a bike ride, a moon rise, a cup of coffee, a family reunion, a fly in the house, anything, something" and send it in. Here's more info.

Artist: Emmanuel Polanco

I feel good about the piece below, as it confirms that I am not the only one who feels like American election season is just another sporting event.



Redirect.

I first learned about French artist Emmanuel Polanco through Christopher Higgs's site and I've been watching Polanco's frequently updated blog ever since. I like his style and the way he reintegrates/reinvents/remixes elements of his own work. He just redesigned his website and it's kickin'. Check'er out.

Lamination Colony, Best Creative Nonfiction, The Dissemination of Michael Martone

Blake Butler, fearless sleepless tireless editor of Lamination Colony, has nominated my piece entitled "Distractus Refractus Ontologicus: The Dissemination of Michael Martone" for Best Creative Nonfiction 2008.

Lamination Colony deserves wider recognition for being an indisputable singularity in the literary world, an outlet for the bizarre and fantastic the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else. Ryan Downey's song/text THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GOOGLE, NOT NIKOLAI GOGOL still blows me away every time I read/listen. It's hilarious and brilliant. Read anything in any issue of Lamination Colony and show me something like it in any other literary venue. Thanks for believing in this piece, and all of my weird writing, Blake. I hope to do you proud.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Publishing Genius Adam Robinson Writes Poems

Adam Robinson, curator of Publishing Genius and Baltimore is Reads, has been working on some poems that will be collected in a full-length book. The poems begin with people, names, and then things Robinson knows and does not know commingle and push up against each other. He has written poems about Elisabeth Elliot, Hélène Cixous, Manos de Seda, Glenn Tipton, and Søren Kierkegaard. He also wrote a poem entitled "Josh Maday". Of course, I like these poems. It's an honor to be temporarily immortalized by a guy with such a massive intellect and fine taste. I am looking forward to Adam's book of poetry.

Now that I've stroked my ego in front of the world a little, I am expressing congratulations to Adam and Blake Butler for Blake's Publishing Genius chapbook entitled PRETEND I AM THERE BUT VERY LITTLE having been eyed about 7,000 times. That's pretty much a best seller in terms of exposure. Too bad it's not also in terms of sales. I would pay for it. In fact I have paid for the print version of PIATBVL, which was hand-crafted by Adam Robinson himself. Very nice. But, really, everything at Publishing Genius will swipe your face from your skull. You will enjoy it.

I'm sure I am forgetting/missing something.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quotes

He devotes all his energy to not writing, so that, writing, he should write out of failure, in failure's intesity.

One must just write, in uncertainty and in necessity.

Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster



Although it could have been Beckett, too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

There's an excellent collective review/essay up at n+1, covering these recent post-apocalyptic novels:

Jim Crace. The Pesthouse Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. May 2007.

James Howard Kunstler. World Made by Hand Atlantic Monthly. February 2008.

Cormac McCarthy. The Road Knopf. September 2006.

Will Self. The Book of Dave Bloomsbury. November 2006.

Matthew Sharpe. Jamestown Soft Skull. March 2007.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Film: Taxidermia

I watched Taxidermia last night.

I am going to look back at this post and wish I had written better about this film.

I am not a cinema scholar, film buff, or movie critic, but this was one of the most disturbing, incredible films I have ever seen (of course, I haven't seen all of David Lynch's work either). After seeing the trailer(s), I knew it wasn’t a B film, a cheesy low-budget shock fest. Plus, with Amon Tobin creating the perfect atmospheric soundtrack, I knew this was high quality.

Taxidermia is based on the novels of Lajos Parti-Nagy, whose work I have not been able to find in English, unfortunately. György Pálfi gave Lajos a nod in the film by naming the taxidermist after him. I hope this film prompts the translation of his work into English sometime soon.

Taxidermia is this: Three stories. Three generations. Three men. One bizarre and shocking universe. György Pálfi's grotesque tale of three generations of men, including an obese speed eater, an embalmer of gigantic cats, and a man who shoots fire out of his penis. And it is much more. Here is the director's conception of the story.



Taxidermia first got my attention a couple years ago, after I had finished a short story entitled MEMORABILIA, about a dealer of celebrity body parts trying to win his wife back. My story deals with the embalming of celebrity body parts to buy and sell and put on display like religious relics, and explores notions of consumption, excess, and the specter of (im)mortality. So I’ve been waiting to see this film for a long time, both for the film itself and to see how these ideas were approached in another medium.

While not overly shocking, Taxidermia had some moments that were something new to see actually done in a film (at least new to me), and this is mostly because it’s something that would never survive the cutting room of an American film.

Taxidermia will never be released in the United States of America, not without substantial cuts, which, of course, would make it a different film.

Taxidermia should be released in America, at least on DVD. The story of three generations of obsessed, insane, passively out-of-control, lonely men should have its day in the US. Taxidermia is about hunger in all of its forms and all of its desired objects, and how that hunger, when extreme, destroys.

I would describe some of the scenes, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who are going to watch it, and I will probably misrepresent the film as a whole. It would be easy to tell about the nudity, the fire shooting from a man’s penis, the embalmed fetus, the man weighing upwards of 1,000 pounds, the profuse induced vomiting—but that leaves out the moments of extreme loneliness and desire and even tenderness. I’m sure some will not like this film: those with weak stomachs, those who cannot see beyond the surface of things, etc. The images and events will strike some as gratuitous, shock for its own sake, and disgusting, sure. But I have a hard time believing that anyone who takes time to think about the film will find the experience pointless or meaningless. Extreme things happen in Taxidermia, but behind them all director György Pálfi shows human beings, not simply pigs and pieces of meat.

So, yes, I recommend Taxidermia very highly, in whatever way you can get your hands and eyes on it. I hope this film finds the US audience it deserves, an audience which is probably unaware that it even exists. Now, I am waiting for English translations of Lajos Parti-Nagy’s work. If anyone finds any, please let me know. Meanwhile: see this film.

Here are various trailers on YouTube.

And here is a real review by Pat Evans at Blogcritics Magazine [SPOILER WARNING]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mina Luxa

I entered the searchword "Bataille" in ebay, and I came across a piece up for bid by sculptor/artist Mina Luxa, entitled "Eye of the Superject".

I emailed and said that I could not afford the piece up for bid, but that I really liked the piece up for bid. Anyway, I got the website. And I really like the work. It has a gritty grotesque Nine Inch Nails Brothers Quay feel. Moving and political. Good stuff. Check.

Taxidermia, Pornographia, and Maybe More Things that End in -ia

Hey, in case you somehow haven't heard: Blake Butler and Matt Bell have bashed the world in tandem with their excellent writing. They are in the newest refreshment of elimae and the five year anniversary huge double issue of Smokelong Quarterly.

In SLQ:
Read Blake's Disease Relics
Read Matt's The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines
And don't forget the interviews.

In elimae:
Read Blake's Do Not Look into the Mother's Head
Read Matt's Creating a Radio

Even apart, they're sending balloons into space. Matt's story "Alex Trebek Never Eats Fried Chicken" is one of the ten finalists in the Million Writers Award for the year's best online writing. Touch the devices in front of you and vote . . . now.

Blake has a story in the newborn issue of Ninth Letter (5.1), which is by far one of the most eye-popping, mind-blowing, and other compound noun-verb lit mags in production. 9L is just one of the dozens of fine venues Blake has had work published in recently.

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I have been waiting for the Hungarian film by György Pálfi entitled Taxidermia to become available somehow to me. And I think that now it has. I am going to download it. This film looks crazy and excellent. It did well at the Cannes Film Festival and in Toronto, I believe, and won something like 7 awards total. Just look at the movie poster and you can probably tell that it's not going to be allowed in US theaters any time soon, if ever.



Three stories. Three generations. Three men. One bizarre and shocking universe. Gyorgy Palfi's grotesque tale of three generations of men, including an obese speed eater, an embalmer of gigantic cats, and a man who shoots fire out of his penis.



There are other trailers on YouTube, too.

The excellent Amon Tobin did the soundtrack for Taxidermia, too. Awesome.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obese Torso: The Obesity Epidemic as Social Protest

Today's Mental Image from a couple of days ago was OBESE TORSO. Ortho's comment was: "The new revolutionary aesthetic!"

This plucked a synaptic cord for me. I realized that we've got this "obesity epidemic" narrative all wrong. It is not lack of self-control or laziness or moral failure or even genetic predisposition. The obesity epidemic in America is actually a subconscious socio-political protest against consumerism and the force feeding of the supermodel image over the past few decades through all forms of media. I hadn't thought of it this way before, but this makes sense; in fact, it is brilliant. Obesity is heroic self sacrifice, giving oneself up for the good of fellow human beings. It is a slower, more patient form of lying down in front of a tank or burning oneself to death in public. We don't realize it yet as a culture, and we certainly don't accept it yet, but the obese are saving our self-image. I think we owe the obese (anyone with an extra ten or more pounds) an apology, and perhaps an ovation, for their courage to challenge the Barbie doll body type to the very deadly end. Obesity is the "new revolutionary aesthetic", indeed. Unfortunately, once mainstream culture catches on to the obesity movement, the obese will be herded into fenced-off areas just like every other protest group.

Viva la Obesity Revolución!

===================================

Update: I knew I couldn't be the first one to recognize the theoretical framework underneath the brazenly large American physique. Ortho, whose comment inspired this post, actually posted about the Fat Man Rebellion almost a year ago. I sense scholarly essays and articles on the increasingly rotund horizon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

International Journals of Baudrillard and Žižek Studies

Hey, if anyone is interested, the Polish issue of the International Journal of Žižek Studies is live. Here's the introduction in English. You'll have to translate the rest, though. The archives have issues in English. It's not always in Polish. A Chinese language issue is reportedly on the way.

The new issue of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies is going on, too. This issue is in English. Looks like some fun stuff: this essay in particular: Obscene Ethics: A Baudrillardian View of Spurlock’s Super Size Me

Every so often, it is healthy to read something that will eat your brain.

Today's Mental Image

Today's mental image should provoke simultaneous involuntary feelings of disgust and moral superiority:

OBESE TORSO

Friday, June 13, 2008

Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcart)

This is so great. Adam Robinson posted about this on the Publishing Genius blog. As you can see, Michael Kimball will write your life story on a postcard. Here's the blog and more info.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everything is New: Phoebe, Avery, Lamination Colony, Keyhole, No Colony, Dear Everybody

A copy of Keyhole 3 came in the mail yesterday. That is one attractive magazine. I'm excited to read the work in it by Shellie Zacharia, Blake Butler, Dennis Mahagin, Tim Keppel, Rosanne Griffeth, Elizabeth Ellen, Brian Brown, Monica Kilian, and Joshua Diamond. Looks stellar. I will be reviewing this for NewPages in the (hopefully) near future.



Also ready to be devoured by your hungry eyes: LAMINATION COLONY SUMMER 08. You will find work there the likes of which you will not find anywhere else in the literary magazine world. LAMINATION COLONY is worth it every time.

Another colony to be visited is NO COLONY. The pressure is building in a manner similar to not touching yourself for a few months while still looking at porn. The NO COLONY debut is going to be so messy and feel so good. Check out the excerpt from Miranda Mellis's story "The Shuffler". And then pre-order the orgasmic debut issue of NO COLONY. NO COLONY. NO COLONY. NO COLONY. NO COLONY. Or, ante up $400 to get your very own string of words or weirdness published in NO COLONY. Or, for $650, you can get that work nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I love every sense/connotation/implication of these offers.

My review copy of Dear Everybody came yesterday, too. It's a great looking book. I am stoked to read it again, this time on paper. It's so good. It's also available for pre-order. . .

My contributor copies of the Fall 08 Phoebe arrived yesterday. The staff at Phoebe did an excellent job putting this together. There is work by Anselm Berrigan, Avital Gad-Cykman, Chris Gavaler, Caitlin Horrocks, Drew Nolte, Dan Pinkerton, Laurie E. White, Kevin Wilson, Mike Young, John Yunker, and more.

My fiction entitled "Fiction with Teratoma Preserves" closes out the issue. It is short and fragmented, but crazy and sort of filthy, featuring a dead Georges Bataille basking in his decay in a Nebraska farm field. Big thanks to Blake Butler and Ryan Call for their amazing editing help with this piece. "Fiction wih Teratoma Preserves" would not be what it is without them. Thanks guys.

AND:Don't miss out on the great deal available through July, where if you order Avery 3, you will get a free copy of Fall 08 Phoebe. I don't need to tell anyone, but that's a fine offer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Great Two for One Deal: Avery 3 and Fall 08 Phoebe

Here's something:
Ryan Call posted about a great deal for lovers of reading, lit mags, and the multifarious forms of literature:



in said deal, the purchase of the new issue of Avery will procure for the purchaser a free copy of the new issue of Phoebe.



This fantastic magnificent deal is going on until the last day of July.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Barrelhouse Online Issue

The latest edition of Barrelhouse online is live. Just thought I'd say so.

Today's image of comfort, safety, and security is:

coffee cup

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Work at Everyday Yeah and New Heavy

There is a website called Everyday Yeah. Everyday Yeah has pictures, writing, reviews, and other cool stuff. Today I have new work appearing in Everyday Yeah, in a feature called PEOPLE WHO DIED IN 1983. I wrote about Paul de Man in a fictional way that is also heinous.

I have new words living dysfunctionally at the new and heavy New Heavy, a museum of mental deflation curated by the enterprising Blake Butler. The text is an example of automatic writing, which is, I think, what the surrealists did according to the dictates of Andre Breton, where words were written while the mental censor went unacknowledged, inasmuch as that is possible. Let it flow. New Heavy is strange and funny and excellent. Brandon Scott Gorrell and Ken Baumann have fun texts there, too. I still hear "mouth face cat deluxe" in my dreams.

I have word from Ryan Call that the new issue of Phoebe is on the way. I'm excited to see it and hold it and read it. More about that later.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things to ______ at

I'm going to swing over your way when I'm done here. I will be the one flying among the vines and yodeling wildly.

Hey, the new issue of McSweeney's is available, the one that is a companion piece to "Lots of Things Like This," the exhibition organized by Dave Eggers at apexart. You know, the one featuring work by CM Evans, David Shrigley, Henry Darger, and lots of others. Issue 27 will melt your eyes and you'll love it.

I will have new work arriving soon. I am happy about that.

Ryan Call posted a series of drawings and texts that he and his sister have been working on, and they are well worth a look and a read. I'm hoping to see more of them posted.

I am thinking of raspberry seeds stuck between my teeth.

Monday, June 2, 2008

NANO Fiction, NewPages, New Heavy, etc, etc, I am Still Alive

My copy of the new NANO Fiction came. It is nice and in color and I like the words. In NANO Fiction Volume 2 Number 1, you will find work by Michael Jauchen, Miah Arnold, Sean Lovelace, Christopher Higgs, Sam Pink, Megan Roth, Paul Kavanaugh, Kevin Brown, and art by Norberto Gomez Jr. You can read work by Prathna Lor and Ian Grody on NANO Fiction's website, plus other fun stuff located in the archives. A fine issue, and I'm proud to be part of it.

New book reviews are now live at NewPages. My review of Zachary Mason's amazing The Lost Books of the Odyssey is there, as well as these fine reviews by Cyan James, Matt Bell, Deborah Diemont, Blake Butler, Sean Lovelace, Rav Grewal-Kök, Laura Eve Engel, Anna Clark, Sarah Sala, Cynthia Reeser, and Roy Wang:

O Woolly City by Priscilla Sneff
I Am Death by Gary Amdahl
A Woman’s Guide
to Mountain Climbing
by Jane Augustine

Bob, or Man on Boat by Peter Markus
The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review Ed. Danielle Ofri
A Man of Ideas and Other Stories by David Galef
Breaking It Down by Rusty Barnes
The Translator’s Diary by Jon Pineda
The Human Mind by Angela Woodward
Ravel by Jean Echenoz, Trans. Linda Coverdale
Double Header by Suzanne Burns
Oh, Don’t Ask Why by Dennis Must
A Proper Knowledge by Michelle Latiolais
Do the Math by Emily Galvin


It is finally warm outside. I am alive and eating a bald eagle peach, also known as nectarine.

Also, everyone should check out the latest outgrowth from the manic brain of Blake Butler. This particular manifestation is named New Heavy. It is growing and pulsating at the center of the universe. The Orb has already made a song about it. There are weird films, keyword porn, and surrealist outspillages of words. Blake Butler is more surreal than Andre Breton.