Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Art Hump" by CM Evans

CM Evans continues to nail it with his cartoons. Sometimes I feel a chemical release in my brain that is reserved, I think, for special occasions, and those occasions seem to include reading CM's cartoons. Here is "Art Hump". Then put on your Depends and go scour the archives. You will be there for a while, and you will be soiling yourself.

John Reed and William Shakespeare Collaborate on a New Play

John Reed has been dismantling the canon for a few years now, with books like Snowball's Chance, a retelling of Orwell's Animal Farm, and The Whole, an updated rendition of Lewis Carroll's world. And now Reed has collaborated with William Shakespeare (long distance) to create a postmodern play that is a twisted mash-up of WS's oeuvre. This reminds me of John Barth's novel in letters entitled Letters, where Barth's various characters correspond via, yep, writing letters to each other. Reed performed something of a Burroughs on Shakespeare's plays: cutting them up and rearranging/rewriting them into a new work entitled All the World is a Grave.



Check out John Reed and Jennifer Lee Carrell in Soho on September 5th at McNally Jackson Booksellers at 7pm, where both will read from their new work, which "directly involves the Bard."

All the World is a Grave

More Life Stories (on a postcard)

Michael Kimball has recently posted the life stories of Kim Chinquee, Elizabeth Ellen, and Sean Lovelace, all superlatively talented writers. It's amazing to learn so much about these writers we only get to see one facet of online and in their writing. And, as always, Kimball does an excellent job of distillation and presentation.

Also, next week is Dear Everybody week. The story of Jonathon Bender is officially released on September 1 (but can be pre-ordered, of course). Here's a new article/review in Time Out New York's Fall Preview. Sounds like the same Dear Everybody I read.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Few Notes Re: THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GOOGLE, NOT NIKOLAI GOGOL

I am posting about my favorite piece of music/text once again. Ryan P. Call, newly knighted associate editor of NOÖ Journal, posted about it a couple days ago. We admired Ryan Downey's song via gchat and engaged in a long-distance telecommunicatory listening experience. And listening to the song is never a once-and-done experience. I require multiple listenings per session. I am going to say some words about this text/song. But, seriously, listen to the song.

Downey does a flawless job of balancing the elements of this song. First, it's funny: you have the Stephen Hawking poke-and-speak computer voice, the wicked search string "dirty sex asian teen blow job 69 free pics" spoken by the computer voice.

It's tough to find a line that is not awesome, but you have simultaneously heavy and funny lines like:

And Google was good, and Google was good, and Google was good, and you were nothing

And Google was good, and Google was good, and Google was really fucking good.

And Google begat music. It sounded like this.



But also, the text of the song has some pretty big concepts and powerful images. Take the opening lines:

There was an explosion then. And others things. And then out of the darkness rose Google. And Google searched itself and found that it was relevant.



The image of this monstrosity of biblical proportion rising "out of the darkness", becoming familiar with and asserting itself in an 'overthrow of heaven' sort of way is powerful. The following lines reinforce this, being written in biblical style, sort of a coupling of the creation story and a retelling the Garden of Eden story:

There were few men then. And then more. And then more. And the days of dog pile were over. And Google looked upon its archives and found that these too were good. And Google begat Youtube, begat Blogger, begat Gmail. And man ate of the forbidden fruit of dirty sex asian teen blow job 69 free pics. And Google looked upon itself. And Google spoke to man, saying, In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 882 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.



And, of course, it's funny at the same time.

And the horns were gone. And the years rolled on. And Google found god and Google found god and Google found god thousands of times. And Google found Google.

And the horns were gone, and the years rolled on. And Google found god and Google found god and Google found god thousands of times. And Google found Google.



With the slide from "Google found god" to "Google found Google", the overthrow is complete. Google and god are interchangeable. Or, more likely: Google = god. An all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc, all of the traditional attributes, plus one: immediate results; so many results, in fact, that they will overwhelm you and Google even saves you from that, too. Don't forget: Google loves you.

And the horns were gone, and the years rolled on. And Google found god. And Google found god. And Google found god thousands of times. And the Iran War was a brand new search. And anal sex was a very old search.



Here things have moved beyond. Sex is old. Violence is the new sex. Or at least the consumption of violence (I'm obviously reading into things). As with any piece of moving art (text, music, film), the ending is vital, and I think Downey ends "THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GOOGLE, NOT NIKOLAI GOGOL" perfectly.

And the light from the computers drowned out the sun. And Google was god. And Google was god. And Google was god when the world folded over.



Those lines give me a blanket party à la Full Metal Jacket every time I read or hear them. The last clause "when the world folded over" reaches beyond and touches something that I feel but can't quite put words to, which keeps me turning the phrase over and over in my mind. This is the thing I think art aims for, a blend of clarity and mystery that keeps the viewer/listener/reader thinking about the piece long after they have moved on with their day.

Downey's piece is a prime example of the unique/new/innovative/strange/funny sensibility (would aesthetic be a more appropriate word?) Blake Butler fosters at Lamination Colony. Unless you overthink overanalyze overinterpret everything like I do, the song is a good listen and it is funny and none of the profundity gets in the way of that. So, like, go read/listen for yourself.

Thank you Ryan Downey. Your four minute song has given me hours of thoughtful entertainment.
NOTE: Experiencing absolute vision may cause vomiting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Profound Truths Forgotten, Books, Some Complaining, a Scam Poetry Contest, etc

I have quit writing the last three blog posts. Every time I start writing one, I get about halfway (I'm estimating here) and I don't care anymore.

I thought of something today that felt like it was an honest feeling, but I've forgotten it.

Got some books in the mail lately:

Waste by Eugene Marten, which I'm reading right now and really liking. I usually like to read the first page of a book when I get it, and I just didn't stop reading this one.

Soft Targets v.2.1: is a good looking journal with lots of names that get my buzzword chemicals pumping: opens with a quote by Jean Genet, Jean-Jacques Schuhl, Ariana Reines, Alexander Kluge, Lara Glenum, Nathalie Djurberg, Alain Badiou, James Tate, Johannes Goransson, Pierre Bourdieu, Alberto Toscano, Henri Michaux, Gary Lutz, Ben Lerner, etc, etc, etc, ad etc. Can't wait to dig into this. I don't feel that a breezy peruse here and there is going to do.

Also arrived: Rabelais and His World by Mikhail Bakhtin. Johannes Goransson mentioned it on his blog when talking about the literary grotesque.

The Cow by Ariana Reines & The Hounds of No by Lara Glenum: my brain is begging to eat the contents of these books of poetry.

Dear Ra by Johannes Goransson: read Blake Butler's post about this.

Marsupial by Derek White: ditto.

Chronoschisms by Ursula K. Heise: is also causing my brain to eat its way to freedom in order to read these pages.

There is another handful of books that I really want, but the mofo's are from $90 to $200. What is that? These books are already disadvantaged by their extremely narrow focus. That is totally bass ackwards of good old supply and demand. Really surprising that they go out of print so quickly.

Sweet lemons: I don't really need more books anyway.

This, is sick. Read it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Little House on the Prairie makes me feel sad and lonely.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Character:

Person who composes overly dramatic theme music for the voting result announcements on reality TV shows.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NO COLONY HAS ARRIVED THIS IS PROMOTION

Watch this promotional video promoting the launch party/show/reading for NO COLONY in Brooklyn on August 22 at 7:30 pm at Barbes.

In this video you will see Blake Butler. He will say words like "Friday", "August", "NO COLONY", and other words. He will shave his face while he says these things.

Spread this video communication like an STD.

I wish I could go to this show/reading. But today I am excited that my kitchen sink now drains and does not have dirty water backing up into it and smelling like an old woman's breath. I'm in that place right now.



Here are some photographs of the first issue. It looks very sexy. My eyeballs are sweating. The cover is badness. NO COLONY is a snake tangle.


My contribution to this issue is entitled "from Today the Smell of Worms and Wet Pennies", which features strange incarnations of Antonin Artaud, Charles Darwin, and Franz Kafka. I have to say, though, that Kafka may be the most over-written-about writer ever of all time forever ever. A moratorium on Kafka appearances/mentions in poetry and fiction is coming soon, I do believe. But, until then . . .



Order a copy of NO COLONY. Do. It. Now. Or. Else. Your. Face. Will. Eat. Itself.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nashville is Reads Issue 4

Peter Cole has been busy (when isn't he?) sowing the seed of literature, taping and nailing issue 4 of Nashville is Reads throughout Music City. Here is photographic evidence of this literary vandalism. They plastered the work of Matt Jasper, Kathy Cottle, Kendra Grant Malone, Mike Topp, Larry O. Dean, Gary Beck, and my poem entitled "The Everyday Juggernaut", which appears to have hardly survived a night in downtown Nashville. It's a rough place, okay? Thanks to Peter, his brother David, and Jon Bergey for working the night shift to take the magazine to the people. And thanks to Adam Robinson for Baltimore is Reads, and said Nashville is Reads franchise. I heard from Adam that he had affixed my poem to select stationary objects in Baltimore. Thanks to everyone involved.

And it should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: Check out Keyhole Magazine. Issue 4 is like almost here and is already available for to order. I'm sure copies of Issue 3 are still available, too. My brain ran away and cried in a corner when I finished reading Issue 3.

Also: Publishing Genius has some fine fine chapbooks that you can read for free as a PDF, which is nice. But it is nicer actually holding a print copy in your hands and reading it. PG also publishes books. The latest offering is David Daniel's story collection entitled Six Off 66, about which Ryan Call said positive things.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Names dropped include: Jimmy Chen, elimae, Yankee Pot Roast, Michael Kimball, Gena Mohwish, Kim Chinquee, Jesus, Sean Lovelace, No Colony, Shane Jones

I ran out of room in the title, but you'll see.

Praise Obama! Jimmy Chen has new mind children at the elimae nursery and the Yankee Pot Roast day care. They are bored. Visit them. Hold them.

Michael Kimball strikes again (albeit gently) with Gena Mohwish's life story on a postcard (well, for us, a blog). He did an excellent job with Gena's amazing story. No hyperbole, I promise.

Uh, it appears that Kim Chinquee has defeated Jesus in a flash fiction matchup as judged by Sean Lovelace.

Hey, everyone, there's going to be a muh-f'kin NO COLONY release party in NYC on August 22. Readings by Robert Lopez, Tao Lin, Giancarlo DiTrapano, Justin Taylor and Nick Antosca. Wear your Nomex suits.

My copy of Shane Jones's chapbook I Will Unfold You With My Hairy Hands and Peter Berghoef's News of the Haircut arrived yesterday from Greying Ghost Press. These chaps are gorgeous. I am excited to read them. I have been really impressed by the chapbooks I've seen from independent presses like Lame House, Publishing Genius, and of course Greying Ghost. I know there are lots more, but these are the ones my hands and eyes have caressed lately. Same thing goes for The Cupboard Pamphlet. Not only is the writing excellent, but the chapbooks themselves are beautifully designed and hand crafted. It is ridiculous to get something of this quality for these prices. Plus, most of them take PayPal. Sell some crap on eBay and you can get a mailbox full of good writing that feels good on your eyes and in your hands and will massage sparks through your synapses. It doesn't make sense to not order chapbooks from these presses. This is the hard sell.

Today is William Walsh on a Tender Heart-Shaped Bed of Lettuce

New short fiction from William Walsh at Flatmancrooked, a nice looking magazine I'd never seen before. I will be seeing it a lot more.

Read "Dr. Maroon".

Read "Punch-Drunk Love" at titular. Sizeable archive taking shape with names/titles familiar and not, but all of loveable eye-gouging quality.

Also read Without Wax

Recent review and interview of/with WW in Providence Phoenix.

My review at NewPages.

Healthy and satisfying.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Schopenhauer On Noise

Scott Esposito posted this vid today. I like. I need to read more Schopenhauer. For now, I'm working on the hair.



unread and hate

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sleepwalker: A Short Film

Here is a short film directed by Michael Randolph. The film is based on a short story entitled "Sleepwalker" by my friend Jeff Vande Zande. Jeff adapted the story into a screenplay, provided the set, and assisted Randolph in shooting the film. I like this film a lot. Everyone involved did an excellent job putting this together.


Sleepwalker - A Short Film from Michael Randolph on Vimeo.

CEllA's Round Trip Issue #01

The first issue of CEllA's Round Trip is now live. The venerable Sean "Lord Nacho" Lovelace presides over the flash fiction/nonfiction division of this particular publication. It is a gorgeous magazine. Very well done visually and the writing is excellent. Check 'er ooot. I'm funna send them something. Rumor has it, the Ander Monson may have work in the next issue. Feel the earth thunder as I drop the names like hot mortars.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Some Things (Links Mostly) Re: Felisberto Hernández

You've heard of Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, and Italo Calvino, yes? Well, if GGM, JC, CF, & IC are plants, then FH = a vibrant mineral in the soil.

Jed Lipinski's recent review of Lands of Memory in The Village Voice.

My review is of LoM for NewPages is pretty much finished and will run in the September edition (along with my review of Michael Kimball's Dear Everybody)

Read a short piece entitled "The White Dress" by Felisberto Hernández in turnrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Semi-Digested Link Central Dispatch

CM Evans is back with fresh cartoonage. Welcome back, CM. I've been wearing my t-shirts with your cartoons on them lately. I wore "His Sovereign Royal Excellence" to childbirth class last night and sweated a nice ring in the armpits while watching the video.

Lily Hoang's ebook entitled THE WOMAN DOWN THE HALL has been released today from Lamination Colony state hospital. You should visit. Take your mace.

Blake Butler says these things about TWDTH.

Eat that acronym and like it.



Adam Robinson has returned from the woods and he is older now than when he went. Ryan Call posted positive opinions about Six Off 66 by David Daniel.

Dear Everybody

Piece of unfortunate yet important news: nothing is subversive anymore.

At this moment in history, the future is almost behind us.

I am wound tightly today. Have been for the past couple of months. Things are bearing down.

Where have all the semi-digested links gone?

Apparently, Estelle Getty died. Like, recently.

I still have a copy of The Gulag Archipelago that I will mail to whoever wants it. All I ask for in return is to know the secret handshake.

Shane Jones's chapbook entitled "I Will Unfold You With My Hairy Hands" is now available from Greying Ghost Press.

Table of Contents:
.......
I Will Unfold You With My Hairy Hands
Really Important Sentences
I Built A Wagon While Falling From A Tree
Floating Animals
Messengers
The Man And Girl Who Had Mustaches

You can hear Kathryn Regina deliver a very fine reading of the titular (that is a popular word lately, I think) story here.
I ordered that and Peter Berghoef's News of the Haircut. I am looking forward, backward, up, down, and inward to reading them.

Um, ppppppppppp, also, I ordered a copy of Johannes Göransson's Dear Ra, out from Starcherone Press, which also published Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey, which I drooled and ranted and rambled over. Blake wrote a spectastic review of Dear Ra that also performed as a flame or a boot to me arse to get down to it and order a copy. I also bought some kind of speedo, too. Blake said.

Michael Kimball posted William Walsh's and Zachariah Zebadiah Handler's life stories recently. See.

Dear Everybody

Prathna Lor has a poetry manuscript. Word.

Jeff Vande Zande added some thoughts to what is now "Butler's Open Node Theory", and another approach to writing reviews.

Jimmy Chen is out of the office right now, can I take your name and number and have him give you a call? Come back, Jimmy. Come back.

I am missing something. But isn't this enough for now?

I feel a name drop coming on . . .

It is coming.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died.

I can't even remember how I learned about him. Probably during my early obsession with Russian writers. I remember reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and then The Gulag Archipelago (the first of three thick volumes) when I was about 19 or 20.

I'm sure much of what Solzhenitsyn talked about and referenced was lost on me, but the stories of what was done to the people was certainly not. I don't remember ever being so thankful for just a piece of bread until after I read TGA. I highly recommend both One Day in the Life and even just the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago. An uncut translation of his novel The First Circle is reportedly due out in 2009 as a Harper Perennial paperback.

I have copies of The Gulag Archipelago, Cancer Ward, The First Circle (the edition originally published in the 1960's or 1970's), and maybe a copy of A Day in the Life that I will mail to whoever wants a copy. Email me and I will ship you a copy of whatever you want, if I have any copies left. It's not rosy reading and definitely not humor, but it is mind blowing, I assure you. Yet another example of the depths and heights and strength the human spirit is capable of.

New Book Reviews Posted at NewPages, So, Like, Go Look

Said reviews are new and sparkling and will cut your eyes with their superlative sharpness: they are here.

Today blunt objects take up arms and fight for themselves.

safety threaten security

coffee cup

fitness

I

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In the Ditch In the Ditch

A new interview with the incredible edible Michael Martone is live at The Quarterly Conversation. I love Martone's interviews. He is so good at explaining his complex ideas about writing in an accessible way.

I was within 30 feet of Madonna tonight. I did not pass out or soil myself. I did not feel excited. I did stand on my tippy toes to try and see better, though. When I realized I was doing that, I lowered myself and felt ashamed.

I am happy to see new work posted in pineapplewar by Kristen Orser, and that Prathna Lor seems to be alive and doing moderately well.

I bought some books today at Horizon Books here in TC. They had an entire lower level dedicated to bargain books. My chops were licked many times. I consumed books by Jonathan Lethem, Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville, and a book about the concept of Time. Time is a bizarre animal. Herman Melville gets my mental saliva flowing. Pete Anderson posted a nice bit yesterday, which was Melville's birthday. Melville was a tragic figure in literature.

He spent time as a clerk in Honolulu, and for a while he lived with the Typee people of the Marquesas Islands, a tribe of cannibals who treated Melville well. Inspired by his adventures at sea, Melville returned to his mother's house in New York and settled down to write about his travels. The result was his novel Typee (1946). It was rejected by a Boston publisher, so Melville published it in London, where it became an immediate best seller. He wrote a sequel called Omoo (1847), which was also a big success. But then Melville decided to write for himself instead of to please his readers, so his third book, Mardi and a Voyage Thither (1849), was more psychological, less romantic, and readers were disappointed. He continued to write and publish, but he was never as popular again.


Hey, here are some PDF versions of Melville's work you can download for free. Yeah, it's reading on a screen, but the PDF's are basically pictures of the book. Not much contemporary stuff there, but a pretty good selection of 'classics' for those not allergic to them.

Poetry is not my strongest area of expertise, but I still really like this poem by Danna Williams in Haggard & Halloo.

Watched the documentary Trumbo today, about the screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo. The film was really moving and amazing. I walked away with a new appreciation for the freedom writers and thinkers have in America today, despite the apparent (and sometimes real) erosion of those freedoms. I highly recommend Trumbo to everyone. I can't imagine having to make the choice Trumbo had to make.

Just watched Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, which was also very excellent. I don't think I've seen anything by Chaplin that was not excellent. TGD is funny (of course), and scathing, and brilliant. Everyone should watch something by Chaplin asap.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Feelings of Fear and Safety

Pope Blake Butler I posted words of fire: basically, quit whining and get your balls in gear writers, editors, readers, everyone everywhere. Work! Unite! Create! Do what you do and don't pan the rest of the world for not doing things your way. Okay, I said the last part, but still.

Also, congratulations to Blake for getting his novella EVER accepted for publication at Calamari Press. Calamari makes beautiful things out of beautiful words. This is only the beginning of a long and powerful bibliography by Blake Butler. I would start a press just to publish the books he has written so far. Someday, when the academics, historians, and theorists try to name this moment, they will use the publication of Blake's work as the opening of something. I do not feel that I am exaggerating when I say that. No irony or smart-assness is in my voice. Congratulations and thank you to Blake.

Today's words for feeling: Fear Safety Protection Danger Locked Covered Insured Ensured Threat Safety Protection Safety Protection Safety Protection Safety Threat Protection Protection Threat Safety Threat Protection Threat Threat Threat Safety Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat Threat

I am in Traverse City today at the film festival, which is coordinated by Michael Moore. Sarah and I are meeting my friend Steen Wichmann this afternoon to see a documentary film called Trumbo, and then get some dinner.

Madonna is here for the film fest. Word is that Steen's girlfriend is driving her around this weekend. It's an interesting swirl of things: Steen is adapting my short story Memorabilia into a screenplay he hopes to direct, and Madonna's remains are the centerpiece of the story. It's the longest shot ever that the film will ever get produced without either costing all the money in the world or serious repercussions from the material girl's legal staff.

I don't know what I would even say if I did happen to meet her. Maybe something like this:

MADONNA: (looking at me, waiting for me to prostrate myself)

ME: um, hi . . .

MADONNA: (still waiting)

ME: Yeah, so, saving Africa with your compulsory celebrity power, huh? That's cool.

MADONNA: Yes, donate your money.

ME: Okay, yeah, I'll think about it.

MADONNA: Don't you know who I am?

ME: Sure I do. Aren't you Jesus's mom?

MADONNA: --

ME: Well, it was nice meeting you. You're not on my bucket list, but it's still pretty cool I guess.

I don't know what I would say, honestly. "Um, I never really liked your music"? "I should be trembling and stammering right now, but I'm kind of anxious to get some dinner"? Good thing is, I don't have to worry about it anyway.

If anyone is interested in supporting a super-indie film featuring the body parts of Tom Cruise, Madonna, and other fun celebrities, and a guy who just wants to get back everything he pissed away; or interested in finding someone with a lot of money who does, just drop me an email. Steen is an ambitious and talented guy and I'm excited to see what he makes of this twisted story.

Got my copy of Jesse Ball's Parables & Lies published by The Cupboard, a sweet new publisher of pamphlets containing longer works between 4,000 and 8,000 words. I subscribed and I can't wait to see what The Cupboard publishes next. I'm also excited as a writer, since so many of my stories want to run so godawful long. I just don't know when to stop. P&L is beautifully crafted linguistically and objectively (am I using that correctly?); the writing is wonderful, of course, and the object itself is very high quality. I really like what I've read of P&L so far. Well worth the subscription on its own.