Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens #8

Okay, this review is about nine months late, but, really, it's right on time for the new issue of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, which is, I believe, full of new absurdity and will be coming soon.

Issue #8 of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens centers on no particular theme except the general theme of the absurd and surreal. The back cover says, “Some stories feature mindless violence or irreal nonsense. Others display sharp cultural satire or brain-tingling wordplay . . . issue #8 offers a zany feast for the ravenous imagination.” This is no exaggeration.



Mike Young’s short-short entitled “Share This Too” starts things off with this opening line: “In the middle of the city park I found a nun crying because her ice cream cone was full of broken teeth.” The narrator’s obvious, logical solution, “Why don’t you just flick them out?” is, of course, too simple to escape the biblically-proportioned plague of broken teeth to follow.

A couple pieces in the issue don’t give the reader much beyond the initial premise. However, I was really impressed with Ofelia Hunt’s story “Car Accident,” narrated by a person who seems to be responsible for the car accident in question and whatever other horror is connected to it. Using the movement of vague language, Hunt wrings the narrator’s trauma, disorientation, and disconnection as the authorities ask questions, and indirectly expresses the inexpressible. For example:



“What’s your name?”

“Something.”

“I need your name for hospital records and insurance. How old are you? Where were you born?”

“I think I’m me I think I’m something.” I move my head and my head hurts in a sharp and exact way, but distant somehow, as though my head’s a thing and I’m a thing and these things are different things with different nervous systems. I see another gurney and another human and the other human’s very red and black and crusted and hairless and maybe does not have enough skin, so I think about skin and how much skin’s enough skin and I think about my skin and how much skin I have and where this skin is and what if I were to lose this skin.



I also enjoyed other stories by Blake Butler, Cameron Pierce, Darby Larson, Sam Pink, Matthew Simmons, and more. Closing out this slim but potent issue are book reviews of Duncan Barlow's Super Cell Anemia and Jeremy C. Shipp's Sheep and Wolves. I think the range of style and content in this issue of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens provides something to suit as well as stretch the sensibilities of most readers, even some who prefer traditional realism. Issue #8 and other back issues of Bust are still available (some are online as free pdf downloads, see below)and I've read that the next issue will be online. It will definitely be worth checking out.

UPDATE: The next issue of Bust will be print; online after that.

Meanwhile:

Bradley Sands interviews Sam Pink

Jason Moore interviews Blake Butler

Free downloads:


Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens Issue 7 (Winter 2008, Online Flash/Micro Fiction Edition)



Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens Issue 2 (Spring 2005, Online Flash/Micro Fiction Edition)



Dragons with Cancer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I WILL SMASH YOU is finished

I have been waiting for this. And it's finished. It will be here in September. Here's the deal on I WILL SMASH YOU:




I WILL SMASH YOU is a documentary film in which dozens of people each tell a story about an object that has some personal meaning for them and then destroy that object in whatever manner they wish. Michael Kimball interviews each person about their chosen object and the story behind it, which leads to amazing realizations, for both the subject and the viewer.

There are 19 different chapters filled with people, objects, destruction, resolution, and understanding. A man burns his discharge papers from the Army in attempt to exorcise his recurring nightmares about being forced to re-enlist (and always at a lower rank). A teenage girl destroys a papier-mâché version of her mean teacher's head, which she cracks open and then burns in an attempt to get all the meanness out. A man smashes his procrastination. Another man burns his favorite double album, the one that he listened to over and over to get through adolescence. A woman destroys a ceramic bust of Zeus that bears an uncanny resemblance to her husband. Another woman destroys her Ford Taurus with a crowbar because it is cursed.

I WILL SMASH YOU is filled with moments of relief, moments of release, unexpected realizations, and a couple of political statements. You have never seen a film like this

We'll start to screen I WILL SMASH YOU in September. The release party/premiere will happen somewhere in Baltimore.
Anybody interested in getting a screener copy of the DVD can write me at lucadipierro@yahoo.it




Little Burn Films presents
I WILL SMASH YOU
a film by Luca Dipierro & Michael Kimball
concept by Michael Kimball
directed by Luca Dipierro
edited by Luca Dipierro & Michael Kimball
camera by Rachel Bradley, Luca Dipierro, Rodney McLaughlin
with, in random order: Susan Nolan, Ivan Bojanic, Adam Robinson, Chancellor Pascale, Ella Grossbach, Geoff Becker, Jessica Gill, Caitlin Cunningham, Andy Kratz, Leslie F. Miller, Gregg Wilhelm, Tom Smith, Monica Mohindra, Bonnie Jones, Mike Rippe, Jeff Rettberg, Molly Warsh and Piotr Gwiazda, Michael Kimball, Betsy Boyd.
special thanks to Crazy Ray's and Brent Green


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The category is Interviews and Things That are New

Chris Higgs interview at HTMLGIANT that is not old even though it was posted way back on June 14th! I could read a whole book that is only an interview with Chris Higgs.

Michael Kimball interviews editor of Unsaid Magazine, David McLendon at elimae.

And, seriously, get the new issue of Unsaid however you can. It is massive in every way. Here's the lineup that is also a massive name drop:

ANNE CARSON, BRIAN EVENSON, BLAKE BUTLER, DAVID OHLE, EVELYN HAMPTON, PETER MARKUS, ALEXIS ALMEIDA, ROBERT LOPEZ, BEAR KIRKPATRICK, MICHAEL KIMBALL, MEGAN LAYTON, DAWN RAFFEL, EUGENE MARTEN, DAVID HOLLANDER, OTTESSA MOSHFEGH, SHELTON WALSMITH, JASON SCHWARTZ, RUDY WILSON, SARAH MANGUSO, PAUL MALISZEWSKI, RICHARD ST. GERMAIN, SAM MICHEL, EMILIA A. PHILLIPS, BRIAN KUBARYCZ, SVEN BIRKERTS, RICK POINSETT, ALYSON JANE, BIANCA GALVEZ, JOE WENDEROTH, M SARKI, JOANNA HOWARD, WILL ENO, JESSICA NEWMAN, PATRICIA O'CONNELL, MATTHEW THOMPSON, CAROLYN ALTMAN, PETER CHRISTOPHER, ANDY DEVINE, DANIELLE BLAU, RACHEL B. GLASER, PATRICK EHLEN, M.T. FALLON, JONATHAN CALLAHAN, LAUREN MCCOLLUM, KRISTINA BORN, JULIA HOLLEMAN, TRIA ANDREWS, VIRGINIA KONCHAN, BJORN VERENSON, MICHAEL STEWART, TRENT ENGLAND, DYLAN T. NICE, BRIAN SCHORN, RYAN MURPHY, SAM PINK, BENJAMIN LANDRY, EMILY MAHAN, SHANE JONES, THOMAS LAVERTY, A. MINETTA GOULD, COOPER ESTEBAN, LINDSAY ANDERSON, JOSHUA KORNREICH, SCOTT GARSON

To get a glimpse of what's in there, check out the feature at the EWN blog where Dan Wickett asks McLendon to say a bit about each piece and why he chose to include it in Unsaid. This feature could be printed as a supplement to the issue. Thanks, Dan and David, for doing this.

Available for Pre-Order: John Dermot Woods' novel The Complete Collection of people, places & things



I ordered this as soon as the email landed. Here's the info:

PRE-ORDER SPECIAL!
Order The Complete Collection of people, places & things by July 15 and get it for only $12 (25% off the cover price) with free shipping in the U.S. (we can work something out for international too).


EXTRA STUFF FOR THE FIRST 50 100 PEOPLE WHO ORDER:
- A signed/numbered screen print, commemorating the book’s release
- personalized copy with a limited edition, signed book plate


The Complete Collection of people, places & things
a novel by John Dermot Woods
BlazeVOX Books 2009
ISBN: 9781935402466
175 pp. Perfect Bound. With Drawings.


“An accomplished artist and writer, in addition to being an entertaining and often an electrifying one. John Woods does something very original in his combining of the arts in this collection, and my hat’s off to him in his two-hat achievement.”
Stephen Dixon


“John Dermot Woods’ Complete Collection thrills the daylights out of me. Every word, every image is infused with vitality. Every place, person and thing breathes and moves. It is an android’s heaven, a manikin’s cocktail party. It reminds me of the Golden Age cartoons where human departure imbues clocks, canned goods, books, statues, toys or brooms with sentience. When we close our eyes our kitchens Jitterbug, our teddy bears waltz. The thing I love most about this world is that while Woods’ imagination is opened full throttle, he provides an almost ethnographical structure to explicate it. His wonderland is so thoroughly startling because of — not in spite of — his ability to make his account as reliable as a Fodor’s travel guide.”
Reginald McKnight


“John Woods’ The Complete Collection brings the small-town America of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio into conversation with Italo Calvino’s fake travelogue, Invisible Cities, and that book’s dreamish vision of Imperial China. Like Calvino’s novel, the book evokes a kind of nearly Renaissance-like iconographic worldview of Memory and the Imagination, but one channeled through the disposable world of American children’s toys and comic books. The flat voice is disconcertingly balanced between farce, comedy and deadly seriousness.”
Johannes Göransson


Excerpts online:

“Benvereen” (Lamination Colony)

“Voltron,” “Game Cartridges,” and “The Dining Car” (La Petite Zine)

“Gargamel” (Pebble Lake Review)



New Literary Magazine: The Collagist

Dzanc Books is pleased to announce its newest venture: an online Logo journal called The Collagist. Intent on continuing the Dzanc tradition of bringing extraordinary writing to a wide audience, the first issue of The Collagist will be published on August 15th, 2009, and appear subsequently each month thereafter at www.thecollagist.com.

The Collagist is edited by Matt Bell, with Matthew Olzmann as Poetry Editor. Each month The Collagist will deliver outstanding new short stories, poems, and essays from both emerging and established writers, as well as an exclusive excerpt from a forthcoming novel. Early excerpts will include works from the standard bearers of independent publishing, including Coffee House, Two Dollar Radio, and Unbridled Books. The Collagist will also publish several new book reviews in every issue.

The Collagist is immediately open for submissions in all categories. As you might assume, we suggest you read the books Dzanc and its imprints publish to get a flavor of what writing gets us most excited. Submissions guidelines can be found at www.thecollagist.com/submissions.html.

We thank you in advance for your submissions and your readership, and look forward to sharing this exciting new project with you when our first issue launches in August.

Sincerely,

Steve Gillis
Dan Wickett
Matt Bell
Dzanc Books

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mike Heppner's Man Talking Project

So maybe you've read my review of Mike Heppner's Talking Man at The Chapbook Review. Good. That's good. Now here's some more: last October, Justin Taylor talked about Heppner's work on HTMLGIANT. He said these things:


Talking Man is the second in a series of four thematically linked novellas to be published in 2008 and 2009. The first part, Man Talking (that was released–it’s actually the fourth novella in the series; don’t ask) is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from Heppner’s website. Talking Man is being released in a gorgeous handmade, highly limited edition of 60. I can’t wait to get my hands on one, and you shouldn’t either.

The other two novellas–Man and Talking–will be released in December ‘08 and Sometime ‘09, respectively. No word on what format(s?) those works will be available in, but why don’t you stop worrying about that right now? You’re already two novellas down–time to get cracking.


Here is a rundown of the Man Talking Project on Heppner's own website:


Mike Heppner and Small Anchor Press announce Talking, the fourth and final in a series of novellas released in 2008 and 2009.

The Man Talking Project has been written about in The New Yorker on-line, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, Conversational Reading, AdFreak, Maud Newton, Media Bistro, The Millions and HTMLGiant. Clare Dudman (98 Reasons for Being) calls the project "...a brilliant piece of writing... innovative, interesting, and absorbing..." and Neil Peart (Road Show) raves "...an artful examination of modern life, and modern love, with perfect dialogue, wry humor, (and) psychological insight."

The four novellas were written between 2007 and 2009. Three of the four were released in full over the past year. One cannot find the entire project in a single location, however it is possible to collect and read the project in its entirety.

Part One, Talking Man, was published in September 2008 by Small Anchor Press. Small Anchor Press is a Brooklyn-based independent press specializing in finely crafted handmade books. Talking Man can be purchased exclusively at SA's website, smallanchorpress.com. A second printing came out in February 2009.

Part Two, Man, was released in December 2008. Five hundred photocopies have been left in random locations across the United States for readers to find and comment on. Some of those comments can be read here.

Part Three, Man Talking, the third in the series (but the first to be made available), can be read for free here. Over four thousand readers have visited since Man Talking went on-line in April 2008.

Part Four, Talking, is a piece of writing; it's also a contest. One winner will receive a single-copy edition of Talking, entirely handwritten by Mike Heppner, plus signed copies of the other three sections. A short documentary film will feature the author awarding the prize to the winner in person (if practical). The winner is the first person to correctly guess the secret phrase, which can be found in one of Heppner's two full-length novels, The Egg Code and Pike's Folly. Both novels are available as Vintage paperbacks.


This takes the idea of requiring work of the reader to a new level. Check out the photos of where copies of Man were left all over the US. And that the last part is also a contest pretty much makes this the most interactive series of novellas ever, and a nice hook to sell some copies of his two previous novels. If one were to play along, Talking actually becomes much longer and more complicated since part of the experience is to search out and piece together the secret phrase, which requires reading two novels, which in any case binds and tangles the novels and the novellas into one huge interactive text. Heppner's project is fascinating in so many ways. To see the contest rules for Talking (I didn't see a deadline or anything, so I assume it's still on), check out Heppner's website.

A linky recap:
Mike Heppner's Man Talking project:
Part One: Talking Man, available from Small Anchor Press
Part Two: Man, check out the note, and then try to find one of the 500(+?) copies
Part Three: Man Talking, free pdf download
Part Four: Talking, "a piece of writing; it's also a contest"

Also: The Making of Talking Man: "Correspondence between Mike Heppner and Jen Hyde [of Small Anchor Press] (July 23 – December 1, 2008)"

And also: read an excerpt of Mike Heppner's novel The Egg Code

And also as well:

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Chapbook Review

The first issue of The Chapbook Review is here. There's a phlebotomistic (I did indeed have less blood in my body when I finished reading) double interview where Blake Butler and Christopher Higgs take turns being interviewer/interviewee. And then, of course, there are the chapbook reviews.

Tobias Carroll reviews Lawrence Millman’s Going Home: A Horror Story

Sean Lovelace reviews Matt Bell's How the Broken Lead the Blind (the hard copies of which are sold out, but is now available as a free ebook)

Andrew Borgstrom reviews Aaron Burch’s Molting

Kimberly King Parsons reviews Alan Catlin’s Only the Dead Know Albany

Matthew Simmons and Andrew Borgstrom each review Mathias Svalina’s Play

J.R. Angelella reviews Ryan and Christie Call's Pocket Finger

Nicolle Elizabeth reviews Shya Scanlon’s Poolsaid

And I review Mike Heppner's Talking Man

The Chapbook Review is John Madera's brainchild; John Madera, who put together the huge list of lists of many writers' favorite novellas. I would like to thank John for all of his help, patience, and hard work. I think TCR fills a void in the current literary world, where chapbooks go mostly unnoticed and rarely receive the close critical reading so many of them deserve.