Sunday, December 30, 2007

Whoops

Did I forget to mention that I've shut the blog down for the holidays until the new year? I guess I didn't....

That's it until the new year!

Don't know what to do without me? Go see Persepolis.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The New Lit-Rock

My twin brother and I trekked the G train last night to make our way down to Barbes, a wonderful bar in Park Slope toting its own record label. One Ring Zero was playing, and I thought it'd be a treat to finally take my brother to see them.

There's this weird influx of lit-rock coming out of Brooklyn lately, and one example to catch my eye recently is Clare & the Reasons. Like ORZ, they too have a song (er..two!) on Pluto's demotion from (P)lanet to (p)lanet.

Why do I say lit-rock? Well, Clare & the Reasons may not have an album written by famous authors, but it really is still all in the lyrics. Take "Pluto" for example:

Pluto, I have some frightful news dear
in the New York Times.
They've just reported you've been overthrown
from your solar throne for good.

...

Now all the planets will gather around and have a thing for you.
They'll wrap their orbits warmly around you and send you off with love.
Chin up, Pluto, the stars still want you and we down here do too.
You know what to do, just keep on keeping on.

[line breaks and punctuation approximated]

With a band like this, at least for me, the appeal comes mainly with the lyrical ability. Back in August both Clare & the Reasons and One Ring Zero were featured on NPR's Morning Edition in a story about Pluto songs following the Planet's demotion. Clips and the full story can be found here.

Clare & the Reasons will be featured tomorrow on WFMU 91.1's Irene Trudel Show at 4pm, and they'll be performing at Southpaw on Thursday night.

Thimble Zine, GO!

I just bought a domain for the zine, and I've truncated the name for the world's sake. So here starts Thimble Zine! Over the next few months I'll be working on finalizing details about the webzine, reeling in writers (cough cough hint hint you should contact me cough cough) and sundry other nitbits. I'll publicly post an email contact once I figure some of that out.

Time's a go! As long as I can muster the energy to juggle the new publishing job....

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Small Press X-Mas List

I was just really tempted to write "Small Press X-Men List," but that would have just labeled me as a dork, right?

Anyway, Karen Lillis surveyed a few small press people for their x-mas shopping recs and the results are now up on the LDP Distro/Info blog. Yours truly appears at the very bottom with some great book recommendations, so go read them or else you'll destroy Christmas for everyone.

Do you really want something like that hanging over your shoulders?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER by Elizabeth Crane


I'm just a little over halfway through this, and I'm already going to give it five stars. I've been glued to this on the G train. I want the G train to keep going so I can finish these stories before I have to read other things for my day job.

The title's perfectly apt: YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER, with a happy bunny/precious moments creature staring at you from the cover, arms spread wide like a kid who can grasp the concepts of measurement to some basic degree. While these are stories for happy people, they're not saccharine. While these aren't saccharine, they're far from depressing. In one story a woman becomes a zombie and makes the best of it by going on one of those midday Lifetime reality shows where a houseful of women trump their problems by sharing gold stars and making papercrafts. All the while, you notice that there is no cynicism. None.

And you're all the happier for it.

Buy it through Akashic!

Monday, December 03, 2007



Pooh talking about bad touch? Verily disturbing. Though not as much as the line, "My, that rabbit certainly comes and goes, doesn't he?"
My father, a 67 year old, soon-to-be retired Sicilian immigrant who came to Elizabeth, NJ in 1956, loves Y: The Last Man and Pride of Baghdad. Perhaps I should be leaving books idly behind on the dining room table next time I visit. Perhaps Fun Home? If there's any better way to come out to someone like him, I'm all ears.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's the first snow of the season here in Brooklyn. To think just last week I was sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with my family in NJ when, after our mock grace, the lights began to flicker and we found ourselves in the middle of a humid thunderstorm. Suffice to say, it was awkward.

The webzine's coming along slowly. The first article tree is just starting to branch out, and I may have decided on a truncated URL (honestly, who's going to remember "athimblefullofcornoil.com", especially with the article attached?). Alongside some bookish articles and music interviews, we've also got a bit on Craigslist sexcapades in the works.

Until next time, I'll sit here and sip my ginger-garlic-honey-lemon tea and knock this cold from my system. And watching that tweaker on Animal Exploration is always entertaining.

Monday, November 26, 2007

See my page riddled with misspellings? We can thank Blogger for that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm in the process of moving to Movable Type. This is going to be arduous, but until then, I'm not sure how often I'll be posting. So in that case, go enjoy some writing by some of my favorite people while I idly feed myself and try staying awake during an episode of Antiques Roadshow:


Tatyana Tolstaya: "See the Other Side"


Marguerite Duras: "The Bible"

Alain Mabanckou: "Bleu Blanc Rouge"

Lydia Millet: "Girl and Giraffe"


Asli Erdogan: Excerpt from City in Crimson Cloak

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together

New York Magazine posted an excerpt from Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together. I really need to get my act together and finally read this thing.



Oh, and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Spaced) optioned it for a movie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I just realized I can set my time stamp to Pitcairn time. What to do?
This slipped by during that month or two away: Part 5 in The Poetry Foundation's The Poem as Comic Strip series. This one features Ted Kooser's "The Giant Slide" as set to artwork by Paul Hornschemeier.

Ding Dong

A little something I've been into lately as well as my first mp3 post on this blog (cheers!):

Johnny Dowd - Ding Dong

Enjoy.

Heartthrob

I interviewed Karin Taylor, Executive Director of the New York Center for Independent Publishing (NYCIP) this week over at Bookslut. If you're a writer, you might want to check out what she had to say about what NYCIP has to offer as well as the Small Press Fair this December. I know I'll be there bright and early with my little press hat and bunny slippers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, Stevin.

Tyra recently taught my friend Stevin how to smile with his eyes. Remember-it's always about Tyra.

Sans the hideous gay hat, I'm back!

Starting now, I'm going to attempt a weekly post and eventually wean myself into more regular blogging. Bitch is back, y'all.

The other night I went to a reading (at a health spa!) featuring Peter Godwin (Mukiwa, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun), a former professor of mine who proved to be very influential over the past year (see my interview with him over at Bookslut). I was very surprised by the turnout (at least 50, young and old), and though the space was quite bizarre, it really worked in his favor.

After he read several excerpts from When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, I approached him through the crowd of people rushing downstairs for the free wine and cheese. His face sort of lit up.

"You're here!"

He eventually told me that he was glad to see me there (at least someone from that New School class and asked me how things were going. There was this moment of realization that things were starting to finally work out for me: I'm writing again, I finally left my job at the book store, I have that prospective job at BookLinks, and there are some other personal affairs that I won't share with the rest of the planet that are going much more positively than a month ago.

After Peter signed for a group of sentimental old ladies, he took my copy of Mukiwa and inscribed:

From one Book Slut to another! Best of luck from your old professor! - Peter Godwin

---

Since he got me to voice for myself how things are going for me at this point, I've decided to be more proactive with my work.

First things first: I'm working on turning this blog into a more full-fledged group project. This may not happen for quite a while (I need to find a good server, people to work with regularly, adspace, and, god forbid, direction).

Second: I need to return to my fiction. I haven't touched PRAYING FOR BROTHERS ON MT. PURGATORY (tentative title) since May, and I think now is better than any other time to look at it with new eyes. Of course, an unbiased set of eyes will always help. Any takers?

Third, and least imperative: I'll finally finish and post that damned Rasputina interview. The article's long dead by now to shop around, so I may as well do what I want with it rather than letting it collect digital dust on my hard drive. If I can make a podcast out of it somehow, then I will.

Coming up next: an update on possibly moving to BookLinks and the perils of being the non-profit office monkey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And I heard it first from the NY Post....

Hey look! The bookstore I work in might close down next spring. And it's not an independent bookseller!

Maybe this will motivate me to find another way of paying the bills.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Scary

The most frightening thing to run into after a couple of beers at the Boulevard: a cat sitting on the staircase in the hallway of your apartment building staring right at you through the security door.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On reviewers

Katharine Weber captures the anxieties a writer must face when it comes to inept book reviewers over at the LitBlog Co-Op:

Then come the reviews. The wise readings, the ridiculous readings. The misreadings. The scolding, reluctant praise. Razor-sharp mixed reviews, empty-headed raves. Crackpot Amazon “reviews.” In print and online, Triangle has received an extraordinary volume of reviews and response, more than any of my previous books (thanks in part to the ever-expanding world of blogging), from wonderfully astute close readings to disdainful and grotesque dismissals.

Keep an eye out at the Co-Op for more on "Triangle" week.
First and foremost, I've been obsessing over a viral youtube video (who doesn't?) featuring a performance by the Penny Magic Show on some public access station. It looks ridiculous, but really it's strangely brilliant and mesmerizing.



I also found the actual demo recording. Apparently the song is entitled "The Shrink," and it's credited to Penny Pearce. Here's the song attached to an epileptic karaoke video:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just announcing the inaugural edition of Bookslut.com's Indie Heartthrob Interview Series, where every Monday I will be interviewing someone involved in the small press (be it book publishing, zines, lit mags, you name it...). This week features Richard Nash, editor-in-chief at Soft Skull Press:

I used to be a theater director (Downtown, "avant-garde," Richard Foreman acolyte) and Sander Hicks, the founder of Soft Skull, saw one of my productions and liked it, so he gave me his plays, and I started to direct them. At the time (1997-2000), for a day job/health insurance, I worked at Oxford University Press, doing permissions, electronic rights and foreign rights. I started to help my theatre collaborator out with his other gig, the Soft Skull thing, and just got in deeper and deeper and deeper. By early 2002 I realized indie publishing was far more culturally relevant than theater...

More over at Blog of a Bookslut (see July 9). Archives will be kept here two to three weeks after the original pub date.

Also, check out the July edition (issue 62) of Bookslut, which features interviews with Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More Than You ), Arnold Rampersad (Ralph Ellison), Ron Currie Jr. (God is Dead), and my own interview with Peter Godwin ( When a Crocodile Eats the Sun).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Speaking of BEA....

My twin brother was almost made to attend BEA this year dressed as the Michelin man. I imagine this scenario.

Edit: I think I broke it. Sorry, Geocities person!

The Poem as Comic Strip

I'm not sure if I've ever posted this before, but The Poetry Foundation has been commissioning graphic novelists and cartoonists to adapt poetry into comic strips. So far there are three wonderful renditions (note: click the links for the complete strip):

David Heately on Diane Wakoski's "Belly Dancer"



Gabrielle Bell on Emily Dickenson's "It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up"



Jeffrey Brown on Russel Edson's "Of Memory and Distance"



In other news, you know you need a new laptop when the space bar sticks every 10 punches. Maybe I should plan that graduation party now....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Muruch: Rasputina: Oh Perilous World!

Check out this album review for Rasputina's newest effort Oh, Perilous World! and download a free mp3 for "Cage in a Cave."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I graduated today. I graduate again tomorrow. Then my twin gradutates, but only once.

I still look like Bea Arthur in my garb.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Two belated articles and Bea Arthur's wardrobe

In the May 2007 edition of Bookslut.com:



An interview with Francophone-Ivorian writer Marguerite Abouet, where we discuss the translation of her graphic novel Aya into English, the image of Africa created by the Western media, and her childhood crush on Spider-Man/Peter Parker:

As an African person living in France, I don't want to see how badly the media represents the Ivory Coast. The African people have enough of these very bad, miserable images of Africa that the media will show. Even now people will still say to me, 'I'm not going to Africa because I'm really afraid to see all these miserable people.' It's almost as easy as saying you don't want to go to the United States because you're afraid to get a bullet in the head. by John Zuarino






An interview with Soft Skull author Matthew Sharpe, in which we discuss his amazing new novel Jamestown and "homosexual tendencies in the 17th century.":

The crew of the ship had their own food supply, while the settlers had theirs. The settlers used theirs up and had to trade with the crew. There's this one guy among the settlers who says, "We traded whatever we had with the crew for food," and he gives a list of things: hatchets, beads, copper trinkets, coins, muskets, and the last item on the list was "love." I just thought that one word was like a little peephole into what must have been a whole host of activities.  By John Zuarino



Don't forget to check out the Monday blog, where every week I'll try and salvage what's been left in the dust in regards to the small press and other et ceteras.

And by the way, my graduation robe makes me look like I dove into Bea Arthur's wardrobe. Sequins, sequins everywhere!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blog of a Bookslut

Starting today, I'll be covering the small press and other et ceteras over at the Bookslut blog on Mondays. Go check it out.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Outstanding Achievement in Journalism

NBC News just felt the need to dedicate 5-7 minutes of our lives to a report on how students shouldn't cite Wikipedia as a resource. Wasn't this just a bit more relevent a year and a half ago?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Belated writings: I Wii, and You?

A little something I forgot to post here back in December when it originally came out (and was probably a lot more relevant!). This is cross-posted over at Inprint, where there's also a great illustration by Jeremy Schlangen.


I Wii. And You?

Several weeks ago, beefheads and the socially awkward camped out at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square for the Nintendo Wii release. With its odd name and especially phallic controller, one wonders if Nintendo has finally created the gayest video game console ever. Given the hetero-normative sociological expectations in video gaming, the idea of men waving phallic motion-sensing controllers at each other can be somewhat unsettling to most gamers.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. When the company announced back in April that they would name the console "Wii" instead of the originally intended "Revolution," millions were outraged. "Gay," said one Japanese publisher. "Sorry if that offended. I hate using that word in the pejorative sense, but it totally applies this time. …Joe Schmo from middle America can't say 'Wii' with a straight face, whereas he has no trouble saying '360' or 'PS3.'"

Honestly, I can't keep a straight face saying any of the three names. Saying "I want a 360" and "how 'bout that PS3" just creeps me out. But 'Wii' has a bit of a ring to it. Not only does it embody the onomatopoeic equivalency of the word "fun," it also says something sexy about the machine. "I want a Wii" and "how bout that 'Wii?'" just roll off your tongue, and make you tingle in all the right places. It's no surprise that gamers started a petition to force Nintendo to change the name.

Even more amazing is the slew of reports that players have been accidentally throwing their Wii remotes through their TVs and even in each other's faces. Have you ever heard that saying—that homophobia stems from self-hatred? Well, just imagine sitting with a group of frat boys jamming their six-inch Wii phalluses in each other's faces during a game of Mario Bowling, and you'll get the idea. Follow the debauchery of crushing beer cans on your head with a long night of trading Wii blows, and you've got a deal!

At Towleroad.com, the "blog with homosexual tendencies," contributor Andy writes, "Part of the fun of the Wii is designing your own character, called a Mii. You start with a head shape and add from dozens of features until your character is created. Of course, this ultimately turned into an incredibly amusing diversion. As you can see, it wasn't long before our friend Martin's journey into cyber-drag resulted in the character below." Andy refers to a Mii character resembling a coked-out circuit boy one would find on the dance floor at the nightclub Heaven. "When hooked up to WiFi, you can send your Miis over the internet to participate in a parade on another user's Wii."

This Christmas, why not don your Link outfit and role-play with your partner over a Nintendo Wii? That's what I'll be doing, and I'll be sure to order the purple silicone skin from eBay to slip over my Wii for that extra effect while I swordfight with my bros.

Alison Bechdel and Alain Mabanckou

I contributed two articles for the March edition of Bookslut.

An Interview with Alison Bechdel:
Well, it’s true that it's [Dykes to Watch Out For] not as financially viable as it would be to devote myself completely to books. It might be a smart thing, actually, but somehow I don’t think so. I feel Dykes is like a steady investment. A municipal bond. It has supported me for many years, not just financially, but as a really great outlet -- especially during the Bush administration. I think I would go insane without somewhere to vent this stuff.

Also be sure to check out the Alain Mabanckou profile "The African Psycho Comes to America":
“My book, African Psycho, is deeply rooted in Africa, and I needed to focus on an awkward character who is unable to commit a real murder -- Gregoire Nakobomayo. American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman is a product of America; he is rich -- the image of the successful Manhattan executive. Gregoire is the opposite. He is an orphan. He is poor. He lives on the street. He was adopted by a rich family, but it is not his world. He wants to resemble Angoualima, a mythical serial killer from the other Congo [the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Za├»re]. Patrick Bateman is the perfect serial killer. Gregoire is just eternally awkward.”

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Belated Interview with Gabrielle Bell and Other Points of Interest

So in my absence, I've neglected to post a link to my interview with graphic novelist Gabrielle Bell. This appeared in the January 2007 edition of Bookslut.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm currently working on what may or may not be a book (we'll see if a weekly series of deadlines will be threatening enough for me to get my ass out of bed), a profile for 2006 Prix Renoudot winner Alain Mabanckou (see African Psycho) and an interview with Alison Bechdel.

I still have a few other things up my sleeve, but I haven't fully thought them through yet.

An Interview with Clifford Chase

My interview with writer Clifford Chase is featured in the February 2007 edition of Bookslut. Check it out, and then go read his novel Winkie, because it's just that good.

Progress on Newton Creek?

Via Gothamist: NY State Will Sue Big Oil Over Greenpoint Spill

Looks like the state is finally taking a step in doing something about the oil plume that's been seeping into Greenpoint since the 1950s out of Newton Creek in Brooklyn. For some perspective, 17 million gallons of oil spilled into Newton Creek, spreading underneath Greenpoint over 100 acres. The infamous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska was 11 million gallons over 55 acres. Mind-boggling that the Newton Creek spill has been kept quiet in the media, isn't it?



I live a few blocks outside the green plume area, but it's still so close to home. I'm sure my water pipes run right through it.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia

As I'm sitting in my colder than necessary apartment reading various blogs, I have Seinfeld on in the background. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot the preview for Bridge to Terabithia.

Now, Bridge to Terabithia was one of my favorite novels growing up. It's about a boy and a girl who create an imaginary world in the woods called Terabithia. But keep in mind, they know whole-heartedly that Terabithia isn't real--that's the beauty of it all. It totally captures the child/pre-teen imagination.

Based on the preview for the film adaptation, though, it looks like Hollywood decided to cash in on the Eragon/Lord of the Rings/Chronicles of Narnia/Harry Potter craze and make Terabithia real. At one point the announcer ("In a world..." has always been his classic line) says that it's up to the two children to save the world they created from a menace on the inside. I know that film adaptations are expected to be different from the original work, but I feel like this time they're essentially fisting Katherine Paterson's work without her knowledge.

Of course, I could be wrong. I haven't even seen the movie.