Friday, April 18, 2008

The shoes you lent me, they don't seem to fit the same.

While I try to juggle building a webzine, turning a company into a small press (how? HOW?!), interviewing authors, and developing children's books with queer/feminist leanings, I try to find ways to keep grounded, ways to bind those little nooks in my brain so they don't unravel and leave a weird film all over the place. This week I dug under my bed and found the album that defined my adolescence, for better or for worse. And that album was...

theSTART's Shakedown!

I don't know if anyone else remembers this or if I'm the only one at this point, but this was maybe one of the first albums in that annoying wave of new-new wave back in 2001. But it was good. Really fucking good. Throw in a little No Doubt, a little Immaculate Collection, a little Siouxsie Sioux from her Superstition era, and you've got Aimee Echo telling me to put on some new dancing shoes and dance to whatever I want to dance to. It was like a poppier version of the Footloose moral.

Aside from all that, looking back I realize that this was also a bizarrely positive record to be into for some little goth kid in New Jersey (I left those clothes in my hometown years ago, so stop worrying). Like I said before, Echo had the whole dance to whatever etc. etc. deal going as well as some simple yet thought-provoking lyrics (a love song to the beings from above in "Communion," love as a sticky syrup metaphor in "Gorgeous," Echo and the Roman goddess Nemesis in "Nemesis").

And now I've been walking all over Greenpoint and possibly rupturing my eardrums with these happy pop songs from my past. It makes me wish I was 17 again. Almost, but not really.

If I figure out how to share some of these songs, I will. Blasted blogger.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This week's Indie Heartthrob is...

My latest choice for Bookslut's Indie Heartthrob is David Ohle, author of the cult 1972 novel Motorman and it's follow-up (almost 30 years later) The Age of Sinatra, as well as the forthcoming bookend to the trilogy, The Pisstown Chaos.

In our interview, Ohle tells me about his time working with William S. Burroughs, Jr. in Kansas as well as his approach to writing as a tradesman:

From the interview:

Tell me about your time with Burroughs in Kansas. Had working with him on his memoir influenced your fiction?

I met Burroughs when I moved to Lawrence in 1984 and hung out with him once or twice a week until his death. I cooked dinner for him on Thursday nights, took him to the methadone clinic in Kansas City on occasion (where he picked up a "six pack" for the week), took him fishing and target shooting (I fished, he shot). I also transcribed a few of his novels from manuscript to computer files (Western Lands, Queer, The Cat Inside). A rumor has persisted that I somehow transcribed his dreams, but it's not true. I'd like to say that his writing had no influence on mine, but that may not be true either. If any of his writing influenced me, it would have to be Queer and Junkie, the two works of his I most admire for their starkly simple, straightforward style. (I wrote a screenplay adaptation of Queer, which Steve Buscemi initially optioned, but it has never been made.) His fame as a writer aside (Bill never talked about that), he was a very smart guy, a razor-sharp wit, and funny as hell. We were friends. I wrote a more complete account of my times with Burroughs called Mutate or Die: With Burroughs in Kansas, published by The Beat Scene Press. I've also published (Soft Skull, 2006) a memoir of Burroughs' son, Billy, called Cursed from Birth.

Check out the rest of the interview at the Blog of a Bookslut.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I've been asking myself lately why I have a subscription to the New York Review of Books. I don't read it. My roommates don't read it. I don't know anyone else who reads it. Is it a lit snob thing, or is it just because they offered me a discount?

I'm thinking of getting my ears lowered for my birthday. Other than that the day is up in the air. Maybe I'll treat myself to laundry service rather than doing it myself. Maybe I'll buy myself another book I'll never read. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll throw my phone out the window and watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Repeatedly.