Saturday, November 22, 2014

Please welcome to the world ... Tosh Berman The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding

'Poetry is the most musical of literary forms. A poem unfurls like a melody, and a stanza of verse could snuggle comfortably onto a page of sheet music. A single line of verse can end on a lilting note of optimism, or a shadowed note of wistful melancholy. A poem is like a miniature operetta that someone whispers in your ear, and this understanding is central to The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding. The majority of the piec- es in Tosh’s book could be characterized as love poems, however, for the most part, that’s not how they were conceived. “There are many layers in a poem, and poetry is a condensed form of writing that takes the reader into an inner world. I wanted these poems to take the reader to a specific place, but it wasn’t necessarily a personal place, and the love poems weren’t written with a muse in mind. Rather, I wanted to take the reader into a place of language, and was interested in playing with the form and characteristics of love songs; the songs from the great American songbook, particularly the lyrics of Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin, were a big influence on this book. When you listen to a great performance of a popular song it pulls you into a world of feeling, and when I hear a good love song I feel like I’m in love; this is a phenomenon of language.”' -- Kristine McKenna

'Tosh Berman's poetry collection The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding is full of unexpected associations, images, and jump-cuts. The poems are unfailingly charming, but they're also occasionally cut with poison, so that you're never certain what lurks around the next line break. The book is beautifully sequenced so each of the short pieces echoes off one another, creating a whole that's far more ineffable and mysterious than any individual verse. The writing is often masterful, but in an offhanded and understated way, refusing to call attention to its startling sleights of hand. It plays like an album of dislocated love songs, the meanings sometimes obscured, the yearning voices occasionally slipping into a foreign tongue -- but always seductive.' -- Jeff Jackson

'The fifteen minutes it took me to read this book transported me to a place that lingers. So I reread it three more times to reinforce that place. And placed the book on my coffee table to place that place in the place where I live.

'What kind of place? It is a heart on top of the head kind of place, with volcanoes and Glenn Gould, and the Sea of Japan making things sad and sticky and beautiful. It is a place where people die to the tune of a light pop tune. It is an innocent and a jaded place where sex skirts the edges. It is a place where pressed pants paint a poem with enviable off-handedness. A place with plenty of space and the stars above twinkling into cocktails. A place with a light touch that you know still wants to grope. So watch it!' -- Eddie Watkins

The very young Tosh


The Wonderful World of TamTam Books
'The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding' @ goodreads
american rive gauche: an interview with tosh berman
Tosh Berman's Soundcloud stuff
PODCAST #34: Tosh Berman, "Sparks-Tastic"
'Tosh Berman on the band Sparks and the meaning of being a fan'
Tosh Berman interviewed
Notes from Friends of Fantômas
'Tosh Berman is into a much cooler Paris than most people ever see'
Buy 'The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding'


Tosh Berman talks about Georges Perec's"AN ATTEMPT AT EXHAUSTING A PLACE IN PARIS"

Tosh Berman talks about Raymond Roussell's "NEW IMPRESSIONS OF AFRICA"

Tosh Berman talks about "MICK ROCK EXPOSED: The Faces of Rock 'N' Roll" and "BOLAN: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar"

Tosh Berman talks about "MUJI: MUJI IS GOOD FOR YOU"

Tosh Berman talks about James Schuyler's "Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems"

The original 1980 cover



Tosh Berman: [The Plum in Mr Blum's Pudding] was written during a combination of despair and adventure. I was in a situation where my mother-in-law was dying and I had to be in Japan to support [my wife] Lun*na [Menoh]. I had pretty much given up my life in Los Angeles to live in Japan, and not only that, but live in [Mojo-Ko,] a very small town. I didn't know the language or the culture that well. The only thing I knew about Japan was Kurosawa films, Mishima's novels, and the Japanese group, Sadistic Mika Band. I didn't even know how to use chop sticks!

Rebekah Weikel: You’ve said The Plum acted as a journal of sorts...

Tosh Berman: Yes. Some of the pieces were originally written in Los Angeles, but then I went on to completely re-write them in Japan, and add additional poems. I wanted the book to become a kind of journal, where all the work pertains to the period and experience. I had always written poetry, but very bad poetry. Through the combination of not really being able to talk to anyone – this was pre-internet – and not hearing English on a day-to-day basis, this book is what came. It was everything I observed at that time, filtered through my experiences.

I always had a “collection” in mind. I’ve never written a poem to stand alone. I’ve always written poetry intending each poem for part of a collection. Like music, I am very much an albums-orientated person; I don’t like individual songs that much. I think a book of poems should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but as Jean-Luc Godard once said: “Not necessary in that order!”

Rebekah Weikel: In an email you sent to me about the book, you said you felt very isolated during your stay in Japan.

Tosh Berman: Yes. It’s always hard when you’re in a new country, especially when you don’t speak the language. But I think, too, it was just a very sad time considering the circumstances of Lun*na’s mother being ill. We were based in Mojo-Ko, a suburb of sorts outside Kitakyushu. Mojo-Ko was a port town that was once an important and large shipping area before World War II. Very close to Korea. There was often consistent travel between Moji-Ko and Busan with respects to its merchants, but after the war, the area lost their shipping business and became a somewhat exotic area outside Kitakyushu. So, after moving [from Los Angeles] to this somewhat desolated area, I didn’t hear from anyone aside from a few letters from my mother in Los Angeles. It was almost as if I died, and I wasn’t in anyone’s mind or hearts anymore. I felt abandoned and I wasn’t sure where life was leading me or how long I’d be in Japan. It dawned on me that my life or past in the United States might be left a memory. It was with this in mind that I started to write and put together The Plum In Mr. Blum’s Pudding. I wanted to produce something I could be remembered by.

I often felt like an alien. I was the only foreigner in the area, and I remember children would either stare or draw a picture of me to show off to their parents or friends. When I walked around Moji-Ko, which was on a consistent basis, I felt very much like “The Man Who Fell To Earth.”


Tosh Berman The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding
Penny-Ante Editions

'The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding is Los Angeles native Tosh Berman’s first printed collection of poetry. In 1989, Berman left the United States behind, moving to Japan after learning his wife’s (artist Lun*na Menoh) mother was ill in Kitakyushu. The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding was penned while both rapt and lost by this transition. Gracefully toiling between the quirky and earnest, these poems describe the liminal space of the foreigner caught between the strange and the familiar. The result is surreal and unclassifiable, a book of love poems overshadowed by isolation and underscored with curiosity and lust.

'Originally published in 1990 by “Cole Swift & Sons” (Japan) as a small hardcover edition of two hundred copies, this new edition acts to preserve this work and features an introduction by art critic and curator Kristine McKenna and an afterword by Ruth Bernstein.' -- Penny-Ante Editions



When I was a little girl
I played with my curls
Never noticing car accidents
Can cause such beautiful casualties

And if I was a boy
Who had a mind
I wouldn’t mind standing in a field
Of land mines


I wake up to see
The greatest work of art

She is beautiful
All the curators of the world agree

The Sea of Japan
Is 405,000 square miles long
My love
Fills up the sea
The hard vegetation & dry rocks
Bow down to the greatest love
Ever found

The great museums of the world
Will be burned down
The ceilings are too tall
& the rooms are too wide
We need a small room
To appreciate great art

Stations made of stone
Is too cold
Flesh is the only way to go

So why don’t we burn down
The great museums of the world ?


The Negro River runs through Colombia
And Brazil
Its length is 1,400 miles
& runs into the Amazon River
Which is 3,988 miles in length
& runs through Peru and Brazil

...... And if you take my hand
We will float down the Negro River
Flowers die & fade into a summer day
In one moment
I will build a monument in Peru
Tall as time & wide as space
I’ll call it “ Frank Sinatra ”

There are hidden trumpets
In the dark jungle
The only sound of life
Is life itself
Strangling on java juice


p.s. Hey. This weekend, the blog is very happy and proud, or as happy and proud as a internet site can be, to form a launching pad for the long awaited republication of the great Tosh Berman's legendary, too long o.o.p., glorious book 'The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding'. Please use the next days to get to know it, and then click where it says 'Buy' if you know what's good for you, and I know guys do. Thanks. And thank you, Tosh, for letting this place toot its horn on your behalf! Otherwise, I will issue a forewarning that you're likely to see at least a couple of rerun posts next week. Between the recovery time re: my pesky broken ribs and my recent traveling and a looming work deadline, the time I normally have to make posts has been badly mutilated. So, assuming oldies are in the blog's immediate future, I apologize for that backwardness in advance. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I appreciate the hugs. The news I feared was indeed bad news, but it's not life-threatening or anything like that. It just sucks for me, and I have to suck it up, and I will. Basically, I was informed that I have to move out of the Recollects where I've lived for the vast majority of the time I've lived in France. And that probably doesn't sound like more than a hassle, but it's kind of traumatic for me as well as presenting a complicated process that I really dread. So, yeah. Oh, I knew nothing about MA's stint at Chatelet, shit. I'll watch my local listings more attentively. ** Kier, Hi, K, you managed to pop in! That's very cool! You sound you're having a bunch of fun and that even more fun is awaiting you, and hopefully that larger fun is now underway. Nina Beier is Danish, but I think she lives in Berlin? I've been working on the eBook thing for a bit, and right under you guys's noses in fact. I haven't decorated for Xmas since I've been over here. It's weird. Part of it is that my place, my room, is crammed with a big mess of stuff, and so any decorations would just look like green and red junk. I like the idea of decorating, though. Be really, really careful with the iciness. Don't end up like me. Walk slowly and with heavy, carefully planted feet. I do like board games even though I never play them for unknown reasons. I haven't even played a video game in, like, years, which is bizarre. My yesterday was mostly a la the day before, i.e. largely spent working on the theater piece. It's a lot of work. Jesus. I also got my bad news about my living situation, and that freaked me out for the most of the day. The best thing by far was that I saw and hung out with Zac who, like me, has been hold up in his pad working under a heavy deadline, in his case assembling a very rough, initial edit of our film before we start working together on the actual editing. And we saw Gisele, and that was cool too. Coffee, walking around, and blab. Then I came back and worked some more before hitting the hay. Another uncolorful day. Now I have a whole weekend to try to squeeze in a bit or two of fun, and I'll try, and I imagine you won't even have to try to have fun, which is awesome. Tell me. Love, me. ** David Ehrenstein, Noel Coward wrote a song about Nina Beier? That's cool and technical impossible, ha ha. Don't agree with you about 'GR', but you know that already. And Pynchon and Gadsdis are just apples and oranges to me. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh! So thrilled to give the blog over to your masterwork! Yeah, 'wow' or 'holy shit' or 'what?!' are indicators of 'genius' for me too. I'm with you on 'genius' re: Sparks and Scott Walker. Morrissey, not sure. Bowie, mm, once in a while. Strange that there hasn't been a Scott Walker lyrics book. Huh. It's a no brainer of an idea. ** Kevin Killian, Kevin! Mr. Killian! A total joy to see you inside here! Well, the eBook thing is a novel in my mind, but, when I say the word 'novel', what probably springs to your mind is not precisely what it's going to be, although I am in the middle of an actual novel with a capitol N that I hope to get back into finishing enthusiastically as soon as I finish the theater piece text. Ah, what a coincidence, since I literally can not think of you without the word genius covering your name and your being with a very bright light. Big love from me. ** Jebus, Hi there, J! 'That "ineffable" it', good one, yep, that's it. Yes, you have described my personal definition of what would constitute genius kind of to the 'T'. Dude, so nice, so smart. Thank you! No, the eBook is separate from the novel I've been working on, but they are related because they're both going to be parts of a cycle of novels that I plan to be working on for the next while. How and what are you doing, man? ** Sypha, Hi. Well, you know full well that I really don't like the anti-natalist thing at all. But, from what little Ligotti I've read, and it was earlier work, I didn't find that viewpoint to be an oppressive thing in the work itself. I'm glad you haven't forgotten about Cat Band Day because I remain excited about it, and patient too, of course. It will be amazing and a huge boon whenever you're ready to deliver. Thank you, James! ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T! Nice to see you back too. Don't miss your stop, or I mean I hope you didn't, and do come back asap. ** Tomkendall, Hi, Tom. I'm okay, yeah, thanks. I actually was going to ask you the other day if you wanted to do a blog post about that project, so, yes, I would be very into that, if you want to. Me too re: being blown away by 300,000,000. Killer! Thanks, Tom. Love, me. ** Cal Graves, Hi. Yeah, true about seeing bands, but, seriously, Iceland is so amazing that it didn't even matter at all. And I think probably all the bands there are based in Reykjavik where we were only stationed for a couple of days. Yeah, I like the word 'genius' just 'cos it signals an extreme liking of something really fast. But I'm from LA where laziness re: wordage in conversation is almost an art form or something, ha ha. Things went not good with the scary news, but I'll live, and what can you do? Your question today is extremely easy to answer because I have an intense fear of outer space, of being there, of space walks, and everything to do with space. So, even before I was there, I would die of a heart attack from fear. I'm pretty sure I literally would. So I wouldn't have a choice about my death. I would already be a corpse floating in space before I was even forcefully ejected into space. ** Keaton, Hi. I want one of her rug pieces. Those are my favorites. I thought Picasso was in Paris. Okay, good to know. Psychoanalytic theory: I don't think I like it either, do I? Like who constitutes that pov? I'm spacing out. ** Jeffrey Coleman, Hi, Jeff! I do seem to be back. And you're back. Nice coincidence. If Misanthrope was really, really hungry, and if the only food was d.l.s, I wonder who he would eat first? Hm, I'm going to ask him, if he's here today. I'm a vegetarian who can't digest meat anymore, so everyone would be spared in my regard. Yeah, they have snow and ice. At least in the winter. We got pummeled by it for a couple of days. Interesting. I mean your question about reading the Cycle. Well, ideally, I wrote it so that they would ideally be read in order. But I also wrote it so you could read them in any order just so long as you know that their order is very important and carefully planned out. So, that, whatever order you read them in, I would want you to know that the order in which they appeared is the order that they should take in your head once you've read them all. I guess I'm saying, yeah, you can read them in whatever order you like, sure. Thanks for wanting to. Don't know Jane Weaver. I'll get all over that. Thanks! I do know a little of Lars Pederson's work, but I haven't heard that new thing, and I didn't even know it was extant, so thank you again! Cool, man, sweet, you rule, take care! ** Steevee, Hi. Well, yeah, nothing wrong with commenting on stuff like the Cosby thing, obviously, It's just the ... my mom used to use this term 'ambulance chasers'. I guess it's the ambulance chasing types that get on my nerves. I don't think the new Wiseman has opened in France, but I'll check. I'm a little out of it re: movie releases at the moment. Curious to hear your thoughts on 'Instellar'. I have no passion to see it. Nolan's films generally leave me very wanting. ** Misanthrope, There you are. Okay, if you were really, really hungry, and there was no food at all other than a bunch of d.l.s, which d.l. would you eat first? Outrage is like the Facebook news feed equivalent of an orgasm or something. Right, LPS is a really big boy, isn't he? ** Right. Spend your weekend with Tosh, if you don't mind. That would be my ideal plan for you guys if I was into making your plans. I'll see you right back here on Monday.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents ... Nina Beier

'Nina Beier's work is as unstable as a keg of dynamite, if a whole lot quieter. The Danish artist's sparse, pared-down offerings have included fading photographs, a wall painting that was redone daily and a sculpture recreated via a game of Chinese whispers. Her Dust Painting is literally a pile of dust-coloured pigment, which gets traipsed all over the gallery on the soles of people's shoes. As unassuming as it first appears, her art is an elusive, restless thing, with scant regard for the beautiful picture frames that often attempt to contain it.' -- The Guardian

'I believe my father invented Google Maps. Or at least a map of what could have eventually become Google Maps. He never fully realized this project, though. The roads of his psyche, to use a fitting metaphor, were perhaps not made for opposing traffic. People say that every map is a portrait of its maker, a picture of his knowledge, perspective, and interpretation. One thing is certain: My father loves Google Maps.

'The philosopher Alfred Korzybski famously stated that “the map is not the territory,” supposedly meaning that one should not confuse the representation of something with the actual thing. But there is a lot to be said for confusion. These are confused works, pictures that are both map and territory. What is a poster for an exhibition of posters, or what should we call a representation of dust made of dust-colored pigment dispersed over a room? Or a work that frames the clothes the framer was wearing when he made the frames? After all, isn’t the best way to describe a story to tell one?

'I have repeatedly come across a Lewis Carroll story about a country that, after several attempts at making an accurate map, makes a map the size of the country itself. But when using it, the citizens run into a number of problems and, following complaints from the farmers who argue that using the map would harm crops, they decide to use the country itself as its own map, a solution they conclude is nearly as good. Here, the represented almost succeeds in becoming its own image, like the story, as I just told it, is almost the same as it was the first time around.

'When one attempts to light a sculpture fully, its shadows unfold on the floor around it. The sculpture practically appears overshadowed by the repeated figures. But if one would present the shadows as the work of art on display, would we see the sculpture as the portrayed?

'I have found pictures of body parts belonging to giant statues. These statues are constructed in fragments and will inevitably end in fragments again. They are a puzzle and we know the pieces; even when looking at the full figure, its own reality shines through. As an image torn to pieces and reassembled, it displays the scars of its own history while competing with the story it depicts.

'The pictures argue within and among themselves, as their surfaces struggle with their content for domination. When a published representation of a work of art is framed and presented as a work again, the weight of the frame might initially outshine its content, which again, if the reflective UV filter makes it survive long enough, might gain enough importance to be appreciated on its own terms and perhaps even be freed from its frame again.

'The viewer will see her own image mixed in with this story, and any future photographic documentation is likely to include the reflection of its maker. Appositionally, a framed poster that has been sandblasted, obscuring the image and exposing the frame, has become a thing in itself, no longer a representation, and will never again reflect anything.' -- Nina Beier


Nina Beier @ Laura Bartlett Gallery
Nina Beier @ Standard (Oslo)
Nina Beier @ Metro Pictures
'Of any artist working today, 35-year-old hyper-mixed-media artist Nina Beier ...'
'Artist of the week 180: Nina Beier'
'25 artists to watch: Nina Beier
'Nina Beier’s “Office Nature Nobody Pattern”'
Book: Nina Beier & Marie Lund 'The Object Lessons'
'Johnson Tiles lends its expertise to artist Nina Beier'
'The Pedestal Problem'
Nina Beier reviewed @ Frieze Magazine


Nina Beier exhibition @ Kunsthal Charlottenborg

Nina Beier with Marie Lund 'Hide behind the trees' (2006)



Let’s start with the basics—your work is so materially diverse. If someone asks you what you make, how do you answer?

Nina Beier: [laughing] Only in America do I get this question! I usually say that my work is conceptually based and takes any form except painting…but I guess that’s not even true anymore. I am wary of self-mediation though, because conceptually conceived work is already far too self-conscious. The art needs to work as a project: to read, to misinterpret, to reinterpret, that’s how you get closer to the idea of a show.

You've made some projects that have the possibility of being unfinished forever. How do you resolve to stay unresolved?

NB: My process is coming from a direct frustration—as artists we want to explore something that is alive, but normally in the art system the work is supposed to have a final destination, and it freezes. On the issue of staying unresolved, I guess I am not the first artist to struggle with fitting a living and changing practice into a framework that demands final answers.

So what is your process?

NB: All the things that are completely unbearable about the system, that’s what I want to work with. The artwork is autonomous despite the attempt to claim its rights. When I look at my existing work it is not uncommon that something has changed since it was made; it could be its context, itself or even me. I respect the authority of the [extant] work, but I like to believe that mine trumps it. I should have the freedom to change it. For example, I’ll change a title if I don’t think it’s fitting anymore.

You’ve been quoted as having read the theories of Walter Benjamin and Roger Caillois. Do you think of your work as theory-driven?

NB: I read, but not conscientiously, I have to admit. I use writing for inspiration and I rudely mix and match to make it fit my current thinking. But I would hate to think that my work would be an illustration of any theory.

Do you feel you are playing a game with the audience?

NB: No, a game would imply that I have a master perspective and I don’t want to claim that. My work tends to be built on some more or less logical premise, but it would be really sad if it ended there. I try to start something and there is nothing better than when it is taken on the route of over-interpretation, an attack of the mind, like the incredible places that these guys’ minds can go. It’s what any work of art would wish for.


On the Uses and Disadvantages of Wet Paint (2010)

Nina Beier with Marie Lund
History Makes a Young Man Old, 2008/2010
A crystal ball rolled on the ground from the place where it was purchased to its final destination

Tragedy (2012)
Trained dog, Persian rug

Sweat No Sweat No Sweat No Sweat No Sweat (2013)

Shelving for Unlocked Matter and Open Problems (2010)

Wallet (2014) 
turtle shell, woman/man and kid cotton underwear

Closing Argument (2010)
Posters, frames, Variable dimension

Nina Beier with Marie Lund
The Collection (2008)

The Blues (2012)
Sun-faded posters, window glass, frames

Nina Beier with Marie Lund
I Wrote this Song for You (2008)
8 vintage speakers, amplifiers, soundfile, computer

Foxtail Keychains, Choker Chain Necklaces, Teaspoons, Chain Print Fabric (2013)

Untitled (2013)
Woman's wig, Persian rug, sheet of glass

Flowage (2013)

Untitled (2014)

Untitled (2014)

Tunnel Taken Apart (2010)

The Pockets (2012)

Greens ($50 rubles) (2014)
Palm and printed towel pressed by glass, on foam on MDF

Nina Beier with Marie Lund
New Novels, New Men (Jealousy, Jalousi, La Celosia, La Gelosia, Die Jalousie oder Die Eifersucht) (2009)

Liquid Assets (2013)
plastic, 3D modeling

Nina Beier with Marie Lund
The House and the Backdoor (2007)


p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Oh, that's too bad. About the PTA 'Inherent Vice' film. I was curious. I've found most of PTA's films to be quite strong. ** Tosh Berman. Hi. 'Against the Day' is my fave Pynchon, I think. I do really like 'Mason & Dixon' too. Hm, genius. How do you define that, if you don't mind saying? Like what artists do you believe possess it, and how is it apparent. I think for me 'genius' is maybe an extreme form of great, and I feel it about work instinctually, and it usually comes to mind when something confuses me and seems transcendent at the same time or something. ** James, Hi. I'm okay. The spooky thing isn't health related, it's circumstances-related. And I haven't gotten my answer about it yet due to me chickening out yesterday, but I will today. But I'm whole and fine, thanks. ** Sypha, Hi. Very interesting: your thoughts on horror and its ... cooptation? I don't mind pessimism in writing except when the writer is dogmatic about it and using his fiction to make some nihilist point, statement. But then again I don't really like writing that does that whatever the writer's philosophical bent. I guess the writing that interests me has the writer's viewpoint as an ingredient but exists in a place beyond his or her opinions. Like a runaway train or something that the writer trusts and is trying to control as much as possible, and to whose lack of a predetermined destination orclear-set purpose he or she is forced to act as a technician. Technical work as a form of of surrender or something. I don't know. I find outrage-chasing on FB incredibly tiresome. I like the idea of forming communities on there and stuff, but not communities based people on trying to trigger each other's emotionalism about celebrities' behavior such that you get these petty, doomsaying two-or-three-daylong group diatribes and pissy arguments about whatever happens to be front page news on TMZ and Gawker, which seems like 80% of what's happening on my particular feed there in the past months. ** Kier, Hi, K! I wish I could send you a buche without you ending up receiving a moulded pile of mush. My scare is circumstantial, like I said to James. It's scary, but it's not life threatening or anything, and I still haven't found out my fate in that regard, but I kind of need to today. I'll await my glimpse of Lucifer, yay! Horses are intense. They kind of freak me out. I got bucked off every horse I tried to ride when I was a kid, so I think I have a lingering neurosis about them. I like and admire them, though. That Xmas decoration you made sounds most deserving of the holiday. I'm anxiously awaiting the day when Paris's Xmas stuff will go up and will be made available in stores. I don't when that is. I think maybe in a week? Oh, you're gone, so I don't know if you're seeing this, or, rather, when you're seeing this, but I hope your trip goes really, really well, if you don't get to check in from there. My yesterday wasn't so interesting. I'm really having to buckle down on finishing the new Gisele theater piece, and that's basically what I did all day. Oh, I don't want to say too much about this yet, but I'm going to be putting out a book soon, an eBook, a novel but not in the traditional novel form, and it'll be free, and an awesome place wants to publish it, and I was working on the early stages of that with them yesterday, and that was exciting. More details on that soon. And, yeah, I really was just home working on stuff all of yesterday, and it went well, so that's good, but it wasn't a very colorful, newsy day to report on. So, I'll be very interested to hear how things are going up there where you are, either in a daily form or in post-trip wrap-up form. Have fun, pal! ** Heliotrope, Mark! I did kind of wonder bordering on suspect that Mr. Rhodes might lead to your entering this humble abode. Did I turn you on to 'Mirror'? Maybe, it's possible. Wow, Grin, wow. I haven't listened to Grin in a billion years. That's an idea. I did see that there was a box-set of Nils Lofgren's stuff put out not so long ago. 'Beggar's Day!' Did you see the Rhodes doc film? I continue to miss you too! I'm hoping/planning to finally get to LA after the first of the year sometime. Iceland was insane. Broken ribs suck. No news there on either front. I love you too, man, and, yeah, you being around would be sweetness! ** Keaton, Hey. Interesting thoughts there on the libido and all that, cool, thank you. I'm more woken up now. Bang. I was never baptized either. High or low five! Sober, huh, cool. I'm kind of almost totally sober, as I think you know. I like it. It's kind of awesome. New Keaton construction! It's about time! Everyone, possibly in honor of the upcoming American holiday Thanksgiving, Keaton has made one of his blog-based masterstrokes, and that's your cue to click your way into a thing called 'Thanksgiven' and/or '::Lord Satan, we give thanks..."'. Do. ** Cal Graves, Hi there, Cal. Good to see you, man. Trip was fucking unbelievable. Too unbelievable to be cozied up to wordage, basically. But go to Iceland if/when you can. Seriously. We got to Reykjavik, and, the day after we got there, the Airwaves Festival, which you probably know is Iceland's biggest, best music festival, started, but it started on the day when we left town to drive around the country for 10 days, so I totally missed it. Didn't see any bands. Heard a ton of Icelandic contempo music while on the trip in, like, cafes and stuff, but it was all the kind of soft melodic, spaced-out kind, like lower IQ Sigur Ros basically. You're no traitor, perish the thought. That is a bizarre question. Okay, it's tricky because I'm a person who maybe remembers a dream I had, like, three times a year. The way I wake up seems to erase them or something. And when I do remember them, I'm always being chased by a murderer or falling to earth from a very high, fatal height. And I have this weird, vivid imagination, and when I do remember my dreams, they don't seem any more vivid or realistic than the fantasies I have while conscious. So I don't know what I would dream in that pressured circumstance, hm. Really, I'm flummoxed. I'll have to think about it. That's not a fun answer, I'm sorry. Try me again? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Thanks. Me too. I think I have to find out today. Almond tours a lot? He never plays in Paris. I wonder why. It would be easy for him to do presumably, and I'm sure he has a healthy French following. ** Steevee, According to Amazon, a couple of his albums are in-print in download and vinyl forms only. And, otherwise, you can buy imports, often from Japan. Thanks about the scare. Hopefully I'll find out that I was scared for nothing. ** Etc etc etc, Hi, Casey. Thanks, man. I should hopefully be A-okay. Rhodes has a Nilsson-like thing in a strange way. I did see the Godard, and I loved it a lot. It's probably my favorite film I've seen this year, and it's definitely the film that has excited me the most re: thinking about art-making, new ideas. I thought it was really, really great! Good day to ya, bud. ** Misanthrope, Hi. I don't have any God-promoting FB friends, which I guess makes sense. Just a lot of outrage addicts. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's Kardashian's butt or Bill Cosby's alleged rapes or Amanda Byrnes's latest tweet or Daniel Hander's racist joke. The outrage is the same whatever the target. Man, the image of LPS's mom teaching him at home just seems absurd and cruel, I'm sorry. Well, semi-sorry, if that. A fucked up mess in-fucking-deed! ** Okay. I like Nina Beier's work, and so I have given her a show in my gallery. See what you think. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Emitt Rhodes Day

* texts culled from the sites Perfect Sound Forever, Emitt Rhodes Music, & various interviews

'I’ve had all the good stuff, and I’ve have all the bad stuff. Sometimes I’m happy to be alive, and sometimes I couldn’t care less.' -- Emitt Rhodes, 2004

'Most cult heroes are cult heroes by design. Either his or her music is too esoteric to be accepted by the mainstream, or his or her personality too erratic or weird for most people to understand or tolerate. In either respect, the artist usually has sought out selective rather than widespread acceptance on purpose. The cult audience, in turn, is grateful for the opportunity to feel superior to all the stupid, smelly legions of idiots who make up the majority of the music-buying public.

'Then there's people like Emitt Rhodes, who's a cult hero for no good reason whatsoever. Far from obscure, his music is loaded with melodic charisma, that essential ingredient that makes you want to hear some records over and over again. Often called a musical dead ringer for Sir Paul McCartney, Rhodes is really the Macca we all wish Macca would be: an incredible pop tunesmith without all the gooey sentimentality and overflowing cuteness. The crown jewel of Rhodes' small body of work is his self-titled debut album. Released to critical acclaim and modest commercial success in 1970, Emitt Rhodes has since taken on mythical status among power-pop and '70's rock aficionados. The album is a tour-de-force: just like McCartney on his first solo album, Rhodes played all the instruments and sang all the vocals himself. But even more impressive are the songs. Only 20 years old at the time, Rhodes had already absorbed the best of '60s rock and matched it. Lennon/ McCartney certainly weren't writing songs the caliber of "Really Wanted You" or "With My Face on the Floor" at that age. This precocious, good-looking kid should have been unstoppable.

Emitt Rhodes: 'For me it's one-four-five. It's Pythagorean Theorum. For me it's mathematics. I love Pythagoras. Everybody else in rock and roll loves Pythagoras, too, even if they don't know it. It's Pythagoras. You split the string in half and you get an octave. You split it into thirds and you get a third. I'm just telling you that Pythagoras was a wonderful guy. He lived a long time ago, nobody knows him and nobody cares. He gave us do re mi fa sol la ti do. Without him... somebody else would have had to do it. I love math. I love science. I love that stuff.'

'But as it turned out, Rhodes was pretty much dead in the water careerwise at 24. A contract dispute raised the ire of his record company, and instead of nurturing a talented and potentially lucrative artist, they ended up giving Rhodes a royal rogering. Chewed up and spat out, Rhodes was burned out before his career really got started. While he's flattered people still care about the music he made 30 years ago, being a self-described "has-been wannabe" doesn't quite sit well with him.

'Born and raised in Hawthorne, California, a bastion of power-pop thanks to homeboys The Beach Boys, Rhodes started with rock 'n' roll in his early teens, playing drums in a band called The Emerals. "My father was really nice," Rhodes said. "He let me use the garage. Having a garage was, for a drummer, a really popular thing. Every band needs a place to rehearse and I had one." The Emerals played the local circuit, including Hawthorne High School dances. It was at one of these dances that Rhodes had a run-in with one of his hometown's soon-to-be princes. "Dennis Wilson broke my drum pedal," Rhodes recalled over 35 years later. "He never paid for it or got me a new one. He just broke it and left." The Emerals soon evolved into The Palace Guard, who had a minor hit single called "Falling Sugar."

Emitt Rhodes: 'We had the name first. I had green drums. Everybody was looking for any reason to pick a name. I had green drums so they called us the Emerals, and they spelled it wrong. It was seven of us and three of them were brothers. Don Beaudoin was the leader of the band. It was child abuse. D... B... was the same age as I was and he was abused by G... B... who ran the Hullabaloo and who was the head of Orange Empire Records. He fucked him. I was fourteen at the time and I knew, so I would imagine his brothers knew also and that his parents knew too. He was like the sacrificial goat so [we] could get that big plum job at the Hullabaloo. The Palace Guard didn't write our music. I didn't write it either. I wrote songs that the Merry Go Round did later, that were hits to some degree, but I didn't write "Falling Sugar". I have no idea who wrote that, but it wasn't anybody in the band. That was all stuff that was put together by this guy G... B... who liked to fuck D... B... in the butt.'

'Emitt was still the drummer, but he was looking to step out from behind the drum kit and into the spotlight. In 1966, he left The Palace Guard and formed another group with a long name (remember this is mid-60s L.A.) called The Merry-Go-Round. Instead of keeping time, Rhodes was now the guitar-playing frontman and songwriter. Retaining guitarist Gary Kato from his old band, the 16-year-old Rhodes recruited drummer Joel Larson and bassist Bill Rhinehart to complete the line-up.

 photo mgrbig2.jpg
The Merry-Go-Round

'The new group quickly recorded what would be its biggest hit, a Rubber Soul soundalike called "Live." Based on a demo of "Live" and another song called "Clown's No Good," A&M Records signed The Merry-Go-Round and released "Live" as a single. After the song shot to number one in L.A., A&M slapped together a bunch of demos and called it M-G-R's debut album. Called simply The Merry-Go-Round, the album holds up surprisingly well considering the circumstances. "Gonna Fight the War" and "Low Down" are tough guitar songs that rival the best Buffalo Springfield, while more melancholy tracks like "You're A Very Lovely Woman" and "On Your Way Out" out-Big Star Big Star more than three years before #1 Record. Essentially a garage "boy band," The M-G-R nevertheless had a sophisticated sound, due in large part to Rhodes' rapidly developing songwriting ability.

Emitt Rhodes: 'My problem is "Live." I've had friends tell me this; I don't really know. The Bangles did it and they put it on compilations and I should have got paid for it, but my publisher sent me a statement saying I didn't, that he took the rights to the song back or something. I look at the contracts I signed when I was a sixteen year old, it's child abuse. My mother and my father signed with me. I just wanted to make music. My mother and father didn't know any better so they just signed with me and I have contracts that say "for perpetuity." "We own these songs for perpetuity." Forever, and I'm going "oh, okay." I was only fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years old and I didn't understand.'

'But by 1969 Rhodes, now 19, grew tired of the inevitable in-fighting that comes with being in a group. He wanted to make music for himself and by himself, so he set up a makeshift studio in a shed behind his parents house. "I bought myself a machine. It was an old four track machine, an Ampex," Rhodes recalled. "It had huge knobs and giant meters. It was the size of a washing machine. It looked like something out of Flash Gordon." With his brand new four-track, Rhodes began bashing out songs for his first solo album. His desire to record everything himself was practical because he didn't have any money to hire musicians. Alone in the studio he was open to experimentation. "I was a drummer and I had a piano and I had a guitar and I just started there. The next thing I knew I wanted to play the violin and the sax and the flute and the harmonica and the banjo and everything. I'm a tinkerer. I would buy an instrument and an instructional book, and just play scales for an hour a day until I felt comfortable doing it. And then I would write parts. I was more of an arranger I guess."

'With only three mics, two mixers and his four track crowded in the 20 foot long by 10 foot wide shed, recording was a time consuming process. "I had the machine on one end and the drums on the other, and I'd press the record button and run over and sit down and put the phones on. It was pretty rudimentary." As Rhodes assembled the record, he had no idea he was creating his masterpiece. "I was just doing the best I could do, writing what I thought was important at the time."

Emitt Rhodes "Really Wanted You" 1971 Promo Film

'In the middle of working on the album, Rhodes approached ABC/Dunhill with some instrumental tracks. The label signed him and paid Rhodes the princely sum of $5,000. When Emitt Rhodes was released in 1970, it charted at #29 and the single, "Fresh as a Daisy," broke the top 60. Rhodes was hailed by critics as an artist to watch, and with the singer-songwriter movement just underway, his career appear to be on the fast track.

'Maybe too fast. ABC/Dunhill wanted more product from their hot new star, and they wanted it soon. His contract stipulated that he release two albums every year, a feat The Beatles regularly pulled off in their heyday. But unlike the Fab Four, Rhodes was only one person doing everything himself. It was hard work and a lot of pressure for a guy still living with his parents, but ABC/Dunhill was less than understanding. As work on his second album Mirror dragged on for nearly a year, the record company suspended his contract and sued him. "I got in trouble," Rhodes said. "I was being sued for more money than I ever made. It didn't make any sense to me."

'Released in 1971, Mirror bombed, going to only #182 on the charts. While the record boasts some great songs, Rhodes had clearly lost his momentum. "I worked really hard, did the best I could, and I got in trouble. I mean, it's like, what am I doing? What am I doing this for?" he said. "You have to get your dog biscuit after you rollover or sit up. Otherwise you don't want to do it again ... I burned out." Another album, Farewell to Paradise, followed and did even worse on the charts than Mirror. At 24, eight years after he formed The Merry-Go-Round, Rhodes stopped recording. "There were lawsuits and lawyers and I wasn't having any fun anymore. That's it. Simple as that. I worked really hard and there was no reward," he said.

Emitt Rhodes: 'I believe in death. It works. It goes black and then you're not there anymore. I've been there a few times. I'm against death. I believe in life. I have my own religion. I'm an atheist. I believe in life being the most important thing there is. Life is it. I believe everybody will agree that life's important. I've been dead so I know what death is. You go black. Kind of whiteout really. Your brain works up until the time that it doesn't work anymore. My afterwards is different than yours might be. My afterwards is I don't have blood sugar. My brain dies. It's like I can't think anymore because I don't have enough blood sugar for my brain to function anymore. The last experience I had is that I was lying in the middle of my room trying not to drown on my own saliva because I couldn't swallow because swallowing means that muscle has blood sugar to do it. I was beyond that.'

'Other than a brief moment in 1980 when he had a record deal with Elektra/Asylum that was eventually terminated, Emitt has stuck to recording demos in his home studio that will probably never the see the light of day. "It's just songs," he said of his demos. "It's melodic. I like melodies that go from one place to the next. I like chords. I can't say what (a new album) would sound like because I haven't heard it yet."

'There was some excitement in the past year among Rhodes' fans when the 50-year-old signed to the small indie label Rocktopia. Rhodes even started pre-production work on what would have been his first record in over 25 years, sorting through his collection of hundreds of demos, and he was planning on hiring musicians instead of doing everything himself. "I wanted to hire people to come play with me and just play producer and songwriter," he said. "I'm an old guy now. I get sleepy at night. I have friends that play so much better than me (and) I just love listening sometimes."

'But his deal with Rocktopia ultimately fell through when the label ran out of money. Without an advance to finance a new record, Rhodes can't move forward. "I have the desire to do it but I don't know if I have the time," he said. "It's on hold at the moment, unless I find a way to support myself without working. I could win the lotto I guess."

Emitt Rhodes: 'I met this guy, an enthusiast. Wasn’t a great songwriter. But I liked him, so I thought, well, I’ll help him out and help him write a song. So he gave me this lyric, and I went over the lyric, and there was only one phrase in the whole thing that appealed to me, and that was, ‘Oh Lord, what’s a guy gonna do? What’s a guy supposed to do?’ or something like that. And it was about him waiting for his girlfriend who was upstairs talking on the phone to another girlfriend, and he was getting tired and didn’t want to go out, and anyway, it was complete nonsense, and I changed it to, ‘Oh Lord, what’s a man to do?’ and put it in minor key and sent him home and said, ‘Write some lyrics’. And he came back, and he had written, ‘How long I’ve anguished and set aside what little’s left of my foolish pride’, and I thought that that was so good that I wrote more to it. It all made sense to me; I saw the focus of it. So I kind of kept steering the lyric in that manner, and he would write more, and I’d send him home and he’d write more. Then every once in a while I’d throw a line in there, and then I used [with mock grandiosity] my superior ability in writing chord progressions to write what I thought was a real beautiful chord progression in its own right, even without a melody. And then I put a melody to it, so then I made it my song, you know. And then we went on from there and we did three songs, ’cause going to do just one didn’t seem right. He had this friend who had a studio in an office building, so we went into that studio and started recording. And we were like the first people in it, and I had friends come by and play, and stuff like that. And it was good for his studio, I thought. But this guy was just digging a hole for me to walk into. He handed me a bill. Some people are like, you know, they trip you, and then they call you clumsy.'

'Today Rhodes still lives in the neighborhood where he grew up, in a house across the street from his parents' old house. "I'm just trying to stay alive," he said. "I have a small studio and I rent studio time ... I'm not a rich person. I make a living."' -- collaged

"I was real fortunate. I had two parents who allowed me to make noise as long as it was outside in the garage. I made those records when I had no bills. I didn't have a house at the time. I had very little bills and very little worries at the time. Music was pretty much the focus of my life, just making noise. Now it's making noise to pay the landlord."

Trailer: 'THE ONE MAN BEATLES: The Emitt Rhodes Story'

Emitt Rhodes playing piano in 'One Man Beatles'


Emitt Rhodes Music
Official Emitt Rhodes @ Facebook
Emitt Rhodes Discography
Emitt Rhodes interviewed @ L.A. Record
Emitt Rhodes interviewed @ The LA Beat
Emitt Rhodes interviewed @ SCRAM Magazine
'One Man Beatles' @ imdB
'The Emitt Rhodes Collection'
'Emitt Rhodes Recorded At Home' @ Tape Op


p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Agreed. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Thanks. That Beau Rice event should be nice. How was it? ** Steevee, Hi, Steve. I'm happy to hear that Janus is handing Howard's film, obviously. ** Sypha, I like gloomy, so who knows. I just get irked by inflexible nihilism really. Yeah, I guess my recurring motifs are self-explanatory. Understood about your problem with Blake's 'horror'. I like his usage for the same reasons you don't, I guess, but I never think of his work as 'horror', just as work that employs and occupies 'horror' when necessary or convenient to reach his aim, I guess in the same way that I use, say, the pornographic or certain YA narrative conceits or 'gayness' or etc. in my stuff at times. Anyway, your thoughts on the troubles and positives you have with Blake's stuff is very interesting, and I appreciate your parsing and explaining that. ** Sickly, Hi, man. You know that Rice guy, cool. That's a sharp book he wrote there. How was the launch, and how did he handle presenting the book in a live setting? My ribs are ever so slowly retuning to their basic form, I think. Seems so. Thanks for the pro-health wish. ** Tim Jones-Yelvington, Hi, Tim. Yeah, me too, re: the Jemc and Hunter books. The others in the group were awesome too. Well, obviously I think so, I guess. Love the latest Troyan too, yeah, for sure. I'll get and check out the James Tadd Adcox book. ** Zach, Hi. Yeah, I had kind of that thought about the Rice too, interesting. Huh, you just made Dorothy Wordsworth's Alfoxden Journal something I clearly need to find and read. Fascinating. Thanks a lot for that share. Really cool about your literary zine! I'll definitely share the alert/request right now. And If I make or find something of mine, I'll send it along for your perusal. Everyone, D.l. Zach is doing a literary journal, and he would be interested in considering work by anyone within the sight if these words. Well, in his words: 'also, this post reminded me that i ought to say here, to all the folks around me as well, that i am working on a literary magazine that will be published online in a pdf format, with some smaller zine like distribution as a printed object as well. folks here should send us stuff!' Strongly consider that, yeah? If I can dig something up to submit, I certainly will. ** Kier, Hi, K! I don't even know if I could be mouse quiet if I tried. I mean, I'm not a huge talker, so that part is doable, but I am big and kind of clumsy. I like Xmas too. Paris does Xmas proud. Speaking of, the patisseries are starting to reveal their buche designs for this year, so that's exciting. I don't think the military base was why I knew that place. I can't remember why. Iceage is on December 1st. (Ha ha, Blogger just spell-corrected Iceage into Ikea). My yesterday ... I worked on the theater piece. That was hard, but it's happening. I did that as much as I could. I made a blog post. I'm still behind, and there might be some reruns coming, we'll see. Conferred with Zac and Gisele. I guess the highlight was having a long coffee with Peter Sotos, who's in Paris at the moment. He's great, and that was really nice and fun. Then I got home to some potentially scary news that I don't want to detail, but it put me in a spooked and unsettled mood that persists this morning, and I guess I'll find out how scary it's going to be today, and fingers crossed. That kind of swamped my day, and has made my day report blah, but I'll try to be more telling and entertaining tomorrow if my today manages to make my fear go away. How was your 'being back at work' day? ** Damien Ark, Hi, Damien. Oh, Sociology. The university I sent to for one year was full of Sociology majors, I don't know why. I guess the school was known for that or something. I hope you don't go bankrupt, obviously, man. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Any book authored by McNeil/Osbourne in oral history form, which I'm guessing is that book's form, has to be super fun based on past examples. I'll look for it. Marc Almond should be a cool gig. Is it a 'best-of' kind of show, or is he showcasing some particular album or project? ** Schlix, Hi, Uli. You're in Amsterdam, cool, except what I presume is the wet and cold weather based on my years there. Nice gigs. How were Loop? I just saw that Ride has reformed and will play here. I generally stay away from reunion gigs, but that one is luring me against my better judgement. I find the virulent anti-Elizabeth Ellen stuff very depressing. ** Kyler, Hi. Cool that you're cool with my not liking Auster. But, hey, to each his own and live and let live and all that French attitude stuff. ** Keaton, Hi. Is it even possible to know what one's libido is doing without becoming delusional? There's a new Night of the Living Dead? I guess it would be easy to get baptized here? A lot of churches around, and I guess people must go inside them for religious reasons at least once in a while. If I have any pills left, and, at the moment, I can't say given my slow recovering, I'll slip you some. But they're very weak. Don't expect much at all from them. ** Jose Acevedo, Hi, Jose! Cool, send me stuff. Just be forewarned, if I haven't already forewarned you, that I can be molasses slow, especially now when I'm swamped with work that I have to do, but, that said, it will be a great pleasure to see and experience your work, and thank you! How is 'Energy Flash'? I like Simon Reynolds's writing a lot. Wow, really interesting stories, man. Your energy is exciting! I'll message you at Facebook the next time I go there, cool, thanks. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Okay, I'll hold onto the Iceland bills 'til ... Ah, she's scared the school thing will lead to an examination of her. How, sorry, selfish of her. But, yeah, fear is a beast, so I get it. I don't think I have any FB friends who reference God. I have a bunch who chase outrage like it's a winning lottery caught in a breeze or something. Your frustration with that situation is a million percent understandable. Jesus. ** Etc etc etc, Hi, Casey. I saw an email from you this morning, but I haven' had the chance to open it. Thank you! Please be patient because I'm way overworked at the moment, but I'm excited! Cool! ** Bill, Hi. I liked 'Rose Alley' a lot, so I don't know if you'll like 'Fancy'. It's different but it's in its/his general style and mindset. People sometimes send me books/pdfs really early sometimes. I'm lucky that way. ** Okay. I'm focusing on Emitt Rhodes today. Weirdly overlooked pop song form maestro circa the early 70s mostly who famously never hit it big for reasons that no one can quite understand. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

4 books I read recently & loved: Jeremy M. Davies FANCY, Lindsay Hunter Ugly Girls, Beau Rice TEX, Jac Jemc A Different Bed Every Time


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Jeremy M. Davies: Exposure to cosmic rays. Living in Central Illinois for altogether too long. Daring myself to write a book without using any similes or falling back on my usual tricks. A casual conversation with a couple of cat-owners about the perils of leaving over-complicated instructions for the people they’d gulled into taking care of their pets. Which led me for some reason to speculate in turn on the (comedic, ontological) potential of leaving instructions that, like Conlon Nancarrow’s player-piano rolls, could never actually be performed by a human being, or that, like certain compositions by La Monte Young (among others) function more along the lines of a “happening,” without a concrete or controllable result intended (release six butterflies into the room while petting cat #7 lengthwise with a dough whisk). And then, further, imagining how a person confronted with such instructions might react, if he or she took them in deadly earnest and read into them some greater significance. What it might mean, indeed, to live or think in such a way that something so formal yet inconsequential and ridiculous might creep out into your life and even the world at large and start wrecking up the joint.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

JMD: My first novel, Rose Alley, is rotten with cinema (or cinephilia, I guess). I don’t think I left much room for adaptation here. I have no idea how anyone would go about it, so I’ve never given it any thought, nor would I know how to begin. (That said: Ben Rivers, call me …)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

JMD: I can write very long sentences, you know. How about: “Fancy purports to be a series of instructions given by an elderly shut-in to a young couple who’ve come to pet-sit his many cats while he’s away on an uncharacteristic trip abroad; but his continual comic, erotic, and surreal digressions range far from his intended subject, leading to hints that something sinister underlies his peculiar lifestyle, and that his protégés’ duties might not be entirely as advertised.”

Or, if you prefer, Henry James’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress?
Or, H. P. Lovecraft’s Cat Care Essentials?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

JMD: About four years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

JMD: The absence of anyone or anything to inspire me to write a saner one.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

JMD: It has some pretty filthy bits for all it isn’t meant to rely on the same tools as Rose Alley, which is “purple verging on blue,” as they say. There’s also a fair amount of slapstick, repetition, philosophy, and strange happenings on trains. Oh, and cats. Probably.

Jeremy M. Davies FANCY
Ellipsis Press

'An elderly shut-in delivers a series of pet-sitting instructions to a young couple who’ve come to watch over his many, many cats. A story (or series of stories) about the ways that methodical, abstract systems interface with messy, personal obsessions, Fancy is a kissing cousin to the work of both the late Henry James and the early Thomas Bernhard: an object lesson in how our need to make sense of the world winds up devouring it whole.' -- Ellipsis Press

'Whether it dissolves a genre or invents a new one, Fancy will be the most weirdly riveting and beautifully composed book you read this year. In an unlikely literary sleight-of-hand, Jeremy M. Davies transforms an agoraphobe’s catsitting instructions into a virtuoso meditation on being, perception, and solitude. He has written an utterly original novel with the fever of a Bernhard monologue and the command of a Schoenberg score.' — Eric Lundgren


Rumrill said: On a day when my employer still remembered his wife, he told me the story of how she and he had reacted to the news, conveyed by our neighborhood doctor, that she would not live to see the end of whatever season it then was when she and he had wended down their sovereign thoroughfares to his (the doctor’s) examination room. The Brocklebanks had walked through the snow or dandelions to consult the doctor on the subject of those pains which occurred regularly in that part of Mrs. Brocklebank’s body of which she had lately been given cause to complain.

He added: Or do I need to slow down.

Rumrill said: Husband and wife removed their boots at the boot-check in the doctor’s anteroom, a space sunk the depth of an upright man into the ground, this upright man’s head at the level perhaps of the second internode of an immature Taraxacum—in which a collection of other white- or red-faced townspeople were already seated in the smell of worms and melted ice. Doctors are privileged to enter into contact with all strata of society, grouped as it is in large part into families of different sizes, possessed of bank accounts of different sizes, and checkbooks imprinted with all manner of watermark.

He added: The image perhaps of a surmullet: the fish used, I’ve read, as a primitive sort of television by the ancient Romans, on account of the many vibrant colors it turned as it suffocated and expired in the air.

Rumrill said: Our town doctor, perhaps of a mind to see what colors Mrs. Brocklebank might turn as she expired, agreed to see her ahead of the other citizens in his anteroom, other patients who had been there longer but whose families were not yet friendly—or not yet friendly enough—with their friendly GP: a man in late middle age whose kited, crenellated ears these recent initiates into the ranks of the unwell found comic, which fact they marshaled the vigor to comment upon even as they felt their vis vitalis sapped by whatever symptoms they had trekked through our lurid streets to ask said comically eared physician to diagnose. Seated and frustrated with the sight of Mrs. Brocklebank ushered with conciliation into the examination room when by all rights these other patients should have preceded her, the townspeople scowled through their rheum in piqued accusation of the husband, abandoned, as he brushed or rebrushed the snow or pollen stains off of his two boots.

He added: With an east-coast newspaper.

Rumrill said: The doctor in no time pronounced Mrs. Brocklebank to be host to a disorder not uncommon whose name and other particulars escape me. He told her, in short, that the processes that constituted Mrs. Brocklebank, citizen and organism, had in their wisdom and for a change of pace decided to leave off their usual obligations and turn instead to the ingestion of this same Mrs. Brocklebank—a decision not at all characteristic of said processes, given that the perpetuation of precisely this Mrs. Brocklebank had been their one notable responsibility to date—and then build with those same resources that had once been devoted to Brocklebankian continuity some other item or function or entity that, unhappily, was not quite the triumph of design that was our Mrs. Brocklebank, whatever her flaws, not least her terrible posture, and would therefore in its construction end with the probably unintentional murder-suicide of both the tenuous concatenation still named, despite this metamorphosis, “Mrs. Brocklebank” (and which would, tragically, remain enough of a Mrs. Brocklebank throughout the procedure to be aware of and suffer through the untenability of this incomplete and ill-considered reconfiguration of said resources), as well as those very systems that had decided, for reasons of their own, to undertake this desperate improvisation.

He added: And which could not be reasoned with.



'Readers familiar with Lindsay Hunter’s short fiction are well aware of the bursts of electricity packed into what are often only a few pages. In two collections of stories—the small press release Daddy’s and FSG’s Don’t Kiss Me—Hunter lays claim to being one of the premiere creators of voice-driven, often first-person narratives while chronicling an assortment of characters whose lives are far from luxurious. Hunter’s first novel, Ugly Girls, employs a similar format, composing short chapters that while having the feel of short stories ultimately work in favor of crafting a much long, richer story. Unlike a majority of her short stories though, Hunter writes Ugly Girls in third-person, and while the switch might jar long time followers, the shift in perspective gives Hunter greater range to explore a cast of unique and fascinating characters. The raw and vivid language that makes Hunter such a distinctive talent remain, however, and such trademarks make Ugly Girls the perfect novel for adventurous readers in search of wild, unexpected, shockingly-original fiction ...

'Also of note, Hunter’s expertise with language should appeal to many readers. There’s a feeling of simplicity in much of Hunter’s prose as she never extends beyond the vocabulary of the people she writes of. And yet while seemingly unassuming, Hunter still succeeds in capturing an image in just the right tone: “The rising sun the color of pineapple candy, no more than a fingernail at the horizon” comes early in the novel as Perry and Baby Girl wrap up an overnight joyriding excursion; later, in describing Perry’s stepfather Jim from the Jamey’s perspective, Hunter writes that he “was made of engine parts and cogs and second hands on the inside, this man everyone would tell you was one of the good ones right up until you felt a sting across the back of your knees.” The language is, perhaps to some, vulgar in places but yet also rather authentic, given the characters Hunter writes about, and although some may find it off-putting, readers willing to challenge themselves will find a great appreciation in the way Hunter crafts flawed but believable characters.

'In her third book and first novel, Lindsay Hunter continues to be at the forefront of a group of distinct and unique female voices establishing themselves in American fiction, and like the works of Amelia Gray, Alissa Nutting, Mary Miller, and Elizabeth Ellen, Ugly Girls offers a challenging and rewarding reading experience likely to be enjoyed by the most vigorous and audacious of readers.' -- Books & Whatnot

Lindsay Hunter Ugly Girls
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

'Perry and Baby Girl are best friends, though you wouldn’t know it if you met them. Their friendship is woven from the threads of never-ending dares and power struggles, their loyalty fierce but incredibly fraught. They spend their nights sneaking out of their trailers, stealing cars for joyrides, and doing all they can to appear hard to the outside world.With all their energy focused on deceiving themselves and the people around them, they don’t know that real danger lurks: Jamey, an alleged high school student from a nearby town, has been pining after Perry from behind the computer screen in his mother’s trailer for some time now, following Perry and Baby Girl’s every move—on Facebook, via instant messaging and text,and, unbeknownst to the girls, in person. When Perry and Baby Girl finally agree to meet Jamey face-to-face, they quickly realize he’s far from the shy high school boy they thought he was, and they’ll do whatever is necessary to protect themselves.

'Lindsay Hunter’s stories have been called “mesmerizing… visceral … exquisite” (Chicago Tribune), and in Ugly Girls she calls on all her faculties as a wholly original storyteller to deliver the most searing, poignant, powerful debut novel in years.' -- FSG


Perry and Baby Girl were in the car they’d stolen not half an hour before. A red Mazda. Looked fancier than it was, had to use hand cranks to put the windows down. Perry gathered it probably belonged to someone who wanted to look fancy but couldn’t squeeze enough out her sad rag of a paycheck. Like how for years Myra, her mother, kept a dinged-up Corvette because it was red and a two-door. Couldn’t even get the tiny trunk open without a crow-bar. Then Jim came along with his logic and calm and sense and had it scrapped. Myra drove a mint-green Tercel now. Four doors. No dings.

Perry knew the Mazda was a woman’s car ’cause of all the butts in the ashtray, all tipped with lipstick. Baby Girl had lit one up first thing, held it between her teeth, squinting through the smoke, cranked down the window so she could rest an elbow. Baby Girl with her half-shaved head, her blond eyelashes, her freckled arm resting on the steering wheel. Fake-ass thug. Sometimes it seemed mean thoughts were all Perry had for Baby Girl, but when she caught sight of herself in the side mirror she saw she was doing all the same shit.

They’d turned onto the busted-up highway, Baby Girl swerving like they were in a go-kart so the Mazda wouldn’t get a flat. The rising sun the color of a pineapple candy, no more than a fingernail at the horizon. Not a single other car to be seen.

Baby Girl was muttering along with the music meandering out of the speakers. You want some / you gonna have to take some / and I’ma get mine. This was her favorite line. Her motto. She tried to make it Perry’s also but Perry was not into that shit.

Perry was annoyed. Tired. Felt like her skin was turning to dough. Her legs and arms and heart, all starting to give in. The clock said 6:25 a.m. Eight hours and twenty-five minutes past when Perry said she was going to bed. She’d have to explain herself to Jim and Myra when she got home. She hated explaining herself, ’cause most of it was stuff she’d have to make up.

She’d meant to do right. She’d meant to stay in bed and fall asleep like Jim wanted, ’cause she liked Jim. But she made the mis- take of opening her window, hoping it would cool her room down. All it did was let more hot air in, let her hear the quiet outside her window, the stillness she could not stand. The windows in the nearby trailers were mostly dark but for the flicker of a television, and it was like she had to do something, something other than turning out the light and closing her eyes and letting the night pass on by, like Myra. She had to make something happen.

And plus she’d got that text from Baby Girl. Lets do this. They had no plan. Just a general desire, like always.

It was easy to creep out of the trailer. Perry didn’t even ease her window shut like she usually did. She knew Myra wouldn’t be able to hear over her program, and Jim had gone to work his night shift at the prison. Even if Myra did hear, it was unlikely she would do anything about it. Just keep sipping her beer and snuggle down tighter under the covers.

Baby Girl had been standing by the pay phone at the Circle K. Her arms moving in that fluid way, heavy and slow, like she was thrashing underwater. She had her music on. When she saw Perry she yelled, “Wadup wadup?”

Baby Girl didn’t care how people saw her. In fact, she wanted them to be afraid. Like how people used to act around Charles, only worse. Once, the greeter at Walmart told them they had to leave if they were just going to stand by the doors acting a fool and not buying nothing. “Suck my dick,” Baby Girl told her.


Interview with Lindsay Hunter

from "Don't Kiss Me," by Lindsay Hunter

Breakfast With the Author Episode 5: Lindsay Hunter and Natalie Edwards


'A Los Angeles artist has just published a book of his private e-mails and Gchat conversations—so maybe it's time to start using the "off-the-record" option. As reported by Complex, Beau Rice's Tex compiles messages sent to and from friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers over the course of 18 months.

'The publisher, Penny-Ante Editions, calls the project "a performance act in print," describing the likely-unwitting participation of Rice's Gmail contacts as "walk-ons by various interlocutors." The 255-page tome spares no indignity, providing uncensored records of Rice's attempts to arrange a casual encounter with an out-of-towner looking for BDSM and mummification, and of an embarrassing foot injury sustained while practicing ballet in a bathtub.

'Though artnet News can't imagine that all of Rice's contacts will be pleased to see their correspondence published in such a public forum, the artist sees the project as a commentary on how the nature of relationships is rapidly evolving in the Internet age.

'"Technology has birthed a paradoxical space between isolation and connectivity, profoundly expanding the possibilities for how and with whom we create intimacy," reads the book's description. As the conversations we conduct via the Internet become more and more pervasive in our every day lives, we may have to chose between adjusting our expectations for privacy, or altering our habits.

'The question of privacy is sure to make this project controversial, but most will likely relate to at least some of the conversations Rice shares, such as his surreptitious on-the-job Gchatting. "i'm being a horrible employee by texting you right now," reads one excerpt. "i'm like crouched behind the register counter, hiding."' -- Sarah Cascone, artnet

Beau Rice TEX
Penny-Ante Editions

'In the twenty-first century, relationships have been transformed in unprecedented ways. Technology has birthed a paradoxical space between isolation and connectivity, profoundly expanding the possibilities for how and with whom we create intimacy.

'An experiment between the epistolary and the ectype, Tex is a performance act in print. Featuring walk-ons by various interlocutors, this mnemonic outpour examines the potentiality of relationships in the digital age. Metonymic displacements, grammatical violations and verbal spillage form this rowdy non-narrative documenting one LA artist’s sexual exploits, an evolving attachment to Texas-based former fling, Matt G, and the determination and opportunism involved with the continually forthcoming publication of this, his first book.

'Rated X for strong language and sexual content.' -- Penny-Ante Editions

from Dazed Digital

[Thu, May 23, 1:28PM]


TO: beaubeauricerice@—.com

Nice posting. Very dominant and like a boy in his place. I’m not into fucking... more into having you completely immobile - hands, feet, cock/balls tied, blindfolded, gagged. Once securely bound, then I like to experiment with cbt/tt - clothespins, hot wax, ben gay, more. Also love a guy in mummification - saran wrap and duct tape. How much discipline can you take... like to push you until you are in tears. I respect all limits… just need to know them upfront. Can I have you bound all night? I get up at 6am :)

I’m 47, 6’1, 177, 33w, 41c, smooth, gay, ddf/neg. I’m in town (I come here weekly for work) and can host at my hotel – Westin LAX. Would love an ongoing boy to train.

Send pics and if you are interested.

Far from the Westin? Very serious... no BS.

FROM: beaubeauricerice@—.com


Hey Sir, thanks for the response.

You sound like fun, I really like the things You mention here (not so into mummification, but not completely opposed to it either). Here are some photos. Do you have BDSM gear with you at the hotel?

[Attachment: Three Beau selfies]


TO: beaubeauricerice@—.com

Traveling so I don’t.... Could you pick up some rope, clothespins, etc.? I could pay you back... Otherwise I could go out before you come. Can I have you bound all night? Limits? Most into? Very serious here.


TO: beaubeauricerice@—.com

Hi...I just checked and there is a home depot 5mins away. I could pick up plenty of toys for tonight. Interested? Game?

FROM: beaubeauricerice@—.com


Interested but not sure, at least not about tonight. Sorry to do this but let me get back to you in a bit, I’m about to go out shopping for a bit.

[Sun, Sep 22, 2013 9:35PM]


[Photo: A shiny purple cane on the ground]

i am using a cane


What happened


i was doing ballet moves in a

hot tub with ryan T

(famedrop? sars) and i tore a

ligament attached to my big toe.


Is that real




You would have a cane




I dunno i can see you

getting beaten up or

having too much fun


[Sun, Sep 23, 2013 4:21PM]

FROM: beaubeauricerice@—.com

TO: GOODBO—@—.com, K—@—.com

Hey bosses,

Last night I was doing ballet moves in a hot tub (I know) and I injured my foot. It’s swollen and sore and I can’t put any weight on it at all. The Internet seems to indicate that I tore a ligament attached to my big toe. It’s a bummer.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to see a podiatrist who will hopefully give me a clear prognosis. I don’t think this should cause me to miss any shifts, and I’m still planning to go to New York this week, but I wanted to let y’all know now because I’ll probably be limited to cashier work and other low-mobility activity for about four weeks. I’ll stay in touch as I learn more. And you can expect me to come in tomorrow night on crutches.

; /,


TEX Book Trailer


'The prose of some books keeps you at arm’s length. Resists the idea of transparency or security. Dares you to look deeper to find meaning. The sentences in Jac Jemc’s collection, A Different Bed Every Time, require untangling. Sentences like, “Your body flood us and we rocks and fogs, delivering. The climate outside our body are a busy woman,” dare us to think about the certainties of language and structure we take for granted. Jemc’s is not light or easy prose, but prose that is beautiful and complex. And worth the effort.

'There’s something to be said for an author creating an experience of reading that acts as a physical manifestation of her character’s lives. Jemc does this in A Different Bed Every Time. She translates the distressing emotional entanglements of character into the reading process itself. We, her readers, feel frustration and alienation on the same level as her characters. Jemc’s sentences, fraught with the juxtaposition of generalities and uniquely specific metaphors, are a mirror for each character’s angst. These sentences require us as readers to sort through complexity; it’s a reflection of the way the characters look at the world. ...

'Jemc writes emotion with naked honesty, but often comes to concrete images or analogies in a roundabout way. Her collection is unique for its command of unusual imagery. Jemc never goes for the easy comparison or the simple metaphor. What this means is her sentences require more time. More attention. Does this result in meaning that lies just out of our reach from time to time? Yes, but this is only a way to encourage us to read more carefully. To look deeper.

'This is a collection that’s hard to read in a sitting. I found that the punches of each story, and so many stories in succession, were almost too much to take in in at once. Jemc’s stories are rough. Unapologetic. And they’re not easy or transparent. But read in doses, they reveal something about not just the characters, but how we as readers want to read character in a story. What’s comfortable for us as readers? Why might an author want to shake that foundation? How can an author push language to be more complex? Jemc presents something hyper-ordinary in A Different Bed Every Time.' -- Heather Scott Partington, The Rumpus

Jac Jemc A Different Bed Every Time
Dzanc Books

'A thief steals the air from a room. Children invent a nursery rhyme to make sense of their fate, and a band of girls rot from the outside in. These characters stumble through joy and murder and confusion, only to survive and wait for the next catastrophe to arrive. Moments so brief and disturbing you can’t afford to look away.' -- Dzanc Books

'To Jemc the world is a place where each person, every human cypher, must devour another. What then can we do, if we are devoured, if we are overcome with our own devouring? Her escape plan is inspired and ancient -- to become protean, to dwell in costume after costume, parcelling away the truth that can be found in each. But where is it hid? Ask her, though she may not say.' — Jesse Ball

from The Nervous Breakdown

The Wrong Sister

Okay. Say the reason you’re stuck here in limbo is totally unclear to you. Say you were a woman who cared about little but treated others basically well. Say you had a twin who was married to a doctor, but because you were so ambivalent, you never agreed to partner up, never liked anyone enough to commit or even give someone a real chance, to ever approach the situation where you might have to explain these feelings to another human being because you’ve joined to have and to hold, in sickness and in blah blah blah…

But every once in a while, because it seems harmless and because sometimes your sister needs a break and because you gave up on that theater degree long ago but missed the thrill of lying, of being genuinely dishonest—let’s say ever year or two you relieve your sister, and unbeknownst to her husband you replace her for a week or two, tops. Your sister’s husband is the most crass and unpolished doctor you’ve ever met. He’s a rube with a medical degree. You don’t even recall the branch of medicine, so uninvolved and detached are your interactions even when you’re pretending to be his wife. Somehow this man is actually a really good doctor—top of his field, full of expertise.

You live in a big city in a small neighborhood when you’re playing his wifey. When you’re you, you live on the other side of town. No one really knows you. The grocery store clerk might recognize you if you smiled at her once in a while, but as earlier stated, you’re a bit heartless, so you haven’t. Most people who see you assume you’re your sister on a bad day. Let’s say your sister comes to you and tells you her husband’s really in a 39 mood lately and though she still loves him, to be around him right now is to tear her hair out. “Please,” she says, “Be me.”

You shrug. Agree to it. Let her know what’s going on at work, switch cellphones, squeeze into those pointy-toed shoes she thinks are chic, erase yourself into her. Drive in her car, to her house, and get ready for a week off. Cook some lobsters for dinner, listen to their screams without interest. Smile at the rooftop garden, at her husband’s color-coded tie rack, at that godforsaken dog confined to the laundry room.

When her husband gets home, you know what she means immediately: he’s acting up. His eyes clock around, avoiding your face, landing on it at every quarter hour and ticking away. His facial hair seems mangy and patchy—like he’s been letting the razor slide around willy-nilly. He unloads groceries and you’re surprised he’s done shopping. This doesn’t seem like him, but then you see that it’s nothing to be floored by: ten pounds of center-cut rib-eye, two hundred massive garbage bags, straws, beef jerky, a box of donuts. You look at him, and in your best impersonation of your sister, you say, “What the hell is all this?” He grabs the bundle of zip ties from you, and replies curtly that it’s stuff he needed from the store that you (your sister) had not gotten for him. You pluck the lobster from the warmer and say, “Dinner, mon cher, is served.” He plops himself down and before you have properly buttered your meal, he’s inhaled his and is heading towards the garage. “You’re welcome,” you call, and his response is an insouciant, “Fuck you.”

You know what’s going to happen before it does, and you don’t do anything to stop it. He’s down in the garage with his supplies defining the margins of his sanity. He’s making illegible decisions and convincing himself he’ll decipher the handwriting later. Here is your sister’s husband, your husband, for the sake of the rest of the story, and he’s planning her demise, your demise, accordingly. And you know it’ll be complicated for your sister when all of this unravels: but there’re no children involved so you say, “What the hell?’”

You wonder about your sister’s blaming herself but figure she’d rather feel guilty than dead. You, however, are ambivalent. Here’s what will happen. Your husband will come upstairs and apologize. He’ll ask if you want to go get a drink. He’s had a wretched week. You’ll say, “Where?” He’ll say, “How about we just head around the corner to Ray’s?” You’ll say, “Sure,” and head for the garage. He’ll rush after you, pull your arm, suggest you just walk. The car’s been acting funny. You can imagine what he’s got laid out in preparation in the garage already. Trash bags, cutting tools. If he’s smart: some lye. God love this man and his nutty streaks. He has no idea anyone is onto him, least of all, his victim. You think how foolish he is to do it in the garage— the concrete will stain— but it’s not your problem. You think of calling your sister and saying something cryptic that might ease her guilt after the fact, but decide it might be too fishy. You want her free and clear of this nut job ASAP.

Birds glide beneath your skin. For a moment, you think, who’s the nut now? You’re convinced this joker’s gonna kill you tonight. What? Suddenly you’re clairvoyant? But you know too well; he has that calm about him where he’s sure of himself and he doesn’t need to do any convincing—he just needs to let the story unravel.

The birds keep chirping, but you’re still convinced you cannot get gone enough. He’s sure this will solve all his problems, but you know this gesture will be read like a waste land. It doesn’t matter what’s been or what will be. Tenses have been paved over.

Say you walk to Ray’s. You sneak to the bathroom. You examine your face in the mirror. You’re pretty sure you don’t believe in an afterlife, but in the event there is such a thing, who knows if you’ll be able to see anything, much less your own face. You look at the blue-flame tinted circles beneath your eyes. You think of all the deaths you’ve avoided: the canoe trip in the storm, the mugging, that time your appendix jammed itself huge into the rest of you. All incongruous warnings for the decision you’re making right now.

You look a little longer. No, you’re not getting sentimental, but you want to make sure there’s enough time for the sedative to dissolve in your drink. You don’t want to wake too early to a gray foggy cloud of your own bright scarlet. You don’t want to see the brownish tint of you as the yellow pages sop up your gore.

You emerge, and the bartender gives you a look like he has a secret he knows he should tell you, but you look away quickly so he doesn’t feel implicated. The whiskey barks down your throat all familiar-like, but husband is all fanned eyebrows and tilted breath.

You gulp the drink down and smile at husband and bring his hand to your mouth for a kiss. It is sweaty, but you make nothing of it.

The rest is blurry: you get loopy and other patrons notice. Husband takes you home. He butchers your somnolent self like a fine-boned rabbit. He flushes fourteen pounds of you down the toilet. He files a missing person’s report and your sister grows confused. They never find the rest of you.

Stories start coming out around the neighborhood: large purchases of rubber gloves, trash bags, knives and saws. A regular at Ray’s says he saw the two of you there and tells how you’d gotten wiped out with one glass of whiskey. Husband’s office reports missing quantities of sedation samples.

The police find the wad of your muscle and fat in the septic tank, but your husband’s lawyer argues a person could survive the loss of this much flesh. He charms the grand jury into thinking the evidence is inconclusive. Turns out it doesn’t matter if people recognize you buying the damning supplies. Husband remains a practicing physician in the free world. Your sister can see what happened, and as soon as the trial is over, she runs as far away as possible to start a new life.

About a day after you’re chopped to bits, you wake up in some mental state at Ray’s, bodiless. “This must be the ghost life,” you think. But you never cared about anything. What could you have to settle? And here? Say this boredom is eternal. “Well, then,” you think half-heartedly, “all these men are stuck smoking with the wrong sister.”

Jac Jemc interviewed

Jac Jemc reads her short story "Filch and Rot"

The Great Writers Steal Experience: Jac Jemc


p.s. Hey. ** Jonathan, Hey, J! Ha ha, I am, re-cooperating, it seems, based on the gradually lessening ughs. Trip was insane. Happy to tell you about it, for sure. Let's meet up asap! Really glad you liked Katie Gately. I just discovered her stuff recently and ... yeah, pretty great. I want to hear the new Andy Stott. Cool. How've you been? Yeah, let's hang and see/do something. Call/text me, or I'll do the same. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Wow, that's a nice compliment to me. About the mind meld with Mr. Delaney. I was on a panel with him once, but we never actually met. ** Sypha, My pleasure on the shout out. Your album is cued-up for the next break I take during my theater piece writing. Today. E.M. Cioran ... you know what? Maybe I haven't read him? I've meant to. I'll try to find that ' ... Despair' book, thanks. Well, I'm personally glad you're giving Blake's book a shot since you know I'm a giant fan of him and of that novel. As a writer who restudies and re-explores motifs a fair amount, I say sometimes you have to trust that a motif, i.e. Blake's 'haunted house' thing, is complex and rich to the writer, and that it's not a matter of relying on it in a lazy way, but rather an obsessive belief that it forms a conducive framework in which to get at other stuff. Or something. But a writer has to earn a reader's trust, and that's always the reader's call. Anyway, cool. ** Tosh Berman, Hi! I haven't talked to Benjamin in a while, so I don't know, but my guess, knowing him well, would be that he hasn't really thought about that aspect yet? ** Kyler, Hi. X-rated ... oh, yes, my imagination quite quickly fills in that blank, although, since most of my initial conjectures seem to involve the word 'dick', ... well, I was going to say that seems kind of un-DC's, but, in fact, I guess it's only un-DC, i.e. un-me, not un-you guys. Honestly, I don't like Paul Auster's work one little bit. Nope. But he's important to you, so I'll keep my reasons in my throat or my head or wherever they are. ** Steevee, Yeah, it's perpetually strange to me that documentaries don't have the same shot at theater release as fiction films given that TV, which I guess is the most immediate graph of public taste, is full of non-fiction. Anyway, I'm going to hunt the films down. Some of them might get super-limited releases in Paris, but I'll have to keep my eyes peeled. Grauerholz is, or, at least was, a big jerk, and a jerk of the myopic kind who wouldn't even realize that he was coming off like a jerk. ** Nicki, Hi, Nicki! Very glad to hear you're fine. I'm ever improving and the volume on my ouches is ever lowering. Love to you! ** Bernard Welt, Hey, B! Yeah, third time for me on the broken ribs front. Strange. They seem to be mending as far as I can tell. Let me see if I can find 'The Big Snooze' online somewhere. Are you publishing the series on dream-related films somewhere seeable? Either privately or publicly? ** Bill, Hi. Thanks much about the gig selection. Yeah, Ashely Paul is really nice. All credit to The Wire on that one. My painkillers are the usual codeine-inflected paracetamol things. They work-ish. At least I'm not avalanching them down my throat like I was for a while. But, yeah, broken ribs are just annoying mostly. ** Kier, Hey, hey!Yeah, I don't think I actually shimmy and shake even when I'm a fireball of health, or, if I do, it's really subtle. Maybe I should. Hm. A photo of Lucifer would be sweet! I wish I could follow you around while you worked on that farm. I promise that I would be as quiet as a mouse. Fir wreaths ... oh, like Xmas wreaths? Is Norway really into Xmas? Man, Iceland sure is. Reykjavik had, like, six Xmas stores, and it's not a very big city. And they had these red mailboxes everywhere where you could send letters to Santa Claus. Bardufoss, I've heard of that. I can't remember why. We saw the Northern Lights, as I think I told you. But it was just a couple of green streaks, not that that wasn't cool. Oh, thank you, thank you for the A4 'Wonderful Witches'. Thank you!!! Yesterday, ... first I tried to work on the theater piece because I'm so far behind and there's so much to do, and I was semi-successful, and I need to pick up the pace today. I made a blog post. I'm in a big scramble to fill up the blog's future at the moment. So most of the day was work stuff. In the afternoon, I met up with my friend Josh who's this young amazing artist who I met years ago when he stayed here at the Recollets for a bit. He's briefly in Paris, and it was awesome to see him and catch up. Then ... oh, I had thought Xiu Xiu was playing here at the end of the month, and Zac and I were planning to go and hopefully hang out with Jamie Stewart, but I found out too late last night that they were playing last night, so I wrote to Jamie to say, shit, I fucked up, and asked if Zac and me could meet up with him today, but he wrote back and said that he left Paris right after the show, so that sucked. Mm, if anything else happened, I can't remember. I'll try to have illustrative fun today. In the meantime, please illustrate your day, if you don't mind. ** Etc etc etc, Hi, Casey. Thanks. Full-court blitz mode is exciting. I like that mode. Fingers crossed re: every one of your fronts. I didn't know or I spaced out  about the DFW Reader book, huh. Gotta get that. Thank you for the tip, yes. Oh, I have projects galore at the moment: writing theater piece, editing our film, novel, this and that. I'm pretty locked down re: work for the next while. Cool, send me stuff, and I'll make myself check my email. I will. ** Tomkendall, Hi, Tom! Fingers crossed until full entanglement that the news from that agency is very good. Oh, gosh, please use this space, yes! I'll go investigate that crowd funder myself, and, in the meantime, ... Everyone, please listen up. The superb writer and dude and d.l. Tomkendall wants to alert us to something that sounds extremely interesting and worthy of your support and attention. Here he is: 'I was hoping i could use this space (and maybe up above as i still can't get the links in place here… i know i'm a simpleton) to draw attention to a crowd funder my wife is involved in: "The Quipu Project is an interactive documentary about women and men who were sterilised in Peru in the mid-1990s. Many did not give full consent for it to happen. Twenty years later, they are still seeking justice. Using a specially-developed telephone line and web interface, we are working with some of the affected people, providing the framework for them to tell their story in their own words and bringing it to an international audience.The story emerges as the archive of testimonies and responses grows." Quipu Project Website</>, Quipu Project @ Facebook, Quipu Project Fundraiser page @ Indiegogo</>.' Please take some time and check that out today, okay? Thanks! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Cool, glad the Katie Gately material intrigued, and, yeah, it's quite unique, I think. You have 4 Art101 episodes nearly ready? That's epic! Really great, man! ** Keaton, Hey. People can't be landscapes? Tell that to my libido, ha ha. Cool, thanks for sneaking out that cemetery report. I like Xmas too, it's weird. Or not weird. No, it's weird. Somehow. I am feeling better. You sound like you're feeling better too. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Yikes, about your brother's coughing damage. Even with my little breakage, coughing is the absolute worst. Wrenching pain spasm every time. Sure, I'll keep the Icelandic bills for LPS or send them to you or something. No prob. Oh, man, obviously, that idea of her home schooling him sounds like a really bad plan, and hopefully you'll talk her into the official alternate plan. Why would she object to that, for goodness sake? ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff! Thanks! I loved the Godard 3D film a lot, really a lot. I keep thinking and thinking about it. 'Burroughs: The Movie' was directed by a very close friend of mine, the late Howard Brookner, so, yes, I know it, and heard/knew a lot about it as Howard was making it. I'm excited to see it again. I remember it being pretty good, and definitely much better than the more recent Burroughs doc of a couple of years back. Me too, re. fashioning a theater piece in fits and starts. I hear and feel you. Yeah, I'll see if Zac will dropbox me a bunch of Iceland photos. He took the great majority of images there. I would really try to spend more than a few days there, if you can. There are amazing things around Reykjavik to see, but, to really get how astounding the country is, it's really, really best to take the time to drive all the way around, which we did in 10 days, although you could do it quicker. The entire country is mindbogglingly beautiful, and a lot of the most incredible places are more than a day-trip out of Reykjavik. ** Terence Hannum, Hi, Terrence! How great to see you here! Well, my total pleasure and honor to get to host your work here. I love that piece and, of course, your work in general. Respect! ** Mark Gluth, Hi, Mark! Dude, seriously, do what you need to do to go to Iceland when you can. It's unbelievable. And spend a fair amount of time there and travel around the country's perimeter by car when you do. We were there just under two weeks. You could do the country and get a good, un-rushed look and feel in about 10 days, I'd say. I get that not being able to breathe thing whenever I climb stairs or go up a hill. Or I did until maybe yesterday. It's scary. And when I fell and smashed my ribs, I literally couldn't breathe for about a minute. I thought my lung had collapsed. Horrible. My pain killers are the non-intoxicating kind. Or I guess very mildly intoxicating. More like befuddling. I'm a big opiate wimp too, thank goodness, I think. ** Right. There are some new books up there that I highly recommend. Peruse their evidence today, if you will. See you tomorrow.