follow us in feedly
Awesome Ramones T-shirts, drawn by the author of ‘My Friend Dahmer’
03.27.2015
06:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Fashion
Punk

Tags:
comics
Derf
Jeffrey Dahmer


 
If you read alt-weeklies in the ‘90s and ‘oughts, John “Derf” Backderf’s comic The City may well have been on your radar. Over its 24-year lifespan, it ran in 140 papers in all, peaking at 75 at once in the late ‘90s, including the late, lamented Cleveland Free Times, at which he and I were co-workers. Of course that publishing sector is gasping for air now, and Derf has moved on from it to an edifying afterlife: he’s retired the weekly strip, and like many cartoonists, he’s moved into web-comics, and he’s had great success creating graphic novels.

In 2008, Derf released the acclaimed Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, an account of being a young punk in Akron during the halcyon days of weirdomusic in Northeast Ohio. But his magnum opus so far is 2012’s My Friend Dahmer. You see, future cartoonist Derf was high school pals with future cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and his portrait of his onetime friend’s teen years is affecting, disturbing, compelling, deeply human, and just bottomlessly sad. Derf depicts behaviors in the teenaged Dahmer that we’d all recognize today as HUGE RED FLAGS that he was going to turn out seriously broken, but in the early ‘70s could be and were hand-waved as mere weirdness. It was nominated for basically all of the awards, and was named one of Time‘s top five non-fiction books of the year.
 

 

 
Both Punk Rock and Trailer Parks and My Friend Dahmer have been translated into French, which has given Derf a chance to travel to France for promo appearances and exhibits. For one of those exhibits, he drew some wonderful tributes to Joey and Johnny Ramone, and they’ve been made into t-shirts which are available through Birdcage Bottom Books. Also available to the discerning Derf aficionado is this shirt, which may or may not bear a (totally unintentional) resemblance to Lester Bangs (or not), available from publisher SLG Comics.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
RE/Search’s Vale and JG Ballard on William Burroughs


 
This is a guest post from Graham Rae.

In 2007, I interviewed Val Vale, of RE/Search Publications, and the late futurologist novelist JG Ballard, about a writer whom they were both very favorably predisposed to, William S. Burroughs. I talked to the amiable Val by phone, and sent JGB a few questions by mail, sending him a copy of an expensive science book I had received for review, An Evolutionary Psychology of Sleep and Dreams, to sweeten the pot. The answers are below.

These interviews originally appeared on the now-defunct website of the fine Scottish writer Laura Hird, and do not appear anywhere else online; have not done for years. Thus the references are somewhat dated, but at lot of the material, sadly, remains very much in vogue. I had only been in America for two years in 2007, and my views here seem somewhat naïve to me now, but, well, them’s the learning-immigrant breaks. So without further ado…

Foreword: Noted San Francisco underground publisher V Vale has been publishing since 1977, when, with $200 he was given by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and poet/ City Lights bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti ($100 from each), he put out 11 issues of the Search And Destroy punk zine. In 1980 he started RE/Search, an imprint which still puts out infrequent volumes on subjects like schlock therapy trash movies, JG Ballard, punk, modern primitives, supermasochists, torture gardens, pranks, angry women, bodily fluids.anything and everything taboo and alternative and unreported was and is fair grist to Vale’s subversive ever-churning wordmill.

In 1982 he put out RE/Search #4/5, a three-section volume including William S. Burroughs, with the other two sections being about Throbbing Gristle and the artist Brion Gysin, WSB’s friend and collaborator who’d introduced the writer to the ‘cut-up’ method of rearranging his texts to show what they really mean.

The Burroughs section of the book include an interview with Burroughs by Vale (who is mentioned in Burroughs’ Last Words), an unpublished chapter from Cities of The Red Night, two excerpts from The Place of Dead Roads, two “Early Routines,” an article on “The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin” and ‘The Revised Boy Scout Manual’ which is a piece in which Burroughs muses revealingly on armed revolution and weapons-related revelation.

I talked to the amiable publisher about this interesting volume, but only about Burroughs, because he was the reason I wanted to read the thing in the first place; neither of the other two subjects much interest me, to be perfectly honest. It’s an interesting volume that any Burroughs enthusiast would definitely enjoy. So join us as we (me with occasionally incomprehensible-to-American-ears Scottish accent) take a trip down memory lane and talk about snakebite serum, dark-skinned young boys, the City Lights bookstore, independent publishing, aphorisms, Fox News’s hateful right-wing Christian conservative pop-agitprop, the madness of Tony Blair and avoiding mad drunks with guns.

And after the interview with Vale you will find the answers to a few questions JG Ballard was kind enough to answer me by mail about his own relationship with El Hombre Invisible.

V Vale Questions

Graham Rae: First off, how did you first encounter Burroughs’ work?

Vale: Oh, jeez. Well, I encountered Naked Lunch at college in the late ‘60s. He was like the cat’s meow. Burroughs and Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon—books like these. And it was obvious that Burroughs was this un-sane, slightly science-fictiony visionary, but he wasn’t really science fiction, he was extremely sardonic, that was his main appeal, with Dr. Benway and all that. And since I was more-or-less hetero oriented I think I more or less ignored all the references to young boys with blue gills and fluorescent appendages and whatever. That sort of went right by me like water off a duck’s back. It was only later that I realized that the imagery was kind of . . . how it was oriented. But what really turned me on to Burroughs was an article in a 1970 or ‘71 Atlantic Monthly magazine that came out with a huge excerpt in it from The Job, which is Burroughs’—I think it’s his signature book of interviews, it’s kind of the equivalent of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). And so I took this magazine and underlined it and kept reading it over and over, making lists and trying to get all the books that he talked about. And then The Job came out and that became my Bible

Yeah?

Vale: Oh yeah, it’s totally important. Still important; it’s got so many ideas in it.

Well that’s the thing about Burroughs, isn’t it? It’s like this sort of surreal mercurial Braille, it’s very strange. I mean you read it, you go back to it and then you go back to it and then you get something different from it because you’ve got a completely different level of understanding of it, y’know, I think, personally.

Vale: Well yeah, that definitely can happen with any great book. And I spent so much time with ‘The Job’ and with that ‘Atlantic Monthly’ article. It was obvious that this was sort of like a philosophy of life. I mean, instead of saying you’re right wing or left wing politically, you could just say, Well, I’m a Burroughsian. There should be almost a Burroughsian political party making fun of authoritarianism all across the entire political spectrum.

I’ve got that party in my head that goes on 24 fucking 7, man. Right. When and how did you first contact Burroughs?

Vale: Well I was already working at City Lights Bookstore and one of the perks of working there was that you got to meet all the so-called Beatniks and you were already in the in-group.

Did you meet like Ginsberg and that then, I take it?

Vale: Oh yeah, sure. The legend is that Ginsberg gave me my first $100 to start publishing. It’s certainly true, but I wish I had made a Xerox of the check, and I wish I had made a Xerox of the check that Ferlinghetti gave me, too. But you know, back in those days you didn’t have a home Xerox machine, you had to go to a corner facility and spend ten cens on a Xerox. Believe it or not, ten cents for a Xerox was a lot of money in 1976 or so.

Especially when you don’t have much money.

Vale: Especially when you’re living on minimum wage from City Lights, but you know you would parlay that, you’d stretch that out by: you’d get such a low income you’d qualify for food stamps, for example. They still give out food stamps—I see these old Chinese people using them still, but I hear they’re really hard to get now. But they used to be easy to get.
 

 
Continues after the jump with more from Vale and JG Ballard on WSB…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The dark art of H.P. Lovecraft illustrator Lee Brown Coye
03.21.2015
02:06 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Occult

Tags:
H.P. Lovecraft
Lee Brown Coye


 
Even in the twisted milieu of pulp illustration, Lee Brown Coye was an outlier. His was not a world of square-jawed detectives or musclebound Tarzan manqués, nor was he one to luridly but lovingly render the adipose flesh of reanimated dead in colorful gouaches. Coye did ten darkly expressionistic covers for Weird Tales between the mid ‘40s and early ‘50s, in dolefully subdued shades that emerged from dense, nihilistic black fields to coalesce into nightmarish wraiths. It was strong stuff that recalled Emil Nolde and Georges Roualt, and even if he’d never done anything else, those covers and his black and white interior work for that publication surely would have made him the cult figure who inspired Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen King. But there were also his macabre black and white ink drawings that graced book covers for the likes of Arkham House and Farrar & Reinhart. Coye secured his reputation with his work for the Sleep No More anthology before going on to produce definitive covers for H.P. Lovecraft works like The Dunwich Horror, At the Mountains of Madness, and perhaps his masterpiece, his work on Three Tales of Horror, which sports 19 Coye illustrations, all more than sufficiently disquieting to merit accompanying Lovecraft’s dark mythos.
 

 

 
More eldritch darkness after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
John and Yoko shine on in these rarely seen photographs from 1980
03.13.2015
12:38 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Music

Tags:
Yoko Ono
John Lennon
Kishin Shinoyama


 
These rarely seen photographs by acclaimed photographer Kishin Shinoyama were taken over the course of several days in September of 1980 for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Double Fantasy. It was the last studio recording by Lennon before his tragic murder in December of 1980 and these photographs are particularly bittersweet in light of what was to come.

Kishin Shinoyama and Yoko Ono are releasing a book of photo essays called Double Fantasy published by Taschen this month in a limited edition of 1,980 copies (1980). Money can’t buy you love but it can buy you this book for $700. If you’re a fan it may be some kind of love.

Here are photographs from the book and a video on Shinoyama and Ono’s collaboration on its making.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ayn Rand for… dummies: The 10-minute ‘Atlas Shrugged’
03.09.2015
04:31 pm

Topics:
Books
Kooks
Movies

Tags:
Ayn Rand


 
If one writes anything mean/true about Ayn Rand on the Internet, invariably the author will receive a litany of howling complaints from her fans (people who seem to have an awful lot of time of their hands for some… strange reason) in the comments. It’s absurd and hilarious to field dumb invective hurled at you by people that you have no intellectual respect for and that you will never, ever meet in real life, but dumping on Rand is a predictable impetus for attracting this sort of thing. Scroll down, I’m sure without looking that they’ll start to pile up like poorly punctuated turds under a rabbit cage before too long.

The Randroids behave as if they’re defending the honor of a saint or a great literary or philosophical genius and not a complete lunatic who wrote the most turgid prose of any best-selling author of the 20th century. I understand their psychology well, for I myself was once a teenaged Ayn Rand true believer. Oh yes, I’ve probably read 99% of every word she wrote or that was publicly uttered by her during her lifetime. Not only did I have every Ayn Rand book, I owned every single copy of The Objectivist and The Ayn Rand Letter, kept in green leather binders. I owned all of her Ford Foundation speeches in pamphlets and on cassette tapes. In the 8th grade, I managed to track down her Playboy interview. This unlikely childhood collection, mind you, was amassed by mail order in the 1970s on money earned from mowing lawns. I was really into it, I’m ashamed to say. Could quote her chapter and verse… Then I discovered drugs, punk rock and girls and promptly forget all about Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand fanboys and girls are a unique bunch, and one trait that many of them—not all, but many—share is that by and large they are not… er… very literate people and Atlas Shrugged is quite often one of the few books they’ve ever read, so it shares an outsized place in their affections.

Ayn Rand is the Enya of fiction. I don’t wish to tar the new agey Irish songstress with the same brush as the Russian novelist with the toxic philosophy, my point being that if Enya (who sells tens of millions of CDs) is music for people who don’t like music, then Rand wrote books for people who don’t like to read. Her books are like Sarah Palin’s in that sense, but when someone who has read precious few books to begin with can wade through a hefty tome like Atlas Shrugged—which IS a page-turner to be fair, the novel’s gripping plot is truly epic—it gives them a sense of completely unmerited intellectual achievement. Problem is they’re too dumb to know that or else they wouldn’t be fucking goofball Ayn Rand fans fancying themselves world-conquering Übermensches in the first place. If you’ve only ever read five books in your entire life and Atlas Shrugged is one of them, you’ll probably think it’s a masterpiece. For those of us who’ve read more than, oh, say, ten books, you look like an absolute fucking knob going on and on about Ayn Rand in Disqus comments. It’s an admission of stunted mental growth, no more, no less. (As someone funnier than I am once said, being an Ayn Rand fan as an adult is like discovering OMD when you’re fifteen and having your mind blown and your musical tastes frozen in time right then and there.)

For the people who have heard all about Atlas Shrugged via Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or being a Ron Paul fan or Tea partier or whatever, but who’ll never, ever finish a gigantic doorstopper of a novel like that one, the news that there was going to be an Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy probably seemed like welcome news until they tried to watch it. There are three “trash compactor” cuts of the Atlas Shrugged films if you’d like to see all three parts in under ten minutes and get “the gist” of what happens.

It still feels at little long, doesn’t it?

 
Oh look, all new actors in part 2! Obviously part 2 had a significantly lower budget than the first one. Dig the bargain basement Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggarts…
 

 
Not wanting to disappoint, the producers got—you guessed it—an entirely new cast for the third installment, too. Except for hamfisted holdover Sean Hannity. And look, Glenn Beck…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Real Horrorshow!: Malcolm McDowell and Anthony Burgess discuss Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’

001acworangmm1.jpg
 
Ken Russell was among the many directors originally touted to direct A Clockwork Orange before Stanley Kubrick. Russell was considered stylistically sympathetic to bring Anthony Burgess’s source novel to cinematic life—he had documented youth gangs as a photographer in the 1950s and made a series of highly influential drama-documentaries and films that had inspired not only Stanley Kubrick but also Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and later Derek Jarman. I wonder what Russell’s version of A Clockwork Orange would have been like? Perhaps more flamboyant, more seedy, more of the end-of the-pier, more human than Kubrick’s aesthetically pleasing but cold and sterile vision. And though the great and the good lobbied to have Mick Jagger play Alex, I wonder if Russell would have opted for his favorite actor Oliver Reed? Oh, what japes they’d have had. Instead Kubrick chose Malcolm McDowell because of his unforgettable and iconic performance as Mick Travis in Lindsay Anderson’s If…
 
001acworanmm44if.jpg
Casting at first sight: director Lindsay Anderson was understandably smitten by McDowell’s beauty, talented and attitude when he cast him as Mick Travis in ‘If…’ The performance that led to his role as Alex in Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange.’.
 
McDowell had the blue-eyed, blonde beauty of a fallen angel—he would have been the perfect choice to play Lucifer for Kenneth Anger. McDowell was born in 1943 into a lower middle class family in Leeds, he was never the working class lout as some tabloids like to pretend but a privately educated son to a family who ran a small guest house. He was clever, smart, idealistic, and decided he wanted to be an actor. After school, he found found work as a stage manager on the Isle of Wight before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. McDowell embraced the cultural rebellion of the 1960s and hated the dominance of the established theatrical institutions, as he once explained to writer Michael Bracewell:

‘The RSC? Horrendous. Middle-class theatre crap…actorly acting with lots of shouting—after [Laurence] Olivier—and soul-searching performances…I mean I saw some great performances—Ian Richardson and Paul Scofield—but it was like being ordered around and told what to do by a bunch of little shitheads. I auditioned for the RSC by reading the Prologue from Henry VIII, for the very good reason that nobody knew it. It begins, “I come no more to make you laugh”, which was ironic, because humour has always been a great mainstay of my arsenal. I mean, A Clockwork Orange was essentially a comic performance. I used to loot my style from Eric Morecambe.’

 
001acworanmw22.jpg
Eric Morecambe (with umbrella and bowler) and Ernie Wise.
 
Eric Morecambe was the comic half to the much-beloved double-act Morecambe and Wise, who dominated British television screens in the 1960s and 1970s, which brings a different interpretation to his performance as Alex—one that would have been ideal for Ken Russell.

‘I’ve always had to live down A Clockwork Orange wherever I go, because ever since then, with the exception of O, Lucky Man!, which I made with Lindsay [Anderson] immediately afterwards, I’ve always been cast as the heavy. It used to irritate the shit out of me, and then I just got bored with it, you know? I just wanted to get on, maybe make a few comedies or do something else, but there was Alex…I know that I’ve said some mean things about Kubrick in the past, but thinking back to the actual shooting of that film and trying to forget all the baggage of what happened afterwards, it was an incredibly stimulating experience, even though I got to the point where I hated the film because of the reaction.’

This runs contra to McDowell’s enthusiasm as expounded in this interview about A Clockwork Orange he gave with author Anthony Burgess in 1972, but this was still early days and McDowell had not been hamstrung by his move to Hollywood, where he ended-up making movies for the lowest common denominator. McDowell is an exceptionally talented actor and no matter how dire the film he always gives a powerfully memorable performance.
 
001acwkoranbkab55.jpg
The book and its Beethoven-loving author, Anthony Burgess.
 
Anthony Burgess came to hate Kubrick’s film too, which was ironic as the movie made Burgess a bigger star than his writing up to that point had achieved. Burgess is a writer’s writer, a polymath who claimed he would rather be known for his musical compositions than his books. Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange in 1962, after being mistakenly told he had not long to live. To ensure he left money for his wife, Burgess wrote a series of novels in quick succession, one of which was A Clockwork Orange. It was moderately successful on publication, a cult book, that became a bestseller after Kubrick’s movie. Burgess claimed he took the title from an old East London saying, “As queer as a clockwork orange,” which may or may not be true, as there appears to be no known record of this phrase. Whatever its derivation, it perfectly captured the book’s theme of a hideous artificial will imposed on natural behavior.
 
001acworang33mmsk.jpg
McDowell and Kubrick on set during filming.
 
After Kubrick’s film version of A Clockwork Orange was released in Britain in 1971, it was ironically linked to a series of violent crimes. The first was the murder of a tramp by a 16-year-old youth; the second involved another 16-year-old who, while dressed in the film’s distinctive gang uniform, stabbed a younger boy; the third was the brutal and horrific gang rape of a Dutch girl by a group of youths from Lancashire, as they sang “Singing in the Rain”.

Sentencing the 16-year-old for assaulting a child, a judge described the attack part of a “horrible trend” prompted by “this wretched film”. Following death threats and warnings from the police over revenge attacks, Kubrick asked Warner Brothers to pull the film from its UK release. For a very long time, through the 1980s and 1990s, the nearest place Brits could see A Clockwork Orange was Paris. It was only after Kubrick’s death in 1999 was his ban lifted and the film re-released in the UK.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Anthony Burgess and the Top Secret Code contained in ‘A Clockwork Orange’
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fuck obscenity!: Live footage of The Fugs performing at Cleveland free speech benefit,1967
03.03.2015
06:48 am

Topics:
Books
Literature
Music

Tags:
The Fugs
d.a. levy


 
I thought I’d seen every frame of Fugs’ film footage that exists on the worldwide web…but I guess not. Here’s something totally new to me: The Fugs performing in 1967 at a Cleveland, Ohio benefit for poet D.A. Levy and Jim Lowell.
 
Lowell and Levy had been busted for distributing obscene literature to minors. Lowell owned a Cleveland beatnik hang, The Asphodel Book Store, where one could buy books that, in 1967, were deemed profane, including some of Levy’s self-published books of poetry. They both endured a year of protracted legal hassles before the charges were dropped in 1968. But despite being not guilty of anything, Levy had to pay a $200 fine and was told by the judge to “no longer associate with juveniles or give them his poetry.” That’s a rather harsh sentence for someone whose biggest crime was writing some poems. It was particularly rough on Levy whose art was intended to inspire a new generation of young people to question authority and expand their consciousness. Levy was a mystic, a Buddhist, a bard on a mission to change the world through a process of opening up minds. Later that year Levy opened his mind once and for all when he blew out his brains with a shotgun. A sad end for a brilliant young poet. He was 26.
 
From D.A. Levy’s Suburban Monastery Death Poem:

the poets will be kept in line
like they are in cleveland
its so easy to convince poets
what poetry is
and what it isnt
& everyone knows
sleeping with the muse
is only for young poets
after you’ve been kept impotent
by style & form & words like “art”
after being published by the RIGHT publishers
and having all the right answers
after youve earned the right to call yrself
a poet     yr dead
& lying on yr back
drinking ceremonial wine, while
the muse, who is always a young girl
with old eyes into the universe
suddenly remembers necrophilia
is an experience shes had before
& shes not interested
in straddling corpses anymore

.

Beatniks were scary! Children were hidden behind suburban mother’s skirts. Fathers oiled their rifles as teenagers shimmied to a wild bongo beat.
 

 
The Fugs came to the rescue. This footage is 16mm film shot by Dennis Goulden. The audio is rough but the visuals are fine indeed. The benefit took place at the Case Institute of Technology campus. Cleveland was scarred forever. Poetry had left its festering tattoo upon the buttocks of civility.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A Dangerous Minds exclusive: Previously unpublished interview with Allen Ginsberg
03.02.2015
08:17 am

Topics:
Books
Drugs
Literature

Tags:
Allen Ginsberg


 
In 1977, Michael Rectenwald was a disenchanted pre-med student with a secret passion for poetry—Allen Ginsberg and his influences in particular. After a couple of years of covertly consuming, studying and writing poems, he found his interest in medical school had entirely evaporated, so he left school and dove further into writing, eventually sending a letter and some of his poems to Ginsberg himself. Not only did Ginsberg write back, he invited Rectenwald to apprentice him at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Describing his fellow classmates as “a hodgepodge of Buddhists, failed and former beatniks, wannabe poets, acid trippers, mushroom poppers, Carlos Castaneda aficionados who thought they could fly, and many stripes of New Ager,” Rectenwald was thrown into an erratic world of “creatives” head first. He thrived, developing both a meaningful relationship with his mentor and practicing his craft, despite the frequently turbulent environment.
 

 
For example, one of Rectenwald’s “tasks” was watching over Billy Burroughs, Jr., son of William S. Burroughs. Traumatized by an unstable childhood and the death of his mother at the hands of his father, Billy’s mental and physical health had deteriorated exacerbated by alcoholism and a speed addiction his father had encouraged him to cultivate—the senior Burroughs saw drugs as a creative muse. Eventually Billy fled to Florida and died of cirrhosis shortly thereafter, though not before leaving a suicide note, which Rectenwald still possesses.

Eventually Rectenwald went back home and returned to school, this time for a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh. His experience with Ginsberg, while formative, had been disorienting. In 1994, Rectenwald and Ginsberg met again for an interview, which you can read below. This is the first time it has run in print, and the warmth and the familiarity of their interaction is apparent as they meander from politics to the drug war to Buddhism to William S Burroughs.

Michael Rectenwald has since gone on to publish his own poetry and fiction. He has also taught, and produced scholarly work on academic writing, and the history of science and secularism (guess pre-med really did end up coming in handy). He hopes to complete his next book—on his experience with Ginsberg—soon.

M: Hello Allen.

A: Hi, Hello.

M: How are you doing?

A: Well, I just came back from a Chinese restaurant with an old painter friend whom I haven’t seen in New York in thirty years. Robert Levin who was a court painter for all the Beat generation and San Francisco renaissance poets like Kerouac and Gary Snyder and John Wieners. So he just arrived in New York for the big Beat generation festival at NYU and him and I went out to summer tonight.

M: and you hadn’t seen him in how long?

A: Well we’d seen each other in Seattle where he was, but I hadn’t seen him in New York, I guess for I guess thirty years or so, since the 60s.

M: Wow, and the Beat generation and legacy and celebration is taking place, actually as this interview is airing. I’ve got the schedule here in front of me and it looks like it’s quite of an array… everything from academic presentations to…

A: Art shows, particularly. There will be a reading at town hall with Gregory Corso and Ann Waldman and myself, Dave [inaudible], Michael McClure…

M: Ferlinghetti with paintings?

A: Ferlinghetti is both poetry and paintings. Almost everybody. It’s a show of… it began in the school of education and art. It began as an art show to show paintings by Ferlinghetti and Burroughs and water colors by Gregory Corso and photographs by me and Albert Franken and others.

M: Yeah, you’re quite photographer too. I don’t think everybody knows that.

A: There is a new big book out by Chronicle Books that is [inaudible]. It is back on the stands now.

M: I myself have been an admirer of your musical works. You putting Blake to music and you have several musical scores that you have done.

A: We have a lot of albums out now. It’s basically a libretto that I did with Philip Glass, Hydrogen Jukebox that came out on [inaudible] Records a couple months ago. A couple years ago, I had on Island Records what was called The Lion For Real with spoken poems with jazz backgrounds by a lot of very interesting musicians, the same guys that play with Tom Waits and sometimes with Leonard Cohen, [inaudible],  Mark Greenbo, Bill Frisell and others. So now I’m working on a fourth CD set of highlights of all my recorded stuff that has been put out over a thirty-year period.

M: That’s excellent

A: We have a lot of Blake, that you like, plus some things you haven’t heard.

M: Great.

A: That I recorded with Dylan.

M: Oh really?

A: It’s about a half hour of work with Dylan, my own songs with Blake or compositions we did together, improvisations. Then there is a live cut with The Clash. A piece of an opera I did with Philip Glass, a duet between me and Glass. There is a duet with…oh, let’s see, who is the drummer for “A Love Supreme”?

M: Oh, you mean from the Santana album?

A: Elvin Jones, the drummer.

M: Is the cut from Combat Rock is that The Clash or is that another?

A; Oh that is a live thing we did, it’s one of my songs. We had Combat Rock, actually with the album I sing on with their words, but this was my own. Someone did it at a club in New York, improvised, years ago when I first met him.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Kooky Kindle cover disasters
02.24.2015
10:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Books
Design

Tags:
Kindle covers
bad art

002gaughost.jpg
 
You certainly can’t judge a Kindle by its cover as some of these badly illustrated titles are certified Amazon bestsellers—which either means they’re good reads or the author comes from a very large family.

The best thing about Kindle is the opportunity it gives wannabe writers to publish their work, but conversely, the worst thing about Kindle is the opportunity it gives to wannabe writers who want to publish their work… because some of them will.

Then of course there are the Kindle covers which vary from the tacky to the plain bizarre to the truly fucking ugly. So popular are these bad covers there is even a Tumblr site celebrating their awfulness, from which this small selection of abominations is culled.
 
003sinsfa.jpg
 
001abbynormal.jpg
 
005hammer3.jpg
 
030scoots.jpg
 
006overlors.jpg
 
More kooky Kindle covers after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hey dummy, Gwyneth Paltrow wants to sell you $300 worth of books for $685
02.20.2015
09:35 am

Topics:
Books
Movies

Tags:
Gwyneth Paltrow


 
I was looking at Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop earlier today…. “Why were you there?” I hear you ask. This is a good question, as I’d never been there before. I was there because Goop had opted to showcase an awesome new book of poetry written by a friend of mine, Jynne Dilling Martin. (The book is called We Mammals in Hospitable Times and yes, you should totally buy it.)

So I’m there at Goop and I notice as a sidebar a weird product you can buy, which is called the “New York City Book Set,” whereby you pay Goop $685 (!) and they send you eight books. The books are New York: A Portrait of a City by Reuel Golden;
New York: A Photographer’s City edited by Marla Hamburg Kennedy and Helena Fang; New York in Color by Bob Shamis; Manhattan Classic: New York’s Finest Prewar Apartments by Geoffrey Lynch; New York Transformed: The Architecture of Cross & Cross by Peter Pennoyer, Anne Walker and Robert A. M. Stern; Central Park NYC: An Architectural View by Bernd H. Dams and Andrew Zega; New New York by Jake Rajs; and New York at Night by Jason Hawkes and Christopher Gray. What sets Goop’s product apart is that the books come with custom jackets that (when combined) create a handsome little picture of an architectural detail from New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
 

 
These all seem to be fine books, wouldn’t say a single negative thing about any of them. It’s safe to say, isn’t it, that nobody has ever thought about books in quite this way, right? Like books as ... a puzzle visual element centerpiece? That’s a new one for me. Note that the price of this .... display is $685, and you can get all of these books on Amazon for a total price of right around $300. So okay, they’re marking them up—A LOT—that’s not what bothers me here. What bothers me is that this is a crazy way to think about books.

I’m trying to game out what visitors are supposed to think when they enter your salon and see a pile of books that have connived to form a winsome picture redolent of old New York? “What are the odds?”

Or perhaps they’d feel pity for you for being such an idiot that you spent $385 on FUCKING BOOK COVERS.

Most people I know who like books, they have strong likes and dislikes about this or that author, and so the possibility that, you know, “I’ll never read a book by that guy again!” and so forth is always a live possibility…. now, probably nobody has such strong feelings about any of these nice picture books of New York but my point is, people who like books are likely to resent seeing them used as jigsaw puzzle pieces—or to be precise, as nothing more than jigsaw puzzle pieces. Sarah Palin writes books for people who don’t read, but Gwyneth takes this concept in a very different direction looking for her more upmarket marks. John Waters made that crack about refusing to sleep with anyone you went home with who didn’t own any books, but these Goop books don’t count.
 

 
There are two similar products for sale at Goop. The New York product has a counterpart, the “London Book Set,” which also costs $685. This set includes London: A Portrait of a City by Reuel Golden; The Light of London by Jean-Michel Berts; Living in Style: London by Geraldine Apponyi and Monika Apponyi; Great Houses of London by James Stourton and Fritz von der Schulenburg; Unseen London by Mark Daly and Peter Dazeley; David Gentleman’s London; London Interiors by Barbara Stoeltie, Rene Stoeltie and David Gill; and Creative Living London by Emily Wheeler and Ingrid Rasmusse. This product combines to create a little picture of Big Ben with some double decker buses rolling toward the camera, and to be honest I like this picture a little more than the Grand Central Terminal picture. This set of books, if purchased individually, can be also purchased on Amazon for $300.

There’s also a thing called the “Goop Cookbook Club” but it costs just $295 and I find the idea of a six cookbooks arrayed to simulate a carving knife on a cutting board not too bad, really.
 

 
Anyway, all of this is to say, it might be that Gwyneth Paltrow is the Jay Gatsby of our time. A number of you may already have thought of this passage from chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—it seems perfectly apropos:
 

A stout, middle-aged man, with enormous owl-eyed spectacles, was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of books. As we entered he wheeled excitedly around and examined Jordan from head to foot.
“What do you think?” he demanded impetuously.
“About what?” He waved his hand toward the book-shelves.
“About that. As a matter of fact you needn’t bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They’re real.”
“The books?”
He nodded.
“Absolutely real — have pages and everything. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages and — Here! Lemme show you.”
Taking our scepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the “Stoddard Lectures.”
“See!” he cried triumphantly. “It’s a bona-fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too — didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?”
He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf, muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.

 

 
I wonder if the pages in the books Goop is selling are cut or not…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 56  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›