Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Whitney Biennial

A Preview

The Whitney Biennial will be coming to New York on 2/25/10. Here's a sneak peak of some of the artwork that will be on view, including the photographs by Tam Tram, who is--at 23--the youngest artist in the show.

Photograph: "Battle Cry" by Tam Tran

Friday, December 25, 2009

Some Recent News

I'm fortunate to have had a couple of new pieces published in the December issue of Everyday Genius, the web journal presented by Publishing Genius Press, alongside some great writers Amelia Gray, Mike Young, Jac Jemc, J.A. Tyler, Mathias Svalina and others. For more on PGP, see the interview I did with PGP's Adam Robinson about Shane Jones for The Faster Times.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bonuses are Back

The Faster Times, The Rumpus and Gigantic Holiday Party

As creative types, we tend to miss out on big corporate holiday blowouts complete with drunken co-workers embarrassingly making out beneath mistletoe. Those of us who work from home rarely even see other people, or wear "clothing."

So this year, let's don our Wall St.-inspired Holiday Best and get down like Bernie Madoff has yet to steal everyone's money.

Join us in celebrating another fun, if fiscally irresponsible year!

The Faster Times, The Rumpus, and Gigantic Present:

The 2009 Wall Street Holiday Party

Monday, December 14, 2009
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave (between 1st and Grand) Brooklyn

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Legacy of Wally Hunt


Waldo "Wally" Hunt, the pop-up book artist who is responsible for the pop-up art renaissance of which Andy Warhol, Maurice Sendak, and Jie Qi of MIT's Media Lab are a part, died this month. In homage to Hunt, here is a video of a pop-up book of the alphabet, ABC3D, by Marion Bataille.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Subjective Account

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach at NYPL LIVE

I recently attended a talk with Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach at the New York Public Library, and a post-talk cocktail party. My Subjective Account of the evening, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Sit in Chairs, is up on The Rumpus. Andre da Loba created the incredible illustrations for the piece.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Goings on About the Rump

Wu Ming

Notable New York is up on the Rumpus. Some things to look out for are Justin Taylor's reading with the Italian lit collective Wu Ming, Paul Banks (about whom I wrote a Subjective Account) performing, the Tim Burton exhibit, and films by Ingmar Bergman at BAM. (It was initially posted that Julian Casablancas would be performing with Paul Banks, but he will not be performing--Only Paul Banks. Sorry for the confusion).

Also, a very interesting read is Catherine Lacey's post on HTML Giant about Zadie Smith's essay about novelists writing essays: No Easy Cure for Novel Nausea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Rumpus and Tin House Present

Fun Fun Fun

Tonight at the Highline Ballroom, The Rumpus and Tin House present More Than You Expected, a variety show including readings by Rick Moody, Starlee Kine, Jonathan Ames, and David Rees, comedy by Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman, and musical guests Care Bears on Fire. Come out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Backstage

Video aT NYPL

Before the NYPL Live event last Monday, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach were videoed as they walked in rooms of the New York Public Library. They looked at maps, pointed at maps and talked to each other about Roald Dahl, pornographic poems and things I sometimes couldn't hear.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Corduroy Appreciation Day

A Fantastic Fabric for Fops and Fly Girls

Today, 11/11, is Corduroy Appreciation Day. In honor of this wonderfully textured fabric, the Corduroy Appreciation Club is holding a Grand Meeting at the Old American Can Factory with keynote speaker author Sloane Crosley.

I'm not sure whether corduroy connoisseur Wes Anderson, will be in attendance. But he and fellow filmmaker Noah Baumbach were in conversation at the New York Public Library on Monday, 11/09, an event for which I'll be posting a Subjective Account at the Rumpus. The filmmakers showed clips from their upcoming film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic children's book, a film which contains some idiosyncratic elements in true Wes Anderson style, such as the faux character Kristofferson made of real fur, and Mr. Fox in a bespoke corduroy suit.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week in Advance

Wes Anderson, Ben Marcus and n+1

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach will be in conversation tonight at NYPL, there's a Harper's Magazine reading on Wednesday with Ben Marcus and Rivka Galchen, and the Internet as Playground and Factory conference with n+1 magazine begins Thursday. Check these and other events at Notable New York at the Rumpus.

Also, keep your calendars open on November 17. The Rumpus is throwing a party at the Highline Ballroom--MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED--with readings by Starlee Kine, Jonathan Ames and Rick Moody, comedy by Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman, and musical guests Care Bears on Fire.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gore Vidal

Snap Shots of the Spiffing

Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History's Glare, Gore Vidal's third memoir, and the latest project of my dear friend Kevin Kwan, got a great review in Vogue. The memoir collects photographs, letters and manuscripts from Gore Vidal's personal archives, telling of his time in politics, the film industry, and cafe society at large.

Photo of Gore Vidal with Anais Nin.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview with Kristina Born

And An Account of the CLMP Spelling Bee

At the Indie Books column at The Faster Times, there's an interview with a young word wrangling author Kristina Born by author Christopher Higgs who edits an incredibly cool site: Bright Stupid Confetti. Born's work is being published by YEAR OF THE LIQUIDATOR, a new press by Shane Jones and Blake Butler.

You can also view my piece on the CLMP Spelling Bee, where James Frey, Francine Prose, Michael Musto and Alex Kuczynski dazzled, got stumped, and mispelled some easy words, proving that it still makes me feel badly when big-name writers can't spell any better than non-reading humans. But all in "good fun." To be fair, many of the words "walked out" on were tough, which, I guess, is the point.

Original illustration by Andre da Loba.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Looking Ahead to Lust Weekend

Everyone I Have Ever Slept With

As part of Lust Weekend at the Performa 09 Festival in New York, Tracey Emin will be reading from her collection of poems, Those Who Suffer Love, and her autobiography, Strangeland. One of the YBAs (Young British Artists) who was part of Charles Saatchi's Sensation exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art that caused a fooferaw here in New York, she is not surprisingly known for her "sensational" artwork such as the tent above and My Bed, an installation of her own dirty and unmade bed that consisted of detritus such as body secretions, condoms and other junk that collected around her bed when she stayed in it for a while while having feelings of suicidal depression. At first I thought she was one of those artists that wants to shock you for the sake of shocking you. But then I heard her speak, and I think the ideas behind her work are sound and compelling. Listen for yourself here:

For more news about Performa 09, or other notable happenings around new york, check out my listings, Notable New York, at the Rumpus.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lawrence Welk Redux

Mr. Ghost Goes to Town

Today I watched this video (an experimental remake of part of one Lawrence Welk show) one too many times. I'm into to Lawrence Welk lately and his Alsace-Lorraine-via-North-Dakota-with-a-touch-of-Russian accent. He and his "champagne music," make me happy in an eerie detached way. This video has a kind of great moment at 00:49-1:11.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gigantic's Mini-Monster Issue

Weird People in Masks

The Gigantic Mini-Monster Issue is live. Featured are an interview of Brian Evenson, fiction by Carmen Lau and Sasha Fletcher and two videos by Michael Nason & Brian Wilmont, and Max Juren & Jill Pangallo courtesy of Monofonus. The Gigantic Mini-Monster Issue has been written about by L Magazine.

Video still from video by Michael Nason and Brian Wilmont.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feast of Freaks

Performa 09 Gala Dinner

Jennifer Rubell is throwing a gala dinner Friday night for the opening of Performa 09, a festival of performance art that starts Sunday. Some things at this dinner include giant chocolate covered rabbits, apple trees and honey dripping from the ceiling onto ribs. Here are some things Jennifer Rubell said about getting the meal ready--she is the niece of Steve Rubell, who owned Studio 54 where Andy Warhol went a lot:

"I’ll go over there and he and I are going to lie the bunnies in the back of his minivan and put a duvet on top of them and bring them over to the X Initiative space. We’re going to stand them up, surround them with newspaper and then Jacques is going to spray a final coat of chocolate directly on to them."

"Mr. Wickham from Cutchogue, Long Island, is now going to drive the trees in in two trucks on Thursday. He has this new plan to dig them up by the roots and then with a chainsaw cut the roots off with a chainsaw once he arrives, which I think is so great."

"The next hurdle is going to be setting up the ribs under the honey trap—and getting dressed."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Goings On

Subjective Account

At the Rumpus, I published a subjective account of the n+1 launch party at PPOW that has this blowaway illustration by Andre da Loba.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Goings on About the Rump

James Franco's Face and Benefit Party w Care Bears on Fire

At the Rumpus, my write-up on the New Yorker Festival has been linked to by a few places like PW Morning Report, Tao Lin's blog and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, which liked my title, "James Franco's Face."

Also, save the date, the Rumpus and Tin House are having a benefit party on November 17th 2009 that's going to be a blast.


Rick Moody
, author of Right Livelihoods, Jonathan Ames, author of The Double Life Is Twice As Good
, This American Life's Starlee Kine, David Rees, author of Get Your War On, comedians Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman, HBO Def Poetry Jam star Vanessa Hidary, the Six Word Memoirists and music by kid core phenomenon Care Bears On Fire


Showpage: www.highlineballroom.com/bio.php?id=1183

$10, Cheap!

Photo of Care Bears on Fire by Phil Knott

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Introducing Tarko

Magician David Blaine as Tarko

Tarko teleports guy on sidewalk to Japan then talks about changing races of the human race, or something...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Yorker Fest, Goodbye

What James Franco, Neko Case and Malcolm Gladwell Had in Common

Two of my favorite events at the New Yorker Festival, which took place this weekend, were Neko Case (she performed "That Teenage Feeling" among other songs, and talked about being a "cougar") and Malcolm Gladwell who told a story about a couple of WASP anthropologists who got drunk, ritualistically, in Bolivia in the fifties, and NOT Michael Vick, as he said he would. James Franco, who spoke very slowly, was asked what it felt like to be a stoner icon. He also talked about the art project he's involved with, Erased James Franco. And his audience wore much less clothing than any other audience of the six total events I had been to. George Saunders said "Pas de Chat" 73 times, Gary Shteyngart said he was bribed with cheese in Leningrad and Jonathan Franzen was asked a "personal" question by a young woman currently attending his alma mater, Swarthmore. I'll be posting something about all of the events I saw for The Rumpus later this week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amarillo by Morning - Spike Jonze

Amarillo By Morning - George Strait live at the Houston Rodeo

This is one of my favorite documentaries. Spike Jonze was in Houston filming a commercial for Pepsi, Adidas or Wrangler or something and met some of these young "bull-riders" and made a short film about them.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bourgeois Gone Bad and Skate Videos

Jockum and Oeuvre

I like Jockum Nordstrom because he "seems to...delight in depictions of bourgeois life gone strangely if not savagely wrong," and I think my favorite depictions are depictions of bourgeois life gone strangely if not savagely wrong.

I saw illustrations by Jockum Nordstrom at the MOMA today. Tomorrow, it's music videos, commercials and other "award winning" parts of the Spike Jonze "oeuvre."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spike Jonze in NY and Monofonus in Marfa

Spike Jonze is in New York this week, and in conjunction with the release next Friday, Oct. 16, of his latest feature, Where the Wild Things Are, there're a lot of things happening in New York, including a retrospective of his work at the MOMA. To check out a full schedule, see my short piece here.

Also, this weekend, Monofonus, the record label and multimedia organization, heads to Marfa to debut its Video Series. You can read a short piece about it with some video excerpts on The Rumpus. Here's a clip "Confederate Fruit: Rebel Song," from one of its featured artists, Michael Nason.

Confederate Fruit: Rebel Song from Michael Nason on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spike Jonze Week

Exclusive Where the Wild Things Are Short Film

The Vampire Attack from We Love You So on Vimeo.

Where the Wild Things Are - IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE October 16, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Simulated Sex Acts on Stage

Happy Looking People Actually Angry

"Theater today, not all of it, is in your face," I said. "I'm not allowed to reach out to it."

"People are angry," said Syd. "It's related to that.
Just take a look at this table. The shapes on it. Look at all these squares, triangles and circles. Fran. What would you call this dish?" Syd looked at his smoked salmon. The table was cluttered.

"I'd say it's Baroque," said Fran passing a glass of water. "Who needs all this water?"

"Fish-shaped," said Syd with an index finger at either end. He observed the dish like a math problem. "This dish is shaped like a fish."

I like a good musical. Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and The American Ruling Class being two. Simulated sex acts on stage, when viewed while sitting next to my parents, make me wonder how they are processing these acts on stage--whether their thoughts are: in words that relate in a figurative way to what is on stage; in blank non-sexual non-conscious space equivalent to the space your mind is in when your eyes cross; or in some related but non-constructive analytical distance imposed to defend against unwilling recourse into prurient mental territory, "I wonder if I'll have the twenty-layer crepe cake or the creme brulee. If the crepe cake comes with blueberries, I'll have to order something else, or I can order the crepe cake with strawberries, unless the strawberries have at some point been frozen..."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lipsynch and Mud Luscious

Two Views on Voice

On Saturday at BAM, saw Lipsynch--a production by Robert Lepage that's a kind of a hybrid performance: film, live music, theater, mixed media. It was nine hours well spent, except for the dinner part, where I had to find a place to eat, eat, and get back in 45 minutes. My review is up on The Rumpus.

I also recently had the opportunity to interview J.A. Tyler, the author and publisher of Mud Luscious Press, which is issuing an anthology of its mini-chapbooks in January 2010. You can read the interview here, and read excerpts from some of the recently published works, by Molly Gaudry, Ryan Call and Elizabeth Ellen here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kmart, Tao Lin...

...And Tree-Swinging Sasquatches

I was happy to be able interview Tao Lin for The Rumpus, an interview that went up today. Tao Lin is very astute, thoughtful and incredibly specific with respect to topics such as how certain writers affected his work, why the issue of whether or not people think his work is "weighty" doesn't concern him anymore, and about the term 'Kmart realism," and everything it implies about the writers who are grouped under it and the act of grouping writers, in general. He also gives a convincing argument for why his work should not be considered nihilistic and talks a little about nostalgie de la boue.

For a solid primer on "Kmart realism," as per Tao, which charts the time-line of the rise and fall of the literary style alongside that of the rise and fall of the corporation, check out his blog post from 2005: kmart, kmart realism; the rise, struggle, decline of.

A quote I like from the interview:

An unmediated experience of reality seems desirable to me sometimes. None of these reasons, in my view, have anything to do with “numbness,” “ennui,” “apathy,” “condemning my generation,” “saying [anything] about my generation,” “saying [anything] about society,” “saying [anything] about the state of the world,” or “saying [anything] about technology’s effect on people.”

Shane Jones's "The Failure Six"

"Antun thought about the dignity that owls possess"

Shane Jones's upcoming novel, The Failure Six, being released by Fugue State Press is available for pre-order. And if you pre-order, you get a complimentary e-chapbook of DELETED SCENES FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Here's an excerpt from The Failure Six:

Antun struck a match and read from the pamphlet.

His hands trembled.

He felt the air, with its swirling scents of turpentine, beeswax, and smoke, being sucked from his throat.

One of the cats began playing a guitar. Another opened a book by Lewis Carroll and the spinning face of color sighed, causing a large cloud of white smoke to puff out and float up to the ceiling.

Antun thought about the dignity that owls possess.

He lit another match and read the first section of the pamphlet before the tiny flame went out. In his mind what he read aloud sounded like:

Your name is Foe. You are a seamstress who earns a decent living through your ways with linen and silk. Your mother died in an automobile accident in the countryside when you were twelve and your father lost a duel to a man with a green mustache. Your father was drunk during this duel. He would have won. You cried a lot. There was no one to comfort you so you began your lonely apprenticeship in sewing.

The girl didn’t move. Her head was cocked to the side and for a moment Antun thought she was dead. Then she yawned and wiped some blood from her exposed legs and onto some papers.


Partial List for Messengers

# Do only as instructed by given cover note.
# Emotional interaction with recipient is frowned upon.
# Once message is delivered leave the household.
# Appear stoic.
# Dress appropriately for the delivering of bad news.
# Almost all messages will be passed by written note.
# In rare cases, the messenger will be required to become orator.
# The hunting of animals is encouraged.
# A messenger must possess an excellent memory.
# Payment will come in the form of gold doubloons placed upon your pillow.

Illustration by Morgan Blair

Sunday, September 27, 2009

With Drew in Toronto

"Skate Babes in Fishnets"

Filmmaker Michael Almereyda spent time with Drew Barrymore to talk about her upcoming film about roller derby Whip It, and then went to its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. For his piece in the New York Times, Stepping Into the Skates of the Director, Almereyda gets behind Drew's "fear-based" journal, Andrew Wilson as good luck charm, and christening Ellen Page with the derby name Small Newman. Also, Drew and Ellen kissed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good Smashing

Saws, Scissors and Snowglobes

In the film I Will Smash You, people smash objects of personal value, in an attempt to rid their lives of "personal demons." A young girl smashes and burns her teacher in effigy, a woman smashes her Ford Escort with a crow bar, sledgehammer and pliers to get rid of an Estonian woman's bad luck, and Adam Robinson smashes a song, in his mind. These and seventeen other smashings make up the startling documentary by writers and filmmakers Michael Kimball and Luca Dipierro. While I had the privlege of watching it in a Chelsea gallery, the film is making the rounds via private screenings, one of which can be arranged for you. Watch the trailer here. And keep an eye out for their film 60 Writers/60 Places, which stars Blake Butler, James Yeh, Kim Chinquee and Tao Lin's monotone voice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thomas Bernhard

Now He's Irritable, Now He's Not

If you like Thomas Bernhard, you will most likely like this interview with the Austrian writer at his most irritable, "Thomas Bernhard for Life," that Christopher Higgs at HTML Giant found in June.

In the video above, Thomas Bernhard seems not as irritable as he does in his books and interviews, but maybe that's because he's in Mallorca and he's trying to be different from the Mallorcans, who are very irritable. I can't say for sure, because I don't understand what he's saying.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ken Sparling

"One time I came into work at Fairview...and my desk was gone."

A friend recently notified me of a great interview with Ken Sparling up on The Chapbook Review. Ken Sparling talks about working with Gordon Lish when he was at Knopf (“You’re just spinning your wheels, Sparling”), being published by J.A. Tyler's Mud Luscious Press, and working as a librarian (As soon as you make a space truly public, you’re going to get a mess of stuff happening there.)

Papercut illustration by Julien Langendorff

Monday, September 21, 2009

Clancy Martin and New York

"Yellow. Just bring in Yellow."

There is a crazy in-depth and very insightful and engaging interview of Clancy Martin up today on Gigantic Web by Lincoln Michel. Lincoln Michel goes head to head with Clancy Martin on Nietzsche, Nirvana and the color of despair.

Also, I'll be posting a weekly column on The Rumpus listing cultural events going on each week. This week, it's Rasskazy, Harmony and Me, and I WILL SMASH YOU.

Illustration by Gigantic House-Illustator Andrew Bulger

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Future of Fiction, Real Surreal and the Myth of Upward Mobility

I've got a piece up on The Rumpus on my day at the Brooklyn Book Festival, covering readings by Tao Lin and Ben Marcus, talks by Lewis Lapham and Heidi Julavits and silent sightings of Thurston Moore.

Guys v. Men

This Made Me Laugh

This piece by Cathleen Calbert, called "Forget the Men. Pick a Guy." in the New York Times Sunday Styles section is well-written and made me laugh. It was also moving but in a straightforward rather than emotional way.

Here is a part I liked:

My father said if we interrupted his Saturday nap, we'd have to sit at the end of his bed in silence until he slept and woke again. He only made me do it once; at 7 years old, I thought this punishment the height of perversion.

Illustration by Christopher Silas Neal

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Yorker Festival


The New Yorker Festival is fast approaching, and tickets are on sale now. As always, the festival, which runs from October 16-18, promises to bring together the most interesting minds in literature and the arts including Jonathan Franzen, A.M. Homes, Gary Shteyngart, Tilda Swinton, Malcolm Gladwell and many others. Here are some events you don't want to miss:

Friday, October 16 (Fiction Night):

David Bezmogis and Jonathan Franzen; Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz; T.C. Boyle and Mary Gaitskill; George Saunders and Gary Shteyngart.

Saturday, October 17:

James Franco talks with Lauren Collins; Malcolm Gladwell on Michael Vick; Jason Schwartzman talks with Richard Brody; a screening of Jean Luc Godard's King Lear; Tilda Swinton talks with Hilton Als.

Sunday, October 18:

Heroes and Antiheroes with Donald Antrim, A.M. Homes, George Saunders, and Gary Shteyngart; An outing to the studio of Chuck Close; and an outing with puppeteer Basil Twist.

Tickets are going fast. For a full event schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the site here.


Well Kept Secrets

You can get a longer sentence for selling videotapes of dogfighting than Michael Vick got for running a dogfighting ring. At least according to a case before the Supreme Court on appeal, which I learned in a piece on dogfighting on The Rumpus.

"The Curious Case of Michael Vick" is a talk that Malcolm Gladwell will be giving at the tenth annual New Yorker Festival.

Dogfighting is a felony in all but two states.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whit Stillman

with cocktails at Petrossian afterwards

Adam Wilson has a great interview with Whit Stillman, covering Criterion's release of
The Last Days of Disco, ousting cynicism, and the coining of the term (UHB) Urban Haute Bourgoisie.

Photo by Terry Rozo courtesy of Bombsite