KNIFEZINE

I’ve got work in various modes of production. Some liner notes. Some haiku and other poems. Some comics. Some larger projects.

An upcoming comic with Derek Ballard tentatively called “KNIFEZINE” will be a part of Yeti Press’s main releases in 2016.

From Yeti Press:

LOOSE KARMA will be two-artist ‘split zine’ showcases. Each issue will have a limited print run and be 24 pages (with each artist getting exactly half), including two covers. It will also feature an exciting collaboration between the artists in the middle spread of the book.

We’re starting with three issues in 2016.

We’re proud to announce the line-ups for the first three issues:

#1 Derek M. Ballard / Joe Garber
#2 Scotty Snowden / Pam Wishbow
#3 Rosemary Valero-O’Connell / Chris Kindred

LOOSE KARMA will be available in 2016 at TCAF, Linework NW, CAKE, and the Yeti Press online store.

 

Happy New Ears

For the last few years, I’ve found myself listening to Thai music around the New Year. I don’t know why and I just noticed it when was searching for something new to hear. I discovered Christopher Adler, who I intended to write about in this post.

His music is influenced by American minimalism, which I had been listening to lately, but also has a strong strand of Laos, a folk music of Laos and Northern Thailand.

This led me into Laos and then into some Thai recordings that I had listened to in the past.

The music is often celebratory and upbeat and maybe that’s why it’s become part of my New Year’s tradition. Besides, the kids like dancing to it and they don’t always want me playing the Talking Heads or James Brown and I get tired of “The Hot Dog Song” and “Shake It Off.” It’s a nice compromise.

Besides being a composer and improviser, Adler plays khaen, a bamboo mouth organ.

I was struck by the tone and clarity of this performance by Master Nouthong:

Which led me to a good cassette recording of a Master player from Laos:

Oddly, my interest in American minimalism grew out of trying to find music that allowed me to write while I listened to it. This recording has that openness and quality of a drone.

That led me to music played on a Thai lute called a phin. Very surf party ready:

And I found a live performance that someone had sent me years ago that’s still great. (Jon? Mike? Can’t remember…)

More recently someone uploaded the over-two hour concert. It’s listed as Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band: Thai-Psychedelia.


Shredding Streetside Isaan. I like the mix with the traffic sounds.:

What seems to be a recording session with a young phin player. She rocks! And really starts shredding after the five-minute mark.:

All of this led me back to some of the fantastic Sublime Frequencies records I had heard in the past. If you’re a record collector or music adventurer you should check out their releases. Fans of Dengue Fever will likely enjoy.

Since my kids are old enough for me to have time to listen and think about music again, I’m going to try to hear a lot more this year. I’ve been to two live concerts in nearly four years: a jaw-dropping Anthony Braxton solo set and free St. Paul and the Broken Bones show when they were just a band in town. Already I have tickets to see the Sun Ra Arkestra and Napalm Death. That may honestly be it in terms of live shows for the year, but it’s a good start.

Also, besides all the usual yearly health goals, I’m going to be getting more writing done, here and elsewhere.

Happy New Year!

 

The End of the Year in Reading

As with the film lists, these aren’t meant to be a best-of, just books I enjoyed this year and that stuck with me in some way.

Fiction

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Ray Bradbury
Illustrated Man: Ray Bradbury

There is an exuberance and positivity in Bradbury that I admire, but rarely seem to find as much in myself—or at least it feels that way. Bradbury’s love of poetry comes out in his prose and these two titles may be my favorites of his, though I do like a lot of his work.

Secret Agent: Joseph Conrad

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Philip K. Dick

This was the third time I had started this one and I was finally able to finish it. It made me want to go back and watch Blade Runner again and allowed me to appreciate both pieces for what they are. PKD is becoming one of my favorites.

Notes from the Underground: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Sanctuary: William Faulkner
English Patient: Michael Ondaatje
V: Thomas Pynchon

Treasure Island: Robert Louis Stevenson

I hadn’t read this in decades and I was blown away by how much fun it was to read again.

War and Peace: Leo Tolstoy

Nonfiction

Illuminations: Essays and Reflections: Walter Benjamin

Stockhausen Serves Imperialism: Cornelius Cardew

This was my introduction to a musical figure I knew by name only. If anything, I enjoy Cardew’s passion and ideas (he may have been murdered because of them), even if I still like the avant-garde of Cage and Stockhausen. The book also introduced me to several other musical figures like Frederic Rzewski.

The Art of Fiction: John Gardner

Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method: Gerard Genette

Dense read that attempts to dissect the complexities of written narrative. It’s a book that is fascinating and one could spend a lot of time working through everything Genette does here. Like labeling parts of speech in a sentence, Genette gives ways of labeling functions of narrative within prose.

Silver Screen Fiend: Patton Oswalt

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema: Anne Helen Petersen

As much as I love Kenneth Anger and Hollywood Babylon, this is a sobering look at many of the Hollywood myths and stories those of us interested in Classic Hollywood have heard for years. The analysis of the ideologies of the star and studio systems are fascinating, if disturbing at times. One of the more awful details here is the fact that studios were giving uppers and downers to child stars like Judy Garland in order for them to meet performance schedules. Disgusting. The book doesn’t revel in the details, but serves as more of a critical analysis.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Robert Pursig
The Social Contract: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Me Talk Pretty One Day: David Sedaris
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief: Lawrence Wright

Other

Apocrypha: KJV Text
The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden
Rameau’s Nephew: Denis Diderot
D’Alambert’s Dream: Denis Diderot
The Case of the Flying Saucers: Manly P. Hall

Art / Comics

1450-1950: Bob Brown

One of the most inspiring works I’ve read this year. Wonderfully done.

River Dead of Minneapolis Scavenged by Teenagers: Mark Ehling

Ehling’s one of those guys you want to hate because he’s good at everything. And he’s a nice guy, too. The nerve of some people.

Monsters in the Movies: John Landis

Large coffee table book of movie monsters, stills, and poster art. Fantastic. Many of the films I’ve never heard of and I’ve been watching horror and monster movies since the age of four or five. It’s hard to compete with Landis though, who obviously has a deep love for these films and has lived almost his whole life in or near Hollywood.

In the Night Kitchen: Maurice Sendak
Mr. Wuffles: David Weisner

All-Star Superman: Morrison and Quitely
Hellboy Volume Ten: The Crooked Man and Others
The Humans, Volume One
Saga of the Swamp Thing Books Three and Four
Transformers vs. GI Joe Volume One
Vampirella Archives: Volume One
The Walking Dead Volumes One and Two

Poetry

Collected Poems: Theodore Roethke

Ashagalomancy: Abraham Smith

My favorite book of his so far. In theory, a book of creation myth poems, but so much more.

White Egrets: Derek Walcott

Drama

Ghosts: Henrik Ibsen
Rhinoceros: Eugene Ionesco

The End of the Year in Viewing

These film lists grow out of the traditional year-end motivations, but also from finally keeping a film journal since this summer. I’ve said I was going to do this for years, but now that I’m old enough to forget films I’ve seen, and along with the business of working and raising kids, it’s practical now.

Rewatched and Retired

The first movies listed here are favorites that I’m not going to include in other lists. These are films that I plan on writing about more in the future.

Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla

As many times as I’ve seen it, I think this was the first time I watched the Japanese version. I’ve always loved Godzilla films and my almost four-year-old daughter caught me watching it and is now obsessed with the movies and the ‘70s cartoon.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Charlie Brown
Before video rentals, when these holiday shows would come on they were events. I’m more excited about watching these shows with my own kids than I was watching them when I was younger. We got rained out this Halloween, so we rented this one.

It was really nostalgic. The voices. The music. Charlie Brown’s costume. “I got a rock.” I’ve watched this and other holiday specials throughout the years with many family members who are no longer here. It was nice connecting with my kids and reconnecting to some of my memories of being a kid.

The Grandmother (1970)

Grandmother

I think I was introduced to David Lynch in grade school. I believe I saw Elephant Man late at night on HBO. I’ve been hooked since. Eraserhead is one of my favorite films and the one I’ve probably seen more than any others.

I happened to watch The Grandmother again when Criterion offered a nice transfer for free online.

Jaws (1975)

Scott Woolston Jaws
Art by Scott Woolston

I think I watch this every summer. I have an Amity Island vacation poster in the living room.

Road House (1989)

Road House

I have pieces of an essay on ‘80s masculinity and Road House that I’ll eventually put together.

The Brothers Quay Short Film Collection (2015)

Quay

Probably my favorite artists and filmmakers. I won the new Blu-Ray in a contest that involved identifying ten stills from their films. The Blu-Ray transfer is fantastic and the new content is as great as anything they’ve done. The Christopher Nolan directed Quay (2015) is fascinating in that it’s the most detailed, though brief, discussion I’ve seen the Quays give on their techniques. Their work is a continual inspiration.

The Rest

I’m never able to get out to see current films, so I doubt if I’ll ever write anything like a “year’s best.” These are simply films I liked this year. Some are here because I think they are great (Son of the White Mare) and others, though flawed, worked for me on a particular level (Session 9).

Animated

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
The Mascot (1933)
Son of the White Mare (1981)
The Junky’s Christmas (1993)

Documentaries

4 Artists Paint 1 Tree (1958)
The Love Goddesses (1965)
Surviving Edged Weapons (1988)
Corey Haim: Me, Myself, And I (1989)
Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas Priest (1992)
In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2002)
Rewind This! (2013)
Dark Star: HR Giger’s World (2014)
Free the Jazz (2014)
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014)
Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

Art House

Shana Moulton: Everything. One of my favorite artists and my favorite film discovery this year.

Aleph (1966)
Fuses (1964-7)
Plumb Line (1968-71)
Zorns Lemma (1970)
Hotel Monterey (1972)
They Do Not Exist (1974)
Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight (1975)

Horror / Sci-fi / VHS Weirdness

Don Dohler:
The Alien Factor (1978)
Fiend (1980)
Nightbeast (1982)
The Galaxy Invader (1985)
Blood Massacre (1988)

Blood Freak (1972)
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Logan’s Run (1976)
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
The Shout (1978)
Fascination (1979)
The Children (1980)
Inseminoid (1981)
Visitors from the Galaxy (1981)
Deadly Prey (1987)
Creating Rem Lezar (1989)
Session 9 (2001)
Primer (2004)
The Descent (2005)
The Triangle (2009)
Absentia (2011)

Everything Else

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922)
Foolish Wives (1922)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Pickpocket (1959)
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Daisies (1966)
Donkeyskin (1970)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Empire of Passion (1978)
Camera Buff (1979)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
The Dead (1987)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
Tree of Life (2011)

It’s not a trick, it’s an allusion.

I’m co-hosting a writing podcast with Jason Quinn Malott called The Laboratory. We are giving each other monthly writing prompts and then seeing what comes of them. I never studied creative writing formally, so the show gives me a chance to have conversations about process, creativity, blocks, culture, etc. that I haven’t been able to have in the past.

After doing a few episodes, I thought it would be interesting to catalog our references from the shows. It’s a way of following our train of thought.

Our first episode dealt with Jason’s desire to work with experimental techniques, particularly to prepare for a larger work he has planned. That was the practicality of the show. Within that, we discussed the problems of experimentation, our own writing influences, and then who influenced our influences.

Our first prompt dealt with cut-up and blackout techniques. You can read the results at the link above. If you are interested, in episode two we discuss the full process of our cut-ups and use of multiple source texts.

I should mention that this is a podcast within a podcast. The Laboratory is part of Jason’s Outrider Podcast.

Here’s the catalog from episode one of The Laboratory:

Jenn Zukowski / Kazuo Ishiguro / Ursula K. Le Guin / Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / Woody Allen / John Updike / Philip Roth / Jonathan Franzen / The Hobbit / Theodore Roethke / Robert Frost / Emily Dickinson / Lewis Carroll / Laura Mullen / William Faulkner / “A Rose for Emily” / The Evolution of Shadows / Ghoulanoids / Laura Hawley / The Egyptian Book of the Dead / Samuel Beckett / Derek Ballard / Ron Cobb / Semiotic Standards for Alien (1979) / Son of the White Mare (1981) / Eyvind Earle / Sleeping Beauty (1959) / My Life: Eyvind Earle (2000) / Alejandro Jodorowsky / Joseph Campbell / Beowulf / Ray Harryhausen / Brothers Quay / Jan Svankmajer / King Kong (1933) / El Topo (1970) / Holy Mountain (1973) / He-Man and the Masters of the Universe / Walt Whitman / “Street of Crocodiles” (1986) / “Street of Crocodiles” / Bruno Schulz / Robert Walser / Franz Kafka / “The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer” (1984) / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) / “Jabberwocky” / Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Edgar Allan Poe / Rudolf II / Giuseppe Arcimboldo / Vertumnus (1591) / Fire (1566) /  James Joyce / Marcel Proust / “Whoroscope” / Rene Descartes / David Cronenberg / Look Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967)  / Sidney Poitier / Sideways (2004) / The Coen Brothers / Guillermo Del Toro / The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film / Walter Murch / Michael Ondaatje / John Berger / The English Patient (1996) / Apocalypse Now (1979) / Touch of Evil (1958) / Lynn Sloan / Jorge Luis Borges / Ernest Hemingway / Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. / Isaac Asimov / Italo Calvino / If on a winter’s night a travelerUlysses / Microscripts / Philip K. Dick / Stanislaw Lem / SolarisA Perfect Vacuum / Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Blade Runner (1982) / Gertrude Stein / Robert Coover / Spanking the MaidFifty Shades of Grey / John Barth / Donald Barthelme / Thomas Bernhard / W.G. Sebald / Jack Kerouac / On the Road / William Burroughs / Junky QueerNaked LunchOn the Road (2012) / Kristen Stewart / Salman Rushdie / Julio Cortazar / HopscotchFinnegans Wake / Giordano Bruno / Giambattista Vico / Street Trash (1987) / Waiting for Godot / Richard Baxter / “Directions for a Peaceful Death” / GI Joe / Karl Marx / Emmanuelle / Anais Nin / Tropic of CancerLittle Billboards / Brion Gysin