Archive | June, 2006

About Penny Ante Book 1


The Penny-Ante press of Los Angeles has just released an artistic labor of love in their 300-page Book #1, peppered with alternative musicians dabbling in a brainy collage of poetry, interviews, drawings and photographs. With artwork by Devendra Banhart, Josephine Foster, Tarantula AD, Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Don Bolles of The Germs, this outsider journal of creativity features short stories from Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Michael Cormier of The Volta Sound. Mysterious and full of a hundred “huh?” moments, this one’s worth looking seeking out. — John M. James (Positively Yeah Yeah Yeah)

This issue also contains selections from Shoot the Buffalo and Frances Johnson from Clear Cut Press.

Penny-Ante can be found online, here.

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Berkeley Reading at Pegesus Books


Ayah posted the report of the reading at Pegesus Books, as did Kitchen Sink. I will have more in a day or two once I get my feet from returning from California. On Sunday at 4 p.m. I was in the Mojave Desert. On Monday at 8 a.m. I was within ear shot of the Renton S Curves.

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Report from City Lights


When I arrived at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, the host Peter Maravelis, showed me the room where the reading would take place, a mid-sized room containing a large collection of poetry.

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To the South


On June 21, I woke at three o’clock in the morning to the sound of music from my computer playing something “I had last played.” I woke early enough that I wasn’t groggy exactly, but rather had that jittery edge I used to get when I woke in the Army at four o’clock for four-thirty muster.

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June Readings in California

Clear Cut Press :: Readings & Music for the Californias, North & South, June 21-25, 2006

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006, 7:00 pm, all ages
City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA. Matt Briggs, Stacey Levine, Matthew Stadler, and Robert Gluck will be reading along with music and textural environments created by We Two and the Universe (Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans) and Mount Eerie.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006, in the evening
Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Clear Cut Press authors Stacey Levine, Robert Gluck, and Matt Briggs will be kicking off a new quarterly reading series in Berkeley hosted by Kitchen Sink Magazine at Pegasus Books. Once again they will be accompanied by the music and textural environments of We Two and the Universe (Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans) and Mount Eerie.

Saturday, June 24th, 2006, evening
Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA. Stacey Levine, Matt Briggs, and Matthew Stadler will read along with music and textural environments by We Two and the Universe (Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans).

Sunday, June 25th, 2006, 7:00 pm
The Smell, 247 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA. After three music-laden readings in bookstores, the Clear Cut Press crew will grace this Sunday Los Angeles evening on a softer note, reading without the company of our musician friends, in a music venue.

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The Parrot

The youngest of three sons woke with a deep thirst for he was very ill and couldn’t keep any water down. His name was Giles. Gile’s skin had dried to a crusty surface like the crust of a cracker.

His father slept unaware of his son’s thirst. In the morning, the boy listened to his two older brothers wake and dress and stamp their boots to check their laces. After they left, Giles listened to his father cough and prepare coffee.

The water sang as it fell down the drain. The father had lost his ring down the drain. In his desperation to recover the ring, he’d removed the drain screen, and lost the screen as well. Fruit flies filled the apartment living off the pipe sludge, unhindered by the drain screen. When the tap turned on it fell, unimpeded down the pipe where it sang and hummed until it landed somewhere under the earth far under the apartment where the father’s ring lie.

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Jason Johansson: Mute

With the increase in the world’s population (more people are alive right this minute than have been alive throughout history) and the spread of the English tongue, the totality of original utterances has begun to drop to unprecedented lows. At one point when the total population of English speakers was close to two million in the sixteenth century, nearly any sentence uttered by a speaker had a good chance of having never been spoken before. To talk about your neighbor’s odors was to engage a bold, new linguistic enterprise. Now it has come to the point that we can only discus such matters using the recycled, previously uttered phrases of days gone by. Jason Johansson calculated that on May 11th, 2027, the last truly unique sentence will be uttered. Then, excluding lexical mutations and the introduction of technology-based concepts, all of the possible permutations of English will have been exhausted.

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A Tactful Answer to A Non-Question

Christopher Frizzelle just published an opinion piece in The Stranger about Seattle’s lack of a great literary magazine like McSweeney’s. The gist of his piece, as I could make it out, was that McSweeney’s is not published in Seattle. An odd assertion, actually, since McSweeney’s is published where McSweeney’s is published and in fact their web page coder, Ed Paige, lives in Seattle. There are other magazines besides McSweeney’s and N + 1.

However, I actually agree with the gist of the opinion that a zeitgeist-type literary magazine has never been nor is currently being published in Seattle (except McSweeney’s). Close contenders have existed: Skyviews from the 1980s for local lit and in the late 80s/early 90s Zero Hour. Even the mid-1990s The Stranger might fit the bill. The Stranger once published a spread of Willie Smith stories. I doubt Frizzelle appreciates Willie Smith (an amazing spectacle when he reads) if he even knows who he is. My immediate reaction to Frizzelle’s article was, “yeah!” Seattle should have a McSweeney’s style magazine that isn’t McSweeney’s. And then on thinking about it, I thought, well, there are a lot of very good magazines in Seattle and there must be some reason that a world conquering literary magazine hasn’t been published here? For sure, magazines and small presses have a very hard time in Seattle. But, why doesn’t Frizzelle spend his three hundred odd words talking about the difficulties of publishing a literary magazine, or what actually manages to get made here instead of what is not here? Why doesn’t he figure out why Seattle fails to please his hankering for a particular kind of literary magazine? Why? Because, yet again The Stranger (and Frizzelle in particular) continues (albeit in a backhanded way) to dis local lit. This has become such a sustained assault on the part of Frizzelle that it makes me wonder what he really wants?

I would like to turn your attention to some really good literary magazine in Seattle:

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New Book from Eric Spitznagel

MonkeyBicycle associate Eric Spitznagel has a memoir out from Manic D Press, Fast Forward: Confessions of a Porn Screenwriter. He is interviewed by Elizabeth Ellen at Hobart:

He has this to say for himself:

When I sold the book, my publisher didn’t once ask me if any of it was true. But after [James] Frey’s public stoning on Oprah, I was suddenly getting frantic phone calls about adding a disclaimer. So yeah, I’d have to admit that this book is a sorta-memoir. Everything I wrote about is at least based in reality. I was a porn screenwriter, I did meet some very eccentric and weird people, I did have delusions of grandeur and convinced myself that I could write the Great American Porno.

Read the full interview.

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